The Australian Shepherd Corgi Mix is a dog that hails from two separate herding dog breeds, so the need to chase and herd things can be quite strong. Both dogs are similar in body shape except that the Corgi is fixed upon very short legs.
He has a sturdy body and bone structure, however. Don’t let his short stature fool you! The Australian Shepherd can be more obedient than the Corgi tends to be but both are highly intelligent breeds which leads to a mix that also tends to be quite intelligent.
Let’s explore all of the ins and outs of both parent breeds so that we can further understand the mix thereof.
The Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is a herding breed, unlike his name suggests however, he is not an Australian breed. This dog actually hails from America.
He was originated from dogs that the Basque people from the Pyrenees region of Spain brought with them when they settled in the American West.
Exact origins of their name is not clearly known but speculated that it was the Australian immigrants who worked with these dogs originally for sheep herding that lent them their name. They were, however, also used in herding cattle in the American West.
Ranchers in the higher regions of the Western US, such as the Rocky Mountain region, used the dogs very successfully and found that they do very well in the arid, thin air of the region, at high altitudes.
The Australian Shepherd gained popularity via the rodeo circuit and by getting some airtime on television. Eventually, they became a well-known breed and have proven to be exceedingly intelligent and obedient dogs by nature.
Breed Personality Traits
The Australian Shepherd is a happy-go-lucky dog with a ‘can do’ attitude. They view work as if it is merely play. They bond with their caretakers very deeply. This dog breed is loyal, affectionate, and ready to go whenever you are.
They like to be with their owners and can be somewhat leery of strangers, though they aren’t known for aggression.
Because they are a herding breed, they tend to stick close and are a dog that is easy to keep without needing to be on a leash, unlike a hound that will take off after a smell. The Aussie will keep eyes trained on you and keep you in their sights at all times.
They can be an excellent herding dog and watchdog. They will bark when something is out of order and they do not like things out of order. They will herd the children, the ducks, the sheep, and the cattle if you let them.
They may try to herd the vacuum cleaner or the lawn mower as well. They are more solid in body than the border collie, with similar herding instincts.
This is a dog that requires a lot of exercise or they get bored easily. They’re very intelligent and need to be mentally stimulated as well. The Australian Shepherd knows he is smart and will set out it prove it every chance that he gets.
They are good with children and other pets if they are well-socialized and taught as pups not to nip at children and other smaller creatures around the house. Nipping is a herding instinct for many of the herding breed dogs but they can be taught when not to do this. It’s important that you work on this from day one.
Australian Shepherds excel at obedience. They don’t tend to be a challenging breed. They’re prone to wanting to please.
This makes them excellent at basic and advanced obedience skills. They can be found working as service dogs, as competition dancing partners, as agility dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even as seeing eye dogs.
Caring For the Australian Shepherd
The Aussie is known for a very thick coat that needs constant grooming and brushing. It keeps things in their environment from reaching their skin, so it is a protective layer on their body.
It’s especially bushy on their rear end, where they also have no tail. This prevents being nipped at and grabbed by cattle. It’s a natural padding.
Show dogs may have a slightly different coat than working dog lines, who might have more of a wave or curl in their fur. Show dog breeders don’t like this and breed for a dog that has straighter coats.
The working dog lines may also be a bit on the larger side, weighing in at 65 pounds, plus or minus.
Therefore, if you don’t like brushing dogs and hate shedding, then this may not be the breed for you. They require regular grooming and they will shed very much in the spring each year and a bit all of the time.
You will need to train your Aussie so that they are under your control at all times. It’s important that they not pull on a leash because they are a relatively heavy dog, considered a medium to large breed.
The Australian Shepherd isn’t known for being an excessive chewer, once he’s outgrown puppyhood teething. They are a great dog that can adapt to any living situation, provided that you see to their exercise needs.
This breed can have anxiety issues if they are not exercised often and worn-out well. They like to run and play a bit on the rough side. They were, after all, bred to herd cattle and sheep. A bit of jostling is normal to them.
If they have plenty of mental and physical stimulation, they won’t be hole-diggers, barkers, or worse. They tend to be very calm and curious dogs, with plenty of supervision and training, they are rock solid and obedient.
Make sure that you feed them a proper diet, keep their teeth clean with a toothpaste made for dogs, provide them with plenty of water at all times. Their coat helps them be insulated from the heat in summer as much as it keeps them warm in winter.
They are not intended to be shaved in summer and this can cause them to get a sunburn.
If they are groomed professionally, they will receive a good blow-out of their coat and a trim of their back side, and the backs of the legs, where they have feathering that is also to keep sand spurs and thistles from penetrating their skin when they are working.
Check their feet often if they are a working dog or you’ve been hiking trails.
While they aren’t necessarily known as a breed to get ear infections, you should check their ear weekly and make sure that they are kept clean and smelling good. A pungent odor may indicate a yeast infection in the ear and black tar-like substance in the ear may indicate mites. Keep an eye out for these.
He has no tail but a lot of hair on his back side. You’ll want to keep him well-trimmed so that his rear stays clean and nothing gets stuck in his fur after bowel movements.
Brush this area daily and keep it checked. Anything sticking will cause matting and these can be very problematic to remove, sometimes needing to be cut out.
Overall, the Australian Shepherd is a fantastic, intelligent breed that is loyal and loving. They love to play and work hard and they seem to have a sense of humor.
You’ll find yourself giggling at their antics and their exuberance for life. Aussies smile a lot and will have you smiling right along with them.
This is another herding breed dog who is so old that no one actually knows exactly what his origins are. Depicted in very old works of art, the Corgi is popular in Europe as a sheep herder and was a favorite breed of the current Queen of England, being a breeder of Corgis until quite recently.
Corgis are a spunky, intelligent dog that often have a mind of their own and a strong will. This serves them well most of the time and it makes for a personality that is very lovable and favored by their owners. They are very competitive and active.
Corgis love nothing more than to race after a ball with some other dogs that they can outrun.
Don’t be fooled by their short legs, the Corgi is a fast moving little dog that has a thick torso, making them quite resilient as well. They won’t be pushed around. As a smaller dog in the herding dog group, they’ve got a thing or two to prove and almost seem to have a natural tendency to want to be first at things, top finisher, and the winner, even if the goal was out-eating their siblings. This makes them an excellent working dog for the farmer with a flock that needs tending.
Corgi Personality Traits
We’ve already touched on some of the traits of this breed. They have an opinion about things and aren’t afraid to show it most of the time. The Corgi is feisty and loves a good chase or a round of fetch.
They need exercise or they can be quite naughty. Corgis are prone to a lot of barking if they are bored and/or untrained.
You should work with them from the time they are quite small about not barking, otherwise they will tend to be the dog that rushes to the front door and causes a major disruption anytime you have a guest.
On the flip side of this coin, the Corgi makes an excellent watchdog and will let you know if anything at all is out of order. They are alert, with a keen sense of hearing and smell. They are a fearless little dog that is willing to tangle with raccoons, opossums, and possibly even a bobcat if you were to let them.
This may be a good reason to train them to be obedient (at least as obedient as a Corgi will be). Don’t get us wrong, they are great dogs. They are simply prone to doing things the way they want to do them.
If you don’t display to them very early on that you are the one in charge, the Corgi is a breed that can easily take over and empower themselves to make executive decisions on your behalf, deciding who can come in the front door and what to bark at in the courtyard.
Corgis adore attention and children. They’ll play all day long if there are children to play and run with. Do be cautious about the nipping that is a herding dog trait. Nipping is how they attempt to control the direction of the animals they are charged with herding.
They often attempt to herd children and can accidently nip skin and cause bleeding if this is not curtailed at a young age.
Involving a trainer to help with these sorts of issues is always the best idea. Begin working right away and involve children in the training process so that they understand what triggers a herding dog to nip at ankles and flailing arms.
Lastly, don’t leave the dog and children alone. This is a high priority. Never leave children and dogs unattended until children are old enough to be completely in control of situations and the dog has been trained.
The Corgi is also quite the ham and if he is getting attention for being a goofball, he’ll continue to be so. They love being the center of attention and learn very quickly what gets them treats. Any dog will repeat the behaviors that work in their favor and Corgis catch on quickly.
In total honesty, herding breeds tend to be some of the most intelligent dog breeds that exist. This is likely because they must be able to think on their feet and reason what the herd will potentially do before they do it.
This ability to anticipate another animal’s behavior is a cognitive function which many never thought that dogs were capable of.
Duke University has a program dedicated to canine cognitive function and they’ve proven that dogs have the ability to reason and plan. Herding dogs may have the aptitude of a child who is roughly five-years-old.
Caring For The Corgi
Corgis have a very similar coat to that of the Austrailian Shepherd. It’s thick and designed to keep thistles, thorns and other weeds from penetrating to the skin below. It functions as insulation from heat in the summer and cold in the winter.
A Corgi needs a good brushing and will do best to have one each day.
They will shed excessively in the spring but are known to shed a little year-round so if you have allergies or hate dog hair, think hard about having a Corgi or any mix thereof. You will have hair floating around your house and collections of fur under beds and sofas unless you are prepared to clean and vacuum consistently.
Pay attention to his teeth. The Corgi may chew on toys more than the Australian Shepherd, so he will need some bones or other hard chews to help keep his teeth clean and healthy.
An old dog with bad teeth will require soft food and dental care to have teeth pulled. This can be avoided though.
If your dog is not much of a chewer, he may need you to scrape tartar from his teeth to keep them healthy. Brush his teeth with toothpaste formulated for dogs that is enzymatic and contains no fluoride. Fluoride is poisonous to dogs so be careful that you don’t use it.
An untrained Corgi can be an out-of-control dog that barks a lot. His care includes proper training. If you are unsure where to begin, hire a trainer or attend group classes that will also help to socialize your dog. A well-socialized Corgi is a better behaved Corgi.
There are two types of Corgis. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The Pembroke is the most popular and has no tail. They are typically born without a tail, as is the Australian Shepherd, though on occasion a pup will have a bobbed tail that is too long or be born with a full tail that will be bobbed at the vet clinic.
Some breeders will do tail bobbing themselves if they are able to do so. It’s typically done within the first 48 hours after birth. It is said that puppies have yet to develop nerve tissue to the end of the tail and feel little to nothing, provided that it is done within the first 48 hours of life.
You will want to feed your Corgi a very good, lean food that is high in protein from a good meat source. They have a lot of energy and need a great food to keep them happy.
That said, the Corgi can also become overweight as they age and will become a couch potato if you let them. Since they are long dogs, being overweight is especially hard on their back.
You’ll want to take great care to not allow your Corgi or Corgi mix to get too heavy. This can lead to a long battle with back pain and slipped or ruptured discs. If they remain active and eat right, this is far less likely to ever be a concern for you or your dog.
Potential Health Issues of Both Breeds
Here are some health concerns that you should be aware of with both breeds:
The Australian Shepherd
- The merle colored Aussies should NEVER be bred to each other. A dog that inherits the merle gene from both parents will be either deaf or blind and in many cases, both. These are often referred to as lethal white pups and will typically be culled (humanely killed) at birth.
- Cataracts - A growth over the cornea that causes a loss of vision that happens gradually. This is treatable with surgical intervention.
- Hip dysplasia - A condition which causes the femur to not sit properly within the hip joint. It floats in and out of the joint causing discomfort and pain. It can cause stress to the ligaments, arthritis and long-term joint damage. Surgery on severe cases is require to prevent a dog from being rendered permanently lame.
- Epilepsy - A seizure condition that may require medication. This is a genetically passed trait and breeders work very hard to not breed dogs with a history of epilepsy but there are many backyard breeders who are still doing this as well as breeding merles for ‘pretty whiter dogs.’
- NO HERDING DOGS SHOULD BE GIVEN IVERMECTIN - it has been known to cause seizures and death in collies and other types of herding dogs. Breeders will typically tell all puppy adopters to never give it to their pups.
- Hip dysplasia - This joint issue is common in many breeds and can be bad to severe. A veterinarian will determine how bad the joint is and make recommendations from pain medication to surgical intervention.
- Von Willebrand's disease - This is a curable condition that is passed genetically in Corgis. It may require a blood transfusion and ongoing treatment to beat the condition but it doesn’t mean a death sentence to the dog. It is evidenced by bleeding gums and excessive bleeding after heat cycles.
- Degenerative myelopathy - This is a condition in which the tissues in the area of the spine which provide support degenerate. It is a progressive and debilitating disease. It is very bad immediately and can lead to total paralysis in the hind limbs.
- Intervertebral disc disease - This is the herniated and bulging discs mentioned before. Don’t let your Corgi get overweight and take care of his back. If your Corgi is refusing to jump or attempt to go up and down stairs, he may be showing early warning signs and you should have him checked.
- Epilepsy - This is a condition which is typically passed genetically. Many breeds are prone to this condition and it can be life-threatening if it isn’t treated. Many animals respon wll to treatment however. Vet your dog immediately if you suspect he’s had a seizure.
- Cutaneous Asthenia - This is a condition in which the skin appears flimsy and lacks elasticity. The dog may bruise easily and the skin may appear to sag. They may bleed easily as well. It’s also knowns as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
- Cystinuria - This condition causes excessive levels of protein in the urine which can lead to kidney stones, bladder stones, and UTIs. It can be very painful and irritating to the dog. It is typically just a problem in male dogs.
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus - This is a congenital defect that can be corrected if discovered by your veterinarian upon exam. It causes the unoxygenated blood to bypass the lungs, leading to high blood pressure. Again, it is totally correctable with a surgical procedure.
- Cataracts - The eyes get an opaque film that grows over the cornea which leads to blindness and vision issues. This can be corrected by surgically removing the cataract. Vision prognosis is very good.
- NEVER GIVE IVERMECTIN TO A CORGI
The Australian Shepherd Corgi Mix
Whenever there is a first generation mix of pups from each of the purebred parents, the puppies can have a 50/50 shot of looking like either parent or being an equal mix of both. In some cases, when two recessive genes are passed, the pup may look different than either parent.
Typically, the mix of these dogs will be short-legged like the Corgi and coloring of the Australian Shepherd, which may be black and white, black-tricolor, red- tricolor, red and white, red merle, or blue merle.
Since both breeds are herding dogs, the need to herd will likely be strong. Show dog lines are less apt to have the strong desire to herd because they’ve been bred to work less and show more.
Some dogs come from working dog lines and these will have intense desires to herd. They will be keeping toys together on the floor from the time they are little and will likely display nipping and chasing behaviors very early on.
It’s important that you work with these puppies as soon as they come home. It is never too soon to begin training. If you don’t know where to start, hire a professional trainer who can come to your home and help you to see what needs to happen. They will get you started on how to correct the behavior and redirect it constructively.
Herding dogs are very intelligent and your Aussie Corgi mix is no exception. He will be very sharp-minded and catch on quickly to anything you’ll take the time to teach him. These guys excel at agility, frisbee, flyball, and other dog sporting events. If you are an active person or have an active family and lifestyle, these dogs will absolutely thrive with you.
What To Expect From Your Mix
These dogs are both loving and affectionate, as well as loyal to the end. Both dogs will stand by your side through thick and thin, ready to do whatever you ask of them. They prefer being with you whenever they are given the choice. Herding dogs bond very closely to their pack and they view you as such.
Don’t expect your herding dog to be lazy and lay around the house all day without having something to say about it. They need to be active and will become destructive if they aren’t given enough play time.
While the Aussie isn’t a big barker, the Corgi can be. You’ll want to work with your puppy immediately if he begins exhibiting signs of barking excessively. It can turn into a non-stop thing that neighbors will despise you for, especially if you live in an apartment building.
Herding dogs typically learn to walk on a leash with ease as long as you are consistent. Smart dogs are especially important to train with consistency. If you aren’t consistent, then they see your weak points and they will take advantage of them.
They can’t help it, it’s what they are bred to do. They herd animals by finding their weak points and using that fear against them to move them.
They’ll have you figured-out faster than you will train them and that’s a given. When it comes to longevity, you can expect a dog that remains healthy to live as long as 12-15 years of age. They will remain active for the majority of their life, though they do slow down some with age.
In their old age, they may lose their hearing and their eyesight may fail. They’re incredible adaptable and will learn to get around as long as you help them. They are tough and resilient, adaptable and rarely get down. They are happy little dogs, but they are not for the faint of heart and we’ll cover that as well.
Reasons That You May Wish to Avoid an Australian Shepherd Corgi Mix
- Health issues that were listed above. They may have a high risk of inheriting a potentially progressive issue that will lead to expensive surgery or long-term care needs.
- Nipping is hard to train out of this mix because the genetics are just hard to beat. If you have children, herding dogs are very difficult to have because kids get nipped. Don’t have a herding dog with very small children unless you are already very experienced with them.
- These may not be a good mix for a first-time dog owner. The Corgi can be willful and both breeds are intellectual. They will have you confounded over and over if you’ve never had a dog before, you might want to start with an easier breed.
- High exercise needs. If you live in an apartment and you are not an active person, this dog will go crazy and drive you crazy as well. He’ll be bouncing off the furniture and you’ll be regretting your decisions.
- Lack of an outdoor space for running would be a deal breaker with this dog. If they can’t run, they won’t stay happy or healthy. If they aren’t happy, they’ll chew your shoes and do other mischievous things that will send you crying to a trainer for help almost immediately.
While they are smart and loyal, they can also be a challenge and only you can really determine if you are up to that challenge. Talk to a breeder and ask them a lot of questions. Talk to trainers ahead of time. Find out what you can do to start successfully if you decide that you simply have to have an Aussie Corgi mix.
Whatever you do, understand that it is a 12 to 15 year commitment when you bring home that puppy. It is all about health, food, basic needs, training and it can be worse than bringing home a baby because at least a baby lays where you put it for the first few months. A puppy will be into everything the very first day.
Make sure that you’re ready and if you are undeterred by any of the negatives, then we wish you many years of love and happiness with your Aussie Corgi mix. Enjoy them and take care of them and they will be an integral part of your family for many years to come.
Featured Image Credit:Erin Smith (Spiritbearstudio@gmail.com)