AKC GAZETTE December 2020
Cardigan Welsh Corgi Breed Column

One of the very first hurdles a typical owner of any adorable Cardigan pup must clear is the sometimes-frustrating chore of getting those pesky ears to stand erect. In this day of innovation and resourcefulness, we still haven’t invented a foolproof system to get those perfect ears that clearly define our breed from many others.

A quick trip to the approved Cardigan standard reveals the following about ears:

“Ears large and prominent in proportion to size of dog. Slightly rounded at the tip, and of good strong leather. Moderately wide at the base, carried erect and sloping slightly forward when alert. When erect, tips are slightly wide of a straight line drawn from the tip of the nose through the center of the eye. Drop ears are a disqualification.”

So, clearly, the ears need to be erect for the Cardigan to be successful in the show ring. Watching the puppy classes can be a humorous endeavor as those 6-month-old ears flop about with each step. The older generation may recall a connection between slow-maturing puppy ears and the TV show The Flying Nun. (No doubt, we may have given away our age with that comment.)

Longtime breeders have been dealing with the ears in many ways, such as with large contraptions involving plastic milk-bottle corners, stuck on and heavily wrapped, and finished off with duct tape. Just don’t let them get wet, or bacteria can set in and you have a whole new, smelly problem. Cardboard tubes have also been used to hold the ears up.

It is time that the inventors among us step up the challenge and create a universal tool that will do the job. Attempts have been made using a fine-screen mesh and wide Velcro strips, designing a hard rubber cap that holds the ears within—you may laugh, but the different items used to get those ears to stay up are boundless. Let’s create an ear think tank and come up with a product that is simple, safe, and effective. No doubt, it could be used with other breeds with similar needs and could make the lucky inventor worth at least a little notoriety in the dog world.

The latest trick seen is the use of Breathe Rite nasal strips placed vertically along the outer edge of the ear. Actual experience with this technique proved somewhat successful. Shaving the hair at the proposed site and cleaning with alcohol allowed the strip to adhere to the skin. One particularly tough case required two strips in the ear and still needed a little taping to give the setup some longevity to take final hold. However, the good news is that it did work, although I think many of the listed modus operandi probably gave reasonable results. A consideration is whether it seems uncomfortable for the dog. The strips seemed to stay in better if prepared at bedtime and no other pups could destroy them, but that is typical of any of the current trends. Again, that is why a more durable system that could be comfortably attached and will not be affected by massive gangland puppy play may be a better idea!

Let us know your system for a future update  on this topic.

-David L. Anthony

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

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