The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a long, low dog (36 to 43 in. long, all the way from the nose to the tip of the tail) with large, erect ears, a broad, flat skull, and a long, low-set tail with a fox-like brush (the Pembroke variety has no tail). The length-to-height ratio should be approximately 1.8 to 1. The Cardigan tends to be a bit heavier-boned than the Pembroke. The Cardigan's erect ears are larger than the Pembroke's, and the feet are more round. The Cardigan has a straight topline and a deep chest with prominent breastbone. The front feet turn outward slightly. The front assembly should be relatively heavy-boned, but not coarse. Dewclaws should be removed. The Cardigan has dark eyes that harmonize with the color of the coat. Blue eyes are allowed only in blue merle dogs. The head is broad between the ears and tapers to the eyes. The occiput is not at all pronounced. The rounded, tapered muzzle is shorter from nose to stop than the skull's length from stop to occiput in a proportion of approximately 3:5. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite.
The Cardigan's double coat consists of a harsh, medium-length outer coat lined with a short, soft, dense undercoat. Hair is more abundant at the ruff, back of the legs, and on the underside of the tail. Hair on the ears, head, and front of the legs is short. Colors are red, sable and brindle, black, black and tan, black and brindle, and blue merle, often with white trim on the chest, collar, tail tip, legs, and muzzle. Predominantly white dogs are not allowed to compete in AKC conformation shows.
There are several theories about the origins of the Welsh Corgi. Both Corgi varieties may be descended from the Swedish Vallhund brought to Wales by Vikings in the 800s. Or it could be that the Cardigan is the older variety, brought to Wales by the Celts in about 1200 BC. The name Corgi probably comes from the Celtic word for dog, "corgi." The breed was mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086). Developed in Cardiganshire, Wales, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is an excellent cattle drover, vermin hunter and farm guard. The Corgi drove cattle by barking and nipping at the animals' heels. His low stature helped him roll out of the way when a cow kicked. Corgis still maintain that habit when chasing each other. The Pembroke and Cardigan varieties were freely interbred until the 1930s, after which time breeders tried to accentuate their differences. Today, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is primarily a companion dog.