colours grooming length movement size tailset temperament


by Patrick Ormos, Phi-Vestavia Cardigans, USA

Have you ever checked to see how often "moderate" is used in our AKC standard? The word is used 10 times in the standard as descriptive of specific characteristics. Related synonyms are used at least 5 times more. In fact, if we read the standard very carefully, we are left with a
definite impression of a MODERATE dog with very few exaggerations.

When we read the standard carefully I believe that you will find that the exaggerations are few and far between - they are concerned with breed type, that which distinguishes one breed from another. In this case, those things which differentiate Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis from each other, and from every other breed. Ears for instance, or the description of the correct Cardigan front, or the tail, or the colors, or the head, etc. Yet, even there we find an attempt by the authors to keep us away from too much exaggeration.

As well, the standard uses another kind of language: should, must, is, ought. This kind of imperative language leaves little room for wide interpretation. Yet, we breeders use the standard as if it were a vague hint about what a Cardigan should be.

Moderation, exaggeration, and imperative all serve different functions in the standard. The imperative language underscores those characteristics which need to be present for basic canine soundness. Exaggeration is used to help us understand those specific characteristics which clarify breed type. Moderation is used to balance the tendency towards extremism, and to give a sense of what this breed is really like.

We breeder-exhibitors find it easy to slip into extremism.

Over-angulated rears look impressive - but are clearly incorrect. "There should be moderate angulation at the stifle and hock. Hocks well let down."

Huge, heavy bone looks impressive, but is incorrect. "...with moderately heavy bone..." "Overall, the bone should be heavy for a dog of this size, but not so heavy as to appear coarse or reduce agility."

This huge bone, combined with a big, broad chest gives rise to small, lumbering tanks rather than our agile breed. "Chest - moderately broad with prominent breast bone."

Long, giraffe-like necks look impressive but are incorrect. "Neck - moderately long and muscular without throatiness."

Heads of such refinement that they approach a Sheltie are also incorrect. "The head...should never appear so large and heavy nor so small and fine as to be out of balance with the rest of the dog."


Is the standard wrong? Or perhaps we are just not paying enough attention to it. Go through it with different colored highlighters - look for the three kinds of language: moderation, exaggeration and imperative. Let us know what you find.


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