Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Shorgi
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With two parents – the Corgi and the Shih-Tzu – as cute as a button, it’s little wonder that the Shorgi has turned out so adorable. With their long back and short legs, many Shorgis look like long-haired Corgis. Their faces are not as ‘squished’ as their Shih-Tzu parent and their ears often stand more erect. Their fur type is variable and tends to develop into a medium-length scruffy coat.

Affectionate and with gentle souls, Shorgis are happiest when their family members are nearby. They do not do well when left alone, so should not be taken on by those that are away at work all day. For the most part, they get on well with other animals, though should be socialised with them from a young age when possible to ensure acceptance.

About & History

The Shorgi may either be a mix of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and a Shih-Tzu. It is likely that this breed was first established in the last twenty years or so, though records are sadly lacking. Indeed, there has been a huge international demand for the creation of small, mixed-breed ‘designer dogs’ and the Shorgi is just one of hundreds of these breeds that has been introduced to the market. The Shorgi has not existed long enough for us to discuss its history in any detail, however its parents are both dogs with long and rich histories.

The Shih-Tzu

The Shih-Tzu is thought to have come from either China or Tibet around 3,000 years ago. As is typical of such ancient dogs, experts are unsure from which breeds the Shih Tzu evolved, but many think the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese played a role. They have always been thought of as regal dogs, and legend has it that, long ago, anyone found to own a Shih-Tzu outside of the Chinese Royal Court could be sentenced to death. Nowadays, Shih-Tzus are a popular breed that are kept mainly as companions.

The Welsh Corgi

The Welsh Corgi was split into two different types in the 1930s: The Pembroke and the Cardigan. The Cardigan type is older and is also a little larger than the Pembroke. These small dogs would be used for farmyard work, herding cattle and guarding properties. Corgis are probably best known today for being the breed of dog preferred by the Queen of England.


Taking on physical traits from both its Corgi and its Shih-Tzu parent, the Shorgi tends to look like a longer-furred Corgi with a shorter face. Indeed, most will retain the long body and stumpy legs of the Corgi parent. However, there are always exceptions to the rule and it is impossible to know which genes will be inherited from which side.

A small to medium-sized dog with a stocky body and long back, the Shorgi has limbs that seem too short for their stature. They may have the characteristic large, erect ears of the Corgi or the pendulous ears of the Shih-Tzu. Most will have gentle, brown eyes although light blue eyes have been reported.

When fully grown, the Shorgi will weigh between 9kg and 17kg and will measure from 25cm to 33cm at the withers. Though there is generally little variation, males may be slightly larger than their female counterparts.

The fur of the Shorgi will differ from individual to individual, even within the same litter. Their coat may be long, straight and smooth, short and dense or somewhere in between. Fur colour may be red, fawn, brown, white, or black and most dogs will have two or three colours within their coat, rather than one solid block colour.

Character & Temperament

A fantastic little pet, the Shorgi loves to be around its family and enjoys being made a fuss of. They are particularly affectionate and loving with children, though are happy to spend time with just about anyone. This personality trait can, however, be a double-edged sword, with some Shorgis become overly dependent on people and developing separation anxiety and nuisance behaviours when they are not around.

Often wary of new people, the Shorgi is unlikely to welcome a stranger with licks and cuddles. Instead, they will probably bark at them, alerting their owner of the visitor. This behaviour stems from their desire to protect their family and their property. It can take time for them to warm up to new people, but when they do, they are very tolerant.

Confident and playful, the Shorgi loves having something to do and can learn quickly. Though not the most active of dogs, they should not simply be left to their own devices as they need as much mental and physical stimulation as the next animal.


On the whole, the Shorgi is a pleasant dog to train and the children of the family should be able to get involved, which will strengthen their bond. They excel at simple obedience training and enjoy pleasing their owner when they get a command right. They are anecdotally slow to house train and can have accidents up until one year of age, but this is likely more down to their small bladder size than any disobedience.

Some individuals have a strong character and may initially refuse to perform certain tasks. Trainers must be persistent and should reward the desired behavior. Most Shorgis are food driven, so training treats can come in very handy.


Just like the Shih-Tzu and the Welsh Corgi, the Shorgi is prone to certain health conditions. Knowing what to look out for and being able to screen breeding parents is critical in the fight against these diseases in future generations.

IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease)

The long and slender back of the Shorgi predisposes it to disc problems throughout its life. Owners can minimise risks by keeping their dog slim and avoiding activities that would put pressure on the back, such as running up and down stairs. Ramps and steps can be used to avoid high jumps from sofas or beds.

If a dog is unfortunate enough to slip a disc, they will need immediate veterinary attention and will be in a lot of pain. While spinal surgery is often required, some less severe cases may be treated conservatively.

Periodontal Disease

The smaller the dog’s mouth, the more likely they are to develop dental disease. Owners may notice bad breath (halitosis), red gums and a build-up of brown or yellow calculus on the tooth surface. Prevent periodontal disease by brushing teeth as often as possible, providing a dry kibble rather than a wet food and through the use of enzymatic cleaners, such as gels and powders.

KCS (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca / Dry Eye)

KCS in dogs can be a painful condition that is often not diagnosed as early as it should be as owners miss the initial subtle signs. When eyes do not produce as much tears as they should, the surface of the eye becomes dry and uncomfortable.

Dogs may squint, rub at their face and develop excessive tearing. A simple tear measurement test (Schirmer Tear Test) should be done to assess tear production. Dogs with inadequate tears will need medicated eye drops for life.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The small size of the Shorgi makes it a good addition to a small house or apartment, and they do not necessarily have to have garden access. However, when kept in a small home they require several walks a day to allow them to ‘do their business’ and explore their surroundings. Try to vary the routes they are brought on and to make the walks interesting by bringing along balls and other toys.

While the Shorgi does not tend to suffer from the breathing problems that some snub-nosed Shih-Tzus will, caution is advised when exercising in very hot or humid weather, as over-heating is possible.


How often the Shorgi needs to be groomed will be wholly dependent on which fur type they have inherited. Longer-haired dogs should receive daily brushing, while those with a short coat may only need to be brushed once a week. Either way, introduce a grooming regime from an early age to ensure the dog accepts it as a normal part of life.

As dogs with small mouths often have over-crowded teeth and are prone to gum and dental disease, it is critical to brush the teeth of your Shorgi every one or two days. A small tooth brush or finger brush can be used. While nothing more than water is needed, some dogs prefer the experience if a flavoured dog tooth paste is used.

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