Solely for the purposes of this discussion, topline
and underline are as shown by the lines designated in red.

Some examples of Cardi outline. See if you can determine which of these have the correct proportions of 1.8 : 1

Ratio page 1

Ratio page 2

The ratio pages have been designed by Kathleen Carter, Wyntr.   Thank you Kathy. 

Height - Length ratio, article by Patrick Ormos, PDF

The Cardigan Outline:

UK: General Appearance

Sturdy, tough, mobile, capable of endurance. Long in proportion to height, terminating in a fox-like brush, set in line with body.

Height: ideal 30 cms (12 ins) at shoulder. Weight in proportion to size with overall balance the prime consideration.

Chest moderately broad with prominent breastbone. Body fairly long and strong, with deep brisket, well sprung ribs, clearly defined waist. Top line level

USA: General Appearance

Low set with moderately heavy bone and deep chest. Overall silhouette long in proportion to height, culminating in a low tail set and fox-like brush. General Impression- a handsome, powerful, small dog, capable of both speed and endurance, intelligent, sturdily built but not coarse.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Overall balance is more important than absolute size. Dogs and bitches should be from 10.5 to 12.5 inches at the withers when standing naturally. The ideal length/height ratio is 1.8:1 when measuring from the point of the breast bone (prosternum) to the rear of the hip (ischial tuberosity) and measuring from the ground to the point of the withers. Ideally, dogs should be from 30 to 38 pounds; bitches from 25 to 34 pounds. Lack of overall balance, oversized or undersized are serious faults.

Body long and strong.

Chest moderately broad with prominent 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. Croup- Slight downward slope to the tail set.


What is "Outline" and why is it so important?

The outline, or actual silhouette, of a dog helps define its breed type. Therefore correct outline is a key component of correct breed type - or the lack thereof!  When viewed from a distance, the silhouette, or outline of any dog should immediately indicate whether or not the animal being observed is of a particular breed.  

While the world-wide breed standards for the Cardigan do not have an exact section named OUTLINE, nonetheless, it is the consensus of breeders around the world that the Cardigan outline is a major component of correct breed type. The proportions of the various body parts (the balance), and most importantly, the ratio of height to body length, help create the silhouette of any dog.  The moderately long, low profile topped by pricked ears followed by a streamlined shape flowing down to the sweep of a bushy tail, typifies the expected "outline" for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Breed type is that unique accumulation of characteristics which, when taken collectively, differentiate one breed from another.  

**footnote:  The Importance of Breed Type", American Kennel Club Gazette, December 1991, p. 72

It has been suggested by one of our well-known breeder-judges, that when standing at one end of a soccer/football field, we should be able to identify a dog as a Cardigan simply by its outline and shape.  So, what is a correct outline for a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and what should it look like, when viewed from a distance away?  

When looking at a Cardigan the first impression should be of a long, low to ground, sturdy dog, made up of a series of curves rather than sharp angles, starting at the tip of the ears and flowing all the way down to the end of the tail, and again starting from the tip of the nose and down over the prosternum and then flowing up again along the underline to show the length of ribcage and well defined waist. When those two upper and lower visual outlines are taken together, then we will get a strong impression of a Cardigan, rather than any other breed.  

Although the upper outline of the dog immediately draws our eye, the underline of the dog is also an intrinsic part of outline and breed type. Remember the Cardigan is made up of CURVES.  The deep chest curves with a prominent prosternum and the curve of the well-defined waist is evident from the tuck-up of the loin as seen from below.   

Viewed from the front, forearms curving about a well-sprung rib cage bring the wrists closer together and are supported by big, well padded and rounded feet, which turn out slightly.  The correct, rounded outline of the Cardigan Corgi hindquarter is due to the muscular hindquarters in combination with a slightly sloping croup and lower tailset than that of a Pembroke.  The Cardigan croup should not be squared off, truncated, or appear to end abruptly.  This is an important feature of Cardigan BREED TYPE and loss of breed specific traits gives way to a more generic short-coupled dog tending towards squareness. The Cardigan Corgi, theorised to be derived from Basset or Teckel origins, displays these long, soft flowing curves which help make up its unique outline.  On the other hand, the Pembroke Corgi, which appears to have a background more closely related to "spitz" breed-type origins, is a slightly squarer shaped dog, with a more closely coupled and tapering body (viewed from above) and usually does not show an apparent downward slope to the croup.

There should also be BALANCE of all the parts.No sharp angles never blocky nor squared off. From forechest to rear croup nothing but natural, flowing curves .  All this is Cardigan breed type.  A dog which is balanced will "fill the eye" -- you'll see the whole dog and not just individual parts.  How do you look for the whole?  In training your eye you can squint a little, and will lose the focus on details and begin to pick up only the whole - especially outline. Each breed will have its own proper balance, and a judge needs to learn that balance if they are to be competent.  In trying to help people understand the concept of "outline", it is suggested that a number of outlines of dogs be traced from photographic images onto solid colored paper, and then cut out.  Lacking any detail or markings, the cutouts will give a good sense of what is meant by "outline."  Another method is to hold a photograph up to the light and view it from behind, this will also remove details and focus attention solely towards the outline of the dog. Below we have examples of good outlines.

Article on Type by P. Ormos

outline 1A.jpg (18565 bytes)

Outline 4A.jpg (22645 bytes)



This brindle-pointed tri shows good length to height ratio, showing a nice flowing topline from ears to tail. Photo is a little dark, so it is difficult to see the tailset and croup. While the underline shows a nice prosternum, and nice tuck up, I would like to see it just a little deeper through the chest.

Brindle-pointed tri on a dark background  with a lovely height to length ratio showing a lovely topline curving beautifully with a lovely curve over the croup. Underline is nice with good prosternum, could be slightly deeper in chest, and nice tuck up.

OutlineMG4.jpg (17818 bytes)

Blue merle with good height to length ratio, nice neckline through the withers into the back, nice curve over the croup. Nice prosternum, adequate depth of chest, moderate tuck up.

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