Cardigan Corgi Front
people seem confused when speaking about the Cardigan "front". Despite much
myth, it is not supposed to be that wildly divergent from the sound front of any other
"dwarf" (i.e. achondroplastic) breed. In looking at the Cardigan Corgi it is
necessary to consider the "front" from two different points of view. The first
view-point is from straight ahead, looking at the dog's head and full frontal view. The
second view-point is from the side, looking at the profile of the dog. We do this to
ensure that we will indeed look at the two different parts of the total front assembly,
that is, the radius & ulna, and the lower bones (i.e. the elbows down), and the
scapular and humerus bones, as well as the joints (i.e. the elbows up).
columns of bone from the elbows down are curved around the deep and capacious chest of the
Cardigan Corgi ... if everything fits together correctly you will not see a bowed front
because it has fitted snugly around the curved ribs. A really nice front does not show
daylight between the radius/ulna and the ribcage. It all fits together neatly. And there
is a "prosternum" which juts out in front of the whole set up. The wrists (i.e.
the pasterns) will be straight ahead. NO. THEY WILL NOT BE CURVED EAST AND WEST. This is a
definite fault. East and West is a fault in Cardigans, too!
feet, especially in larger, heavier males, will turn out slightly. The new AKC standard suggests 30
degrees. Measure that with a protractor some time. That's not a great deal of turn out.
Once again, some of these dogs with excessive turn out are not "typey
Cardigans", they are East and West, or fiddle-fronted, or just plain unsound dogs!
here comes the acid test: how does the dog move? When this Cardigan moves towards you (the
judge), does s/he move with those front feet straight and inclining towards the center
(they would single-track if they had longer legs)? Or are the feet still moving all over
the place, are they still curved way out so that the dog waddles towards you? Is that
front assembly so wide (a very common fault in Cardigans right now) that they can't get
their feet out in front, producing a faulty parallel movement? The over wide front
produces a gait which may look "clean" coming at you ... but which is as faulty
as a German Shepherd which comes at you with a parallel-track gait. (N.B. The Cardigan
does not move the same way that a Pembroke does. The back length ratios are quite
different, and the tail carriage (were the Pembroke to keep their's) is quite different.)
The Cardigan shoulder assembly seems to be the most neglected part of the animal. When Cardigan breeders get together and talk about their dogs, it is always the frontal view that they consider.
we rarely talk about shoulder-blades, and upper arms. And yet, these are of primary
importance if we are going to work on improving movement in Cardigan. Soundness in
movement does not only refer to being "clean" coming and going. There must also
be some reach and drive if the animal is going to cover any ground at all. The
shoulder-blade and upper arm, their lengths, their angles, and their placement will tell
us how much reach our dogs can have.
Cardigan needs a good lay-back of shoulder-blade, I would argue for the theoretical ideal
of 45 degrees. Indeed I have measured some Cardigans with lay-backs which approached that
ideal, and which had outstanding front movement. I recognize that most of our dogs do not
have that kind of lay-back ... but that gives us a goal to work for, doesn't it. The upper
arm and the shoulder-blade should be approximately equal in length. Again, most Cardigans
that I see are very short in upper arm. This is a serious structural fault, because it is
so difficult to breed out (that is a breeder's opinion of how one evaluate's some faults).
This gives them a very incorrect (if flashy) hackney action. A really good mover in front
is not flashy, rather they just float over the ground, reaching out in front and almost
pulling it underneath them as they travel over it. It is a remarkably beautiful sight.
importance to that indefinable notion "type", but often overlooked, is the
placement of the shoulder-blade and the upper arm. The upper rear edge of the
shoulder-blade should rest on the sixth rib. When this happens, with a good lay-back, you
will suddenly discover that your dog has a wonderful length of neck, and that there is a
tremendous prosternum in front of the shoulder assembly, and that the dog has a moderately
high wither. It is really rather nice to see all that appear as the shoulder blade gets
out of the way and gets back into position, instead of being up on the neck, giving the
appearance of a short stuffy neck, flat chest, and very high wither (because the tip of
the shoulder blade is sticking up, instead of the spines of the vertebrae).
short article has been meant to be a sharing of what I, as one breeder, look for when I
look at a Cardigan front. I hope that it will spark some thought and discussion. This is
only one person's opinion.