Cardigans In Motion

Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

Let’s face it, if you really want to be consistently competitive in the Herding Group ring with a Cardigan, you need something that makes you stand out from the crowd. If you expect to seriously participate in the group ring someday, you should be watching them repeatedly with eyes wide open. Once you have done so, ask yourself one simple question. What one feature seems to dominate among those that regularly place? The answer is that the top four will have outstanding movement. It is really difficult for an accomplished judge to ignore an entry who brilliantly exhibits proper reach and drive. It is this showy attitude that consumes the eye of the judge in that brief moment that you have to make the best first impression.

But just what is proper movement for the Cardigan? One can look at the approved standard and see the language:

“Gait. Free and smooth. Effortless. Viewed from the side, forelegs should reach well forward when moving at a trot, without much lift, in unison with driving action of hind legs. The correct shoulder assembly and well-fitted elbows allow for a long, free stride in front. Viewed from the front, legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward to compensate for shortness of leg and width of chest. Hind legs, when trotting, should reach well under body, move on a line with the forelegs, with the hocks turning neither in nor out, and in one continuous motion drive powerfully behind, well beyond the set of the tail. Feet must travel parallel to the line of motion with no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other. Short choppy movement, rolling or high-stepping gait, close or overly wide coming or going, are incorrect. This is a herding dog which must have the agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he was developed.”

That’s all well and good, but a detailed visual of a sound-moving Cardigan would help a lot of people, both exhibitors and judges, to better understand exactly what it should look like. The Judges’ Education committee of the CWCCA decided to take that challenge. We all know that no dog is perfect, but showing close-up and slow-motion video of a good example allows for a comprehensive review and critique that provides even the most experienced fancier an opportunity to say, Now I see what you mean about a sound-moving Cardigan. The video was created with the help of club members and provides a great basis for movement discussions. It’s not about the color of the dog, the sex, the age, or even who the dog is. It’s about movement

When you stand ringside and watch a Cardigan go around the ring like it’s a causal walk in the park, or race around as if the fastest wins, it’s no wonder exhibitors and judges alike are having a difficult time understanding a good example. The video is available on the CWCCA website under the “Judges Education” tab. [Webmaster note: actually under Education/Resources.] This detailed review allows for an up-close and personal look at the dog both coming and going, and a beautiful example of side movement, with slow-motion segments as well. The pièce de résistance is the still photo at the end that shows lovely extension of the front and rear with the typey upcharacteristic of two equal mountain peaks under the body. Notice the head and tail carriage, and also the speed at which the dog is handled.

Move over, Herding Group dogs, the Cardigan is the house.

-David L. Anthony

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, June 2018.

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