What to know about corgis before you buy or adopt

What to Know About Owning a Corgi (Before You Adopt or Buy)

So, you want to get a corgi and you want to know what to know.

That’s a mouthful.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • A list of the most commonly overlooked aspects of corgi ownership
  • Critical things to note before adopting or buying
  • How a corgi will affect your lifestyle
  • Corgis for first-time dog owners
  • And more

You should have a solid assessment of whether or not a corgi is right for you by the end of this page.

Sound good? Let’s decide if you’re fit for what a corgi has to offer.

Things you should know before getting a corgi

So you’re looking to jump on the fluffy butt bandwagon and you want to know what you’re in for.

Here are the most critical things that I think any prospective corgi owner should know about BEFORE getting the dog.

Whether you’re adopting or buying from a breeder, these are some common corgi characteristics that are important to consider:

Corgis are extremely smart (and stubborn)

A smart corgi.
Probably more than you’d expect.

You’re probably thinking “okay, that’s good, right?”

Well, yes. In terms of easiness to train and housebreak, corgis rank well up on the list of the smartest dogs.

However, some corgi owners would even argue that they’re too smart for their own good.

Why is this a bad thing?

Because corgis will manipulate you to get their way. Remember, these are SMART dogs who know a thing or two about their owners, especially their weakness!

This is why they have the reputation of being stubborn dogs.

They can be extremely stubborn, which can make things like potty training difficult.

Do you want a dog that only goes outside when it feels like it? This is the reality with a corgi.

Here’s the truth: Corgis aren’t born to “please” and won’t do things “just for you.”

There MUST be a reward to reinforce the behavior (this is known as positive reinforcement) for the corgi to continue doing the behavior that you’re rewarding him for. This is true for most dog breeds on the planet.

They might do a trick or something you like here and there without a reward.

But if you keep that up and don’t give your dog a treat, pet, or toy, the behavior will become discouraged over time.

So how does this apply to corgis?

Well, since they’re smart, they’ll work for food.

You can use this to your benefit by making it easy to quickly reward your dog for positive behaviors. This makes training your corgi extremely easy.

You can often housebreak, prevent food/toy guarding, or teach basic commands within a few weeks.

However, let’s say your corgi does something you hate.

Because they’re smart, they can weigh the consequences of their actions and if the punishment is worth it or not.

For owners who only practice positive reinforcement, this calculating behavior is very easy to spot.

Examples of manipulation

For example, your corgi may be chewing on the furniture and you tell it to stop.

It’ll then weigh the consequences of continuing to chew or stop. If the punishment isn’t “bad” enough, it’ll continue to chew because he knows you won’t do anything.

This allows them to manipulate their owners in more ways than you can imagine. Sometimes they may even trick you by using a string of behaviors.

Another example: You tell your corgi to go in its crate. It does.

Then you tell your corgi to go outside for potty. It does. Thereafter a long day, you sit back and turn on the TV.

Your corgi sits there and stares at you. It knows you owe him a walk. You shrug it off.

He then starts nudging, whining, growling, and making other strange sounds. He may even start barking uncontrollably.

This is solely because he knows it’s time for a walk. It’s routine. He did all that other stuff for you, so now you owe him a walk.

Corgis are smart and they’ll manipulate you without you even being aware. For owners who give in to their dog easily, this is something you should know.

Corgis love food

Corgi in field.
Corgis are food-motivated.

You may be thinking that any dog loves food. Well, take that and 10x it with a corgi.

These dogs will devour food until their stomach blows up. They’re extremely food motivated dogs for the most part and will continue to work for food.

This is good and bad. It’s good because it makes it easy to train them since they’re food-loving dogs. It’s bad because they can easily overeat.

You should know the proper amounts to feed your corgi and you should constantly monitor his weight.

Overfeeding can lead to corgi health problems, especially when he’s not getting the right amount of exercise. This brings us to our next point.

They need a ton of physical activity

Are you a couch potato?

Would you rather watch the game than take a walk in the rain with your corgi?

Then a corgi may not be for you.

This is something that new owners always underestimate and it’s something you should know about the dog breed.

Some owners have even given up their dogs because they can’t keep up or are too busy. This should never be the case!

You need to be able to provide your new corgi puppy with at least an hour of exercise daily. As it matures, it’ll need more and more exercise.

The puppy days will only last until about 1 year of age. After that, you’ll really have to start ramping up the exercise regimen.

Don’t skimp on this because it’ll lead to some nasty destructive behavior.

So you need to be prepared to offer your dog dedicated time to get outdoors and exercise. If you don’t have time, make time. Or else consider another breed.

Corgis NEED exercise. They were bred for it and you can see it by their short stature.

You can split up your day such as running with your dog 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes after work.

Or have a friend/neighbor/relative help out. Or hire a dog sitter.

Whatever you need to do to make it work. This will keep your dog healthy and happy. And everyone likes a happy corgi. Right?

And the same goes for mental stimulation

Don’t think corgis only need physical activity.

They also need a mental situation! This means teaching commands, tricks, obedience, and basic dog discipline.

This is much easier to do than exercise because you can practice keeping your dog’s brain mentally stimulated at home. Use short training sessions throughout the day.

Puppies can tolerate short, 3-minute sessions, 3 times a day. Adults can go lengthier depending on what kind of corgi you plan to raise. A show dog will require hours of training. So will an agility dog.

But a casual dog for the casual owner just needs a few minutes of mental exercise throughout the day. You can supplement with puzzle toys, chew toys, etc.

Corgis aren’t lap dogs

Corgis aren't lap dogs. They need plenty of play time.
A corgi’s ultimate goal: Playtime.

Corgis need dedicated exercise time daily and aren’t good dogs to leave at home all day.

Don’t expect to just have your corgi sitting around the house (or in your lap) for hours every single day. Most will start to get angst, restless, or destructive with negative behaviors like barking.

This is very apparent in corgis that are already used to an exercise schedule.

New owners need to know that corgis won’t tolerate sitting around all day for extended periods.

Now, the thing to note is that corgis will run around all day. You will have a quiet time with your dog, but only after a day’s work is done. That’s when it’s time to snuggle your corgi.

But if you do this everyday without providing your dog constant outlet to drain his energy, he’ll go crazy. They were bred to be herding dogs, and it’s in their genes.

Expect a lot of shedding

Corgis are heavy shedders and you may have already read about this before.

They shed twice a year to the extremes when they “blow off” their coat. This occurs during a change of seasons in the summer and winter.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of the time they don’t shed.

Corgis shed constantly. And nonstop. So you need to be ready for constant maintenance of his double coat.

This means you should be ready to do these practices to handle your corgi’s shedding:

  • Bathing your corgi on a schedule
  • Grooming by hand daily
  • Taking him to the professional groomers monthly
  • Preventing matting and knots
  • Vacuuming loose corgi fur around the home
  • Be ready to eat corgi hair for dinner!

Corgis are relatively high maintenance dogs because they require a little bit of everything from their owners.

They need basic maintenance that’ll have you doing things like shaving, combing, cutting nails, wiping paws, brushing teeth, sanitary trimming, removing mats, shampooing and cleansing, vacuuming, and basically a bit of everything.

Corgis aren’t really suitable pets for first-time dog owners, but if you’re willing to put in the time to research EVERYTHING, then they may be worthy of consideration.

Expect a lot of barking

Corgi barking.
They’re vocal dogs.

Corgis are extremely vocal dogs and have been trained to bark at their owners to communicate.

Back in their cattle and sheep herding days, they would interact with their owners by barking signals.

Nowadays, barking is generally regarded as negative behavior in dogs.

However, they still retain this trait and a poorly socialized or trained corgi will drive you crazy.

Corgis must be trained to minimize bark early or they can be very excessive barkers.

Even trained corgis can still be quite vocal whether or not it’s barking.

These dogs will “talk back” to their owners with a closed mouth bark. If you’re not willing to put in the time to train your dog properly, I suggest you consider another breed.

Or else risk never getting a silent moment because of a yappy corgi.

Owning a corgi will be expensive

Corgis are expensive to own.
Expensive corgi is expensive.

Corgis are slightly above average in cost to own.

Generally, smaller dog breeds are cheaper because they have lower costs associated with gear, supplies, equipment, etc.

For example, a smaller dog carrier costs many times less than a large one.

The same goes for pretty much any other dog equipment.

Even though corgis are considered a small dog breed, they have a higher cost of ownership because of a few reasons:

They’re extremely popular right now

They were one of the most popular breeds in recent years.

Thus demand drives supply and this both reputable and backyard breeders to increase their prices.

They can sell the same dog for a premium because they know someone will buy it.

The over initial cost gets a price premium because of their popularity.

Corgis may require training or obedience classes

Because many owners buy or adopt a corgi without doing their research, they typically don’t have the time to “fix” or correct negative behaviors like barking, biting, or potty training.

So the quick fix is to sign the dog up for a class.

While this is an optional cost when compared against the “corgi necessities,” this should still be considered when assessing the total cost of ownership.

Pet insurance

Corgis are generally a healthy breed but are predisposed to specific health problems, as with most dog breeds.

There are definitely healthier breeds out there to which the owner may not opt for insurance for their dog.

When compared to a corgi, this is another expense to consider.

Dog surrender

Because of their popularity and many owners getting a corgi and then not realizing the consequences of not doing their research, this results in many corgis ending up in shelters or rescues.

This is another added cost to the previous owner as rescues have a fee to surrender your dog.

Although it’s typically small, it can be significant to some people.

All these costs can easily add up and be more than you expected.

With the majority of Americans not being able to cover a $1000 expense, prospective owners should think twice before making the purchase.

Dog health bills can add up quickly, especially if you don’t have pet insurance. This is something that’s often overlooked, but something everyone should know.

Do you have savings for unexpected corgi problems?

You can’t leave a corgi at home all day

Corgi left a home.
A very bored corgi.

Corgis are not good house dogs and can’t be left alone for extended periods. If you’re an extremely busy person, you’ll need a responsible dog sitter or someone who can keep your corgi busy.

There are some artificial solutions like automatic fetch machines and puzzle toys, but these are no match for actual human interaction that involves all the senses (especially human scent).

Corgis may develop destructive behavior patterns if left alone for extended hours.

A typical workday can be a stretch right on the border of “too lengthy” for corgis.

This will be something you’ll need to think about before buying a corgi. It’s especially critical to know before adopting a corgi also.

What’s it like owning a corgi

Owning a corgi is a lot like any other dog. Except corgis will require more patience and experience from the owner.

These dogs are smart, require exercise and mental stimulation, and need to be challenged on a daily basis.

So there’s definitely a degree of involvement from the dog owner more so than other laid-back breeds.

Are corgis a good first dog?

Corgis are also known to be stubborn and manipulative to get their way.

This can make things like housebreaking and obedience difficult, which again, is why an experienced owner is preferable.

New owners may not even realize that they’re training and positively reinforcing their dogs for negative behavior until it’s too late!

First-time dog owners may give up or not have the patience to properly socialize, train, and shape a well-behaved corgi.

Thus, negative behaviors will develop from poor socialization, discipline, and other factors (poor exercise, obedience, etc.).

Simply put, there are a lot of different variables that the owner needs to be aware of and get “right” during the puppy’s development.

A simple mistake can be very difficult to “fix” among corgis because of their stubborn nature and high awareness.

Things you need for a corgi puppy

Corgi puppy essential checklist.
Corgi puppies don’t ask for much.

A corgi puppy needs the same essential things as any other puppy.

The needs are no different so you don’t need to go out and buy anything too fancy.

Here’s a quick new puppy checklist of all the essential equipment for a corgi:

Must-have supplies

  • Adjustable collar/harness
  • Durable leash
  • ID tag
  • Food and water bowls (stainless steel)
  • Dog food airtight storage
  • Dog treats
  • Poop bags
  • Bag of dog food (mix with the breeder’s food)
  • 1 puzzle toy
  • 1 hard chew toy
  • 1 soft chew toy (plush)
  • Dog crate (dog should be able to turn around fully)
  • Dog bed
  • Enzyme carpet cleaner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs
  • Coarse and fine brushes
  • Nail clippers
  • Ear cleaner
  • Shampoo


  • Scented cloth or rag with littermate scents
  • Dog wipes
  • Professional grooming tool (Furminator etc.)
  • Training treat pouch
  • Dog clicker
  • Exercise pen
  • Training pads
  • Flea drops/collar
  • Dietary supplements
  • Poop scoop
  • Coat supplements
  • Coat shampoo

Medications and vaccinations (varies on dog)

  • Flea drops/chewables
  • Heartworm meds
  • Dewormer
  • Core shots (all dogs need these administered in a series)
  • Rabies (check state laws)
  • Optional vaccines (kennel cough, rattlesnake, etc.)
  • Any other necessary medications or vaccinations your vet has prescribed

Print these contact details to have handy

  • Vet’s phone number
  • Pet insurance phone and ID
  • Breeder’s phone number
  • Vaccination record
  • Registration records (AKC, CKC, etc.)
  • Any other certificates
  • Dog license (where necessary)
  • Dog trainer, sitter, walker, etc. contact

Further reading

Here are some resources you may find useful:

And now you know

Corgi outdoors happy.
And knowing is half the battle.

So now you know what to expect before adopting or buying a corgi.

As you can see, there are some nuances with this breed that are quite different from others.

They’re not really for beginners and will require patience and dedication to properly raise. But anyone with the will and desire can make it happen.

And by reading this, you’re already doing your part to be one of those people.

Did you have any questions? Post a comment below and us know!

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