Charming, loyal, and intelligent, the Corgi-German shepherd is a dog that retains the best character traits of its parents, but has a distinct personality all of its own. Sometimes referred to as a Corgi shepherd, this unique pooch is a recent addition to the ever-growing list of new dog breeds.
In this guide to the adorable Corgi shepherd, we run through everything you need to know before deciding if this dog is right for your home and family. Read on for the breed’s history, health information, grooming needs, temperament, and more.
History of the Corgi German Shepherd Mix
Like many of today’s ‘designer dogs’ – from Coker-Poos to Labradoodles – Corgi Shepherds have a decidedly mixed heritage.
One parent is the German shepherd, the other, a Welsh Corgi. The pair were only brought together in the last decade or so, resulting in a family-frienly, mid-size dog. The breed first emerged in the USA, through some insightful breeders.
To really understand the Corgi Shepherd’s key characteristic, we have to get to know its parents a little better.
German shepherds are a medium-to-large working dog, originaiting, as their name suggests, in Germany. In Europe, the breed is also known as the Alsation.
They are currently one of the most popular breeds in the USA, where they are guard dogs, police dogs, herding dogs, or family pets. German shepherds are known for their loyaty and courage, which is what makes them so suitable to police and guard-dog duties.
Along with their stoic personalities, German shepherds are highly intelligent, often ranked as the third cleverest breed of all time. With their pointed ears, black-and-tan coat, and lean, muscular body, these distincitve dogs are easy to spot, too.
Corgis, on the other hand, are much smaller – and a little more mischevious. They come in a couple of different varieties: Cardigan Welsh, and Pembroke Welsh. Surprisingly enough, both breeds actually originate in England, not Wales.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis have a longer body and rounded ears, but their Pembroke Welsh counterparts are a little stockier, with pointed ears. Both breeds are adorably stocky, and have short, strong legs.
Despite their small stature, Corgis were originally bred as herding animals. This means they’re quick-witted, sturdy, and have a pretty serious stubborn streak. You might also recognize the Corgi as the favorite pooch of the UK’s ruling monarch, Elizabeth II.
Quick Facts About the Corgi German Shepherd Mix
Corgi Shepherds are a relatively rare sight today, but with their distinctive personalities, and good physical health, they make great family pets.
For this reason, dog-lovers can expect to see more of these adorable creatures gracing their area soon.
Before we get into the details, here are a few quick facts about the Corgi German Shepherd Mix:
- Corgi Shepherds, like their parents, tend to be incredibly energetic
- The breed has the characteristic black-and-tan markings of a German Shepherd, with the compact body type of a Corgi
- Because both parents are working breeds, Corgi Shepherds love to help with chores around the house
- The breed loves nothing more than attention from their human family – they’re very affectionate animals
- Because of their fierce loyalty to their human family, most Corgi Shepherds will need early socialization to play well with other dogs
- Because of their German Shepherd heritage, Corgi Shepherds are highly protective of their owners
- The Corgi Shepherd can easily put on excess weight because of their small size, so be sure to feed them carefully
Things You Should Know
As with any breed, there are a few key things you should know before you bring a Corgi Shepherd into your life:
- They’ll be loyal for life
Any dog is a big commitment, but because Corgi Shepherds are particularly loyal, they will want to stay with their human family forever, and are unlikely to handle re-homing well. For this reason, it’s absolutely vital that you can provide a stable, loving home for your new pooch, and think very carefully about the decision to adopt one before brining them into your life.
- They need plenty of exercise
Since both parents are working breeds, it stands to reason that the Corgi Shepherd requires plenty of exercise – along with mental stimulation. They’re a great pet for active households, but may be a bit of a handful for owners who work long hours, and don’t have others about to help out.
- They require daily brushing
All dogs need regular grooming to stay in tip-top shape, but it’s worth knowing that the Corgi Shepherd requires a little more than average. Havin inherited a double-layered coat from their German Shepherd parent, these pooches need a quick brush every day.
- Plenty of attention is crucial
As mentioned earlier, Corgi Shepherds love to receive plenty of attention from humans. This means they should be involved in family activities to keep them engaged.
- You’ll have to train away their bossiness
Following their herding instincts, Corgi Shepherds can be a bossy lot. Luckily, owners can train this stubbornness away, but the process must be started early in the dog’s life, and takes a little patience.
- They’re excitable
Like many small dogs, the Corgi Shepherd is an excitable breed, and you might notice a proclivity to bark. By maintaining a calm home, and regular schedule, you can cut down on the noisiness. However, you’ll probably find your Corgi Shepherd is a little more vocal than the average dog no matter what.
Different breeds of dog are prone to different health conditions. This is equally true of the Corgi Shepherd.
Below, we run through the most common health conditions affecting the breed, including what symptoms to look out for, and how you can reduce the risk of your dog developing them.
- Joint dysplasia
Joint dysplasia is the most common reason why dogs develop elbow pain and lameness. It’s triggered by abnormal cell growth, and tends to have a genetic basis. Along with Labradors and bearded collies, German Shepherds are especially prone to the condition, meaning that some Corgi Shepherds inherit it.
Symptoms of joint dysplasia include lameness exacerbated by exercise, holding the affected limb away from the body, and reduced range of motion. Symptoms will typically develop in older animals. The condition can be kept in check by carefully managing the dog’s nutrition. Ensuring that puppies gain weight gradually can help to prevent dysplasia from developing.
Corgi Shepherds love to eat, and because of their small stature, their large appetite can sometimes lead to unhealthy weight gain. Because obesity can lead to disorders such as cancer, stomach problems, joint pain, and heart conditions, dietary management is paramount for this breed.
Also known as ‘gastric dilation’, bloat happens when a dog’s stomach becomes twisted and fills with gas. This tends to be triggered by eating food too quickly, and engaging in vigorous exercise directly after.
When a dog is suffering from bloat, you will notice an enlarged abdomen, retching, excessive drooling, and restlessness. If these symptoms develop, take your dog to the vet immediately, as bloat can be fatal when left untreated. You can help prevent your dog developing bloat by ensuring they eat slowly, through a puzzle bowl or other methods.
Just like us humans, our canine companions can develop cataracts. Cataracts form in the eyes when the lens hardens and becomes opaque. This process causes your dog’s vision to become blurry.
If your dog develops cataracts you can expect to see cloudiness in one or both eyes. You may also notice that your dog is having trouble finding things when you change their location, or even walking into furniture.
- Slipped disc
This condition occurs when the cushioning ‘disks’ in between a dog’s vertebrae either burst, or start to bulge. This process triggers sensitive nerve cells in the spinal cord, triggering pain. In extreme cases, a slipped disc can also lead to nerve damage, or even paralysis.
Symptoms include weakness in the rear legs, muscle spasms, a hunched over posture, reduced appetite and activity levels, as well as loss of bowel and bladder control.
Although they’re a little more prone to these health conditions than the average dog, a healthy Corgi Shepherd should have a lifespan between 12 and 15 years.
To stay happy and healthy, they’ll also need plenty of exercise and proper nutrition, which we’ll dive into in more detail later.
As we mentioned earlier, Corgi Shepherds can be stubborn. This makes for a distinctive personality, along with fierce loyalty, but can also add up to difficult training.
Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make the training process a little easier:
- Go slowly, start early
First and foremost, patience is paramount when it comes to training a stubborn breed like the Corgi Shepherd. It’s a good idea to start their training regimen as young as possible, and practice little and often.
To help you stick to this schedule, it’s a good idea to enroll your pooch in a puppy training class. This will also give your new puppy a chance to socialize with other animals.
- Offer plenty of positive reinforcement
Be sure to reinforce good behavior often, no matter how small the achievement might seem. Since Corgi Shepherds are prone to weight issues, be sure to use treats sparingly, and instead offer plenty of praise and physical affection.
- Stay focused
Help to keep your Corgi Shepherd on track with their training by choosing an environment that’s as free from distractions as possible. Clear away toys that they might be tempted to play with, and ensure that food bowls are safely out of reach.
- Be consistent
Consistency is equally vital when it comes to training a stubborn dog. Be sure that every family member uses exactly the same commands, tone of voice, and hand gestures, so as not to confuse your pup.
This consistency will also help teach your dog that they need to do as they’re told no matter who is asking.
When these steps are followed, your Corgi Shepherd should respond well to their training. Since both parents are working dogs, the Corgi German Shepherd mix likes to have carry out tasks, giving them a sense of purpose.
As mentioned earlier, Corgi Shephers are a very energetic breed. They are also very intelligent, which means that regular walks and games of fetch might not be quite enough.
Because of their high energy levels, Corgi Shepherds are not suitable for homes where owners have little time for exercise. Without the right amount of physical activity, Corgi Shepherds run the risk of unhealthy weight gain, and may take out pent up energy on your furniture.
All dogs are different, but the Corgi German Shepherd mix genrally requires some vigorous exercise every day. This means they’re a perfect companion for keen joggers and hikers. If you decide to take your Corgi Shepherd out on the trails or into the park, you can rest assured they have the bounless energy to keep up, despite their small stature.
Like their German Shepherd parent, Corgi Shepherds can really benefit from agility training, too. This activity combines exercise with mental stimulation, and also makes a great bonding activity for you and your new dog.
Agility training is essentially an obstacle course for dogs, consisting of see-saws, tunnels, weaving poles, jumps, and more. Since owners run alongside their dogs giving guidance, it’s great exersie for the humans who take part, too.
By entering competitions, and training alongside others, agility is also an effective way to socialize your pet with other dogs and people.
As you’ve doubtless heard countless times before, proper nutrition is incredibly important if your dog is to remain happy and healthy.
When planning a feeding regimen for your Corgi Shepherd, work from the following principles:
- Feed two or three cups a day
Taking their size and body type into account, Corgi Shepherds should eat around two to three cups of food each day. This amount may vary depending on the type of food you choose, since each dog food has different nutritional values. Always take the manufacturer’s advice in mind when working out how much to feed your pooch.
- Feed small portions
Because of their ravenous appetites, it’s a good idea to feed your Corgi Shepherd small portions, as this will help reduce the risk of bloat. Ideally, this breed should be fed at least three small portions of food per day.
- Dry food is usually best
Because dry food is more calorie dense than its wet counterpart, it should be fed to your dog in smaller portions. As covered earlier, smaller portions help to prevent your Corgi Shepherd from developing bloat.
- Include the right nutrients
Because the Corgi Shepherd is prone to dysplasia, it’s a good idea to feed them nutrients that will support their joints. When choosing a food, look out for options that contain chondroitin or glucosamine. Some owners also find that their Corgi Shepherd fares best on a grain-free recipe.
- Avoid too many treats
There’s no getting away from the fact that Corgi Shepherds are prone to obesity. Although they love some tasty treats, overfeeding is incredibly bad for them, and can result in myriad health conditions.
For this reason, feed your Corgi Shepherd treats only occassionally, and stick to low-fat options such as pieces of chicken or low-calorie dog treats.
Although they must be brushed every day to keep shedding at bay, the Corgi Shepherd is an otherwise low-maintenance dog as far as grooming is concerned.
Along with daily brushing, you can keep your pooch in tip-top condition by:
Corgi Shepherds should only be bathed three or four times per year. Owners can make an exception if they become very dirty, but bathing a Corgi Shepherd too regularly can strip their coat of its natural protective oils.
- Ear Cleaning
Moist, dark, and full of folds, your dog’s ears are a great place for bacteria to flourish. Corgi Shepherd owners can keep ear infections at bay by cleaning their dog’s ears every other week.
- Dental Hygiene
To prevent gum disease, all dogs should idally have their teeth brushed once each day. If this isn’t possible, make use of dental chews.
- Nail trimming
When dog nails become too long, they can become snagged, and affect the animal’s gait. With regular exercise on hard surfaces, you may find your Corgi Shepherd’s nails wear down on their own. Otherwise, try to clip them every month.
Loving, sweet, mischevious, and fiercely loyal, the Corgi Shepherd inherits plenty of great personality traits from both of its parents.
Their affectionate and energetic temperment makes the Corgi German Shepherd mix a great optoin for active households and families. Because they enjoy regular attention, the breed has no trouble interacting with enthusiastic children (and adults) who want to pet and play.
Having inherited the Corgi’s curious, enthusiastic streak, they can be a little excitable and vocal. With proper exercise and care, though, this tendency is tempered.