Diet & Nutrition Guide: Corgis

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Diet & Nutrition Guide: Corgis 

Whether you’ve seen them posing for photos in Buckingham Palace, laughed at their animated antics in Kung Fu Panda or fawned over their short legs and big grins at the dog park, you immediately recognize the Corgi breed.

In Celtic, Corgi translates to “dwarf dog.” While all Corgis are known for their short legs, there are actually two different Corgi breeds: the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

The dogs might look alike at first glance, but there are some key differences that distinguish the breeds.

The Two Different Corgi Breeds

Short legs, long coats, erect ears and sweet smiles are all signature Corgi, but it takes closer observation to distinguish a Cardigan Welsh Corgi from a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

The two Corgi breeds have several things in common. Both Corgis hail from Wales where the dogs were used to herd and guard cattle. The dogs are smart and tenacious and their short stature made them the ideal size to nip at the heels of cattle to move them in the right direction.

Corgis were once thought of as a single breed that merely had some differences in their appearances, but the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi were declared distinct breeds in the 1800s. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is the older of the Corgi breeds with its origins dating back to 1200 B.C.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

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Pembroke Welsh Corgis are energetic, athletic working dogs. Their bodies are short and stout; the dogs stand 10 to 12 inches tall and weigh 24 to 28 pounds and have thick double coats that can be black and tan, fawn, red or sable (with or without white markings). A docked tail and pointed ears are the telltale signs of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

It’s no surprise that Queen Elizabeth loved Pembroke Welsh Corgis. The breed is spirited, sweet and eager to please. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are an energetic working dog breed that requires regular exercise and love spending time with their families.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

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Cardigan Welsh Corgis are bigger than Pembroke Welsh Corgis. The dogs, which are nicknamed Cardis, stand 10 to 13 inches tall and weigh between 25 and 38 pounds. Their thick, double coats can be red, sable, brindle, blue merle or black (with or without tan points and white markings). Long tails and rounded ears are the hallmarks of a Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Cardis are smart, energetic and independent. They are less social and more reserved then Pembroke Welsh Corgis but equally affectionate with their families. Thanks to their working dog roots, Cardigan Welsh Corgis excel at herding, competitive obedience and other dog sports.

Common Corgi Health Issues

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Although both Corgi breeds are healthy, both Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be diagnosed with a few common health issues.

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Abnormal growth in the hip and elbow joints can cause them to grind or rub instead of gliding. It’s a common skeletal condition and it can be painful; hip and elbow dysplasia can also lameness and could lead to joint diseases like osteoarthritis. Veterinarians might suggest physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications or joint supplements but Corgis diagnosed with hip and elbow dysplasia may need surgery.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Both Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be diagnosed with PRA. It’s a group of genetic diseases affecting the retina, leading to loss of vision and lead to blindness. Dogs with PRA aren’t in pain but the disease is progressive and there is no cure.

Degenerative Myelopathy

DM is a spinal cord disease that causes joint stiffness and weakness in the back legs that can lead dogs to wobble and stumble. Although it’s often diagnosed in middle aged or older dogs, degenerative myelopathy is an inherited neurological condition.

There is no treatment or cure for DM but a balanced diet. Measured portions and regular exercise can keep Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Pembroke Welsh Corgis from becoming overweight or obese, thus preventing discomfort.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

The common inherited bleeding disorder is diagnosed when a dog doesn’t produce enough of the protein needed to help the blood clot. Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Pembroke Welsh Corgis with vWD can have poor clotting, hemorrhages or other bleeding issues.

There isn’t a cure for vWD, and dogs that have bleeding episodes could need blood transfusions.

Obesity + Overfeeding

More than 50 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Pembroke Welsh Corgis that weigh at least 10 percent more than their ideal weight are at increased risk for serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and osteoarthritis. Corgis have long backs, and excess weight could cause strain and lead to disc problems.

Adjusting a Corgi’s diet to feed smaller portions (and limit treats) can help them achieve a healthy weight.

Corgi Exercise Needs

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Corgis were bred as working dogs that spent hours herding and guarding cattle; it was a job that required stamina and Corgis excelled at the task. These small dogs are energetic, and a short walk around the block won’t cut it.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis and Pembroke Welsh Corgis need at least one hour of exercise every day. Leash them up for long walks, go hiking, play fetch in the backyard or sign up for agility, rally or competitive obedience classes. In addition to regular exercise, mental stimulation is important, too. Offer your Pembroke Welsh Corgi or Cardigan Welsh Corgi puzzle toys and feeders and play interactive games like tug of war or hide and seek to keep their minds engaged.

Corgi Diet + Feeding Requirements

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It’s important to feed Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Cardigan Welsh Corgis quality dog foods that were formulated for puppies or adult dogs, depending on their life stage. Make sure to measure out portions to prevent overfeeding and limit treats to no more than 10 percent of their daily calories.

What is a healthy Corgi diet?

A  healthy diet for Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Cardigan Welsh Corgis depends on their age, size and lifestyle but should include:

In addition to prioritizing human-grade, whole ingredients, be sure to steer clear of pet foods made with additives, preservatives, and fillers that don’t add nutritional value and may even trigger allergies.

How much should you feed a Corgi?

There’s no one-size-fits all answer to how much a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or Cardigan Welsh Corgi should eat. Your veterinarian can provide instruction for how much to feed your dog based on their current weight, age and general health.

As a general rule, dogs weighing between 10 and 30 pounds need 320 to 480 calories per day while larger dogs weighing between 30 and 50 pounds need 640 to 800 calories per day.

Corgi Feeding Chart:

Use this Corgi feeding chart as a general guideline to determine how much to feed your dog.

WeightAmount of food per day
15 to 30 pounds1 to 2 cups
30 to 45 pounds2 to 4 cups

Your dog’s age, life stage and exercise levels will impact the number of calories they need to maintain (or achieve) a healthy weight. Talk to your veterinarian to ensure you’re providing the ideal feeding amounts.

How much should you feed a Corgi puppy?

Corgi puppies need proper nutrition to fuel their growth and development. It’s important to measure out the right portions for your Corgi’s age, weight and lifestyle. A 10-month-old Cardigan Welsh Corgi that gets a lot of exercise will need a larger portion than a 12-week-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi that still naps most of the day.

Talk to your veterinarian about how much to feed your Corgi puppy.

Corgi Puppy Feeding Chart:

This Corgi puppy feeding chart can help you determine how much to feed your puppy to provide proper nutrition through that all-important first year.

Remember, these are the amounts of food your puppy should eat per day, not per meal.

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Create a Healthy Meal Plan for Your Corgi Today

It’s essential to provide proper nutrition for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Choosing food formulated for their age, weight and lifestyle and serving up the proper portions of vet-designed, whole foods each day will ensure your Corgis grow into healthy adult dogs that provide a lifetime of love and loyalty.