Choosing Puppies

AKC GAZETTE SEPTEMBER 2011
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column



Thanks to breeder Rita Hellegers, of Cornerstone Cardigans, for her guest column this issue.


The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is first and foremost a herding dog. He should be smooth, efficient,and powerful in motion. Whether or not he ever herds, he should have the strong, basic herding-dog temperament—that is, he should be intelligent, easily trained, good with other animals, and willing, loyal,and affectionate.

Which should come first as we choose our next generations?We want a Cardigan to look like a Cardigan (type), but as breeders we always must consider that he is a herding dog. He should be built for an all-day working job.There would be much less injury, breakdown, and lameness and a stronger, longer life in our breed if we could adhere to that vision.

The problem in choosing (wrong) puppies is our emotions.We love our bitch or we love our stud dog,and in our minds their puppies have to be wonderful.The puppies have such sweet personalities, and cute faces and flashy markings make some prettier than others.While sweet, cute,and flashy are wonderful, however, these qualities do not make a herding dog who is smooth, efficient,and powerful. Certainly emotion causes us to make choices that are not objective. Even if the sire and dam of a litter have won top awards and love to herd, this does not necessarily mean that each of them are put together like an all-day, herding-working dog—or that they will produce them.

One thing evident as breeders stay involved in their breed for a number of years is how their dogs age.A valuable thing at the national is theVeterans classes!Through these we have a chance to see how well some of the sires and dams in our pedigrees are doing.As breeders, we see how well our dogs age. The puppies we pick today may or may not stay strong and age well. (This is also a great reason to gather and keep information about puppies placed in non–show homes over the years.)

At the time of structural evaluation we would do ourselves and our dogs a service if we figuratively put a bag over their heads and not think about personalities.Also, if we could allow other breeders with proven successes in the breed to make honest evaluations of our litters and if we accept that information without emotion (that is, without hurt feelings), this would serve the breed.

Hopefully there are enough pups in a litter to make a good choice from among two or three, where you then include consideration of heads and temperaments. Some of the great breeders have said that they feel their litter was successful if they got one great puppy.

Thank you, Rita. —Jennifer Roberson

 

 


First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, September 2011.

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