AKC Cardigan Welsh Corgi Standards Over the Years

Below is a side-by-side comparison showing how the AKC standard of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi has changed over the years. Understanding breed standards of the past and the changes made to them over the years should be an important tool for any breeder when evaluating personal breeding goals

The standards listed below use the same wording as in the original published standards, but have been arranged to keep each area of definition in line for comparison. Text shown in italic format are additional notes and are not part of the original standards. Photos are from The AKC Complete Dog Books published in 1943 and 1967. The dog on the left is English Champion Geler Caressa and the dog on the right is AM CH Swansea Jim Dandy.

Something to consder is that the original AKC standard was taken verbatim from the original Kennel Club standard in the UK at the time, so the actual meaning or interpretation of some wording might have differed from what was understood in the US. This has lead to some changes to the AKC standard being made in an effort to resolve confusion (see wording on teeth as an example - 'strong, level and sound' having been understood differently and is still often debated).

Other changes have been made over the years to match increased understanding of structure, while additional changes may have been made to reflect popular trends in the breed or the preference of judges of the time.

Also see these standards as they were originally written, with a 1943 pembroke standard for comparison

YEAR: 1925-1943 1967 1976 1991 1995-2005

General Appearance, and Expression- To be as foxy as possible; alertness essential


See descriptions under Front and Body for statements in this standard on bone and proportion.

General Appearance - Lowset, sturdily built, with heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in low tailset and foxlike brush.

General Impression-A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdy, but not coarse.

Expression alert and foxy, watchful yet friendly.


General Appearance-Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest.

Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and foxlike brush.


General Impression-A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.

Expression alert and gentle, watchful, yet friendly.


Height.- To be as near as possible to 12 inches at shoulder.

The body to measure about 34 to 36 inches from point of nose to tip of tail.

Weight- Dogs I8 to 25 pounds. Bitches, 15 to 22 pounds.

Size Height approximately 12 inches at the highest point of the shoulder blades.

Length usually between 36 and 44 inches from nose to tip of tail.

In considering the height, weight, and length of a dog, overall balance is a prime factor.

SAME AS 1967

Size, Proportion, Substance-Overall balance is more important than absolute size.

Dogs and bitches should be from 10.5 to 12.5 inches at the withers when standing naturally.

The length should be between 36 and 43 inches from tip of nose to tip of tail. Back length (from the base of neck to the base of the tail) should be approximately 1.5 times greater than the height.

Ideally, dogs should be from 30 to 38 pounds; bitches from 25 to 34 pounds.

Lack of overall balance, oversized or undersized are serious faults.


The ideal length/height ratio is 1.8:1 when measuring from the point of the breast bone (prosternum) to the rear of the hip (ischial tuberosity) and measuring from the ground to the point of the withers.




Head- To be foxy in shape and appearance.

Skull to be fairly wide between the ears and flat, tapering towards the eyes

Head and Skull - Skull moderately wide and flat between the ears, with definite though moderate stop. SAME AS 1967

Head-The head should be refined in accordance with the sex and substance of the dog. It should never appear so large and heavy nor so small and fine as to be out of balance with the rest of the dog.

Skull-Top moderately wide and flat between the ears, showing no prominence of occiput, tapering towards the eyes. Slight depression between the eyes. Cheeks flat with some chiseling where the cheek meets the foreface and under the eye. There should be no prominence of cheekbone.

SAME AS 1991
MUZZLE Muzzle to measure about three inches in length (or in proportion to skull as 3 to 5) and to taper towards the snout.

Muzzle to measure about 3 inches in length, or in proportion to the skull as 3 to 5. Muzzle - Medium, i.e. neither too pointed nor too blunt but somewhat less fine than the Pembroke.

Underjaw cleancut and strong.

SAME AS 1967

Muzzle from the tip of the nose to the base of the stop should be shorter than the length of the skull from the base of the stop to the high point of the occiput, the proportion being about three parts muzzle to five parts skull; rounded but not blunt; tapered but not pointed. In profile the plane of the muzzle should parallel that of the skull, but on a lower level due to a definite but moderate stop.

Lips fit cleanly and evenly together all around.

Jaws strong and clean. Underjaw moderately deep and well formed, reaching to the base of the nose and rounded at the chin.

SAME AS 1991
NOSE Nose to be rather pointed. Nose - Black. Nostrils of moderate size. SAME AS 1967 Nose - black, except in blue merles where black noses are preferred but butterfly noses are tolerated. A nose other than solid black in any other color is a disqualification. SAME AS 1991
TEETH / MOUTH Teeth - strong, level and sound. Mouth, teeth strong and regular, neither overshot nor undershot. Pincer (level) bite permissible but scissors bite preferred, e.g., the inner side of the front teeth resting closely over the front of the lower front teeth. SAME AS 1967

Teeth - strong and regular. Scissors bite preferred; i.e., inner side of upper incisors fitting closely over outer side of lower incisors.

Overshot, undershot, or wry bite are serious faults.

SAME AS 1991
EYES Eyes- To be of medium size, but giving a sharp and watchful expression, preferably dark in color but clear. Silver eyes permissible in blue merles.

Eyes - Medium to large, and rather widely set, with distinct corners.

Color dark to dark amber but clear. Blue eyes, or one dark and one blue eye, permissible in blue merles.

SAME AS 1967 Eyes medium to large, not bulging, with dark rims and distinct comers. Widely set. Clear and dark in harmony with coat color. Blue eyes (including partially blue eyes), or one dark and one blue eye permissible in blue merles, and in any other coat color than blue merle are a disqualification. SAME AS 1991
EARS Ears- Proportionate to size of dog and prominent ; preferably pointed at the tips; moderately wide at the base; carried erect and set about 3 1/2 inches apart and well back so that they can be laid flat along neck, sloping forward slightly when erect Ears - Large and prominent in proportion to size of dog. Slightly rounded at the tips, moderately wide at the base, and carried erect, set well apart and well back, sloping slightly forward when erect. Flop ears a serious fault. SAME AS 1967

Ears - large and prominent in proportion to size of dog. Slightly rounded at the tip, and of good strong leather. Moderately wide at the base, carried erect and sloping slightly forward when alert. When erect, tips are slightly wide of a straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center of the eye.

Small and/or pointed ears are serious faults.

Drop ears are a disqualification.

SAME AS 1991
NECK Neck- To be fairly long and without throatiness, fitting into well sloped and strong muscular shoulders. Neck- Muscular, well developed, especially in males, and in proportion to dog's build; fitting into strong, wellshaped shoulders. SAME AS 1967 Neck - moderately long and muscular without throatiness. Well developed, especially in males, and in proportion to the dog's build. Neck well set on; fits into strong, well shaped shoulders. SAME AS 1991

Front- To be slightly bowed, with strong bone.

Front forelegs slightly bowed or straight.

Legs short and strong.

Forequarters - Chest broad, deep, and well let down between forelegs.

Forelegs short, strong, and slightly bowed around chest, and with distinct but not exaggerated crook below the carpus.

Elbows close to side. A straight, terrierlike front is a fault.

SAME AS 1967

Forequarters-The moderately broad chest tapers to a deep brisket, well let down between the forelegs.

Shoulders - slope downward and outward from the withers sufficiently to accommodate desired ribspring. Shoulder blade {scapula) long and well laid back, meeting upper arm (humerus) at close to a right angle. Humerus nearly as long as scapula.

Elbows - should fit close, being neither loose nor tied. The forearms - (ulna and radius) should be curved to fit spring of ribs. The curve in the forearm makes the wrists (carpal joints) somewhat closer together than the elbows.

The pasterns are strong and flexible.

The correct Cardigan front is neither straight nor so crooked as to appear unsound.

Overall, the bone should be heavy for a dog of this size, but not so heavy as to appear coarse or reduce agility.

Knuckling over, straight front, fiddle front are serious faults.

SAME AS 1991
TOPLINE (BACKLINE) Not mentioned in standard. Topline level except for slight slope of spine above tail. SAME AS 1967

Topline -Topline level.

Croup-Slightly downward slope to the tail set.

SAME AS 1991

Body- To be fairly long and strong, with deep brisket, well sprung ribs and clearly defined waist.

Chest to be moderately broad with prominent breast bone.

Body-Long and strong, with deep brisket, wellsprung ribs with moderate tuck up of loin. SAME AS 1967

Body - long and strong.

Chest moderately broad with prominent breastbone. Deep brisket, with well sprung ribs to allow for good lungs.

Ribs extending well back.

Loin short, strong, moderately tucked up.

Waist well defined.

SAME AS 1991
HINDQUARTERS Hind quarters to be strong with muscular thighs.

Hindquarters - Strong, with muscular thighs.

Legs short and well boned.

SAME AS 1967

Hindquarters-Well muscled and strong, but slightly less wide than shoulders.

Hipbone (pelvis) slopes downward with the croup, forming a right angle with the femur at the hip socket. There should be moderate angulation at stifle and hock.

Hocks well let down.

Metatarsi perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other.

Overall, the hindquarters must denote sufficient power to propel this low, relatively heavy herding dog efficiently over rough terrain.

SAME AS 1991
FEET Feet- To be round and well padded. Dew claws removed. Feet-Round and well padded. Hind dew claws, if any, should be removed. Front dew claws may be removed. SAME AS 1967

Front Feet - Dew claws removed. The feet are relatively large and rounded, with well filled pads. They point slightly outward from a straight ahead position to balance the width of the shoulders. This outward point is not to be more than 30 degrees from center line when viewed from above. The toes should not be splayed.

Hind Feet - Feet point straight ahead and are slightly smaller and more oval than front. Toes arched. Pads well filled. Dew claws removed.

SAME AS 1991
TAIL Tail- To be moderately long and set in line with body (not curled over back) and resembling that of a fox.

Tail-Long to moderately long, resembling a fox brush.

Should be set fairly low on body line, carried low when standing or moving slowly, streaming out when at a dead run, lifted when tracking or excited, but never curled over the back.

A rat tail or a whip tail are faults.

SAME AS 1967

Tail set fairly low on body line and reaching well below hock.

Carried low when standing or moving slowly, streaming out parallel to ground when at a dead run, lifted when excited, but never curled over the back.

High tail set is a serious fault..

SAME AS 1991
COAT Coat- Short or medium, of hard texture.

Coat-Medium length but dense. Slightly harsh texture, but neither wiry nor silky. Weather resistant.

An overly short coat or a long and silky and/or curly coat are faults.

Normal grooming and trimming of whiskers is permitted.

Any trimming that alters the natural length of the coat is not permitted and is a serious fault.

A distinctly long coat is a disqualification.

SAME AS 1967

Coat - Medium length but dense as it is double. Outer hairs slightly harsh in texture; never wiry, curly or silky. Lies relatively smooth and is weather resistant. The insulating undercoat is short, soft and thick. A correct coat has short hair on ears, head, the legs; medium hair on body; and slightly longer, thicker hair in ruff, on the backs of the thighs to form 'pants," and on the underside of the tail.

The coat should not be so exaggerated as to appear fluffy.

This breed has a shedding coat, and seasonal lack of undercoat should not be too severely penalized, providing the hair is healthy.

Trimming is not allowed except to tidy the feet and, if desired, remove whiskers.

Soft guard hairs, uniform length, wiry, curly, silky, overly short and/or flat coats are not desired.

A distinctly long or fluffy coat is an extremely serious fault.

SAME AS 1991

Any color except pure white.

Other points being equal, preference to be given in following order: Red (Sable, fawn or golden) ; brindle; black and tan; black and white; blue merles. (White markings are considered to enhance the general appearance.)

Colors- Red, sable, red brindle, black brindle, black, tricolor, blue merle.

Usually with white flashings on chest, neck, feet, face or tip of tail.

No preferences among these colors.

A dog predominantly white in color should be seriously faulted.

Pure white is a disqualification.

Colors- Red, sable, red brindle, black brindle, black, tricolor, blue merle.

Usually with white flashings on chest, neck, feet, face or tip of tail.

No preferences among these colors.

Disqualifications: Any merlization other than blue.

Excessive (over 50%) white.

Color-All shades of red, sable and brindle.

Black with or without tan or brindle points.

Blue merle {black and gray; marbled) with or without tan or brindle points.

There is no color preference.

White flashings are usual on the neck (either in part or as a collar), chest, legs, muzzle, underparts, tip of tail and as a blaze on head.

White on the head should not predominate and should never surround the eyes.

Any color other than specified and/or body color predominantly white are disqualifications.

SAME AS 1991

Not mentioned in this standard.

Some old accounts have described cardigans as having a peculiar 'dancing' stride when trotting and a distinctive 'hopping' gait when cantering, particularly when traveling uphill.

Not mentioned in this standard SAME AS 1967

Gait - Free and smooth. Effortless.

Viewed from the side, forelegs should reach well forward when moving at a trot, without much lift, in unison with driving action of hind legs. The correct shoulder assembly and well fitted elbows allow for a long free stride in front. Viewed from the front, legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward to compensate for shortness of leg and width of chest. Hind legs, when trotting, should reach well under body, move on a line with the forelegs, with the hocks turning neither in nor out, and in one continuous motion drive powerfully behind, well beyond the set of the tail. Feet must travel parallel to the line of motion with no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other.

Short choppy movement, rolling or highstepping gait, close or overly wide coming or going, are incorrect. This is a herding dog which must have the agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he was developed.

SAME AS 1991

In the AKC's general rules of the time, a judge could excuse (disqualify) any 'shy or vicious' animal from the showring. However, other than 'alertness essential', no definitive description or requirement of temperament is described in the standard before 1991.

There are a number of old accounts of cardigans being brave and tenacious at their work, with perceptive, biddable (cooperative) working ability and an otherwise gentle nature toward family and friends.

Other than 'watchful yet friendly', temperament is not mentioned in this standard SAME AS 1967 Temperament- Even-tempered, loyal, affectionate, and adaptable. Never shy nor vicious. SAME AS 1991

No Disqualifications

However, 'pure white' is considered to be a non-allowable color.


(Examples.) Over or undershot mouth; high peaked occiput; prominent cheeks, low flat forehead ; expressionless eyes, crooked forearms; splayed feet; tail curled over back; silky coat etc.., etc.

A distinctly long coat.

Pure white.


A distinctly long coat.

Any merlization other than blue.

Excessive (over 50%) white.


Blue or partially blue eyes, in any coat color other than blue merle.

Drop ears.

Nose other than solid black except in blue merles.

Any color other than specified.

Body color predominantly white.

SAME AS 1991


Head ........................ 15
Eyes .......................... 5
Ears ......................... 10
Neck ......................... 5
Body ........................ 10
Feet ......................... 10
Tail ........................... 5
Coat ........................ 10
Height ..................... 10
General appearance and expression ............... 10
Total ..................... 100

No Point System

The original point system was eliminated prior to the approval of this standard.

same as previous same as previous same as previous
APPROVAL DATE Courtesy of The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club, 1925 AKC Approved February 11, 1967 Approved December 14, 1976

Approved December 13, 1983

Reformatted March 14, 1991

Approved December 13, 1994

Effective January 31, 1995


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