Cardigan Welsh Corgi

  • Overview

    Despite these dogs' humorously exaggerated look, they were bred as serious working dogs. They are the shortest cattle herders, but their diminutive stance helped protect them from being trampled by ornery bovines. Cardigans stand about 10 or 12 inches tall. Males weigh up to 38 pounds, but most females don't weigh more than 30 pounds. Their expression is watchful, alert and friendly.

    The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a brave little dog with a distinctive look and a friendly disposition. They make watchful, devoted companions for active owners and families without small children.

  • Personality

    They are stouter and of a more stocky composition than their fellow corgi, the Pembroke. This more robust carriage displays itself in the Cardigan's more protective nature. Cardigans can be more territorial and firm than their more carefree cousins. They also have a greater tendency to be scrappy with other dogs. These rough and tumble little guys won't back down from a challenge, all though they never seek out trouble. Although they enjoy active, goofy play with their family, they tend to be more serious than playful, especially around strangers or other dogs. Cardigans are alert watch dogs who take their responsibility to guard their family and their family's possessions very seriously, so they will bark to announce disturbances and even small noises.

    They can be well-suited to apartment living because their long backs are prone to injury or stress. It's a little tougher from them to lift their sturdy bodies and large heads with their small legs, so they shouldn't be pushed to exercise in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

  • Coat Care

    Cardigans are distinguished from Pembroke Welsh Corgis by some noticeable physical features. Their tails are always long, bushy, and fox-like. Their comically large ears are rounded at the top and their bodies are slightly longer and stouter than their smaller cousins'. The abundant coat is thicker at the ruff behind the neck, on the backs of the legs, and on the underside of the bushy tail. The outer coat is slightly harsh and weather-resistant.

    Their double coats come in a beautiful array of colors, and their piercing, fox-like eyes usually match or compliment the color of their coat. Cardigan Welsh Corgis are found in brindle, black, red, sable and blue merle. Their coat is also seen in other shades of merle. Some Cardigans have white markings throughout the body and along the muzzle or tail. Cardigans are also known for having a "fairy saddle" of white or merle along their back. Welsh legend supposed that fairies road on these little dogs at night as if they were miniature horses.

Brushing

Cardigan Welsh Corgis shed continuously. Although you don't need to brush to remove dead hair, it will remove itself if you don't. Unless you want Corgi hair flying around your household as your dog wags his tail and sheds his coat, make sure to brush your little friend several times a week. Their tails and the longer hair around their stomachs and legs should be brushed out to prevent it from picking up debris outdoors or tangling while the Corgi plays.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but some double-coated dogs can be done so with less frequency (the Alaskan Malamute, in particular, has no odor and can go with annual baths). The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Remember to wipe wrinkled breeds with a soft cloth and make sure they are totally dry after bathing. High-velocity dryers work great to remove excessive loose hair with shedding.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, it is simple to give your dog a haircut and save expensive trips to the groomer.

Dogs with double coats generally require regular trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him.  Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Trim around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, if needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Corgis, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and Collies have sensitive ears that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. If your dog is prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.