AKC GAZETTE September 2020
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

When a well-respected breeder judge adjudicates your national specialty, it is wise to listen to the speech that is typically given at the banquet, culminating the end of the week-long festivities. This is when the judge can pontificate on the virtues of the dogs presented to them and also comment on what the future may hold for your favorite breed. I repeat that when it is a well-known breeder-judge, one should take heed to their perspective. Our entry in 2019 was the largest ever, and this allowed for a wide range of styles, both good and bad, to be presented for evaluation. In a situation like that, one better be prepared to know their breed extremely well from nose to tail.

The Cardigan standard says, “The feet are relatively large and rounded, with well filled pads.”

As I tentatively tuned into our esteemed judge’s overview on our breed and the entries that were presented, one comment in particular stood out to me. Once he said it, I thought, what a brilliant and simple way to understand a much-misunderstood feature of our breed. It was so simplistic, yet efficient. It went like this: oval feet, oval bone, round feet, round bone. I have looked at hundreds if not thousands of Cardigan feet, and this just struck me like an epiphany. When presenting the judges education program to prospective judges, we always discuss this important feature, but the visual impact of this statement should make it far easier for a judge to access this important aspect of the breed.

If you look at the official cardigan standard, it says, “The feet are relatively large and rounded, with well filled pads.” As we read further into the standard, it says, “Overall, the bone should be heavy for a dog of this size, but not so heavy as to appear coarse or reduce agility.” 

One has to be careful, though, as it is very common in the world of purebred dogs to over-accentuate any feature of dog as described in the standard in an effort to draw attention to that feature in hopes of capturing the judge’s attention. Many of us are notorious for thinking that if one inch is required, then two inches has to be better. Remember, overall balance is far more important

Although our standard does not state directly that the bone should be round, it has been the practice to teach that for quite some time, and it makes perfect sense for that shape to carry to through the foot, given the basic construction of the Cardigan and his ability to perform his job as originally designed many years ago. (Some say over 3,000, but let’s save that discussion for another time in the future.)

Interestingly enough, the rear foot is not quite described the same way in the standard. It states in the section featuring the hindquarter description the following: “Feet point straight ahead and are slightly smaller and more oval than front.” Now, we don’t want you assuming that if the rear foot says oval, then the rear bone should be oval as well. As you all should know, the front assembly of the Cardigan is the hallmark of our breed, and we concentrate on that feature. Once again, balance is the key element to judging the overall dog. 

The takeaway from this brief article is for you to look closely at the feet of your Cardigan and compare to the standard. Now do the same for that beautiful front assembly: Is the bone rounded, are feet rounded. Hare feet are not rounded—and if you think so, I have a bone to pick with you.

-David L. Anthony 

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, September 2020.

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