IS THE STANDARD WRONG?
A recent nasty comment by
another exhibitor about "cobby Cardigans" set me to wondering about the
relationship between height and length. I immediately whipped out my photo albums and
handbooks and began measuring. I measured height, back length, and total body length.
Immediately some questions
come to mind: 1. Does the set of the tail change this measurement, and 2. does the layback
and/or placement of the shoulder change this measurement? It seems clear to me that the
obvious answer is "yes." A high tail set may vary a couple of inches from a low
tail set...thus changing the measurement significantly (as much as 10+%). Shoulder
placement is a little more difficult to verify. But given that most Cardigans have a
Clearly, the standard's
attempt to provide a set of fixed points from which to measure back length, and therefore
make some conclusions about the height to length ratio, which affects breed type, is a
failure. Neither of those points can really be accepted as fixed. On the other hand, it is
possible to find two points which are not variable and which can be used to compute total
body length. These are the point of the forechest (the manubrium) and the bottom rear
point of the pelvis (the ischium tuberosity). These two points can not be changed without
affecting the total body length of the animal. The placement of the shoulders does not
affect the absolute placement of the manubrium, though the visual perception will change
(from no forechest to a lot of
So the question becomes,
"how long should a Cardigan Welsh Corgi be in total body length, measured from the
manubrium to the ischium tuberosity?"
Certainly I do not have any
absolute answers to this question...this is something which we need to debate in public.
But, let me offer some observations.
As mentioned above, I
measured about 50 or 60 photos of dogs, past and present. Of course, none of these
measurements can be as accurate as they would be with the live animals, but, we can assume
that the percentage error is probably about the same. I found only two animals (one male
and one female) which had a ratio of 1:1.5:2, height:back length:total body length, and
neither one was ever noted for their superior shoulder assemblies. In fact, the best
shoulder assemblies seem to measure 1:1.2:1.8. Bitches seem to be slightly longer (this
will surprise no
Now, I am not of the school
which says that we breed for what we actually can find, rather than for an ideal. But,
given these kinds of actual ratios, do we really want to have 1:1.5?
At the end of this
article you will find a drawing of a bitch with excellent shoulders who
measures 1:1.45:1.9. You will note immediately that I am not a prize-winning
representational artist! You will also note that this bitch needs to be almost twice as
long as she is tall in order
We need Cardigans which have
strong backs, and short loins...and we should not sacrifice these important working
characteristics for length. I would suggest, as a personal viewpoint, that the standard
should be changed to reflect the reality of the breed, and to reflect an improved
Some of you may disagree with me...if so, please write in and
explain why I am wrong.