The Issue of White Surrounding the Eye in the Cardigan Standard

By The Judges Education Committee of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America

Published in the CWCCA Bulletin Winter 2018

That judging is subjective is nothing new to those of us who have been in the center of the conformation ring. Each parent club approves a standard that a judge follows when performing his or her job. The goal of each club’s judges education committee is to clarify the standard to both judges and breeders alike. Consistent BREED EDUCATION benefits everyone. Nowhere in the Cardigan standard will you find any feature listed as a FAULT. The standard does clearly list SERIOUS FAULTS:


  • Lack of overall balance, oversized or undersized are serious faults
  • Overshot, undershot, or wry bite are serious faults.
  • High tail set is a serious fault.
  • Knuckling over, straight front, fiddle front are serious faults.

The Cardigan standard differs from many standards in that it lists no faults, only serious faults. However, a serious fault is not significant enough to disqualify an entry. A judge could justifiably withhold on an entry for lack of merit if it had a serious fault, but that serious fault would not disqualify the exhibit The section entitled “COLOR” as it appears in the current Cardigan standard says:


Color: All shades of red, sable and brindle. Black with or without tan or brindle points. Blue merle (black and gray; marbled) with or without tan or brindle points. There is no color preference. White flashings are usual on the neck (either in part or as a collar), chest, legs, muzzle, underparts, tip of tail and as a blaze on head. White on the head should not predominate and should never surround the eyes. Any color other than specified and/or body color predominantly white are disqualifications


“White… should never surround the eyes.” NEVER is a very strong word. It clearly means that white must absolutely not surround the eyes. The Judges Education Committee presentation teaches judges to closely examine each eye. Before considering any action, a judge must determine if white does COMPLETELY surround the eye or if there is sufficient color touching the eye rim. Elsewhere in the standard it says, “Eyes medium to large, not bulging, with dark rims and distinct corners.” The breed should have DARK eye rims regardless of what color the fur is on the headpiece. Keep in mind, white cannot predominate even if white doesn’t completely surround the eye. “Predominate” implies more han 50% of the total head color The final section of our standard is shown below; note the portion that refers to “COLOR. Disqualifications:


  • Blue eyes, or partially blue eyes, in any coat color other than blue merle.
  • Drop ears.
  • Nose other than solid black except in blue merles.
  • Any color other than specified.
  • Body color predominantly white

“Any color other than specified” directs a reader back to the COLOR section of the standard. That section specifically says white should NEVER SURROUND THE EYES. Clearly, it is not a fault, as we don’t list faults; clearly it is not a serious fault because the standard lists those specifically. It is, however, sufficiently significant that a judge should eliminate any dog with this trait from competition. The parent club’s job is to teach, as consistently as possible, the approved standard to those who have, or will be charged with adjudicating our beloved breed. In addition, it is also the parent club’s job to consistently educate breeders in the same manor, encouraging them to bring appropriate examples to the ring from the whelping box.