The German Shepherd Corgi mix (Corman Shepherd) comes from two popular breeds of dogs that have many desirable traits.
German Shepherds are known for their beauty and grace, agility, intelligence, work ethic, and courage. They were introduced as herding dogs in the early 1800s in Germany, and their popularity quickly spread.
While German Shepherds are sometimes seen as aggressive dogs, they are actually quite easy to train and socialize, especially when they are young. With good upbringings, they are actually very playful, loyal, and loving. Just like any breed with a bad reputation, with enough time, training, and care, any German Shepherd dog can become the ideal family pet.
There are two variations of Corgis: the Pembroke Welsh and the Cardigan Welsh. Most people are probably more familiar with the look of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi because Queen Elizabeth II of England has had several of these beloved dogs throughout the years.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is typically distinguished by its light, medium-length coat with white dispersed throughout and docked tail. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is typically distinguished by its darker, medium-length dense coat with white patches without a docked tail. Corgis are known for their small stature, affection, loyalty, playfulness, and intelligence.
The combination of these two breeds may seem strange especially in terms of their size difference, but the “Corman Shepherd,” as it has come to be called in many circles, is a designer breed who is easier to manage than a full-grown German Shepherd, yet smart and loyal, much like its parentage.
German Shepherds are a well-known breed in the United States because they are used across the country as a police dog and a favorite of many law enforcement agencies. Known for their agility, loyalty, fearlessness, and intelligence, they are incredibly hard workers who serve and protect the citizens of their jurisdictions just as diligently as their human counterparts. Perhaps, one might argue, they serve with even more enthusiasm, too.
German Shepherds became especially popular as a breed when soldiers returned home to England and the United States after World War I with their German Shepherd dogs in tow.
German Shepherds became the primary working dog for the German military in World War I, developed by Captain Max von Stephanitz for their utility over the course of about 15 years. Interestingly, shortly after World War I, a blind man named Morris Frank and a dog trainer named Dorothy Harrison Eustis worked together to train the first seeing eye dog: a German Shepherd named Buddy.
For years, their intuition, loyalty, and work ethic kept German Shepherds at the forefront of the seeing eye dog community for many years.
According to Stephanie S. Hedgepath of Pembroke Welsh Corgis in America, the history of the Corgi began in Wales in the tenth century under King Hywel Dda. They were probably descendants of the Swedish Vallhund, brought to the English isles by Viking raiders in the 9th century.
They were originally bred for three reasons: house/domestic use, herding, and hunting or sport. Their size made them an easy addition to any household to chase vermin away, while their speed and agility made them the perfect cattle dogs and hunting partners.
The docking of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi tails has a long and confusing history. There are many stories about how the practice started, including “curtailing” dogs belonging to peasants to distinguish the dogs from the aristocrats’ canines who were able to keep their tails.
Some stories insist that the docking was done to prevent cattle from stepping on their tails while they were herding. However, Cardigan Welsh Corgis keep their tails while performing the same duties. Tail docking is a highly-disputed practice, and now several Kennel Clubs allow Corgis without docked tails to still meet breed standards.
The German Shepherd Corgi mix is usually a mix between the German Shepherd and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. While accidental mixes have surely happened throughout the years, its appearance as a designer breed rose within the last 10-15 years. People enjoy the unique look of these “mini Shepherds” while also appreciating their intellect, loyalty, fearlessness, and playful demeanor.
German Shepherd Corgi mix appearance and size
The Corman Shepherd varies in size, according to their parents. Some Cormans are longer, shorter, and wider than their counterparts. Because they are not recognized as an official breed by organizations such as the American Kennel Club, they are considered to be a designer breed, and therefore do not have specific standards of breeding.
The German Shepherd Corgi mix can weigh between 20 and 60 pounds. For some perspective on the range of their size, the standard Corgi weighs between 30-40 pounds, while German Shepherds can weigh between 65-100 pounds.
The German Shepherd Corgi mix is usually between 12 and 15 inches in height, and between 12 and 18 inches long although this can vary according to their height. Some Corman Shepherds will be taller and longer than others.
Their coats shed quite a bit because the two breeds have very heavy, dense coats. Depending on the length of the coat, a German Shepherd Corgi mix may require more rigorous grooming regimens than other breeds. The colors of the coat vary extensively.
Some Corman Shepherds sport the standard German Shepherd black-and-tan look with white or lighter Corgi coat colors on the belly and chest. Other Cormans sport the light orange and tan colors of the Corgi, but with the distinct German Shepherd ears and shorter fur.
Temperament and characteristics
With plenty of proper training and socialization, especially as young dogs, German Shepherd Corgi mix will be affable and friendly with children, other animals, and strangers. The working instincts of both the Corgi and German Shepherd breeds make them very driven to work and to please their humans.
They can be territorial or tend to guard because of their herding instincts, so training them to do so appropriately with specific commands is crucial.
The German Shepherd has unfortunately garnered a reputation as an aggressive dog, mainly due to the prevalence of people using them as guard dogs (much like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans). The truth is that any dog that is not properly trained, socialized, and left on its own to perform an aggressive job, will likely be aggressive towards strangers and other animals.
Socialized German Shepherds are often some of the happiest, loving dogs one can find, and this temperament translates into the Corman Shepherds as well.
The Corman Shepherd is extremely intelligent.
The Corgi and German Shepherd breeds are extremely easy to train with consistent efforts. Both breeds are extremely loyal and affectionate, and very alert, and all of these traits are definitely prominent in the Corman Shepherd’s attitude and temperament.
Energy levels and exercise needs
Both the Corgi and German Shepherd are herding breeds, so even though the German Shepherd Corgi mix may look like a good fit for a small apartment, they still need plenty of exercise. Like other herding breeds, the Corman Shepherd likes having a job to do, so training even into adulthood can be excellent mental exercise for this kind of dog. This also engages the German Shepherd side of the dog who thrives as an active military and police dog. Corman Shepherds, in training and agility challenges, show incredible focus and drive.
Health issues and lifespan
With two disparate dog sizes like the Corgi and German Shepherd, health issues can vary between each dog, depending on their parents and their individual characteristics. Some health concerns found in both breeds may be allayed by the dog being bigger, or smaller, than the normal breed sizes. German Shepherds often have issues with hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, bloat, eye problems, and Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency (PEI).
German Shepherds commonly experience problems in the lower spine and hip area such as hip dysplasia or degenerative myelopathy. Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological degeneration in the spine which leads to numbness, lameness, and eventual paralysis. Unfortunately, these two conditions are also common in Corgis, so the German Shepherd Corgi Mix could be at risk for developing these problems.
There is now a genetic test for degenerative myelopathy, so hopefully, this genetic trait will soon be bred out of existence. In the meantime, the genetic test can be useful to dog owners to identify potential problems before they begin to show.
Both German Shepherds and Corgis can also have issues with their eyes, including cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, which can cause early-onset night blindness and eventual blindness. Both breeds are at risk for bloat: German Shepherds, like other big dogs, are especially at risk for this condition. Corgis are less at risk for bloat because their chests are not as deep, but they still can and do develop bloat.
Pancreatic Enzyme Insufficiency (also known as Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) seems to be almost specific to German Shepherds and can show up in Corman Shepherds. It is a disorder of the exocrines in the pancreas which aids in digestion of food and can lead to malnutrition, pancreatitis, weight loss, and vomiting. It is a lifelong disease, but it is treatable with medicines and a proper diet.
Other Designer Breeds:
- Pitbull German Shepherd Mix – Intelligent, Strong Family Dog?
- Border Collie Lab Mix – Meet the Wonderful Borador
Corgis are also at risk for developing von Willebrand disease, a blood clotting disorder that can lead to uncontrolled bleeding and internal hemorrhaging. It is commonly seen in Pembroke Welsh Corgis, so depending on the Corgi bred into the Corman Shepherd, the Corman may be at a higher risk for this disease.
Corman Shepherds’ lifespans are usually between 10-15 years, although with smaller Corman Shepherds it may be closer to 12-15 years.
Additional German Shepherd Corgi mix breed information
While the Corman Shepherd is not a recognized breed, it is a popular designer breed because both parent breeds are so intelligent and hard-working. For those who want the look and traits of a German Shepherd but the manageability of a smaller dog, the Corman Shepherd is an excellent compromise for many owners.
If you are considering a German Shepherd Corgi Mix as your next pet, make sure to socialize them, train them consistently, and exercise them often. With a little time and effort, the German Shepherd Corgi Mix can become a valued and loyal member of your family.