Muscular, well developed, in proportion to dog's build, fitting into well sloping
Chest moderately broad with prominent breastbone. Body fairly long and strong, with deep
brisket, well sprung ribs, clearly defined waist. Top line level.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck - moderately long and muscular without throatiness. Well developed, especially in
males, and in proportion to the dog's build. Neck well set on; fits into strong, well
Topline - level. Body - long and strong. Chest - moderately broad withprominent
breastbone. Deep brisket, with well sprung ribs to allow for good lungs. Ribs extending
well back. Loin- short, strong, moderately tucked up. Waist well defined.
Comments on THE CARDIGAN BODY
The Cardigan Corgi should be a long-bodied dog with relatively short coupling (short
loin). The "appearance" of long is exaggerated by the dwarfism of the long bones
in the front and rear assembly. The old CWCCA(US) Standard, as well as the PWC (US)
standard once used to measure length along the back, from the top of the shoulder blade to
the tailset. (NB.The
current CWCA (UK) Standard still does.) This meant that we were measuring from two
moveable points as the top of the shoulder blade can move forward or backwards, depending
on the layback (angulation) of the shoulder. The tailset can also move forward or
backwards, depending on the slope of croup and set of the tail.
BODY LENGTH TO HEIGHT: To give a more accurate measurement of length the CWCCA (US)
changed the measuring points to more stable indicators, i.e. the prosternum and the
ischium. These points of reference are the tip of the breastbone (prosternum) at the front
and the ischium (the bony protuberance felt at the point, or rear corner of the buttocks)
at the rear. For
anatomical detail, please refer to the drawing of the Cardigan skeleton shown above.
Total body length-to-height ratio measured from prosternum to ischium (including hair)
should be not quite 2 to 1, that is, the body should be not quite twice as long as it is
tall. While the UK Standard does not specify a body length to height ratio of 1.8 to 1,
the US (AKC) Standard is quite specific on this point.
RIBBING: The thorax (chest cavity) must provide plenty of room for the major organs, the
heart and lungs, but this should come from depth of chest from withers to sternum rather
than too much breadth between the elbows. Ribs should be well sprung and more oval in
shape rather than round, with the point of the oval facing down.
Between the elbows the rib shape is a bit like an upside down pear, widening out behind
the elbows to an upside down egg. A broad, flat chest, lacking a prominent breast bone, or
a narrow slab-sided chest are untypical. Length of body should come from length of rib
cage rather than length of loin. A too short body is untypical for the breed and a long
loin is a sign of weakness. While the standards do not address the issue, the length of
ribbing should be approximately twice as long as the length of loin.
LEG LENGTH & GROUND CLEARANCE: While the standards do not address the issue, the
question has arisen about the proportions of body and leg length. The chest should be deep
enough to "fill in" the crook in the front legs. The distance from withers to
elbow should roughly measure equal to the distance from elbow to ground. As well, there
needs to be some room for ground clearance underneath the chest. When looking at the body
to leg length proportion, overall balance and blending of the parts is most important.
Remember that Cardiganshire is very rocky and hilly country.
TOPLINE: Both standards require a level topline, but this does not mean a rigidly held
topline on the move. The topline should neither run up nor fall away to the rear and the
dog should appear neither sway-backed (hollowed/concave) nor roach-backed (humped/convex).
The back needs to be flexible to be able to absorb the shock of movement. Stripped of
hair, muscle, and fat, anatomically speaking, the bones of the spine are not absolutely
level. The skeleton itself does not have a level topline, though
visually we will perceive a level topline.
The topline can best be described as a very gentle, flattened S on its side. The S curves
down from the neck over the withers and into that little depression behind the withers,
then up and over the loin area, and then down again over the croup to the tail. Visually,
we see a straight line, achieved through the filling in of the muscles, skin, subcutaneous
fat, and hair.
A judge can feel that gentle S curve underneath all the hair, fat and skin, as his/her
hand comes down the neck, over the high spinous processes of the withers, and down again
into the little depression behind the withers, etc. As the judge passes his/her hand over
the loin, s/he will feel that very subtle arch of the muscles through the loin area. That
is one of the indicators of the athletic condition of the dog.
This slight rise over the loin should be obvious when you feel the back, but not so when
you stand back and look. If the loin area muscle is slack (giving a straight topline) then
we know that the dog is not in peak condition. If the loin area is so rigid that it is
almost in spasm, then again we know that there is a problem.
BODY TAPER: The Cardigan Corgi breed standards call for: 'Clearly defined waist' (UK);
'Waist well defined' (US);
These points in the two standards indicate a definite breed difference between the
Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire Welsh Corgi.
Viewed from ABOVE, the Pembroke's body tapers smoothly to the rear and shows more width
through the forequarters than the hips. Unlike the Cardigan, it should appear fairly
squared off over the croup due to the flatter set of the pelvis. In CONTRAST (again viewed
from above) the Cardigan has a well-defined waist and is strong, muscular and more rounded
in the hindquarters.
Although the tuck-up referred to in the US breed standard is not mentioned in the UK
standard, it comes with the Cardigan's well sprung ribs and well defined waist. This
tuck-up can be seen in the underline and represents another significant breed difference
between the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke.