AKC GAZETTE DECEMBER 2012
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column
This month we bring you a second chapter from the history of the early Cardigan, as related by W. Lloyd Thomas in 1935.
Mr. Lloyd-Thomas traced the history of the Cardigan, described as the Bronant Corgi, back to the mid-1800s and the last dogs living in the vicinity of Bronant in mid-Wales. He lamented the loss of the Welsh Hillmen and their accumulated knowledge of the prototypical Cardiganshire Corgi—information which by 1935 was already disappearing into the mists of time.
More than 75 years later, while researching Mr. Lloyd-Thomas only minimal information could be found about the man himself and the dogs he loved, with the exception of his two articles in the GAZETTE. Locally he was remembered as a staunch churchgoer, an avid golfer, and the descendant of a family that often held the post of Cardiganshire High Sheriff. He is known to have lived in Mabws Hall, an estate dating from the 1600s, but the few remaining records tell us very little about the man and nothing of his dogs.
Perhaps this should serve as a reminder to dog lovers everywhere that those people who have spent many years (and sometimes their entire lives) gleaning and preserving information about a breed are unique, and their knowledge should be preserved. If such resources are allowed to quietly fade away, the following generations will find it much more difficult to go “back to the future.”
What the Modern Corgi Owes to Its Cardigan Ancestors (Second Part)
By W. Lloyd-Thomas.
Founded on the corgi’s inborn instinct to “heel,” the method by which these dogs were brought into action against “trespassing” cattle was both simple and effective. At the first hint that a neighbor’s stock was about to invade his self-apportioned territory the crofter, calling his dog, would harry forth, and take his stand usually close to his own gate and seldom less than 500 yards from the trespassers. There was no need to go closer because the corgi could be depended upon, if necessary, to work, effectively, a mile or more from its handler.
From the chosen post, the cattle might be well in sight of the man, but, owing to the dog’s low build and the gentle rolling nature of the land, to the corgi in most cases, at this stage, the beasts would be invisible. Accordingly, it was necessary for the master to give his dog its direction by facing it the way it was to head. This done, the crofter would commence to softly whistle, alternating over and over again, the same two notes: one high, one low. Off the corgi would canter, with his characteristic hopping gait.
So long as that whistle could reach his amazingly sensitive ears, the corgi would continue to run as straight as a die in the set direction. Presently, this would bring the trespassers within his view immediately ahead. Just for a second, the dog would check and crouch as though to gather himself for together for the onslaught.
(Excerpted from the AMERICAN KENNEL GAZETTE, November 1935. Click on image for full text.)
First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, December 2012.
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