Origin & History: THE CARDIGAN WELSH CORGI By Kathy Schwabe Breeder-Judge & Member of the CWCCA JEC Origin & History T he origins of the Car- digan Welsh Corgi are somewhat hidden in the mist of the Welsh hills. We know that dogs of the same essential body He often had dropped ears and was found in brindle and merle colors, as well as red and sable.
Th e American Kennel Club granted the CWCCA Member Club status in 1935, and we subsequently help our first Nation- al Specialty in conjunction with the Morris & Essex Dog Show in 1936. Best of Breed winner was Ch. Megan! Th e Cardigan was moved from the Non-Sporting Group, to the Working Group and finally to the Herding Group in 1983. In 2006, the breed name was o ffi cially changed from Welsh Corgi, Cardigan to Cardigan Welsh Corgi—further identifying the breed as separate from the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Th e Cardigan was slow to gain popu- larity and recognition both in and out of the show ring. It took 40 years to go from our first AKC Champion to our first AKC Best in Show—that honor being awarded to Ch. Springdale Droednoeth in 1973! History was made again this year, as we celebrated Ch. Riverside TellTail Coco Posh being awarded Herding Group I at Westminster Kennel Club! Undoubtedly the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s rise to popularity was fueled by the Royal Family’s sponsorship since the 1950s. Th e Cardigan’s increase in popular- ity has been slow, but steady. Th e breed has many devoted breeders and enthusiastic owners. Th e Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America is committed to protecting the future of the breed, supporting its mem- bers and educating Judges. Th e Cardigan Welsh Corgi is enjoying success and recog- nition in every venue; their humble begin- nings as an all-purpose farm dog serve them well for owners who truly want a dog than can do it all, and do it well!
Winds of Change By the late 1800s, the winds of change had blown across Wales. Th ere were far fewer cattle and farmers were raising more sheep. Fences were built and com- mon pasture land was disappearing. Th e Cardigan, that excelled at driving cattle to market, now had to learn new skills such as fetching and penning stock. To meet this need, farmers bred their Cardi- ganshire Corgwyn to the Brindle Herd- er, or Welsh Collie and, eventually, to the Pembrokeshire Corgi. Development of both Corgis contin- ued—the two breeds were interbred into the 1920s. In 1925, the first meeting of Th e Welsh Corgi Club was held, and the breeds were established as two varieties of the same breed. In 1934, Th e Ken- nel Club of Great Britain separated the breeds into Welsh Corgi, Pembroke and Welsh Corgi, Cardigan. Coming to America In 1931, Roberta Bole became cap- tivated by the Cardigan Welsh Corgi while visiting friends in England. Upon her return to her home in Boston, MA, she welcomed the first Cardigans to the US; a female named Cassie and a male named Cadno. In 1933, we had our first AKC Champion, “Megan”, and we cel- ebrate this event at the CWCCA National Specialty with the “Megan Competition.”
structure were recorded as early as 2500 B.C. It is believed by some that the Neo- lithic Man, who arrived in the area we now know as Great Britain in the post-glacial age, brought with him long-bodied, low- to-ground droving dogs. Th e Cardigan is descended from the Teckel group of dogs, and so most closely related to breeds such as the Dachshund and the Basset Hound. By comparison, the Pembroke Welsh Cor- gi is descended from the Spitz group. Th e di ff erences between the breeds in structure and temperament are easier to understand when you keep this basic fact in mind. The Cardigan in Early Wales Th e Cardigan, in his homeland, was a multi-purpose dog. He helped the farm- er move the small, hardy Welsh Cattle on unfenced pasture; he acted as nanny to watch the children while the parents worked the fields; he kept the grain stores free from vermin, and he guarded his fam- ily from intruders at night. Th e Cardigan was called Ci Llathaid , which translates to “by the yard,” referring to their measure- ment of an average of 101.5 cm (40") long from their nose to the end of their bushy tails. Th e Cardigan Welsh Corgi was a larger, longer, heavier-boned dog than the neighboring Corgwyn, the Pembroke.
“Undoubtedly the Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s rise to popularity was fueled by THE ROYAL FAMILY’S SPONSORSHIP SINCE THE 1950s.”
166 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , M AY 2014
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