This particular mix is not overly common so it’s no wonder that you have questions and wonder what you might be getting into if you are seeking a puppy or a rescue of this type of mix. Both parents, the Corgi and the German Shepherd are of similar working backgrounds, yet are very different in the way in which they have evolved as both pets and working dogs.
We’ll bring you up to speed with both the history of each parent and how they are currently appreciated in the world. Then we will discuss the traits that you are most likely to see in a mix of these two amazing breeds.
First Up, The Corgi
Corgis come in two varieties, the Welsh Cardigan and the Welsh Pembroke, respectively. The Cardigan, sometimes called the “Cardi” by enthusiasts, is very much the same as the Pembroke except he has a long, bushy tail whereas the Pembroke has no tail.
The Cardigan is less popular than the Pembroke and in mixes of Corgis, it is typically the Pembroke from which the breeding cross takes place. Therefore, we’ll focus more on the Welsh Pembroke Corgi. From here on, whenever the term “Corgi” is used, it will be in reference to the Welsh Pembroke variety.
The Corgi is a happy-go-lucky little dog that is actually a big dog on short legs. He’s shaped like a barrel, low to the ground, but fairly quick on his feet. He is a herding dog, which makes him have a bold, outgoing personality in most cases.
He will absolutely live for chasing things. For the Corgi who has no sheep to herd, a tennis ball may become his favorite toy and he will bring it to you over and over until your arm is tired, but his energy will seem to extend for hours.
They are sturdy, strong, exuberant, and auspicious. The Corgi can be a barker, sometimes called a ‘yappy dog’ and they do so with sheer joy and enthusiasm. If he has not received enough exercise, he’ll channel his energy into things that might be relatively naughty in your book.
When your doorbell rings, for example, it may be quite difficult to get him under control. He’ll race to the door to ‘attack’ the intruder and source of the sound. When he learns that people are guests that are welcome in the home, it still may be quite difficult to reign him in and keep him from jumping or nipping.
Nipping is a herding dog trait that must be redirected as part of basic training when they are young. It’s a strong instinct for them as it is the way in which they push livestock in the desired direction.
All that said, Corgis are very intelligent and can absolutely be taught better behavior but these dogs can be challenging for new or novice owners. Take your Corgi or Corgi mix to dog training classes as early on as you can. His intelligence can honestly get the better of you if you don’t.
Corgi is a Welsh word that means dwarf dog, due to their short stature. They have been in Europe, in England predominantly, since approximately 110 7AD when Flemish weavers brought the dogs along with them when they migrated to Wales. They were originated to herd cattle but have been used to herd many types of livestock over the years.
Queen Elizabeth, the current Queen of England has been well-known as a Corgi lover. She has owned over 30 Corgis during her reign as Queen of England and only recently stopped breeding them due to her age.
Prince Harry was said to have once complained over not being able to walk into a room and speak for all the dogs barking at him anytime he was visiting with his grandmother, the queen.
The Corgi is said to be descended from Northern spitz dog breeds, like the Siberian Husky, which would account for his thick coat. But there is also a theory that Corgis have Swedish Valhound in their ancestry, which makes sense if you see the Valhound in size and shape.
No one is entirely 100% positive of the genetics and breeding that were done to produce the Corgi that you see today. Both of those dogs would easily explain the Corgi’s coat and basic shape. Perhaps it has been a combination of these breeds that brought us today’s Corgi.
While the Corgi isn’t as popular in England and the UK where it used to be in favor, it hasn’t lost any traction in the United States, where it is still a very popular breed of dog due to their wonderful personality and childlike mentality. They seem to have a sense of humor and delight in having some good old-fashioned fun.
They are a very affectionate breed and enjoy being with the family, happily accompanying their owners wherever they go. The Corgi is a people-loving dog and will serve as a good watchdog. Given that they bark and herding dogs are very alert instinctually, they tend to be excellent at alerting you to the slightest thing that is out of the ordinary.
Corgis have a life expectancy of 12-15 years and they are a true achondroplastic breed, which means they truly are a dwarf. This accounts for their short legs, but robust bone structure. They are tough little dogs that don’t seem to know the word “quit” and will work all day long when being used as herders.
As a pet, they obviously have very high exercise needs so they are not for the couch potatoes among us. This breed is suitable for those with big yards, large properties, access to dog parks, or who hike and do outside things daily and take their dog with them. You’ll need to be an active person to live with a Corgi in peace. A well-exercised Corgi is quite good in the house but one that is full of energy will likely be more of a challenge.
The Corgi excels at agility, even though he has short legs and won’t beat the Border Collies, he will have the time of his life trying. Partaking in herding events and challenges is a great way for owners to compete with their dogs, which is a bonding experience and something the Corgi purely relishes. He’s a bit of an attention lover.
The Corgi can be just as content to be a family dog as he is being a working dog on a ranch. Whatever the challenge, he’s up for it.
The German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog has more of known history, in fact, we know the first German Shepherd Dog (GSD) that was ever registered as such. This breed originated from foundation stock during the 1850s in Europe when many people were beginning to standardize breeds.
A man, Max von Stephanitz, was in attendance at a dog show when he first saw the dog that met his criteria for what a working dog should be. The dog was relatively large, thick-boned, well-shaped for heavy work, and of an even temperament. He immediately purchased the dog.
The dog’s name was Hektor Linksrhein but Max renamed the dog to Horand von Grafath. Horand had been a dog that was the product of a lot of selective breeding to achieve the size and temperament. Max continued to seek out dogs to breed Horand to that would complete this transformation and creation of a perfect breed. The Society for the German Shepherd Dog was created by Max von Stephanitz and Horand was the first dog registered to it.
Members of the group were able to join initially if their dog met certain criteria that Max had framed. These dogs were bred to Horand to create foundation breeding stock. While many pups were sired, it was the son named Hektor von Schwaben who was the most desirable. He went on to sire a pup named Beowulf. This puppy was outstanding in every way that Max had dreamed of.
Horand’s grandson, Beowulf, was the true epitome of the breed and he went on to sire many pups that cemented the breed’s place in history. He fathered 84 pups and they became the GSD that we know and love today, with the exception that the Americanized version of the German Shepherd has strayed from the original version of the dog and this has caused a rift between the two sides who argue that the current version of the dog is not the vision that Max von Stephanitz initially had.
A GSD that comes from true German bloodlines will be sturdier, more straight across the back, and larger in comparison to the more slender version most often found in the United States, which has an angled back, setting the hips low and is sought for breeding and showing. These show dogs are not the stock that police and military dogs are bred from. They choose the more robust German bloodlines.
The GSD is a fine working dog and to this day is used as a seeing-eye dog for the blind, service dog for the disabled, arson detection, bomb seeking, search and rescue, as a cadaver dog, narcotics finding, and much more.
They are, in fact, one of the most versatile breeds of dogs on the planet with incredible intelligence as well. Routinely ranked in the top five of most intelligent dogs (typically placing at the number three spot right behind the Border Collie and the Standard Poodle), the German Shepherd is capable of showing off his cognitive skills as a working dog or simply being an incredibly smart pet.
He is a dog that will not only alert you of trespassers, but he will also protect you as well. Capable of thinking on his feet, he is prized for police work because of the way he was found to perform as a war dog. In the first World War, German Shepherds were routinely used on the battlefield. Soldiers came home with stories of this amazing dog and it was at this time they became popular outside of Europe.
Rin Tin Tin became a popular television show, starring a German Shepherd and that was it for Americans – they were sold. The breed became so popular in American that the GSD head is now the most recognizable dog breed to all humans on the planet.
The GSD is also competitive in obedience trials, excels at retrieving, herding, agility sports, and competes in a sport known as Schutzhund, which started for the explicit purpose of training protection work. Some dogs actually compete in this now and the training is highly specialized, divided into sections on scent tracking, obedience, and protection.
The protection part of the work is what you may have seen called ‘bite work’ in which the dogs are taught to attack a threat on command and to break-off that attack when told. It takes much work and skill to be a good Schutzhund dog. Schutzhund is a German word that means protection dog. German Shepherds excel at this and it was literally developed for them, but other dogs now take part in the competitions. Dogs such as the Belgian Malinois and the Rottweiler both do very well in Schutzhund.
His coat is thick and will get an undercoat in winter. He is a heavy shedding dog, particularly in spring with the undercoat is shed. His exercise needs are intense as he is a working dog that is also large. He can have incredible stamina and a desire to move and run. If the GSD is not given enough exercise he can become anxious and pace.
The high-energy can lead to chewing inappropriately if his needs are not met. This breed requires an owner who is comfortable with being the leader of the pack and training his dog appropriately. Start them with training at a young age. It’s best to start early and there is no such thing as too early. Your puppy can begin to learn at 8 weeks of age.
What is a Mix of Both Breeds Like? The Corgi Shepherd Mix
This mix is sometimes referred to as the Corman Shepherd. They can be very strong-willed dogs because they are the product of two independent thinkers. Both parent breeds are highly intelligent and known for their cognitive skills. In other words, they are problem solvers.
While this is desirable for a working dog that needs to stop and think about challenges at times, it is also a trait that leads to extreme adventure for the pet parent who has little dog experience. There may be times where it feels that they are one step ahead of you.
They are very loving and loyal dogs, however, and they really do want to please you. This is good if you take them to obedience training and learn how to work with them to get the desired level of focus and obedience. It’s also really good for you to learn some games and ways that you can help to channel their energy and help them to use those herding instincts in a more constructive way.
This is a breed of dog that is actually highly prized due to the fact that they are so intelligent, so you shouldn’t let that intimidate you. Just do training early on in your dog’s life, but also don’t be put-off to adopt an older Corman Shepherd because they are also capable of learning and will likely excel because they are happy to have a home and they are also older and more mature.
They also happen to be an adorable mix. They typically stand 12-15 inches tall and have the short legs of the Corgi, with the coloring and overall look of the German Shepherd. Since both parents have erect ears, your Corman is sure to have those. The eyes usually take after the German Shepherd in size and shape, though anything is possible.
Their color can be a combination of all colors from both parents, to solid colors. Sometimes they will be mostly one color but any combination is possible. They will have a thick coat and most likely will have a tail like the German Shepherd but it is possible that they will not have a tail at all, like a Corgi. Usually, they have a tail though. The coats of both parents are similar so you can be sure that your Corman will have a thick, plush coat.
This means that they will need some brushing and if you do a good brushing once per day, your Corman Shepherd will always remain nice looking and glossy. Brushing helps to ensure that they are glossy by stimulating the natural oil glands in the coat. Don’t sweat bathing them too much though, they only need a bath about once every 8 to 10 weeks, depending on how well you keep them brushed.
If your puppy has big ears, don’t fret because they are adorable and there is a high likelihood that he’ll grow right into them, though most Corgis never quite look like they have grown fully into their own ears and it’s one of the things that keeps them looking absolutely adorable. Your Corman Shepherd may have soft fluffy ears that are shaped like the GSD or the Corgi, but either will be erect.
Your Cormon pup will most likely live to somewhere between 12 and 15 years of age. They tend to be very sturdy, rugged, and healthy. Any time that a dog is mixed with at least one other breed, he will tend to be stronger and in better overall health because of the genetics involved. When you’ve got more genes to pick from, the likelihood of having really great genetics is far superior.
If you get a puppy and you have other pets, especially cats, you’ll need to do a lot of training and supervision because this particular mix is of two breeds that don’t really tend to do well with cats and small animals because it can them see as prey. They also can tend to be loner dogs that tolerate other dogs but don’t really bond as strongly with them as they will with you.
The Corman Shepherd makes an excellent watchdog and even a guard dog in some cases. That part depends on whether they take more from the GSD or not.
He will have a big appetite because he is an active dog and might be prone to food aggression with other animals as well. Work with a trainer to learn how to ensure that your dog isn’t aggressive toward people or children at the food dish. A good method is to walk to the food dish while they are eating and drop a piece of cheese into it.
This will teach them to welcome someone near their food dish in anticipation of something being added, removing their instinct to guard the food.
Also, teach children to never mess with the dog’s food dish when the dog is eating. This is the primary cause of children being bitten by dogs. Always give a dog space at the food dish. Children and dogs should always be supervised together no matter what.
Socialize your Corman Shepherd by taking them out in public but remember that they aren’t always fond of other dogs and animals so make sure that you properly supervise them and keep them on a leash and properly introduce them to other animals.
They make excellent family pets with proper foundation training. They live a relatively long time and they aren’t high maintenance animals either. They don’t need a lot of bathing or trips to a groomer. A short brushing each morning will keep them looking great and if you skip a day here and there, it won’t be a tragedy. They’ll still look great. They don’t have any particular special needs, simply feed them a good diet that is well-balanced and full of natural ingredients and they’ll flourish.