What Is An American Corgi? Everything You Need To Know

All photos are courtesy of Jessica Hodge, an experienced Pembroke and American Corgi breeder based in the US.

The American Corgi is a crossbreed between a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. They are generally slightly smaller than a Pembroke and come in a variety of colors including tri-colored, blue merle, and red and white.

The American Corgi has surged in popularity in recent years thanks to its unique appearance

This crossbreed of the two purebred types of Corgi typically has the body of a Pembroke with the markings of a Cardigan. Blue merle coat and blue eyes, with a smaller frame and (sometimes, though not always) long tail.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this crossbreed. By understanding its characteristics and how to find a suitable breeder, you can better decide if this Corgi hybrid is the right fit for your family and lifestyle.

Keep reading for the ultimate guide to the American Corgi.

Key Takeaways

  • The American Corgi is a cross between the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi, resulting in a unique appearance
  • The American Corgi is a Pembroke-style dog that’s easier for less experienced dog owners to handle
  • Watch out for anyone who claims to be breeding ‘merle Pembrokes’
  • If you’re considering getting an American Corgi, make sure to research thoroughly to avoid backyard breeders that prioritize looks over health
American corgi

The Origin Of The American Corgi

How Do You Make An American Corgi?

An American Corgi is made by breeding together a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

There are a couple of reasons why breeders may have started mixing these two types of Corgi:

  1. People desire the physical attributes of a Pembroke, mixed with the blue merle coat of a Cardigan
  2. People want a more relaxed, easier-to-handle version of the standard Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Is The American Corgi A Recognized Breed?

No, the American Corgi is not considered a purebred dog and is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

However, being recognized by the AKC does not mean that a breeder is responsible or that you’ll be buying a healthy, happy puppy.

The best way to guarantee that, is to get testimonials from previous buyers, visit the breeder and their Corgis, and ask for health test results. 

What Does The American Corgi Look Like?

Here’s what an American Corgi looks like.

American corgi
American Corgis: Everything You Need To Know

You’ll notice that all American Corgis look a bit different!

As with all crossbreeds, you can never be completely sure which dominant features a litter will inherit from its parents.

They could look a little more Pembroke or more Cardigan, or an equal blend of both.

American corgii
American corgi

Get To Know The American Corgi

Physical characteristics

The American Corgi is a crossbreed between the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi, combining features from both parent breeds. As they are not purebred, there can be some variations among individuals in a litter.

Size and weight

American Corgis are usually a bit smaller than Pembrokes, coming in at around 16-25 pounds compared to 23-28 pounds. They stand between 10 and 12 inches tall. 

Coat and color variations

American Corgis can end up with a variety of different coat markings and colorings. Many breeders seek to produce offspring with a blue merle coat and blue eyes, but there’s no guarantee of this in the litter.

As you see in the photos above, American Corgis can come in an array of colors including red and white, tri-colored, blue or red merle, and sable among others. Their coats can be standard length or fluffy, depending on whether they inherit the fluff gene or not.

Temperament and personality traits

According to an American Corgi breeder based in the US, American Corgis are like calm Pembrokes. Meaning they have the goofy, fun-loving qualities of a Pembroke but are slightly more relaxed and less boisterous (like a Cardigan).

However, as with all dogs, the temperament of the litter will depend on the personalities of the parent breeds. 

American corgi sitting like a well-behaved doggo

Intelligence and trainability

As offspring of two intelligent breeds, American Corgis will excel in their trainability and require plenty of mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored. 

Social behavior with humans and other pets

The American Corgi is a friendly and social dog, enjoying the company of both humans and other pets. If you find a breeder who’s been breeding their American Corgis for generations (with specific goals in mind regarding personality), they will be able to say with some certainty what the personality traits of the puppies are likely to be.

Activity level and exercise needs

Similar to their parent breeds, the American Corgi is an active dog that requires regular exercise to maintain optimal health and happiness.

Remember: they’re the offspring of two herding dogs! And herding dogs have lots of energy and plenty of stamina. Make sure you’re prepared to give your Corgi at least 45 minutes of exercise each day.

That being said, responsibly bred American Corgis may be less intense than Pembrokes, needing slightly less physical exercise than their purebred counterparts. 

The importance of mental stimulation

As with all Corgis, American Corgis must be given plenty of mental stimulation each day to ensure they don’t get bored. 

Games, puzzle toys, and obedience training is essential if you want to have a happy, healthy and well-behaved Corgi.

This is what an American corgi looks like

Health and Wellbeing: Potential Risks and Preventive Care

Are American Corgis healthier than purebred Corgis?

American Corgis aren’t necessarily healthier than standard Pembroke or Cardigan Corgis. It completely depends on the breeder and how seriously they take the health of their Corgis.

A responsible American Corgi breeder will test their breeding dogs for genetic disorders prevalent in Corgis. 

An irresponsible American Corgi breeder—known as a “backyard breeder”—will be unable to provide evidence of such tests. They prioritize aesthetics over health, and may not be aware of the risks associated with certain genetic conditions, such as the “double merle” gene.

Amercan corgi

Genetic predispositions

American Corgis are at risk of the same hereditary diseases as purebred Corgis. These include Von Willebrand Disease, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. 

Responsible breeders will use health tests to ensure they’re breeding Corgis with low risks of inheritable diseases.

The following conditions can be health tested by breeders:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-rcd3)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
  • Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA-PRCD)
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease 
  • Von Willebrand Disease 1 (VWD1)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia

Any reputable breeder will be happy to share the results of these health tests with you—so don’t be afraid to ask

Preventable conditions

To ensure the health and well-being of Corgis, both breeders and owners must be vigilant and proactive in addressing preventable conditions:

  • Breeding practices: Registered corgi breeders should follow the guidelines set by the PWCCA and the CWCCA, making sure they don’t breed two merle Corgis together.
  • Health testing: Breeders should conduct health tests for genetic predispositions and make sure they’re selecting suitable breeding partners.
  • Proper care: Owners can help their Corgis live a healthy life by providing adequate exercise, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups.
American corgi puppy

Is the American Corgi Right for You?

What to watch out for when researching American Corgi breeders

American Corgis often face controversy due to some irresponsible breeders marketing them as “Pembroke merles“.

The reason that this is a red flag is because it suggests that the breed isn’t mixed, when it is. You cannot get a purebred merle Pembroke. You must breed a Cardigan with a Pembroke to achieve this coloring.

Some breeders who refer to their American Corgis as “Pembroke merles” are breeding them to try and achieve a unique appearance that they can then charge more for. And creating crossbreeds for purely aesthetic reasons is considered unethical, as the breeders’ priority is not the health or wellbeing of the litter

A responsible American Corgi breeder will have a purpose for crossing the two breeds—for example, creating a specific temperament. They will have spent generations perfecting the crossbreed and their vision for it, and will be happy to talk to you about this. 

American corgi in the sunshine

So, Should You Get an American Corgi?

Let’s take a look at what is (and isn’t) a suitable lifestyle for an American Corgi to help you decide if this crossbreed is right for you.

An American Corgi is right for you if…

  • You want a big dog in a small but sturdy body.
  • You would prefer a slightly more relaxed dog.
  • You work from home and/or can take your dogs into the office with you.
  • You live in an apartment with outside space close by or a home with a small yard.
  • You’re a first-time dog owner.
  • You can provide daily walks and playtime.
  • You can shower them with plenty of attention and socialization.
  • You’re willing to regularly groom them to keep their coat healthy and shiny.

An American Corgi isn’t right for you if…

  • You’re away for long periods of time or have to work from an office multiple days of the week.
  • You’re not prepared to give them at least 45 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • You suffer from allergies or are unwilling or unable to groom them regularly. 
  • You’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, as they require attention, socialization, and training (as well as mental stimulation) to prevent behavioral issues.
American corgi puppy

Want a more beginner-friendly Corgi? An American Corgi might be for you

American Corgis are a good fit for people who lack the experience to own a Pembroke. After all, Pembrokes can be feisty, dominant, and hugely energetic dogs!

With the right breeding, an American Corgi can be a more ‘beginner friendly’ Corgi, inheriting the best traits of a Pembroke (loveable, goofy) with the laid back personality of a Cardigan. 

They’re highly adaptable dogs that thrive in different homes and suit different lifestyles, and they’re great with kids. 

Just remember: Corgis are a highly intelligent and energetic breed. Some are lazier than others, but almost all Corgis require lots of physical and mental stimulation. At least 45 minutes of exercise each day and plenty of games, puzzle toys, and obedience training to keep them healthy, happy and well behaved!

American corgi playing in the ocean

Read my Q&A with an American Corgi breeder!

American Corgi: Adoption and Purchase Information

If you’re considering getting an American Corgi, make sure you do your breeder research thoroughly.

While you can never guarantee the exact personality or health of any dog (purebred or not), there are always more unknowns with a crossbreed. Particularly one that hasn’t been around for very long.

Breeders that mix Pembrokes and Cardigans must do so with the utmost care. They should be able to answer all your questions about the parent dogs, their health, the health of previous litters, and why they have chosen to breed together these two purebreds in the first place.

It will soon become clear whether the breeder truly cares about their American Corgis or whether they’re breeding them because they’re “trendy”.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Difference Between An American Corgi And A Cardigan Corgi?

An American Corgi is a crossbreed between a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. When bred responsibly (and not purely for a merle coat), American Corgis can be more relaxed versions of Pembroke Corgis. They’re a little less rambunctious and some dog owners find them easier to handle than Pembrokes.

The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a purebred recognized by the AKC. Cardigans are generally more aloof and reserved than their Pembroke counterparts.

What’s The Difference Between An American Corgi And A Cowboy Corgi?

An American Corgi is a mix between a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. A Cowboy Corgi is a different hybrid breed, resulting from a mix between a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and an Australian Cattle Dog.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of An American Corgi?

American Corgis have a life expectancy of around 12-15 years.

How Much Does An American Corgi Cost?

American Corgis that are safely and responsibly bred, typically start at around $1900. 

Do not try to find a “cheap” American Corgi. Corgis, whether they’re purebred or crossbreed, are expensive to breed—especially when done responsibly.

If you find someone selling American Corgis for less than $1900, there’s a high chance they’re cutting corners when it comes to the health and wellbeing of the parent Corgis and the litter. 

What Are Common Health Issues In American Corgis?

Some common health issues seen in American Corgis include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Obesity

These are the same health issues that are common in regular Corgis.

How Much Do American Corgis Typically Weigh?

American Corgis tend to weigh between 16 and 24 pounds.

What Are The Different Color Variations In American Corgis?

American Corgis come in various colors, including tan, sable, fawn, red, black, white, and merle (marbled).

Can American Corgis Be Registered With Any Associations?

Since they are not recognized as a purebred breed by the AKC, American Corgis cannot be registered with them. However, there are other organizations like the Continental Kennel Club that recognize and register them, but this varies by region.

How Do I Find A Reputable American Corgi Breeder?

To find a reputable American Corgi breeder, follow these tips:

  • Research breeders in your area and check reviews from previous clients.
  • Look for breeders who prioritize their dogs’ health by performing health checks and providing appropriate care.
  • Visit the breeder’s facilities to see the living conditions of the dogs and how they interact with their environment.
  • Ask the breeder lots of questions about why they breed American Corgis, the health tests they can provide, and the support they offer new Corgi owners once they’ve purchased a puppy. They should be willing to answer all your questions and offer ongoing support should you have any more questions or concerns in the future.
  • Avoid breeders who mass-produce dogs or have multiple litters available at once, as this might be a sign of a puppy mill.

Bella is the founder of Doggy & Pooch. She rehomed Winston the corgi in Jan 2020 and now shares her best tips and interesting facts with corgi lovers globally.

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