Welsh Corgi

Canis lupus

Last updated: February 16, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

There are two distinct breeds!


Welsh Corgi Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Welsh Corgi Conservation Status

Welsh Corgi Locations

Welsh Corgi Locations

Welsh Corgi Facts

Common Name
Welsh Corgi
There are two distinct breeds!

Welsh Corgi Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
13 years
14kg (30lbs)

Welsh Corgi as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$1,000 to $2,200
Dog group
Male weight
-38 lbs
Female weight
-34 lbs

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The Welsh corgi is a small herding dog that probably originated from the countryside of Wales sometime before the year 1000 AD.

Its small size is well-suited for nipping at the heels of cattle or sheep to herd them around their grazing lands or into pens. The breed can be identified by its short but powerful legs, big black eyes, compact body, and long ears relative to body size.


Corgi standing in grass with tongue out

The two main types of corgis have different origins

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There are two types of Welsh corgi and the main differences between them are their coloration, size, and bone structure.

  • Pembroke Corgis: Popularized by Queen Elizabeth II, Pembroke corgis are somewhat smaller and slighter than Cardigan corgis. They come in three main colors: red, sable, and tricolor splashed with white.
  • Cardigan corgis: Possessing a heavier build compared to corgis of the Pembroke variety and a long bushy tail, Cardigan corgis also have a similar coat pattern to the former group of canines. However, they have a greater variation of color including black and white, blue merle, brindle and white, red and white, sable and white, tan and white.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Pembroke corgi is the 13th most popular breed in the country (the Cardigan ranks at 68). The breed is also popular in the United Kingdom.

Owning a Welsh Corgi: 3 Pros and Cons

A great companion!
For small dogs, Corgis can have BIG personalities. Corgis are known for being good-natured dogs (albeit, with a streak of stubbornness!). They’re generally good with families, although their herding instinct can cause nipping.
Corgis are generally regarded as very vocal dogs. Their barking can be in a word — incessant — which can be a problem in dense areas or when neighbors are extremely close.
Let’s face it, they look great!
Corgis are one of the most unique-looking dog breeds in the world. Their diminutive size, coat, and long bodies give them an incredible appearance that is beloved the world over.
Get ready for shedding!
Corgis generally shed a lot. The breed has a double coat that’s very thick, which leads to a disproportionate amount of shedding. This shedding will become especially pronounced in the spring and fall.
Long, healthy, lives
Welsh Corgis are a smaller breed that generally lives between 12 and 14 years. While corgis (like all breeds) suffer from some common health conditions, their list of common ailments is lower than many other breeds.
Watch their weight!
Like most dogs, Corgis are voracious eaters. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but does highlight that the breed does need abundant exercise to maintain their weight and health.

Evolution and Origins

Welsh Corgi (Canis familiaris) - two types tan and black

The two distinct Corgi varieties were bred by the Celts and the Vikings


Health and Entertainment for your Welsh Corgi

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Corgis actually belong to two distinct species: Cardigans and Pembrokes. The clue of their origins can be found in the regions from which they derive their names, Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire in the southwest and south of Wales, respectively.

In the former known for its rugged landscapes, Celtic people bred the ancestors of the Cardigans and the result was a somewhat sturdy, bushy-tailed breed.

The latter breed would come much later about the first millennium. Brought by the Vikings from Scandinavia, it is actually descended from the Nordic spitz and is known for its clipped tail and lighter bone structure.

For centuries, these pointy-eared pooches with stubby legs and a waddling gait bossed cattle around while also serving as canine pest control squads, as well. Unsurprisingly, they are also known for their tendencies to order little residents around too.


pembroke welsh corgi

Welsh corgis are capable of weighing up to 38 lbs

©iStock.com/Ирина Мещерякова

The Welsh corgi is a small-sized dog with a compact frame and short but powerful legs. Males and females are approximately the same size, but the male tends to weigh more on average. The Cardigan corgi breed is also ever so slightly larger than the Pembroke breed. Here is a breakdown of precise sizes:

Height (Male)10 to 12.5 inches
Height (Female)10 to 12.5 inches
Weight (Male)Up to 38 pounds
Weight (Female)Up to 34 pounds

Common Health Issues

A corgi looking guilty

Welsh corgis may suffer from back issues


The Welsh corgi is a healthy breed of dog with generally low rates of bleeding problems, degenerative issues, and hip or elbow dysplasia (which is a limping or gait problem that results from a developmental abnormality in the joints).

However, the breed does suffer from modest rates of cancer, eye diseases, and ear infections. Another potential health issue, due to the corgi’s compact and unique body structure, is back pain and degeneration. You should therefore be careful with letting the dog navigate stairs, beds, and other large gaps on its own.

You can mitigate some of the risk of disease with an early checkup and screen from a vet. However, breeders are generally good at screening for potential genetic or developmental problems before they ever trouble an owner. The typical life expectancy of the Welsh corgi is between 12 and 13 years. To sum up the information, these are the corgi’s four most common health problems:

  • Cancer
  • Back Problems
  • Ear Infections
  • Eye Diseases


Welsh Corgi (Canis familiaris) - puppy and baby running

Welsh corgis are affectionate, extremely energetic, and bold

©Vera Reva/Shutterstock.com

The Welsh corgi is a friendly and playful dog, eager to give its owner plenty of affection. It has an extremely exuberant and outgoing personality that manifests as a sort of manic energy. But although capable of big spurts of activity, a Welsh corgi also sometimes loves nothing more than to lie around the home or curl up on your lap.

Because of its history as a herding dog with sheep and cattle, the Welsh corgi can be a little nippy and barky and also rather fearless and bold, but it is not overly pushy or aggressive in its behavior. The breed is best satisfied when it has some kind of task to carry out, so you should attempt to give it plenty of things to do. Their intelligent behavior marks them out for the performance of tricks and games.

How to Take Care of a Welsh Corgi

Dandruff shampoo for dogs

Welsh Corgis require a significant amount of grooming


The Welsh corgi is a somewhat middle-maintenance breed and does require quite a bit of daily work to fully care for its needs. So before purchasing, you should prepare in advance for its food, exercise, and grooming requirements.

Also make sure your dog has an annual checkup at the vet to look for potential health problems before they can fully develop.

The Best Dog Food for Welsh Corgis

Hungry cute corgi dog is sitting behind the table and is waiting for vitamin food. Corgi dog like cytrus fruits. Healthy life, detox concept. Copy space

Welsh corgis have a tendency to become overweight


The corgi requires high-quality dog food to support an active and energetic lifestyle. It is a good idea to feed the dog two smaller meals a day rather than a single larger meal to aid in its digestion. You can also give your dog treats on a regular basis to reward it for good behavior and obedience, especially to train it for certain behaviors.

But because the corgi has a tendency to become overweight easily, you should carefully manage the dog’s diet so as to avoid excessive calorie intake. Since they shed a lot, there are some foods on the market designed to help control shedding, though they won’t eliminate the problem completely or substitute proper grooming. Their diet is something you should discuss with your vet in more detail.

A-Z Animals says the best dog food for Welsh Corgis is Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Small Breed Original Recipe.

This nutrient-rich dog food made with 100% freeze-dried turkey for a raw protein infusion is loaded with calcium and glucosamine for durable bones, cartilage, and joints. Additionally, taurine supports heart and eye health while a burst of antioxidants and omega fatty acids contributes to a tough immune system.

Here’s where to get Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Small Breed recipe on Chewy or Amazon.

Best for Small Breeds
Wellness CORE RawRev Wholesome Grains Small Breed Original Recipe
  • Nutrient packed kibble plus100% raw freeze-dried turkey pieces
  • Contains glucosamine for strong joints, probiotics for digestive health, omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and taurine for a healthy heart
  • No legumes, potatoes, fillers, or artificial flavors
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Welsh Corgi Maintenance and Grooming

Brushing a Corgi against a white background

Welsh corgis require weekly brushing and showers because they shed regularly

©Ermolaev Alexander/Shutterstock.com

Before buying a Welsh corgi, you should be prepared to set aside a modest amount of time for the dog’s maintenance and grooming. Because of its regular shedding, a weekly brushing, sometimes accompanied by a bath to loosen excess hair, should be sufficient to keep this breed looking nice and healthy, though make sure it is dry before brushing.

You may need to brush more often during the times of the year with excess shedding. A-Z-Animals recommends using:

Best for Dematting
GoPets Dematting Comb with 2 Sided Professional Grooming Rake
  • Features two sides for professional grooming results
  • Designed to remove all sorts of mats and tangles
  • The teeth prevent pulling and rounded edges make this model safer than most
  • Works well as an undercoat rake to thin your cat's coat
  • Features a comfortable, non-slip silicone, gel-filled handle
Check Amazon

The nails can get rather long and should be trimmed on a regular basis. You should also brush its teeth and clean the ears regularly to prevent possible infections and health issues.


corgi leaving crate

Because of their intelligence Welsh corgis are easy to train


Because of its intelligent and loyal personality, the Welsh corgi should take to training with relative ease. It is recommended to provide your dog with training classes and socialization opportunities from an early age, when the dog is most adaptable and compliant. The best time to do this is during its first four months of age.

However, even adult corgis are relatively easy to train for new tricks and behavior. Corgis can be willful and stubborn at times, but positive reinforcement and rewards-based training should allow them to engage with their owner with minimal problems.


american corgi vs pembroke welsh corgi

Corgis require daily exercise

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

Because of its highly active lifestyle, the Welsh corgi does require a modest amount of exercise every day. They are very eager to engage in walking, running, or just playing ball in between longer stretches of rest and relaxation. However, the short legs of the corgi may make it difficult to keep up with a bicycle or a fast running pace. The corgi should not go too long without some kind of exercise with its owner, so you should be prepared to set aside some time every day to keep it active with either you, your family, or a friend.

Because of its herding instincts, the breed does tend to exhibit moments of manic behavior. So if the dog starts to become very excitable by racing around the house, then it might be a signal that you should take it outside to burn off some of that energy with healthy physical activity. One thing to keep in mind is that the corgi should not be exposed to extreme heat or cold. During the summer months, you should keep it properly hydrated and cool to avoid overheating. This breed is quite agile and athletic, so it is not uncommon to see it participate in herding and sports events for dogs.


puppy collar

Welsh Corgi puppies are best obtained from reputable breeders

©Natalia Fedosova/Shutterstock.com

The Welsh corgi is a very good breed to own from a young age, since it is very willing to be trained and socialized. For best results, you may want to acquire the puppy from a well-known and reputable breeder, even though this may be more expensive. This should minimize the chances of potential health or behavioral problems. Make sure the puppy is scheduled to visit a vet for an early checkup to get all of its health affairs in order as soon as possible.


Welsh Corgi (Canis familiaris) - puppy walking through grass


Due to their small size and affectionate personality, this breed gets along very well with babies and children. It has quite a loyal nature that drives it to protect other people. For this reason, the corgi makes for a very good family dog.

However, especially during the first introductions, some form of constant adult supervision is always recommended to prevent any poor interactions between dogs and children that may develop from the dog’s rather excitable and overeager nature.

Dogs Similar to the Welsh Corgi

Horgi standing on a deck by the sea.

Swedish vallhunds resemble corgis in temperament and appearance

©TS Eriksson / CC BY 3.0 – License

The Welsh corgi is a unique breed of dog in many ways. However, there are several other breeds with similar characteristics.

  • Swedish Vallhund – With its short legs and stubby body, this herding dog has a similar size and appearance to the corgi. It also exhibits a similarly energetic, playful, friendly behavior. The hair color can range between light orange and dark gray.
  • Beagle – Originating from Belgium in the 1500s, this short-haired dog is intelligent, courageous, and loyal, and like the corgi, it makes a good companion for families. The breed is also known for its somewhat stubborn and headstrong behavior.
  • Boston Terrier – Although very different in appearance from the Welsh corgi, this small-sized dog nevertheless is intelligent, friendly, and easily trainable, though also has a stubborn streak as well. Because of its protective instincts for its owner, the breed may also exhibit some aggression toward other people or animals. It is considered to be a quintessential American dog breed.
  • Border Collie – The border collie is actually a medium-sized dog, but it has the same herding behavior as the corgi. It is among the most active and intelligent breeds in the world, featuring regularly in sports competitions.

According to the website Rover.com, these are the most popular names for the Welsh corgi:

  • Charlie
  • Winston
  • Oliver
  • Bella
  • Luna
  • Cooper
  • Daisy
  • Lucy
  • Penny
  • Max

Famous Welsh Corgis

Let’s face it, unlike other dog breeds that might have celebrity owners or media appearances, the Welsh Corgi has an undisputed most famous owner. That, of course, would be Queen Elizabeth II. She has owned dozens of Pembroke Welsh Corgis throughout the years.

  • Holly: Was one of Queen Elizabeth’s Corgi’s that was especially beloved and appeared in the London Olympics opening video. Sadly, Holly has since passed away.
  • Molly: Is author Stephen King’s Corgi! He often refers to her as “The Thing of Evil” on social media… But a look at this lovable Corgi would say she’s anything but!
  • Rufus: The original “mascot” of Amazon. This lovable Corgi was frequently in the office in the e-commerce giant’s early days and passed away in 2009.

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Welsh Corgi FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Welsh corgis good pets?

The Welsh corgi is a very popular dog breed for a simple reason. Whether you’re living alone or with other people, this breed has an adaptable personality that works well in many different situations, and with its love for people, the corgi is generally tolerant of its owner’s lifestyle. However, you should be aware that this breed does require a fair amount of maintenance, so you should have the time and inclination to take care of it.

Are Welsh corgis mean?

Welsh corgis can be a little rambunctious if they don’t receive enough attention. After all, they were bred to herd cattle and sheep, so the corgi wants to have a purpose and drive, which can find its outlet in troublesome and annoying behavior. But besides that, they are generally quite playful and friendly, even around complete strangers. If you treat it with enough kindness, then the Welsh corgi is more than happy to reciprocate with equal affection.

What is the difference between a Welsh corgi and a Pembroke corgi?

This is actually a source of confusion for many people. The Welsh corgi is not a single breed of dog, but rather two types: the Pembroke and the Cardigan. In other words, the Pembroke is actually one of the two specific types of Welsh corgi. Both the Pembroke and the Cardigan are named after the counties from which they originated in Wales. Besides coloration and bone structure, the differences are fairly minimal, but the Pembroke is overall the younger and more popular breed. Unless otherwise indicated, most of the information about behavior, activity, and maintenance found within this guide should apply universally to both breeds.

Are Welsh Corgis herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Welsh Corgis are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Welsh Corgis belong to?

Welsh Corgis belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What phylum to Welsh Corgis belong to?

Welsh Corgis belong to the phylum Chordata.

What class do Welsh Corgis belong to?

Welsh Corgis belong to the class Mammalia.

What family do Welsh Corgis belong to?

Welsh Corgis belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Welsh Corgis belong to?

Welsh Corgis belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of covering do Welsh Corgis have?

Welsh Corgis are covered in Hair.

What genus do Welsh Corgis belong to?

Welsh Corgis belong to the genus Canis.

What is an interesting fact about Welsh Corgis?

There are two distinct breeds of Welsh Corgi!

What is the scientific name for the Welsh Corgi?

The scientific name for the Welsh Corgi is Canis lupus.

What is the lifespan of a Welsh Corgi?

Welsh Corgis can live for 13 years.

What's the difference between a Welsh Corgi and a Shiba Inu?

Welsh Corgis weigh more than Shiba Inus, though Shiba Inus are taller. The Shiba Inu is a native dog breed to Japan, while the Corgi was bred in Wales.

What's the difference between a mini Corgi and a Corgi?

The mini Corgi is a small version of the standard Welsh Corgi. Read all about how both of these breeds compare to one another here!

What's the difference between an American Corgi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi?

American Corgis are not purebred, while Pembroke Welsh Corgis are. In addition, Pembroke Welsh Corgis do not come in a merle coat, while American Corgis do.

What's the difference between the Corgi and the Dorgi?

The Corgi is a purebred dog, while the Dorgi is a cross between a Corgi and a Dachshund. Read all about their differences here!

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2011) Animal, The Definitive Visual Guide To The World's Wildlife
  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals
  3. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
  4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species
  5. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals
  6. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals
  7. AKC, Available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pembroke-welsh-corgi/
  8. Doggie Designer (1970) /https://doggiedesigner.com/dogs-that-look-like-corgis/
  9. Rover.com (1970) www.rover.com

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