First National Triathlon Challenge

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

This year, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America (CWCCA) held the first annual Triathlon Challenge in conjunction with the breed’s national specialty in May. Cardigans were originally bred to be a multipurpose farm dog. While most don’t live on a farm anymore, their multi-talented mind and body can compete in almost any companion or performance event, as well as conformation.

One of our members, Carolyn Tompkins (Rhoswen Cardigans) had contacted the board with her idea for a Triathlon Challenge—and the rest, as they say, is history. But I’ll let Carolyn tell the story in her own words.


This year the CWCCA successfully introduced the first National Triathlon Challenge with positive reviews from participants and from those who did not participate but plan to have their Cardigans ready for 2017.

My journey in developing the program started when a friend mentioned she had participated in a triathlon held by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America (PWCCA). I have always felt that a Cardigan could participate in both performance and conformation events successfully. The triathlon event seemed a logical step to not only encourage participation, but it might also encourage breeders to breed physically sound, biddable Cardigans with herding instinct, and desire to do it all— the versatile Cardigan!

To that end, an outline of the triathlon program was obtained from the PWCCA. Even though other breeds have various versions of a triathlon, I thought the Pembroke’s program would most closely fit our breed. As part of the early development of the CWCCA Triathlon program, performance participants from various breeds, including judges and performance instructors, were asked to provide their input. Their focus was to look at the fairness and balance of the proposed event rules and point schedules based on their knowledge and experience. As a result, additional classes within events were offered, points for various events were modified, and the Triathlon awards were expanded to include a reserve high-scoring and high-scoring owner-handled Cardigan. After a year of development, the CWCCA triathlon program proposal was given to our Board for review and was quickly approved.

Thirteen Cardigans participated in five events in our inaugural year. Ten of the Cardigans were entered in conformation as well as companion/performance events. Only three points separated the high-scoring Cardigan triathlete and the reserve winner, with the reserve winner competing in a combination of conformation and companion/performance events. There were several other Cardigans who also had very competitive scores. What a testament to our breed’s versatility.

Based on our first-year experience, the Triathlon was a success. Modifications to improve and clarify Triathlon guidelines and point schedules will surely come to make it even better. Suggestions to expand the award levels have already been made.

If you are considering adding a triathlon event within your own breed, first determine how such an event might enhance your breed and breed club. Then my advice would be to ask, listen, and weigh the feedback from those who have participated in a triathlon, from judges, and from those who are considered knowledgeable in the various events to determine the appropriate triathlon guidelines and point methodology for each event. Finally, what is most important is to decide what works best for your breed and breed club while keeping the triathlon fun and enjoyable for the participants. —C.T.

Thank you, Carolyn, for your insight into creating the first Triathlon Challenge for our Cardigans. It was a huge success. Both our winner and reserve winner were owner-handled Cardigans. The winner was “Stout,” Raconteur I’ll Have Another, RN, NAP, OJP, HSAs, owned by Merinda Tiffany. Reserve winner was “Leo,” GCh. Riverside It’s a New Year Boss, CGC, RN, CAX, TT, owned by Cindy Bossi and Deb Shindle.

—Vivian Moran, CWCCA AKC Delegate
and interim column coordinator,

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, September 2016.

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