Assistance Dog Breeds: About Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis

The Cardigan Welsh corgi and Pembroke Welsh corgi both hail from Wales and have much in common, but they are two distinct breeds with their own personalities. Pembrokes are better known in the US, ranked by the American Kennel Club as the 22nd most popular breed, while their Cardigan cousins come in a bit farther down at 76th. 

While their short stature makes them unsuited to some service dog jobs that involve providing physical support for human partners and other tasks requiring considerable size, both types of Welsh corgi can work well for certain niche areas of assistance. In particular, Welsh corgis are trained as hearing dogs for deaf and hearing-impaired people. They also sometimes work as alert dogs for those with conditions like diabetes, sensing and signaling when blood sugar reaches dangerous levels. 

If you need a hearing dog or an alert dog for a medical condition, Welsh corgis are worth looking into, especially if you prefer or need a smaller animal given space limitations or for other reasons. Here’s a basic overview of these two dog breeds to help figure out whether they might be a good match for you. 

Why Welsh Corgis Make Good Assistance Dogs 

Both Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh corgis were bred for herding, with a strong instinct for helping direct those in their charge. These are working dogs with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy to enthusiastically accomplish their tasks. They remain alert at all times, making them perfect for people with disabilities who need to be warned of dangers they can’t sense themselves. 

Welsh corgis have just the right combination of smarts, curiosity, and eagerness to please that makes certain dogs so highly trainable. Again, these medium-small dogs aren’t able to perform some of the physical assistance work that commonly used larger breeds like Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds can, but when large size doesn’t matter, these are reliable assistance dogs. 

One important note, though, about Welsh corgis as service dogs: like other herding breeds, they have a significant protective streak. This can cause complications in public if the dog is too wary of strangers to focus on her responsibilities of if she believes her human is vulnerable and becomes aggressive. To be suitable for assistance work, individuals must demonstrate the ability to bypass protective instincts. 

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