AKC GAZETTE September 2022
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column
Back in the 1990s, I was asked to present a judging seminar in concert with Jean York, a longtime Pembroke Welsh Corgi breeder/exhibitor and former gazette columnist. I talked to Jean about making sure we included a red Pembroke and red Cardigan.
We each handled individual breed presentations, and then we put the red Pem and red Cardi up on tables set up one in front of the other. I turned to the audience of established judges and those preparing to apply for both Corgis and asked them to take a good look at the two breeds in silhouette, as that of course is the position most often seen in the conformation ring.
They looked at the red Pembroke, and looked at the red Cardigan, and I then asked a very important question: “Does the Cardigan look like a Pembroke?
And I watched as the lightbulb turned on.
No, red Cardigans do not resemble red Pembrokes. But red Cardigans, no longer common in the ring, are still labeled by some judges as “too Pemmy.”
Red is a color, not a structural feature.
At the Cardigan national specialty we offer a competition called The Megan, named after the first Cardigan champion in the U.S. This is a champions-only competition divided by color, so at the start, you will see a class of red dogs and a class of red bitches compared one against the other, not against any of the other colors. It’s a perfect opportunity to see a correct Cardigan silhouette without the red color subliminally affecting a judge’s internal “eye.”
No one would mistake any of these red dogs for Pembrokes. They are clearly Cardigans, with longer, heavier bodies; broader back skulls, and somewhat more substantial heads (the correct Cardigan head is not “foxy,” as the Pembroke’s head is); round bone, as opposed to the oval bone of the Pembroke; considerably larger ears; a rounder eye; and, of course, the classic Cardigan front turnout, which should be no more than 30 percent [editor’s note: standard says degrees].
Forty-plus years ago, it was far more common to see red Cardis in the ring. Slowly, however, the popularity of the color eroded. When asked by others why they aren’t showing red Cardis, or aren’t keeping a red puppy, the common answer is “You can’t win with a red.”
Oh, they may eventually finish their championships. But competing as a special in Best of Breed? “Too difficult,” many say. Including pro handlers.
No one ever says a brindle Cardi is “too Pemmy.” Or a blue merle is. Or a tri. This label is reserved for reds (and sables) alone.
Suggestion: Print online silhouette photos of red Pems and red Cardis, then place them side by side. Do the same with Pem and Cardi faces. I think many will realize just how different the two breeds are despite identical color.
Faults must be faulted, of course. But the red color, in Cardigans, does not a Pembroke make.
Jennifer Roberson has been showing and breeding Cardigans for over 30 years. She has served as an officer on the Board of the CWCCA, and as chair of Breeders Education.
First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, September, 2022.
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