Showsight Presents The Cardigan Welsh Corgi

Cardigan by the name of Grand Cham- pion Riverside Telltail Coco Posh, who was shown beautifully by professional handler Lois DeMers at the 2014 West- minster show. Internationally known herding judge Walter Sommerfelt, found Coco to be an exquisite example of the breed and awarded her a herding group one, the first time in the history of the breed. Since that historic event, the Car- digan scored another group two place- ment in 2018, with Grand Champion Aubrey’s Tails of Mystery continuing the Westminster tradition. As guardians of the breed, we are excited to finally see Cardigans regular- ly placing in groups and even coveted Best in Shows all over the country now. Professional handlers are seeing the competiveness of the breed and judges are seeing that correct wrap around front with great reach and drive that we have been striving for now for years. It makes for a memorable occasion when a proper moving example captivates the show ring. So let’s dissect the Cardigan and see just what makes a great one. They have some unique features that require the utmost attention from those graced with the honor of adjudicating our favorite breed. Of course, there is no substi- tute for attending a CWCCA (Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America) judges’ education program along with the some quality ringside mentoring from skilled Cardigan mentors, but we can certainly focus on a few of those characteristics that make this 3,000 year old breed one worthy of a closer look by the judg- ing experts. It is that history and the needs of those who depended on the breed to do its job that we have devel- oped the outstanding examples that we see today. The breed standard is the gospel when it comes to judging any breed. We are going to pick and choose some key portions and expound on those beginning with, “General Appearance: Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and fox-like brush. Gener- al Impression: A handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.” This statement alone sepa- rates the Cardigan from a vast majority of other breeds. The section entitled (Head) is the longest paragraph in the AKC standard, but we do not consider ourselves a head breed in the sense that many others do. In general, the impor- tant features are the three parts to five parts muzzle to skull ratio, eyes in har- mony with the coat color, blue or partial blue in merle dogs only, those wonder- ful erect ears with heavy leather set so

that a line drawn from the center of the nose through the eye reaching the rounded tip. The nose must be black unless it is a blue merle, which in that case can be a butterfly type. Finally, we prefer a clean scissors bite to compli- ment the headpiece. We do want a nice level topline without a high tail set or tail carriage. It should never be carried over the back. Remember our famous deep keel and that slight tuck up with length in the well-sprung ribs and not in the loin. One of our most unique features and one that is commonly misunderstood, is the wrap around front assembly that allows for a slight turnout of the feet to carry that low slung sturdy body. It is extremely important to remember that “This outward point is not to be more than 30 degrees from center line when viewed from above.” Please remember to look at those feet to see that they are large and round but not splayed. Lastly, “The correct Cardigan front is neither straight nor so crooked as to appear unsound.” Please learn what a correct front should look like and reward accordingly. When looking down on the exhibit you will notice a nice hourglass type shape and the rear is strong to propel this dog all day long. Those rear feet will not and should not, turn out like the front. As with any Alsatian-type dog, you will find only flowing curves and never any sharp angles when taking in the overall silhouette. From a hun- dred yards there should be no doubt it is a Cardigan. “Soft guard hairs, uniform length, wiry, curly, silky, overly short and/or flat coats are not desired. A distinctly long or fluffy coat is an extremely

serious fault.” There is no color pref- erence in Cardigans, but remember it should not be a white dog with color and therefore white cannot dominate the body color. As for the headpiece, white should not be the predominate color and should never surround the eyes. A recent press release to the AKC from the National Club explains this particular undesirable trait in detail. Those who merely take their dog for a casual walk around the show ring are missing an important part of the Cardigan’s features. The standard reads very clearly, Gait: Free and smooth. Effortless. Viewed from the side, fore- legs should reach well forward when moving at a trot, without much lift, in unison with driving action of hind legs. The correct shoulder assembly and well fitted elbows allow for a long free stride in front. Viewed from the front, legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward to compensate for shortness of leg and width of chest. Hind legs, when trotting, should reach well under body, move on a line with the forelegs, with the hocks turning neither in nor out and in one continuous motion drive powerfully behind, well beyond the set of the tail.” The JEC has created a wonderful video that examines in close up slow-motion-detail the movement of the Cardigan. You are strongly encour-

aged to view that at the CWCCA web- site and learn what move- ment is truly all about. Lastly, we must discuss temperament

272 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2018

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