Breeding two completely different species of dog tends to produce anything BUT uniform puppies. Their appearance and temperament is mostly luck of the draw and may change as they grow into their instincts.
When you mix anything with a corgi, however, things get a little more predictable- and a little cuter. Most breeds, when mixed with corgi, produce a short version of the second breed.
That’s because corgi genes are strong dominant genes that directly affect both genotype (the makeup of the DNA parts) and phenotype (how the genes express themselves, like with appearance).
When your new dog is a corgi mix, you can be sure that your puppy is playful, alert, and adorable!
The Corgi: Loving Miniature Herder
The corgi breed hails from Wales, a small country in southwest Great Britain. “Corgi” is actually a Welsh word that means “dwarf dog”.
The breed is broken into two types, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the younger and more common of the two, is an AKC (American Kennel Club) recognized breed. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi actually descends from the same bloodline as many other spitz-type dogs such as Siberian Huskies.
They were originally bred as herders for cattle and sheep in the highlands. Being bred to safely control much larger animals, they are surprisingly fast and can move easily, fluidly, and confidently. They are absolutely fearless and have a bark that denotes the presence of a much bigger dog. They are especially fierce guard dogs.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a compact, muscular dog that stands only around a foot tall at the shoulder when fully grown. His legs are short but powerful and his chest is broad. He will be around 30 pounds at his adult size.
They live to be between ten and fifteen years old.
Corgis are smart and clever. They are highly intelligent and eager to please, which means they are easy and quick to train. They are affectionate with their families and generally good with children. They may follow their favorite humans constantly.
It is absolutely essential that you train and socialize this dog as much as possible to avoid the aggression that many guard dogs tend to develop as they age. You should also be aware that they may display some inappropriate herding tendencies, like attempting to round up small children while they play outside.
They enjoy being mentally and physically engaged with their environment. They require plenty of room to run and lots of exercise. If they do not have adequate space (and jobs to be doing) they become destructive escape artists.
Corgis are a well-loved breed, ranking in the top 20 most in the AKC’s popularity list each year. They actually have dog-centric playgroups all over the world specifically for corgis!
Queen Elizabeth II absolutely adores these dogs and has owned dozens of them over the last 80 years. One of her corgis, Willow, died of old age at 15 in April of 2018. The whole world was so in love with her dogs that there was an unofficial mourning period in Britain.
Sutter Brown, a little Pembroke Welsh Corgi, was named California’s First Dog in 2010 when his owner was elected governor.
Characteristic of many herding breed dogs, they have a robust appetite and have been known to engorge themselves as often as they can. They may be prone to obesity if their intake is not closely monitored.
Grooming a corgi can be time-consuming and is best done in small chunks each day. They have a long waterproof double-coat that sheds constantly, with the potential for major sheds a few times a year. They can be very fluffy and need brushing several times a week.
Interestingly, many Pembroke Welsh corgis display a trait called a ‘fairy saddle’, or an area along the back that may differ in color, hair length, and growth pattern.
Their coats come in a wide array of colors, including sable, red, and fawn. As a side note, purebred Pembroke Welsh corgis do not have the genes for merle coloring, which is mottled patterns of solid colors. If a corgi has merle coloring, it is always mixed with another breed.
There are some bloodlines born with almost all the tail already gone, but most end up having their tail docked at just a few days old. There are several reasons a dog’s tail is docked, including conforming to show standards, historical tradition, or personal preference.
Tail docking is often considered cruel and unnecessary. It is illegal in many countries. It originated from necessity while working on the farm and herding cattle. It is easy to foresee the potential damage inflicted on a short dog’s long tail if it gets caught under the wrong set of animal hooves!
After that, the Scottish government imposed very strict tax laws on its citizens. Some of those laws were focused on pets, which were deemed a luxury unless put to work. In response, many owners (even those interested in keeping them primarily as pets) would dock the tail (showing they were working dogs) to escape the oppressive tax assessments.
Because of Great Britain’s ban on tail docking and the resultant decline in interest, corgis are currently on a list of vulnerable animals in their own native land. Officials are hopeful for a corgi come back; they have experienced a recent surge in popularity due to the show The Crown, a show on Netflix, that features scenes with corgis.
The Golden Retriever: Dependable And Family-Friendly
The golden retriever is the quintessential family dog: big and athletic enough to run endlessly with the kids in the yard, and soft and cuddly enough to lounge on the sofa watching television with.
Retrievers are a breed partially characterized by their ‘soft mouth’, which refers to the ability to gently pick up and carry waterfowl without damaging the feathers or body. This is very different than the behavior encouraged in other hunting dogs, such as terriers, that are expected to hunt solo and shake and kill their prey (such as snakes and rats).
It is said that golden retrievers can carry a whole raw egg in their mouth all day and never crack the shell!
They were originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century for wealthy nobles that had been introduced to (and deeply enjoyed) small-game hunting and birding. The breed of retrievers available at the time was unfit for the marshes and swamps that dot the Scottish landscape, however, so the best retrievers were crossbred with the best water spaniels to create a new type of dog.
The original litter of these hybrids, interestingly, was actually the original spawning point of four other purposeful crossbreeds as well, including Irish Setters and St. John’s Water Dog. Each puppy was mated with a specific type of dog to continue breeding new hunting sidekicks.
Now it is generally agreed that there are three types of golden retriever: American, English, and Canadian. They are the result of normal generational breeding, not necessarily anything purposeful. There are only subtle differences between types, and it comes down primarily to appearance:
- English golden retrievers are stockier and heavier. They have a broader forehead and slightly rounder, darker eyes.
- Canadian golden retrievers are taller, on average about two inches, and have shorter, thinner coats.
- American goldens are less muscular than the other types. Their hair is darker and coarser, while their eyes are lighter.
Golden retrievers are large dogs, growing to two feet at the shoulder and between 60 and 85 pounds when fully grown. Their average lifespan is between 12 and 15 years. They are the third most popular breed in the United States by registration numbers.
Golden retrievers are smart, empathetic, and easy to train, which makes them great disability assistance and guide dogs for blind or deaf people. They often work as search and rescue dogs. They work tirelessly for their humans and form tight bonds very quickly.
They tend to be energetic and fun-loving and are often found playing and running for hours on end. They do, however, love to have a job to do and have a unique ability to focus single-mindedly on a task. They enjoy productivity so much that they may end up working until they physically cannot do so anymore, so it is wise to carefully supervise.
They are, as a breed, great with most other animals and most humans, even being patient with (and protective of) small children. Of course, breed temperament may not define each individual animal so it is important to properly train and socialize your dog.
Your golden retriever is one of many types of dogs with a double coat. Featuring a waterproof top layer and a soft, fuzzy bottom layer, their coat will shed in small amounts throughout the year with major sheds in the spring and fall. Thorough brushing, including checking between the toes and inside the ears, several times a week is a must.
Golden retrievers can actually be redheads, too! Their coat is classified as mahogany and appears to be a deep red very similar to that of an Irish Setter (although this coloring is not admissible in most show rings).
Puppy fur is often much lighter than adult coats end up being, and, as they age, your golden retriever’s coat may lighten and the hair on their snout may turn gray.
Speaking of the dog’s snout, all golden retrievers always have brown eyes. Their eyes tend to be warm and intelligent and wise, and they seem to display emotion. Many people feel heard and understood by their golden retrievers.
Most retrievers have a brown or black nose; pink noses, or those lacking in pigment at all, are due to a rare DNA mutation and are not eligible for show.
Some golden retrievers are more prone to dental health problems than other breeds, so make sure to check their teeth while grooming them. Brushing them and using dental chews are a good way to ensure his teeth, gums, and jaw are as healthy as they can be.
Retrievers are confident in their physical abilities in the field. They are fast, agile, and powerful, with a well-controlled and well-coordinated gait and a long stride. They are often trained for service used fast-paced physical agility and obstacle courses.
Your Corgi Golden Retriever Mix Puppy
While there are a million possible gene combinations that will result in a unique appearance and disposition for each puppy, there is one word that will absolutely describe your dog: adorable.
Designer breeds with corgi in the mix are unique in that they generally tend to take on the size and shape of a corgi and the coloring and appearance of the other breed (in this case, a golden retriever). It results in what looks like simply miniaturized retrievers!
Your puppy will likely be fairly hardy and healthy and will love to be part of an active family. Start training him as early as you can; the easiest way to eliminate problem behaviors is to never allow them to begin in the first place.
Both breeds are intelligent, loyal, and hardworking, so it makes sense that your corgi golden retriever hybrid will be the same way. He will be spunky and fun-loving and energetic. He will be absolutely devoted to his humans.
He may display some of the herding tendencies of a corgi, or he may prefer to swim and trudge through the mud like a retriever, or both! Because of his activity level, it will be necessary for you to make sure his environment is safe for him to explore. Things to consider include:
- Make sure your yard is fenced in. If he is left without an outlet for his energy, your dog may dig at the bottom of the fence line. Reinforce the edges with rocks or chicken wire to help deter him.
- The outside area should also be free of debris like sharp sticks. Your corgi retriever mix is short, with his belly low to the ground, and it could be extremely painful (and maybe even deadly) for something to scratch him.
- Remove all the choking hazards from his reach. Retrievers are known as a ‘mouthy’ breed, which means they like to gnaw on things and carry them around. Make sure he is not trying to mouth something that can hurt him. Give him puppy-safe toys instead.
- Corgis and retrievers are incredibly intelligent, so you will likely have to babyproof everything they can potentially get into. Get door and cabinet latches for the kitchen, keep food and cleaning products locked up and on a high shelf, and keep your valuables put away.
- If there is any standing water on your property your dog will be drawn to it. The retriever genes in him will seek it out. Your puppy, however, could still drown if he is too small to swim properly (and his legs may very well be too short while he is young!). Fence it off or cover it tightly.
If your puppy gets bored and does not have an appropriate outlet into which to channel his energy, you may have a mess on your hands. If you are a self-proclaimed couch potato, or live in a small apartment, or do not have spare time to engage in lots of exercise, a corgi retriever mix may not be the best option for your lifestyle.
If you decide to keep him, make sure you are consistent with his activities. Go for a long walk, hike in the woods, go swimming, or hook him up to a dog sled and run up and down the hills a few times. Just make sure to move with him every day. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
Grooming is going to be another constant item on your puppy to-do list. To make sure he gets used to behaving for you, try and set aside a little time every day and:
- Only give your dog a bath when he needs it. Puppies tend to get dirty and may need to be wiped down more often than adult dogs, but retrievers can be prone to skin ailments and less-frequent bathing can help eliminate that concern.
- Brush his entire coat, going with the grain from head to tail, including his belly and legs. Use a natural bristle brush to stimulate oil production in his skin. A pin brush, or one with small spines like a slicker brush, is good for the undercoat and for breaking up mats.
- Check his paws. His pads should not be cracked or sore, his toenails should be trimmed to just above the quick, and there should not be hair growing between his paw pads.
- Look inside his ears, especially if he has the flopped-over retriever ears. The folded ears can trap moisture and bacteria inside, which can create an environment ripe for a bacterial ear infection to develop.
- Check for any ticks or fleas as you go along.
Because both sets of genes carry the coding for a double coat, your corgi retriever mix is likely to be super insulated in the winter but may easily get overheated in the summer.
During the summer, try and make sure he has access to air conditioning and ice water. A kiddie pool with just a small amount of water in it will appeal to the innate love of water a golden retriever has!
A quick spray with the hose should be fun for him and amusing for you to watch. Just make sure to allow the running water to cool off before using it on your puppy. Many children and animals are burned every year by hot water unexpectedly coming out of a garden hose.
Due to the enormous potential for wild genetic variation from one animal to the next, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly how your specific dog may look and behave.
It may not be enough to just check a profile for each dog breed represented in a hybrid; it is essential for you to closely watch how YOUR dog’s parents behave. This is your best bet for figuring out which traits from which breed your puppy is most predisposed to show.
Any breeder worth his salt will be able to answer any questions you have on the quality of his puppies. Make sure to ask everything that comes to mind. Ask to observe the sire (father) and dam (mother) in a real-life setting. Interact with them if possible.
Before you commit to taking a puppy home from the breeder, ask for evidence of a recent veterinarian visit and any shot records. It may be prudent to ask for the same of both his parents- the overall health of the parents will be key in ascertaining the long-term viability of your puppy.
Veterinarian care is absolutely essential to the good health of your pet. Make sure he gets his shots whenever necessary. He should be on flea and tick preventative, as well as heartworm preventative. He needs several rounds of dewormer, even if you see no evidence of worms in his feces.
If your veterinarian sees any evidence of potential chronic health problems, or the sire and dam have any, ask him about lifestyle changes that can help stave off the development of them.
One of the factors that may play a role in keeping illness and disability at bay is diet. Start your puppy on a high-quality dry dog food and supplement with whole human foods from there. Make sure to include:
- Sweet potato
- Leafy green vegetables
- Whole grains like cooked unflavored oatmeal and brown rice
- Cottage cheese
- Unflavored Greek yogurt
- Coconut oil
A healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward ensuring your corgi retriever puppy’s health. Proper veterinarian care, a solid grooming routine, good nutrition, and plenty of athletic activity are the keys.
If you have questions about any part of adopting or caring for a dog, talk to your vet. He can guide you in any decision making and is able to give you advice on any aspect of pet care.
Taking care of your corgi golden retriever mix puppy is not difficult. They simply want your love and affection foremost, with food a close second!