Showsight June 2021


breeder strives for—preservation of what allowed the dog to fulfill its original purpose, and improvement on what can be improved, mostly in the health clearances that we find in the era of DNA. THE PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI Another more extreme example in changes from original type involve the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I purchased my first Pembroke in 1977; a deep red and white bitch that had already been shown to her championship. CH Oldlands Pennywise began a new chapter in my life that continues to this day. (See Figure 5.) Please Note: Much of the historic information and some of the photos used here were gleaned from a scrapbook put together by Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, the patroness of the Morris and Essex dog shows held in the 1930s–1950s. I was fortunate enough to purchase this scrapbook and it is one of my cherished posses- sions. Mrs. Dodge clipped photos, articles, and advertisements from magazines, published in both the US and in the UK, as well as many columns printed in the club sections from the PWCCA. It is my understanding that she had many scrapbooks on many dif- ferent breeds about which she was interested to learn more. The first Pembrokes came off the farms of Wales and into public awareness in the early 1900s. Even though the Corgi was considered to be an ancient breed, it was little-known outside of the neighboring counties that produced them. (See Figure 6.) In 1925, the Kennel Club recognized the Welsh Corgi, but it was not until 1934 that the Kennel Club granted separate registrations and status as individual breeds for the two varieties of Welsh Corgi: the Cardigan and the Pembroke. The Cardigan and the Pembroke would—from that point forward—be shown in separate classes as different breeds instead of together as two varieties of one breed. Marcus de Bye (1639-1688) was a seventeenth century Dutch etcher and painter of animals who studied art in The Hague under Jacob van der Does. Like his teacher, he began his career by etching both landscapes and animal depictions. However, throughout most of his career, he dedicated himself to animal studies after the designs of Markus Gerard and, most particularly, Paulus Potter. I believe from my research that this etching was entitled, “The Fat Spitzhund.” The first Pembroke Corgis acquired from the Welsh crofters were very different from the dogs we know today. (See Figure 7.) Through the years, the breed has changed from the feisty Terrier- like dogs bought from the Welsh crofters who used them as all- around farm dogs and drovers of livestock (Black Welsh Cattle, hogs, geese) both on the farm and to the local markets. One duty mentioned in early writings was to “go before the cattle in the morning” to drive off the livestock wandering into the unfenced area that was allowed by the crown for use by his master. The Cor- gi was small and an easy keeper, and also acquitted himself well for vermin control on the farm (from badger to fox to weasel). I found it quite amusing that in a description of the Welsh Corgi in a long ago magazine (I have no idea if it was in the US or Britain, as a photo of the Corgi in Figure 8 was from Mrs. Dodge’s scrapbook, but I lean to the latter), the following paragraph appears under the photograph of Crymmych President: “ It has been stated that this little fellow was evolved by breeding between a Sealyham Terrier and a Border Terrier, and if the dogs are compared, some similarity will be noticed. One thing is certain: that the dog has been known in the Welsh hills for centuries. Like all Terrier types, he is a game little hunter and, being low to the ground, can move where a longer-legged dog is beaten. There are two fixed types exhibited at the shows to-day, the ‘Cardigan’ and the ‘Pembrokeshire.’ ” This statement was sim- ply untrue, but it can show how easily trying to research a breed can lead to confusion! In my study of the breed, I have found a

Figure 5. CH Oldlands Pennywise CD

Figure 6. Perhaps the earliest portrait of a Corgi? (Dated 1650.)

Figure 7. The First British Champion, Shan Fach (by CH Bowhit Pepper out of Shan, whelped January 22, 1928)

emphasis is placed on standing type and beauty (especially of the head) that movement is neglected to the point that it is almost impossible to find a specimen that moves as the breed should. In German Shepherds, sound temperaments were being lost as was clean movement coming and going. I am pleased that dogs are looking more like males these days and not as feminine as it had seemed for a while. This is quite important in a breed that asks for “ secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex. ” I am very happy to see the breed regaining the respect it deserves in the sport after many cycles of what seemed to be a slow degeneration of a noble breed. But this is what being a preservation


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