Corgis are an adorable breed of dog, known for their teddy bear appearance, particularly as puppies. There are two types of corgi, the Welsh Cardigan and the Pembroke. The Cardigan Corgi has a tail and the Pembroke does not.
The Pembroke Corgi is the one of the two that has most often been used as a herding dog. Despite his short stature, the beefy corgi has no fear of large herd animals such as cattle. He will do your herding work for you with sheer glee in his heart. Corgis love to run and be active. Many people are surprised that this relatively short-legged dog, with a thick body could be Cowboy Corgi so physically active. That said, corgis make excellent herding dogs.
The Cowboy Corgi is a mix of the Pembroke Corgi and the Australian Cattle dog, which is not as short legged as a corgi but still on the smaller side, in height. Both breeds are meaty, sturdy dogs. The result of the mix is a dog that can have coloring of either breed and has the herding instincts of both dogs.
The Corgi has a tendency to be a clown and likes to have a good time, all the time. The Australian Cattle dog is known to be more serious, especially when it comes to herding and working. This breed is a little workaholic.
The Mix of Two Herding Breeds: The Cowboy Corgi
Typically, the Cowboy Corgi will have the color of the heeler with the size of the corgi. If the breed is the result of a pairing with a merle colored heeler, then it is most likely to take after the corgi in coloring. They will generally have very good personalities and be keen to work. They have the drive and instinct of two herding breeds that causes them to excel in herding any type of animal, especially cattle.
Being a small dog, they are easy to keep and tag along with you everywhere as well. They don’t eat much, don’t take up a lot of space, fit nicely in the cab of a pickup truck when you are hauling your horses, and they are great personalities that are just a real treat to have around. If you are wanting a companion dog that can also work, this is a fantastic little dog to have in your life. They’ll be your working partner and your friend.
Since both breeds in his genetics are highly intelligent, you’ll find that your cowboy corgi is exceptionally smart. He’s eager to please and very anxious to get to work too. This little dog is full to the brim with energy and has the tenacity to see any job through. In the end, he’s small enough to ride over your saddle on the way home, if he’s exhausted himself doing a hard day’s work.
While these are gorgeous little dogs, with lively personalities, they aren’t recommended for apartment life. As the name implies, they are for working. They are little cowboys and need to spend their time working. You’ll find that they are truly happiest when they are working and doing physical activity. Corgis are sad and depressed when they aren’t physically active and the Australian Cattle Dog will find things to occupy himself that typically lead him into trouble. This may include tearing the paneling off your walls or pulling carpet up off the flooring.
Worn-out, physically exhausted cowboy corgis are happy dogs that will readily lay at your feet, enjoying the front porch or a spot by the campfire. He will provide you with a warm snuggle anytime you like, protect you fiercely if the need should ever arise, and he is a fast learner. Teach him skills and tricks and he will absorb them as a sponge absorbs spills.
This hybrid mix is capable of learning hundreds, if not thousands, of words, tackling any obedience skills and would also make a fine flyball competition dog, or an agility competition dog. Flyball is a team sport with dogs that is taking the nation by storm and highly addictive when you’ve enjoyed seeing it. When you compete it in, it is definitely something you’ll always want to do. Agility is a sport that exhibits a dog’s athleticism and is a solo sport for the most part. Agility also requires the handler to be in good physical condition as well.
Cowboy Corgi Nutrition – Fueling Him
Herding dogs are a working breed. They work very hard, racing back and forth on those short legs. They can run many miles in a day of work so it is important that you feed him good, nutritionally packed food that has enough protein to fuel him for endurance.
Here is a knowledge drop – carbs and protein are both fuels for the body. Carbs are the fuel that burns quickly, like paper. Proteins are slow burning fuels, like oak that will burn in the fireplace all night long. In order to have proper fuel at all times, both types of fuel are essential.
Protein should make up around 17% to 25% of your working dog’s diet. Fuel him with a good lean source of protein that will burn cleanly and efficiently. For most dogs, this is meat from a source such as beef, chicken, fish, or other fowl. You can also feed a vegetarian diet to dogs as long as you use a protein rich source, such as lentils, black beans, or garbanzo beans. There are great dog foods on the market that you can choose from. Choose those with real ingredients, names that you can pronounce, with as few ingredients as possible.
Make sure that your dog is always getting a healthy source of vitamins and minerals and supplement if you feel it may be necessary. The more a dog works, the more it may be a good idea to supplement his diet with something like CBD oil for dogs or omega oils from fish oil. CBD and fish oil are the two best sources for omega rich fatty acids that help reduce free radicals and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system for your dog.
Dogs don’t live a long life in comparison to humans. It’s important to try to give them as much nutritionally dense food as possible to keep them with us as long as we can. You also want their time on earth to be happy and pain-free so look into supplements like fish oil and CBD to help their joints and with pain as they age. Supplement them well and feed them right. Get them plenty of exercise and you’ve achieved the perfect trifecta – maintaining mental health, physical health, and providing for their basic needs.
Training for the Herding Dog
It’s likely that you’ll train your working dog yourself if you’ve been running cattle for many years. If you aren’t familiar with training a dog though, and you have a new cowboy corgi, you should employ someone to help you right away. Don’t wait for your dog to get older. Start training your puppy from day one, to do basic obedience skills such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ so that when they are older, these are a piece of cake and you can work on harder skills.
Dogs love to learn and a young pups brain is growing and taking in information like a mainframe computer, constantly running algorithms and looking to make sense from input. Puppies can be worn-out to physical exhaustion simply from making them think. A young pup will pass out after a round of learning new behaviors such as ‘stay’ and ‘wait’ and these will serve you very well into the future when you need him to listen to you on a cattle drive.
For working your dog on cattle, find a successful breeder/trainer of working dogs in your area and if can work with them or have them recommend a trainer to you, then you’ll be in a great position to get your herding cowboy corgi whipped into shape as quickly as possible.
Remember that this breed wants to work and they have a high desire to please. These little balls of energy will work all day long for you, just out of sheer joy of running and wishing to please you. To them, herding is a bit of a game. This is the most fun they’ll ever have in their whole life, doing what they were bred to do. It’s in their genes and they can’t wait to do it.
Young cowboy corgis will try to herd anything. Put them in a pen with ducks and watch them learn how to manipulate the ducks into moving in the direction they choose. They teach themselves in short order with very little intervention on your part. You will want to teach them some directional signals and when to wait and follow your commands. It’s essential that they stay safe. The best way to keep them safe when they are working with cattle is to teach them and know they are rock solid on their commands. The herding part comes pretty naturally, but controlling themselves and learning to think has to come from your skills and teaching. Luckily, these dogs are incredibly intelligent and they love to learn and work.
If You Aren’t Working These Dogs
You don’t have to be living on a working cattle ranch to keep a cowboy corgi, but you do want to have some property for him to play and roam upon. You’ll be able to keep him exercised with games of fetch – rare is the corgi that doesn’t want to play with a ball.
They do fine with other animals if they are socialized at a young age to them. As an adult, if a herding dog has not been properly socialized to other housepets then it is advisable to use much caution. Cats, for example, may be a bad idea with an adult cowboy corgi that has never been properly socialized.
It is possible to keep one that isn’t a working dog if you are an active person and live a lifestyle that is conducive to keeping such a dog. If you are an avid runner, for example, one of these little guys will happily go for a run with you and they have great stamina. The Australian Cattle dog has more stamina than a Corgi does and they both have a lot of energy.
Getting them involved in dog park play, flyball clubs, being your running partner, and going to doggy daycare are all ways that you can manage having a cowboy corgi even if you aren’t a cowboy.
Teaching your pup how to do a lot of tricks is also a great way to stimulate his mind and keep him happy. Mentally wearing him out is just as important as physically wearing him out. These little guys are quick on the uptake, so teaching them new skills may be very challenging to you as well.
They make great obedience dogs, performing dogs, and even service dogs in the right situation. Herding dogs are very alert and watchful. This is a powerful attribute to have as a service dog for someone who possibly has a seizure disorder or a hearing impairment.
The cowboy corgi is a fantastic family dog as well. They love children and bond very strongly with their pack. They tend to be very good with children and somewhat protective as well. They tend to be fairly independent but enjoy cuddles and time with their human pack members, as a family. These dogs enjoy going with you and participating in picnics and outings to the farmers market. If they can go on vacation with you, they’ll be very happy too.
The properly socialized cowboy corgi will greet other dogs with friendliness at dog parks and on leash. They will be accepting of people in public, allowing pats on the head and attention. In fact, they may enjoy showing off some tricks and obedience skills because they like people to know how smart they are.
Be sure to vet your cowboy corgi each year for shots and a general check-up. Don’t forget to worm him regularly too. It’s important to have regular maintenance when you are a busy, active little dog. Be sure to see to it that flea control is used each month. Discus this with your veterinarian to ensure that you are using the best products. Herding dogs should not typically be given ivermectin products for wormings or flea medications. It is very dangerous and can cause seizures and death in some herding dogs.
Fleas lead to tapeworms and these can cause intestinal issues as well as causing them to lose nutrition from their food to parasites in their systems. Tapeworms can cause anemia, so can other types of parasites. Many types of bugs and worms that animals are susceptible to can cause issues that are minor to quite severe. By having a routine of monthly pills or drops, you can avoid any issues with these types of things.
These tips, along with proper care and exercise will help to ensure that your cowboy corgi lives his longest life possible. Your family will be able to enjoy his spunky enthusiasm for anywhere from 10 to 16 years, with the average life expectancy being 13 years of age.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.