Cardigan Breed Standard- Colour

By Jean Georgiou, Rhossili Cardigan Welsh Corgis, N.S.W., Australia

It has been interesting to read that the Committee of the C. W.C.A. in England have proposed that the English Kennel Club be petitioned to change the breed standard by deleting the paragraph on colour and substituting instead the following:

All shades of red, sable and brindle. Black with or without tan or brindle points. Blue merle (Black and grey marbled) with or without tan or brindle points. There is no colour preference. White flashings are usual on the neck (either in part or as a collar), chest legs, muzzle, underparts, tip of tail and as a blaze on head. White on head should not predominate and should not surround eyes. Any colour other than specified and/or body colour predominantly white are disqualifications.

It has long been thought by Cardigan enthusiasts around the world that the colours of the breed should be stated in the Breed Standard.

One of the most interesting features of the Cardigan is its lovely colour range and when one thinks in terms of red, sable, brindle (light and dark), black/white with tan or brindle points, these are definite colours which are understood and recognised by all. Any of these colours can be used together in a breeding programme.

The colour which has produced the most problems with the breed is the lovely blue merle. Any Glossary of dog terminology one cares to read defines blue merle as "a mixture of grey, blue and black hairs, marbelised" and this marbled colour mixture in the Cardigan is quite delightful giving good definition to breed type and is much admired when it is clear. It has long been recognised that the clarity of a correctly coloured blue merle is muddied by incorrect breeding especially with brindles and red/whites. Breeders everywhere have seen the results produced by matings of dogs of blue to brindle. Dull coloured blue with excessive black patches (not marbled) with some brindle markings and many times accompanied by wall eye or eyes.  Blue to red produces blue dogs with dominant red undercoat which in some countries has become accepted as "peach" or "red" merle. Dogs of these colour combinations are neither merle nor brindle. Quite apart from leaving the next breeding programme in a severe dilemma as to the selection of colour to continue with, such dogs are also mainly unattractive and many times very lacking in breed type.

Colour is just as important to the Cardigan as it is to any other breed and if anything probably more so, as it has to many times compete against an attractively coloured, typey Pembroke. The colours of the Pembroke are fewer than the Cardigan's, yet Pembroke breeders are still very conscious of colour in their breeding programme. How much more so should Cardigan breeders be, when they have a greater colour range with some combinations, which when put together, apart from creating future breeding problems also detracts from the beauty of the breed.

All exhibitors recognise that a beautifully coloured Cardigan with glamorous white flashings is a delight to behold and will many times catch a judge's eye for a top award. Surely when we exhibit we have a twofold reason: firstly to demonstrate our capabilities as breeders and secondly to promote our breed by exhibiting dogs which are able to achieve top awards in the showring. Whilst winning in breed competition is rewarding it has to be recognised that going on from breed competition to winning against other breeds in Group and In-Show awards at All Breeds Shows, is the ultimate reward. Serious breeders of the Cardigan have long recognised that colour plays a definite role in the recognition of breed type and only clear and correctly coloured Cardigans have ever achieved Best Exhibit In Show awards at All Breeds Shows throughout the world.

Serious Cardigan enthusiasts will welcome the change proposed in the breed standard, especially the section dealing with white on the head and congratulate the English Club on their efforts to have the proposed colour changes incorporated in the breed Standard.

A suggestion to the English Club. In the interests of future generations of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, the colour mix of the blue merle should be stated in the Breed Standard without any reference to brindle points. Such an inclusion will only encourage merle to brindle breeding and very little will be achieved out of the proposed change to the Breed Standard.





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