The Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America


Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

We all have viewed photos of our favorite breed from the early years and found that certain features have transformed somewhat from what was originally presented in the ring. The first Cardigan standard was finalized in 1925 and remained relatively untouched until 1967, with four rewrites occurring up until 1995. The first standard called for a foxlike dog to weigh between 18 to 25 pounds, and bitches slightly smaller, and no disqualifications as we know today. Today’s standard suggests that dogs weigh in at 30 to 38 pounds—a significant increase, and we are seeing even larger examples as of late. 

Bone became important to the Cardigan fancy in 1967 when added to the standard was Low set, sturdily built, with heavy bone and deep chest. This feature still remains a priority today. In 1991, we felt that Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and foxlike brush would help in the understanding of the breed characteristics. The overall balance has been a priority in the standard since the first revision, however, and is still an important consideration.

In 1991 there were significant changes made to the entire standard. One can only imagine the heated and lengthy discussions that transpired during its transformation. It was this change that evolved a more detailed description of the headpiece, muzzle, and nose. Of particular notoriety is the introduction of the permissible butterfly nose in the blue merle specimens. In 1967, we find Color dark to dark amber but clear. Blue eyes, or one dark and one blue eye, permissible in blue merles. Uniquely, the first standard mentions silver eyes as being permissible. It was in 1967 that we see our first official disqualifications and it was concerning blue eyes in other colors. As for the ears, we went from flop ears are a serious fault to Small and/or pointed ears are serious faults. Drop ears are a disqualification.

The wonderful front assembly that is one of the major hallmarks of our breed apparently led to the following in-depth explanation in 1991: 

Elbows—should fit close, being neither loose nor tied. The forearms—(ulna and radius) should be curved to fit spring of ribs. The curve in the forearm makes the wrists (carpal joints) somewhat closer together than the elbows. The pasterns are strong and flexible. The correct Cardigan front is neither straight nor so crooked as to appear unsound. Overall, the bone should be heavy for a dog of this size, but not so heavy as to appear coarse or reduce agility. Knuckling over, straight front, fiddle front are serious faults.

A far cry from the original: Front—To be slightly bowed, with strong bone. Front forelegs slightly bowed or straight. Legs short and strong.

The description of the feet and the turnout became clearer in 1991 also:

Front Feet—Dewclaws removed. The feet are relatively large and rounded, with well-filled pads. They point slightly outward from a straight-ahead position
to balance the width of the shoulders. This outward point is not to be more than 30 degrees from the centerline when viewed from above. The toes should not be
splayed. Hind Feet—Feet point straight ahead and are slightly smaller and more oval than front. Toes arched. Pads well filled. Dewclaws removed

Prior to that: Feet—Round and well padded. Hind dewclaws, if any, should be removed. Front dewclaws may be removed

As you can see, the breed has evolved to some degree from the original design and most likely will continue to do so as breeders look to the past to ensure the future.

-David L. Anthony

First published in the AKC Gazette Digital Edition, June, 2021.

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