Are Corgis Good Farm Dogs? Why Corgis Might Be the Right Dog for You

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Written By Dane Michael

MyFavCorgi is a community of corgi fans and owners with advice to buy, raise and care for your corgi.

Corgis are an old family favourite breed and I am thrilled to introduce you to the fascinating world of corgis on farms.

You may be surprised to learn that these short-legged house dogs were originally bred for herding cattle and sheep in their native Wales. So, given their herding history, it’s no surprise that many people wonder if corgis still make good farm dogs today.

In this article, I’ll dive into the traits that make corgis suitable for life on the farm and examine some of the challenges that corgi owners might face when raising these dogs in a rural setting.

In essence, yes, corgis can make good farm dogs. While they are not used to the extent they were historically, many farms still use corgis to herd livestock and round up farm animals. Their short stature and agility allow them to navigate the uneven terrain of the countryside with ease, and their intelligence and loyalty make them an excellent companion for farmers.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about these charming little dogs and their role on farms, read on!

What is the farming history of the corgi?

Corgis were initially used by farmers in Wales for cattle and sheep herding. When the livestock had to go off to market, the farmer’s corgi was there to help guide their way.

Their compact stature and nimbleness made them perfect for such tasks. Their small size even kept them out of the way of errant kicks from horses and cattle.

They were also trained to perform a variety of tasks out on the farm, including herding sheep, goats, and even chickens back to their rightful homes.

Over time, the corgi transitioned into the family pet we know and love. But, even today, they have still managed to hang onto their herding instincts, as well as their high energy and intelligence that made them such an asset out on the farm.

Are corgis good farm dogs?

Yes, corgis are good farm dogs. They possess qualities that make them suitable for farm work, such as being intelligent, affectionate, hardworking, and quick learners. They enjoy socialising with both humans and animals, and while they require attention and care to maintain their health, they are well-suited for farm life.

Corgis are highly intelligent and quick learners. This means that they can be trained to perform a variety of tasks on the farm, from herding animals to guarding the property.

They’re also very adaptable, meaning that they can easily adjust to new situations and environments.

Another advantage of corgis is their small size. While they may not have the same endurance as larger breeds, their short legs and compact bodies make them ideal for working in tight spaces like barns or pastures.

And despite their small stature, corgis are known for their impressive work ethic and willingness to take on any task.

Corgis are also capable of performing a variety of herding tasks, such as separating animals for medical treatment or managing their movement during feeding. These are important skills for life out on the farm.

Two Pembroke Welsh corgis sniffing the grass outside

What animals can corgis herd?

Corgis are highly skilled herding dogs and can be used on both small and large farms to manage a variety of livestock. Corgis can herd various animals, including but not limited to, sheep, cattle, goats, and poultry.

Despite their small stature, they possess strong herding instincts and intelligence that make them well-suited for the task. Let’s look more closely at the animals that corgis can herd.

Bonus TipIn this section, you’ll find the answer to:
• Can corgis herd chickens?
• Can corgis herd sheep?
• Can corgis herd goats?
• Can corgis herd cows?
Three Pembroke Welsh corgis outside on the green grass facing away from the camera in a group

Can corgis herd chickens?

Yes, corgis can be trained to herd chickens, but it requires patience and skill on the part of the owner.

Chickens can be easily frightened and scattered, which can trigger a corgi’s strong herding instinct, leading to potential harm to the chickens. Therefore, proper training is crucial to ensure that your corgi can work with chickens safely.

​I know the first time my corgi ran into my friend’s chickens, he started barking up a storm, and I had to take him back indoors until he calmed down.

With training, corgis can develop the necessary skills to keep chickens in a tight group and move them in the right direction without causing any harm.

Can corgis herd sheep?

Corgis are highly skilled at herding sheep and are often used for this task on farms.

Their strong herding instinct, agility, and speed make them ideal for managing sheep.

Corgis use their herding instincts to control the movement of sheep and keep them in a tight group, which is essential for effective herding.

Corgis must also be trained to respond to their owner’s commands and be able to adapt to any changes in the sheep’s behaviour to maintain control over the flock. This can take a lot of time and patience, but is worth it in the end.

Can corgis herd goats?

Yes, corgis can be trained to herd goats out on the farm. They do, however, need to be trained to do so effectively.

Corgis have a natural instinct for herding, and they can be surprisingly effective when it comes to rounding up goats. Goats are more challenging to herd than sheep because of their independent nature and agility.

When herding goats, corgis may use a combination of barking, nipping at heels, and circling to move the animals in the desired direction. While goats may initially be startled by the corgi’s herding behaviour, they usually adjust to it and may even come to view the corgi as their trusted herding companion.

With their short legs, corgis may not be able to run as fast as other herding breeds, but they make up for it with their agility and intelligence. However, corgis have a strong herding instinct that can be harnessed with proper training.

Can corgis herd cows?

Corgis have the potential to be trained to herd cows on farms, but it requires patience, skill, and time on behalf of the owner.

Cows are much larger and more challenging to control for modern corgis than other livestock, such as sheep and goats.

Training a corgi to herd cows requires a great deal of patience and skill from the owner and should be done with the guidance of a professional dog trainer.

It is essential to consider the individual temperament and abilities of the corgi before attempting to train them to herd cows, as corgis are small dogs that could be at risk of injury when herding large cattle. 

How can I train my corgi to herd?​

To train a corgi to herd livestock, basic obedience training is necessary before introducing herding-specific commands. Early exposure to livestock is also essential, starting with smaller animals before moving to larger ones. This is then followed by a routine of commands, praise and rewards.

The first step is to establish basic obedience training by teaching your dog essential commands.

These commands include:

As your corgi masters these basic commands, you can move on to introducing herding-specific commands like “come by” and “away to me,” which will help you control the direction of the livestock.

Early exposure to livestock is crucial for your corgi’s training, and starting with smaller animals, such as chickens or ducks, before progressing to larger ones, like sheep or goats, is recommended.

It is also essential to supervise your dog closely during training to ensure their safety and the correct execution of herding behaviours.

Positive reinforcement training using rewards and praise is a highly effective method for training corgis. This type of training helps your dog associate good behaviour with positive outcomes and motivates them to repeat desired actions.

Consistency in training is equally important, as corgis thrive on structure and routine. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, your corgi can learn to be an efficient and reliable herding dog.

This will, over time, lead to your corgi being an expert herder.

What are the challenges of training a corgi to herd?

Training a corgi to be a herding dog can be challenging, requiring patience, consistency, and careful supervision. Good communication and professional guidance can be helpful, and you should also be sure to familiarise your corgi with the farm’s boundaries.

The process of training a corgi to become an effective farm herding dog can be quite challenging.

​One of the main challenges is the need for patience and consistency during training. As with any skill, herding requires time and dedication to master, and it is important to keep in mind that not all corgis are well-suited for this type of work.

Another challenge when training a corgi to herd is their small size, which could put them at risk of injury when working with larger livestock. This requires careful supervision and precautionary measures to keep both the dog and the animals safe.

Effective communication is also crucial when working with a corgi herding dog, as the dog must be able to understand and obey commands. Seeking the advice of a professional dog trainer can be helpful in ensuring that your corgi is trained effectively and safely.

To prevent any potential danger or harm, precautions must be taken when working with a corgi on a farm. These include providing proper training and socialisation, using suitable equipment such as a harness and lead, supervising the dog at all times, and monitoring their behaviour for signs of stress or fatigue.

It is also important to familiarise the corgi with the boundaries and layout of the farm to prevent them from straying or getting lost.

Do corgis need to socialise with livestock to herd?

Yes, corgis must be socialised with livestock before you start herding training. As a herding breed, corgis have a natural instinct to control and chase livestock, which can result in unwanted behaviour if not properly socialised.

By exposing your corgi to livestock from a young age, they learn to interact appropriately and reduce the risk of aggressive or fearful behaviour.

​It’s important to start socialising your corgi with all the animals on your farm as early as possible to ensure their development.

However, some animals may require more attention and guidance than others during the socialisation process.

For instance, introducing your corgi to chickens requires extra caution as they can easily scare and harm the pup with their flighty behaviour. Similarly, larger livestock such as cattle can pose a risk of accidental harm to your corgi.

If you own a small mixed farm, it’s best to expose your corgi to all aspects of farm life, including equipment operation and interaction with different animals and situations.

Lead training can be beneficial during this phase as it enables you to keep your corgi on a lead or long lead while they adapt to the environment and learn the boundaries between different types of animals.

It’s also crucial that other animals have the opportunity to socialise with your corgi to keep them safe.

​How to socialise your corgi with livestock?

There are six steps to socialise your corgi with livestock: familiarisation, positive reinforcement, exposure, correction, stimulation, progression.

Socialising your corgi with livestock requires patience and consistency, and should begin at a young age.

The following six steps can be taken to socialise your corgi with livestock:

  1. Start with familiarising your corgi with your livestock in a controlled environment. This can be done by introducing your corgi to a single animal, such as a calm and gentle sheep or goat.
  2. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise to reward your corgi for calm and appropriate behaviour around the livestock.
     
  3. Gradually increase the number of animals your corgi is exposed to, always ensuring that the environment remains controlled and safe.
     
  4. Supervise your corgi at all times when they are interacting with livestock, and correct any inappropriate behaviour such as chasing or nipping.
     
  5. Provide ample exercise and mental stimulation for your corgi to prevent boredom and frustration that could lead to negative behaviour around livestock when exposure is longer.
    ​ 
  6. Continue to expose your corgi to different types of livestock and environments to ensure that they are well-socialised and adaptable to different situations.

By following these steps, you can help your corgi develop into a confident and well-behaved herding dog on your farm.

​Besides herding, what else can corgis do on farms?

Corgis can have several roles on farms besides herding including hunters, watchdogs and companions.

Due to their small size and agility, they can be trained as vermin hunters, which can help keep the farm free of rodents and other pests.

Additionally, they can make excellent watchdogs, alerting the farmer to any potential threats or intruders.

Their friendly and loyal nature also makes them great companions for farmers and their families.

What is the best dog for a farm?

Other dogs that are good on farms, like the corgi, include cattle dogs, border collies, and Labradors. Big dogs, like malamutes, Samoyeds, and Great Danes also benefit from the wide-open space.

Farms have a wide range of tasks that need to be performed, and having a dog to assist with these tasks can make the work much easier.

Corgis are a highly capable and intelligent herding breed that are well-suited for farm work. They are known for their quick thinking, agility, and strong herding instinct, making them capable of handling a variety of livestock with ease.

When compared to other herding breeds, corgis have a unique combination of traits that make them stand out, including their small size, which allows them to work in tight spaces, and their strong work ethic, which drives them to perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

However, they’re not the only dog you can choose.

Choosing the best dog for a farm depends on the specific needs of the farm and the tasks the dog will be expected to perform. Some popular breeds for farm work include:

  • Border Collie: Known for their intelligence and work ethic, Border Collies excel at herding and can also be trained for other farm tasks such as retrieving and guarding.
  • Australian Cattle Dog: Originally bred for herding cattle, these dogs are highly intelligent and loyal. They are also adept at protecting the farm and can be trained for various tasks.
  • Great Pyrenees: These large, gentle dogs are natural guardians and are often used to protect livestock from predators. They require minimal exercise and are great for farms with large areas of land.
  • Jack Russell Terrier: These small but mighty dogs are excellent for controlling vermin on the farm. They are also energetic and love to work.
  • Labrador Retriever: These friendly, loyal dogs are excellent retrievers and can be trained for various farm tasks. They are also great with children and make good family pets.

Ultimately, the best dog for a farm is one that is well-suited to the specific needs of your farm and has been trained properly to perform the necessary tasks.

Final thoughts on are corgis farm dogs. Is a corgi right for your farm?

Corgis have a strong herding instinct and can make great farm dogs with proper training, socialisation, and care.

However, it is important to assess your farm’s specific needs and requirements before getting a corgi or any other breed of dog.

Corgis are a small breed, which may not be suitable for farms with larger livestock. Additionally, their high energy levels and need for mental stimulation and exercise require a significant commitment from their owners.

If you have a small mixed farm and are willing to provide the necessary training, exercise, and attention, a corgi could be an excellent addition to your farm.

However, if you have large livestock or do not have the time and resources to meet a corgi’s needs, another breed may be more suitable for your farm. 

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