Home Dog BreedsCorgis American Corgis: The Ultimate Guide

American Corgis: The Ultimate Guide

by Joel
American Corgis

These four-legged furry friends are like a cross between a small dog and a magical creature from a fairytale. From their stubby legs to their lovable personalities, American Corgis are capturing hearts all over the country. So, whether you’re a dog lover or just someone who can’t resist a charming tale, let’s unravel the adorable mystery of the American Corgi together!

What is an American Corgi?

The American Corgi, also known as the Cowboy or Cowgirl Corgi, is a fascinating hybrid dog breed that has been winning the hearts of dog enthusiasts all over the United States. These delightful and energetic pups blend two distinctive breeds—the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi—to create a unique and captivating canine.

Origin and Background

The American Corgi is an exceptional result of crossbreeding between the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. While both breeds share similar ancestry, they have distinct features and temperaments. By combining these two breeds, breeders have created the perfect balance of agility, charm, and intelligence that characterize the American Corgi.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi originates from Pembrokeshire, Wales, and has been a popular breed for centuries. They are famous for being the preferred choice of Queen Elizabeth II. Diminutive in size but strong in spirit, Pembrokes were initially bred for herding cattle and sheep, considered intelligent, highly trainable, and adaptable to various environments.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Similarly, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi hails from Cardiganshire, Wales. These ancient dogs descended from breeds brought to Wales by the Celts. Since their evolution, they’ve served as farm dogs, assisting in herding, guarding, and companionship. Cardigans are slightly larger than Pembrokes, with long, fluffy tails and a more diverse coat color palette.

Are American Corgis a recognized breed?

If you look at the major kennel clubs like The American Kennel Club (AKC), The United Kennel Club (UKC), or The Kennel Club (KC) of the UK, you’ll find that the American Corgi is not currently recognized as a separate breed. These organizations only recognize the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi – the parent breeds of the American Corgi.

Why is that so?

These kennel clubs use strict guidelines to recognize breeds. They consider aspects such as consistent breed standards, verifiable pedigrees across multiple generations, and a certain number of the breed throughout the country. Given the lineage of the American Corgi as a mix between two distinct breeds, it still needs to meet these criteria.

Who Recognizes the American Corgi?

While traditional kennel clubs do not recognize it as a separate breed, the American Corgi has gained ‘Designer Dog’ status. The American Corgi Club (ACC) acknowledges them and is dedicated to promoting and protecting the American Corgi breed. This club is responsible for defining breed standards, managing breed health, and documentation for future generations of American Corgis, aiming for their eventual recognition.

So What Does This Mean For You And Your Pooch?

Down to brass tacks – does this recognition (or lack of it) really matter to you? Probably not if you’re just looking for a four-legged best friend who will bring you joy and companionship! Breed recognition matters more if you’re interested in showing your dog in purebred competitions or selectively breeding.

But rest assured – recognized breed or not, the love, companionship, and the pure joy an American Corgi can bring into your life is incomparable. They will fill your days with laughter, cuddles, and a whole lot of fantastic memories – after all, isn’t that what owning a pet is all about?

Appearance and Characteristics

The American Corgi combines the best traits from its parent breeds, offering a well-rounded and adorable appearance. While these pups can vary in size and weight, they usually remain in the medium-sized range, with stout legs and elongated bodies. Here are some key characteristics to recognize an American Corgi:

  • Size: 10-12 inches tall at the shoulder
  • Weight: 20-30 pounds
  • Coat: Medium-length, dense, and weather-resistant
  • Colors: A combination of red, sable, fawn, black, and tan with or without white markings

Personality and Temperament

American Corgis are known for their zest for life, intelligence, and friendly disposition. They inherit many traits from the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis, creating a well-balanced and highly sociable pet. Some of their distinct personality traits include:

  • Playful: American Corgis are energetic and love playing outdoors, making them an ideal pet for families with kids.
  • Intelligent: Thanks to their herding instincts, these pups are sharp and quick learners, excelling in obedience training and dog sports.
  • Affectionate: Corgis are incredibly loyal and devoted to their families, providing comfort and endless company.
  • Alert: Given their background as farm dogs, they possess a strong sense of alertness and make excellent watchdogs.

What is the average lifespan of an American Corgi?

The average lifespan of an American Corgi is approximately 12-15 years. This longevity is comparable to their parent breeds, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, which share similar life expectancies.

But keep in mind; these are just average numbers. Like all dog breeds, some individuals may live a bit longer, while others, unfortunately, may have shorter lives. Various factors contribute to your furry friend’s overall life expectancy.

Factors Impacting Lifespan

Several elements can influence the lifespan of your American Corgi. Here are some noteworthy contributors:

  • Genetics: Inherited health conditions and traits from parent breeds play a significant role in determining the life expectancy of any dog, including American Corgis.
  • Healthcare: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian, vaccinations, and addressing any health issues early on can make a world of difference in your pup’s overall well-being.
  • Nutrition: A balanced and nutritious diet tailored to your American Corgi’s age, size, and activity level is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing diet-related health issues.
  • Exercise: These energetic dogs love to play and require regular exercise to keep them fit, agile, and happy. Both physical and mental stimulation can help boost their overall health.
  • Environment: A safe, comfortable, and stress-free living environment contributes to a happier, healthier, and potentially longer life for your fluffy friend.

How much does an American Corgi cost?

The cost of buying an American Corgi puppy can depend on a multitude of factors and can significantly vary. Generally, an American Corgi puppy costs between $600 to $1,200. The price can be influenced by factors like:

  • Breeder reputation: A well-established, reputable breeder typically charges more for their puppies as they invest a lot of time and money in providing excellent care, conducting genetic health tests, and ensuring they are well-socialized.
  • Ancestral lineage: If the puppy’s parents or grandparents were show ring champions, the breeder may increase the price accordingly.
  • Geographical location: The cost can also fluctuate depending on your location, as certain areas have higher demand and prices for puppies.

The initial purchase price is just the starting point. Having a pet means annual costs for food, vet visits, grooming, and much more. Here are ongoing expenses to consider:

  • Food costs: Expect to spend approximately $200 to $400 annually to provide your American Corgi with a well-balanced, nutritious diet.
  • Veterinary care: Routine veterinary care (vaccinations, annual exams, parasite control) can range from $100 to $300 per year, apart from medical emergencies or chronic conditions that can cost more.
  • Grooming: American Corgis, with their beautiful but thick coats, require regular grooming. Depending on grooming salon prices, this can range from $30 to $80 per session.
  • Accessories: Bedding, leashes, toys, and bowls could cost you around $100 to $200 per year or even more.
  • Training and socialization: Depending on whether you choose professional training or DIY at home using books and online resources, this could range from minimal costs to over $500.

How much exercise do American Corgis need?

American Corgis are energetic and intelligent dogs with a strong herding background, thanks to their Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi parent breeds. They need daily physical activities to keep them happy and healthy. American Corgis generally require 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Breaking this down into multiple smaller sessions is a great idea to keep your pup enthusiastic and engaged.

Fun Exercise Suggestions

Here’s a list of fantastic exercise ideas to keep your American Corgi in tip-top shape:

  • Walking: Two or three brisk walks daily can be an effective and enjoyable way to get some physical activity, fresh air, and bonding time together.
  • Playing fetch: An engaging game of fetch with their favorite ball or toy can keep your pup’s muscles toned and their minds sharp.
  • Agility training: American Corgis are excellent agility training candidates due to their agility nature and keen intelligence. This activity helps develop coordination, strength, focus, and confidence.
  • Hide-and-seek: Hide treats or toys around your house or backyard, and let your Corgi search for them. In addition to being physically engaging, this also provides mental stimulation.
  • Tug-of-war: A fun game of tug-of-war can be a substantial workout for your American Corgi while allowing them to release energy in a controlled manner.

What kind of food should American Corgis eat?

One of the most important things you can do for your furry friend’s health is to feed them a high-quality, well-balanced diet. Commercially prepared dog food designed to meet the nutritional needs of dogs is typically a good choice. It’s balanced and complete, meaning it contains the right amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals that your American Corgi needs to thrive.

Essential Nutrient Categories

Feeding your American Corgi involves understanding what type of nutrients they need. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Proteins: Your American Corgi needs protein for various vital functions, like building and repairing tissues and maintaining a healthy immune system. Look for a food that lists high-quality animal protein sources (like chicken, beef, or fish) at the top of the ingredient list.
  • Fats: Fats provide your pup’s most concentrated energy source, keeping their coat healthy and shiny and supporting skin health. Good sources of fats include named fats like chicken fat and flaxseed oil.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbs give your active Corgi the energy it needs to run and play throughout the day. Whole grains (like brown rice or oats) or vegetables (like sweet potatoes or peas) are excellent sources.
  • Fibre: Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that’s important for digestive health. Ingredients like beet pulp, bran, and certain fruits and vegetables can provide this.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: They’re essential for a variety of body functions, such as bone health, blood clotting, and immune system function. They typically come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat in your dog’s food.

How can you train an American Corgi?

First things first, understanding your dog’s breed can help set proper expectations when training. American Corgis are intelligent, alert, and energetic dogs with a strong desire to please.

Start Early: The Puppy Phase

The best time to start training is in the puppy phase, ideally when your American Corgi is around 8 to 12 weeks old. At this age, they’re able to start absorbing information and learning basic commands. Plus, they’re super curious and excited to explore!

Basic Commands

Here are some basic commands you’ll want to teach your American Corgi:

  • Sit: Holding a treat above their nose, move your hand back. As the puppy looks up to follow the treat, they should naturally sit. Then say “sit,” give them the treat and share affection.
  • Stay: Ask your puppy to “sit.” Then open your palm in front of you and say, “Stay.” Take a few steps back, and if your puppy stays, give them the treat.
  • Come: This command could help keep your dog safe. Say “Come” and reward your puppy when they come to you. Practice this command with increasing distances.

Consistency is Key

In the training process, consistency is everything. Use the same commands and gestures each time and ensure everyone in the household does too. It makes it easier for your Corgi to understand and respond accordingly.

Positive Reinforcement

American Corgis respond best to positive reinforcement, which means rewarding the behaviors you like and ignoring the ones you don’t. Rewards can be treats, toys, praises, petting, or anything your dog loves.


It’s not just about commands; it’s crucial to socialize your American Corgi with different environments, other animals, and people. This helps them become confident and well-rounded dogs.

Potential Stubbornness

Remember, your Corgi may inherit the stubborn streak common to their herding ancestry. If they don’t want to follow commands, take a break and try again later. Stay patient and keep sessions short and fun!

Consult a Professional

If you need help training your American Corgi, feel free to reach out to a professional dog trainer. They can help guide you through the process and suggest effective techniques.

Are American corgis good dogs?

American Corgis draw their lineage from the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis and are bred to capture the best traits of each. Here’s what makes them unique and, potentially, fantastic pets:

  • Intelligence: One of the most defining characteristics of the American Corgi is its intelligence. They’re quick learners, making them both a joy and a challenge to train.
  • Energy: These little pups are overflowing with energy. They love to play and run around, making them great companions for active families.
  • Adaptability: American Corgis are highly adaptable. They’re comfortable living in the countryside or an apartment in the city as long as they get enough exercise and stimulation.

Common health problems of an American Corgi

  1. Obesity: American Corgis may tend to gain weight if their diet and exercise aren’t properly managed. Those short legs might make them look extra cute, but they can also make it easier for them to put on pounds. Obesity can lead to various health problems, such as joint issues, diabetes, and heart disease. To prevent obesity, it’s crucial to provide them with a balanced diet and engage them in regular physical activity.
  2. Orthopedic Issues: Corgis are prone to certain orthopedic problems due to their unique body structure. One of the most common is hip dysplasia, where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly. This can cause pain, lameness, and difficulty moving. Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is another concern, especially for the long-backed Corgis. This condition affects the spinal discs and can lead to paralysis if not managed carefully.
  3. Eye Conditions: Corgis can be predisposed to various eye issues, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), leading to vision loss over time. They might also be at risk for cataracts, which can cloud their vision. Regular eye check-ups with a veterinarian can help catch and address these problems early.
  4. Allergies: Just like humans, Corgis can develop allergies. These can manifest as skin irritations, itching, and even ear infections. Allergies can be triggered by various factors, including certain foods, environmental allergens like pollen, or even contact with certain materials. Identifying and avoiding allergens and proper veterinary care can help manage these issues.
  5. Degenerative Myelopathy: This progressive neurological disorder affects the spinal cord and can lead to weakness and loss of coordination in the hind legs. While it’s more commonly seen in larger dog breeds, Corgis are also at risk. While there’s no cure, early detection and supportive care can help manage the condition and maintain the dog’s quality of life.

Pros and Cons of Owning an American Corgi


When considering their pet potential, there’s a lot to love about American Corgis:

  • Companionable: American Corgis are known for their sociable and friendly temperament. Given appropriate socialization, they can get along well with adults, kids, and even other pets.
  • Size: They are small to medium-sized dogs. This, combined with their adaptability, means they’re a good choice even if you don’t have a large home or yard.
  • Loyal: They tend to be loyal and protective of their families. This often strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner.


Just like no sneaker – no matter how cool – is perfect, there are also some considerations when thinking about getting an American Corgi:

  • Exercise Needs: They are energetic and require daily exercise to maintain good health. This could be a potential issue if you’re not someone who enjoys regular walks or playtimes.
  • Grooming: American Corgis are known as shedders. They require regular brushing to keep their coat looking its best and to reduce shedding.
  • Potential For Obesity: They tend to overeat and can easily become overweight, which can lead to health problems.

How to Find a Reputable Breeder of American Corgis

Like trying to figure out which iPhone seller won’t sell you a knock-off, finding a reputable breeder for American Corgis is more than just about affordability but also about quality and reliability. Here’s an easy guide to help you establish exactly that!

Do Your Research

Start by doing some online investigations. Corgi-specific clubs, such as the American Corgi Club or Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America, often have breeder directories. You can also check out social platforms like Facebook or Reddit for communities of corgi enthusiasts. Ask them for breeder recommendations too.

Spot the Red Flags

Knowing potential red flags can save you from dealing with disreputable breeders:

  • Pricing: If the price is too good to be true, it often is. Breeding dogs responsibly is costly – there are veterinary costs, feeding, and caring for the parents and puppies. If the price is significantly below the average market range, proceed cautiously.
  • Multiple Litters: Quality breeders usually focus on one litter at a time to ensure they can adequately care for all the puppies. If a breeder always has puppies ‘in stock’ or multiple litters, these might be signs of a puppy farm.
  • Lack of Information: If the breeder hesitates to share information about the puppy’s parents, health background, or living conditions, it might indicate that they aren’t entirely reputable.

Visit the Breeder

Visiting in person lets you engage directly with the breeder and also allows you to see the conditions of the facility. Here’s what to look for:

  • Cleanliness: The surroundings should be clean and spacious enough for the animals to move around comfortably.
  • Healthy Animals: The animals should look well-fed, clean, and active. They should appear to be comfortable with their caretakers, indicating they’ve been properly socialized.
  • Ask Questions: A reputable breeder should be able to provide comprehensive answers about the breed, parents’ history, potential diseases, and other related information.

Check Certifications and Health Screening

Ensure that the breeder conducts necessary health screenings and registrations. Reputable breeders often test parent dogs for common breed-specific diseases and provide the puppies’ health certificates.

Responsible Breeding Practices

A good breeder prioritizes the puppies’ well-being, often demonstrated by actions such as:

  • Limits on Age: They typically won’t separate a puppy from its mother before it’s 8 weeks old.
  • Spay/Neuter Contract: They often require you to agree not to breed the dog unless under specific circumstances, just to ensure responsible pet ownership.
  • Lifetime Support: Most reputable breeders remain available for advice and support throughout the dog’s life.

Alternative Breeds to “American Corgis”

  1. Pembroke Welsh Corgi: If you’re drawn to the charm of the American Corgi, you might also consider the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. These dogs share many similarities with their American counterparts, including their adorable short legs and sweet temperament. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are known for their intelligence and adaptability, making them great companions for families and individuals.
  2. Cardigan Welsh Corgi: Another close relative of the American Corgi, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, is equally endearing. These dogs are known for their long tails (unlike the American Corgi’s naturally short tails) and slightly different body structures. Cardigans are known for their loyalty, affection, and herding abilities, making them excellent choices for active families.
  3. French Bulldog: If you’re looking for a small, compact dog with a unique appearance, the French Bulldog might be a great alternative. These dogs have a charming and playful personality, and their distinctive bat-like ears make them stand out in a crowd. French Bulldogs are generally easygoing and adapt well to apartment living.
  4. Miniature Schnauzer: For those who want a bit more of a lively and energetic companion, the Miniature Schnauzer could be a great choice. These small dogs are known for their distinctive beard and bushy eyebrows. They’re intelligent, affectionate, and have a keen sense of humor, making them a joy to have around.
  5. Basset Hound: If you’re captivated by the American Corgi’s unique body shape, you might appreciate the distinctive appearance of the Basset Hound. With their floppy ears and famously long ears, Basset Hounds have a comical and endearing look. They are laid-back and make great family pets, as they get along well with children and other animals.
  6. Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie): If the herding instincts of the American Corgi appeal to you, the Shetland Sheepdog might be an excellent alternative. Shelties are intelligent and agile herding dogs with beautiful coat and a strong desire to please their owners. They excel in obedience and agility activities, and their loyalty and gentle nature make them wonderful companions.


How many corgis are registered with the American kennel club?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the largest registry of purebred dogs in the United States. It currently registers over 18,000 new puppies each year, and over 5,000 corgi puppies are registered with them.

What is the difference between a cowboy corgi and an American corgi?

The difference between a cowboy corgi and an American corgi is that a Cowdog is the result of crossing a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and an Australian Cattle Dog. An American Corgi is the result of crossing a Pembroke Welsh Corgi with a Cardigan Welsh Corgi or another Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Final Thoughts

American Corgis are a great choice for people looking for a friendly, playful, and easy-to-train dog. However, it is essential to do your research before buying an American Corgi to ensure you are getting a healthy and well-bred dog.

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