ONE PERSON'S OPINION:
by Patrick Ormos, Phi-Vestavia Cardigans, USA
Perhaps one of the most difficult things for breeders to do is to find a balance between
all the different things which they are looking for in trying to produce a
"perfect" Cardigan Corgi. In fact, finding that balance in any breed is very
difficult. There are certain things about a breed which we, the breeders look at and value
above anything else. We often characterise these things as "type".
We will say something about the beautiful head type, or how the ears are so typically
Cardigan, or how wonderful it is to see that extraordinary length of back on the dog. Or
perhaps we will rhapsodize over the wonderful round feet, or whatever it is that we feel
really makes a difference.
But, let's just stop for a minute and think about things. What does this do to the breed
which we all love? How do our Corgis turn out?
If most of us are honest, we will note that many of our dogs do not look markedly
different than they did a few years back. In some ways we have not progressed a great
deal. I believe that we have lost sight of the whole for looking at the parts. If we also
look closely at our dogs we will note a disturbing trend, one which mirrors what has
happened in German Shepherds, that is, that the extreme looking dog has begun to win...at
the expense of the balanced dog.
I believe that we are forgetting that the Cardigan is not an extreme aesthetic dog, but a
balanced moderate functional one.If the Cardigan is truly a moderate, balanced and
functional herding dog, then what should his structure be like? That is the primary
question for all of us who are breeders, and for those of us who judge the breed as
well.Let me share with you some questions. I will try to express my opinions about them in
future articles. You may not agree. In fact, I hope that some of you do not, and that we
can get a real dialogue of articles going on this breed. Only in this way can we begin to
learn more about it. The Cardigan front consists of more than the radius and ulna bones.
Granted that those are understood as unique by many people, just how unique should they
really be? What functional difference does it make?
What has happened to the scapular and the humerus. In most breeds the ideal relationship
between these two is that they are almost equal in length. Check your Cardigans out and
notice how many of them are very short in upper arm. What kind of shoulder layback do we
want in this breed? Why?Toplines are easily seen, and quite obviously very controversial.
There are some very different interpretations on what the Cardigan topline (backline)
should look like. What do you think?What kind of ribbing should the Cardigan have? I have
seen everything from slab-sided dogs to barrel-ribbed dogs, and their owners claim that
each one of them is correct. I am not prepared to accept that both are correct
interpretations of the Standard.How do the ribs interact with the front legs, the shoulder
blade and the upper arm to influence movement in the Cardigan?
A good answer to this kind of question would go a long way to convince people, judges and
breeders, as to the correctness of a certain kind of ribbing.How wide is too wide in
front? How narrow is too narrow? How does that affect the working ability of the dog. It
is not just all aesthetics, it is also practical working ability that we are breeding
for.How long is too long? I have noticed some Cardigans coming into the ring looking as if
they should be in the Dachshund ring. Can a Cardigan get too long?
Certainly they can be too short-coupled - but what exactly are we talking about? Is it a
loin that is too short? Is it the impression that is too short? Is it that the vertebrae
are too short, thus actually causing a shorter back (this is indeed a real possibility)?
Is it just that when the dog looks too much like a Pembroke the first thing that we say is
that it's too short?Rear assemblies are a bone of contention. We run the gamut from
under-angulated and straight to over-angulated like a German Shepherd.
The old UK breeders suggest that the hind leg should look "like a ham". What
does that mean? How long a hock do we want, and how does that affect movement?These are
just a few questions. There are others. We all need to look at our dogs with clear and
critical eyes. Malicious rumours are not the way to educate and improve a breed. Free and
open discussion is.
Sent to Corgi Quarterly (June 29, 1989)