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American Corgi: Pictures, Origin, History & Facts!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

American Corgi

One thing is for sure—you know a Corgi when you see one. The quirky little canines are easily recognizable by their short legs, long bodies, and adorable faces. The Welsh Corgis come in two separate breeds, the Pembroke and the Cardigan, the most popular of which is the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

Recently, a new Corgi has hit the market. American Corgis are being offered for sale as a “designer breed.” The dogs are a mix of the Cardigan and the Pembroke, so they are not considered purebreds.

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The Earliest Records of the American Corgi in History

American Corgis are a developing mixed breed. They are being created by breeders crossing a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi to achieve a merle coat. The designer dog is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and should not be confused with the Cardigan and Pembroke breeds.1

Since the American Corgi is a new and emerging designer dog, the lack of documented records makes it hard to determine their history. In fact, even their future is yet to be seen, given the controversy surrounding the breeding practices.

American Corgi
Image Credit: Elisabeth Abramova, Shutterstock

How American Corgis Gained Popularity

The Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis have been popular among ranchers for centuries. They were bred as a working breed and were used for herding cattle. Queen Elizabeth II’s love of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, along with its presence in the show ring, contributed to the gain in the popularity of the breed.

As more pet owners became interested in these adorable pups, so did the desire for unique colors and coat patterns. The demand sparked breeders to mix the Pembroke and Cardigan to create the American Corgi, giving the Pembroke the merle coloring.

Formal Recognition of the American Corgi

Since the American Corgi is a new crossbreed of the Cardigan and Pembroke Corgi (two AKC-recognized breeds of Corgi) and is considered a “designer dog”, it is not recognized by the AKC or any other dog registry.

There have been attempts by some to create a recognized “American Corgi Club,” however. The club is not supported by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club or the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club. It has been suggested that the lack of support may be because the organizers and breeders have yet to justify the reason for mixing the breeds.

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Top 6 Unique Facts About American Corgis

1. American Corgis Are Not Purebred

The American Corgi is a new and emerging designer dog that is crossbred and is not recognized by the AKC. They are not a part of the Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi breed. The designer breed is a mix of the Pembroke and the Cardigan Corgi breeds.

2. American Corgis Are Bred for the Merle Coat Color

American Corgis are the result of breeding a Pembroke and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi to produce a mixed breed of Corgi with a small body, merle color, and a Pembroke personality.

When breeding for the merle color, each puppy in the litter has a 25% chance of being a “double merle” puppy (inheriting two merle genes).

Blue merle corgi with big ears
Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

3. American Corgis Can Be Born a “Double Merle”

It is up to the breeders to do the proper testing prior to breeding. Otherwise, American Corgi puppies can be born with the merle gene from both parents. Double merle puppies are often born deaf, blind, or both. There are hundreds born every year by irresponsible and uneducated breeders, according to Stumps and Rumps.

4. American Corgis With a Merle Coat Are Not Pembroke Corgis

There are American Corgi breeders that are calling Corgis with a merle coat Pembroke Welsh Corgis. They are also marketing them as such, when in fact, a purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi cannot be merle. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi may naturally carry the merle gene and have a merle coat, however.

Keep this in mind if you intend on getting an American Corgi. If a breeder suggests that a merle Pembroke is a purebred, they are either mistaken or misleading you. Purebred Pembroke Corgis never were and cannot be merle.

5. Only Cardigan Welsh Corgis Have the Merle Gene

The purebred Cardigan and Pembroke Corgis were bred to be working dogs. The word “Corgi” is a Welsh word meaning “Dwarf Dog.”

The merle color coat being promoted by American Corgi breeders is from a gene found in the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and not the Pembroke Corgi breed. The gene produces a coat of blue merle with a gray or black color pattern. The color pattern can vary and contain some red or tan shades and patches of white on the legs, neck, and chest.

There is only one Corgi breed that can be a purebred merle, and that is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi cannot be merle. Therefore, the American Corgi is crossbred to produce the merle coat on a Pembroke.

merle Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

6. American Corgi Breeding May Have Consequences

Reputable breeders producing merle Pembroke Welsh Corgis can have healthy pups. However, there are also unethical breeders marketing the American Corgi, and they do not perform the required genetic testing to ensure healthy pups. Their only goal is to produce the merle color. They may not select parents for temperament, health, or conformation, either.

In some cases, they are even marketing them as purebreds, misleading potential buyers. As a result, there are American Corgis being produced with inherited health conditions like arthritis, Von Willebrand’s Disease, blindness, and hip dysplasia, to name a few.

Uneducated and irresponsible breeders are producing American Corgis that are ending up in shelters or being euthanized because of these health issues or simply because they’re a standard color. If you choose to get an American Corgi, be diligent in choosing a breeder and avoid contributing to this injustice to both Corgi breeds.

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Does an American Corgi Make a Good Pet?

The Pembroke Corgi is known to be a friendly, outgoing, and high-energy breed, while the Cardigan is a bit more reserved. Both breeds are intelligent, but they can also be stubborn. They get along well with others if they are trained and know their boundaries.

The American Corgi is said to have a personality like the Pembroke, which would make it a good pet. Although, you run the risk of getting a dog that was misrepresented as a purebred and did not get the proper genetic tests for breeding. This leaves them susceptible to a wide range of diseases that are common in both the Pembroke and the Cardigan. In addition to health problems, they may also exhibit some behavioral issues as well.

To be sure you are getting one that was given the proper testing requires work, but the alternative would be to contribute to irresponsible breeding of Corgis. You also want to ensure you are getting a happy and healthy pet.

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The American Corgi is a mixed breed that is often bred and marketed as a purebred Corgi. The designer dog is not recognized by the AKC or any other reputable dog registry. Since the American Corgi is being bred for appearance, they are prone to a slew of health issues and can exhibit behavioral problems from poor selection. Because of these issues, the breeding practice is surrounded by controversy and is thought to be unethical. So, before you get your heart set on an American Corgi, do some research.

Featured Image Credit: Ilya Barmin, Shutterstock

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