AKC GAZETTE MARCH 2013
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column
This month’s column is from Sandi Hutchins, of Sandwynne. Coming from a Corgi-loving family (her sister was former breed-columns contributor Norma Chandler), Sandi has spent considerable effort in preserving Cardigan history and now helps us take a look at breedings of the past.
To me, the most fascinating time in the history of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi must be the period of the breed’s development from roughly 100 years ago until the early 1930s, when the breed achieved official recognition.
By the early 20th century, few purebred Cardigans remained in the Welsh mountains of Cardiganshire, where they had lived for centuries unknown and undisturbed. Unfortunately, the breed was disappearing, commonly mixed with other herding dogs in an effort to alter the herding type.These mixes had advantages as well as disadvantages, bringing in upright ears and a refinement of the head but also bringing in a longer leg and finer bone.
There were very few of the old-type Bronant Cardigans of the long, heavy, low-set style left when the Corgis, both Pembroke and Cardigan, began to interest the dog fanciers. It was these breeders, with few original dogs available for comparison, who ultimately led Cardigans through the challenges of the coming years and “the age of experimentation.”
Pembrokes and Cardigans had already been bred together on occasion, and there had even been a few odd mixes with other small herding breeds. However, now there were more people involved, with many simply not knowing what to do with the breed. Some preferred a small dog, some preferred a straight leg,and the early judges were often just as confused.“Welsh Corgi” entries at these shows sometimes looked like a class for mixed breeds!
When the dogs were first exhibited under championship rules in 1925, they were shown as Pembroke and Cardigan but in competition against one another.
This led to even more confusion. The small dogs with terrier fronts shown in the Clifford Hubbard book of 1952 did not look out of place in the ring of the 1920s.
Fortunately,a small group from Wales had continued breeding from local Bronant stock.This early Bronant group included Mr. Morgan Morgan (breeder of the well known Cassie), Mr. R.W. Jones, Mr. G.E. Owens, Mr. Thomas Griffiths, Dr. J.T. Lloyd of Tregaron (breeder of Bob Llwyd),and Mr. David Jones (owner of Mon). Mon is of special importance,as he was thought to be the last of the pure Bronant Cardigans.
In England, Ms. D.F.Wylie brought in Bronant dogs to breed under her Geler prefix. Later, Ms. D.M. Honey, and Dr. F.E. Fox acquired quality breeding stock and began producing Cardigans who would become foundations of the modern breed.This was the group that consistently exhibited the more “true to type” Cardigan at the shows.
Although many of the Cardigans of the time had Pembroke in their pedigrees as well as other crosses, the breed slowly began to take a new direction towards the beloved dog we know today, originally described as “long and low, with heavy bone and inward-sloping forelegs” by Mr.W. LloydThomas in his writings.
This should be considered as a tribute to these devoted early breeders,and to the resilient CardiganWelsh Corgi itself.
Many thanks to our guest columnist, Sandi Hutchins! -Jeff Welch
First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, March 2013.
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