Cardigan Colours

One of the great things about Cardigans is all the wonderful colours they come in. Listed below are all the colours and their variations that are allowed within the standard as well as those that are not but still make wonderful pets. Most Cardigans will have a moderate amount of white but you will get those that have very little white but also those that have more white than the standard calls for.

Brindle. This is possibly the most common colour in the UK and comes in many shades from Red Brindle through to Black Brindle

Tricolour. Tricolour is a Black/White & Tan dog but they come in 2 variations. The Brindle point Tri (on the left) and the Tan Pointed Tri (on the right). Sometimes you may see what looks like a Black & White Cardi but genetically this is not possible and a dog like this will have some Brindle hairs on its points somewhere, even if hidden.

Red.  Reds come in various shades as you can see here, from a light Red through to a really rich Red. When born they have an overlay of black but it fades as the puppy grows.

Sable. Again Sables will come in various shades from very light to very dark. Sables retain the black overlay as you can see in these photos.

Blue Merle. The Merle is a very attractive colour and it can come with either Brindle points or Tan points. There have been studies in the US that have determined more variations of the Merle gene but here are photos of the basic Merle only.  Blue to Blue breeding’s should never take place and the Kennel Club will not register puppies from such a mating. This is because it can cause Blindness and deafness. In general Blue Merles should only ever be bred to a Tricolour.

Blue Merles are the only colour that can be permitted in the show ring with blue eyes. They are also accepted with brown eyes, 1 blue and 1 brown and even a split eye, where one eye is both both brown and blue. Sometimes you will see a blue eye in other colours which whilst not allowed in the show ring is something that just crops up now and then and is often called a ‘China Eye’



(Clear Red)


There are some colours that naturally occur in the Cardigan Corgi but are not within the standard. However they make perfectly great pets. First is the Liver, this is the non standard colour that crops up the most in the UK. A liver can genetically be Brindle, Tri Colour, Red/Sable or Merle. There are no health issues associated with the colour and no-one really knows why breeders of yesteryear decided they couldn’t be shown. However the standard calls for black pigmentation only and the Liver will always have a brown nose and eye rims, as well as amber eyes.

Next up is the Pink or Clear Red which can both be within and out of the standard. Clear Red occurs when both parents carry the recessive gene that prevents the black overlay from developing. When a pink puppy is born it will appear almost white and their colour will develop as they grow. Their pigment is very often black and they can then be shown, however as they get older their pigment will often lighten which then is not accepted.

Finally is the Slate, this colour again crops up when both parents carry the recessive gene for it. They do not crop up very often. They have a bluish grey coat with matching pigmentation and very light eyes.

These colours will not be intentionally bred for and any that do crop up in litters should NEVER demand a higher price. Please steer clear of any breeder asking a higher price because of colour.

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Something else I would like to mention is the Fluffy Cardigan. These dogs are not suitable for the show ring as the Cardigan should have a short to medium coat but again, they make fabulous pets. Fluffs occur in a litter when both parents carry the recessive Long Coat gene.  There are no health problems associated with this but you will need to take a little extra care of the coat.

A fluffy should never be shaved however, a little extra trimming around their private areas will help for hygiene reasons. Please remember that a fluffy Cardigan should never demand a higher price.

Thank you to all the breeders & owners who have allowed me to use their photos on this page.