CARDIGAN, “IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?”
This leads us nicely to the next hallmark of the breed. We are an achondroplastic breed, meaning we have dwarf characteristics. The short, heavy, round-boned legs cradle the brisket in a close- fitting manner. Some judges have been observed slipping two fin- gers between the upper leg and chest to see if it is a tight fit. As you run your hand down the leg, you should feel the round bone leading down to a rounded foot. A well-known breeder-judge once commented, “Round bone, round feet. Oval bone, oval feet.” So, when you look down and see those hare-shaped feet, you should know that not only are the feet incorrect, but so is the shape of the leg bone. Please don’t reward incorrect feet and bone. Speaking of the front assembly, the next crucial feature that makes the Cardigan we all know and love is the unique turnout of the feet. It can’t be stressed enough that the turnout should not be any more than 30 degrees. Less than that is perfectly fine as long as the wrap is still correct as previously described. More than 30 degrees produces an exhibit that is called eastie/westie. The proper turnout requires the correct shoulder placement and wraparound of the chest. If you see too much turnout, chances are very good that other portions of the front assembly are incorrect as well, and that the exhibit would break down after a long day of working in the field. As we now work our way back, remember that the length of body is mostly in the rib, not the loin. With this, we have reached the end of the dog and the last important feature; that flowing tail that never curls over the back. Envision that perfect silhouette in your mind, the flowing lines from head to tail. How that tail is set and how it’s carried can be two different things. The set at the base should flow off the back slightly, to blend with the croup. An abrupt, lifted tail certainly takes away from the picture of the flowing tail carriage on the gait around the ring. Now it should be clearly understood that the proper Cardi- gan will most certainly have other characteristics that should be accessed during the judging process. Attendance at one of the judge’s education programs reveals 90 minutes of review, involv- ing a detailed breakdown of the breed. Combine this with some quality ringside mentoring with an experienced breed expert, and a well-rounded entry, and you will have a solid understanding of what makes a good Cardigan. In review, we have focused on what many would determine to be a combination of special features of the breed that provide you with the picture of a unique Welsh dog that was bred specifically for its duties; herding in the rough terrain of Wales. As the crowd cheers, and Regis belts out that familiar phrase to provide a climactic end: “Is that your final answer?” you can confidently say—CARDIGAN! No need to phone a friend. You’ve done your homework and you know the hallmarks of this wonderful breed.
274 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 2021
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