Cardigan, “Is That Your Final Answer?”
BY DAVID L. ANTHONY, BREEDER-JUDGE AND CHAIRMAN OF THE CWCCA JUDGES EDUCATION COMMITTEE
N o, this isn’t a lost episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” with Regis Philbin. But getting the answer to the title’s ques- tion will add a cache of information with rewards, just like the hit TV show. The question, “These characteristics best describe what breed of dog?” may not win you a million dollars, but under- standing the intricacies of this breed may allow you to be won over by the dedicated breeders and owners of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. We are not going to quote directly from the Cardigan standard in this article. Instead, we will assume that you have already read it and are pre- pared to apply that knowledge and understanding to the observation of examples in the show ring. So, let’s start out with some basics. If you placed a Cardigan and a Skye Terrier, which has some very similar characteristics, at the end of a football field, you should be able to determine which one is which, merely by the sil- houette. This unique outline is the starting position for anyone’s evaluation of the breed. After all, one very basic requirement of an example has to have breed type and must clearly exude those characteristics. The colloquialism, “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck” certainly comes into play here. A Cardigan has flowing lines and no sharp angles. Besides, there is the effect of the Skye’s longer coat and body on the silhouette; this alone should allow you to easily choose the Cardigan from that distance. As much as we breeders would like to think that ours is a very unique breed in its own right, there are a few points of interest that truly are the hallmarks of the breed. Starting at one end and moving to the other, the first thing that stand out about the Cardigan are the ears; those big, beauti- ful appendages that adorn the headpiece like a crown. Be it a judge or an exhibitor, the features do not change depending on where one is doing their scrutiny. A simple rule that applies to most breeds is that expression should be accessed on the ground and not on the table. So, getting those ears up and alert for the judge to see is ever so important for that first feature when returning from the down and back portion of your examination in the ring. Remember, when erect, the tips of the ears are slightly wide of a straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center of the eye—a little trick of the trade. The erect ears are large and somewhat rounded at the top, and with heavy leather. For those of you who have an example that gaits around the ring with the ears up, you get a little extra credit for flash, but it’s that expression while standing that gets the most points with the judges. Now we move on to that deep keel that provides the breed with lung capacity for a long day’s work in the rough terrain of Cardiganshire in Wales. An example that doesn’t display this key feature is lacking in breed type. Where the point of the brisket sets is important as well, but the lack of a deep keel that fills your cupped hand upon examination just means this entry shouldn’t be considered. The only exception would be in the puppy classes. However, even at six months of age, evidence of the development of the deep chest should be discernable. This somewhat egg-shaped feature should be wrapped around with the front leg assembly.
272 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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