THE CARDIGAN WELSH CORGI IN AUSTRALIA
When Mr and Mrs W.J. Lewis of Fishguard in Wales, migrated from the UK in 1954 to begin a new life in Western Australia, two Welsh Corgi Cardigan dogs and three bitches accompanied them.
These five imports of sound lineage were later bred with the progeny from another two British imports to New Zealand and provided the foundation for the breed in Australia. It was from the five founding dogs, that the first Australian Cardigans were bred under the Lewis' soon to be well-known "Lewdux" prefix.
The first five imports included the dogs, Ch. Hannaford Rudie (Imp UK); and Ch. Hannaford Nikki (Imp UK) and the bitches, all bred by the Lewis', comprised three sisters, Ch. Morfudd of Lewdux (Imp UK); and Myfanwy of Lewdux (Imp UK) and Menna of Lewdux (Imp UK).
The former bitch Ch.Morfudd, was extensively shown and therefore did much to help promote the breed in Australia. This versatile Welsh lass must have also been busy in the whelping box, as she was the dam of Ch. Lewdux Ceinwen Bach, Ch Lewdux Gelert, Ch. Lewdux Angharad and Ch. Lewdux Teifi Fach plus others.
It has been said that Menna unfortunately received an injury from a Kangaroo Dog.
(An early Australian breed which has now vanished, known as a formidable and fast hunting dog, often brindle in colour and built along hound lines. It was bred by the early Australian pioneers to run down and capture Kangaroos.)
Myfanwy, although not exhibited apparently through having lost her teeth, nonetheless bred on through her daughter by Ch. Hannaford Nikki, Ch Lewdux Megan Fach.
In 1956 another import bitch arrived to further strengthen the Lewis' lines. Ch. Hannaford Elkay Lowri (Imp UK) also bred on well, her presence adding to the foundation stock of this influential kennel and consolidating the foundation that led to it's future success.
In Western Australia new kennels became established using progeny from the Lewis' breeding programme. They included Mr W. Preston (Prestonia) and Miss D. Deverall (Dinas) who had Ch. Lewdux Teifi Fach.
Later Miss E.N. Dick imported the only English champion Cardigan to come to either Australia or New Zealand. Eng Ch. Parmel Dambuster (Imp UK). Dambuster unfortunately was little used at stud although only six years old when he arrived. Perhaps it was due to the tyranny of distance in those earlier times and it is a shame he did not stand at stud in the eastern states of Australia, where he would have been accessible to more breeders.
The first Cardigans to arrive in Victoria were purchased by Miss L. Wood in 1956. Miss Wood founded her Woodruffe strain on Ch. Lewdux Ceinwen Bach, later adding two imports from New Zealand, the litter brother and sister, Ch. West Country Twm Shion Catti (Imp NZ) and Ch. West Country Mari Lwyd Lawen (Imp NZ). The latter were whelped on 6 May 1953 from Mrs Anderson's (NZ) imports, NZ Ch. Binder of Greenfarm (Imp UK) and NZ Ch. Kentwood Fflur (Imp UK). To these foundations in 1956 Miss Wood also added another import, a brindle male Ch. Edlev's Danny Boy (Imp UK).
NEW SOUTH WALES
The Cardigan presence in NSW commenced with another Lewdux bitch, Lewdux Curigwen Bach, a sister of Ch.Lewdux Ceinwen Bach in Victoria.
Owner Mrs G. Davies Hanson of Inverall in NSW founded the breed in that state when Curigwen produced a litter containing Ch. Dwyrd Dylan Dyner, which has the honour of being the first Cardigan shown in Queensland and also the first champion. Later Dylan was bred back to his dam and a pup from this litter also made it's way to Queensland.
One of Australia's better known early Cardigan kennels, was Mrs V.B. West's Westavon kennel situated at Epping in NSW. Founded on Victorian bred Ch. Woodruffe Llwydwyn and also later purchases, Ch. Lewdux Adwyth plus two NZ imports, Ch. West Country Dewin (Imp NZ) and West Country Y Brython (Imp NZ) - the latter being an iid pup from a British import.
An influential import in his time was Ch. Beckrow Barona Doubtful (Imp UK). Bred by Sandra Tonkyn (UK) and imported by the partnership of Mrs J. Georgiou and Mrs A. Schofield, the tricolour "Barclay" became the sire of over 30 champions. In 1983 Mrs Georgiou imported Beckrow Baronet (Imp UK) and he also had a subsequent influence as a sire.
Under her Rhossili prefix, Mrs Georgiou bred the first Australian Champion Cardigan to be exported to the UK, Ch. Rhossili Itsa Special, which later won her English title and also the CC at Crufts in 1983.
Mrs L. Seaton exhibited the previously mentioned Ch. Dwyrd Dylan Dyner for his breeder, Mrs Hanson of NSW but also owned the brindle and white Ch. Lewdux Olwena, by Ch. Hannaford Nikki (Imp UK) out of Ch. Hannaford Elkay Lowri (Imp UK). Olwena was the first champion Cardigan bitch in Queensland and won at the Brisbane Royal Show in 1960. Mrs Seaton also had the red/white male, Lewdux Idwal by Ch. Lewdux Dewin out of Ch. Morfudd of Lewdux (Imp UK).
The first Queensland born litter arrived courtesy of Mrs J. Perkins' Alphon prefix in 1963. Sired by Ch. Kentwood Fronwen (Imp UK) ex Tapylyn Gay Vicky. Under the Alphon prefix Mrs Perkins produced many champions and also imported from NZ, Ch. West Country Max (Imp NZ) - by NZ Ch. Parmel Barman (Imp UK) ex yet another British import, Ch. Bridgemont Bridgette (Imp UK). Another NZ import was Ch. West Country Patric (Imp NZ) sired by Ch. West Country Merich but also out of Ch. Bridgemont Bridgette (Imp UK).
Once again it was Lewdux stock from Western Australia to found the Cardiganshire Welsh Corgi in Tasmania when Mrs. Clennett from Hobart imported and exhibited Lewdux Owen Glyncor.
The first Cardigan to title in South Australia was Ch. Trajon Sherree Anne (Trajon Earl Sharon ex Ch. Westavon Enchantress) which was also the foundation of the Ellis' Eltania lines. A bitch from her litter to Dyfed Red Hugh named Eltania Misty Lea, started off Mr & Mrs G. Eastgate's Leamore kennel. The Eastgates also owned the British import, Dilwel Syr Alec (Imp UK).
Mrs Nan Green of Cambrian Kennels was one early fancier of the breed in South Australia. Together with Mrs F. Hutchinson (Bellbeau) they imported the influential dog, Ch. Jezalin Fanfare of Dilwel (Imp UK).
The Cardigan conquest of Canberra was to commence with Westavon Laddie (by West Country Y Brython (Imp NZ) ex Ch. Westavon Dorita Fach) and Tygqyn Bubbles (by West Country Y Brython (Imp NZ) ex Westavon Roleta Fach), owned by Mr and Mrs R. Tyrie (Marbon).
The first Cardigan champion in Canberra was Ch. Westavon Dilys Fach owned by J.D. and Mrs B. Johnston, of Corlan kennels.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA)
Breeders in Australia and New Zealand were devastated when this disease appeared amongst the Cardigan breed seemingly without warning. PRA was first reported in 1966 and subsequently groups of breeders worked together under the auspices of the Welsh Corgi Club of NSW, to investigate and report on the disease. To their credit, whilst unable to completely eradicate PRA from the gene pool at that time, the breeders worked alongside a scientific liaison team and managed to curtail the incidence of the disease to the point where it no longer posed a serious threat to the breed.
The issue was a very emotional one at the time and as always with such things, the problems were not sorted out without a certain degree of heartbreak. There followed the loss of some breeders and some dogs, but the remainder re-gathered and with loyalty and stoicism, pressed on with the Cardigan breed and into the future.
THE BASIS - THE IMPORTS AND THEIR INFLUENCES
While some previous mention of some imports has been made, the list is far from comprehensive and space has not permitted mention of all.
For a detailed overview, full credit must be given to Mr John Johnston for his research as detailed in his wonderful publication, "Corgis In Australia". Mr Johnston, by tracing all of the British Cardigans imported into Australia and New Zealand, discovered that only a very small number of dogs and bitches have formed the foundation stock for both.Basically, only four male lines and seven female lines were involved and these were:
Bob Llwyd Cassie
Cochyn Bach Crynllys
Mon Mydrin Bloom
Y Draig Goch
Johnston says: "Although the dog Mon was the ancestor in the direct male line of Aust Ch. Hannaford Nikki, no present day Cardigan is known to descend from Mon in the direct male line, so that line appears to have died out in this part of the world. Similarly, the families of Quito and Spin do not appear these days, as these bitches were the ancestors of male dogs.."
(i.e. The direct female line was not passed on.)
Johnston's evaluation also suggests that the combination, which proved most successful from these early lines was of Bob Llwyd stock put to the female line of Y Draig Goch.
The Cardigan stock imported from the UK included that from well-known kennels and included: (Male-Female lines in brackets.)
Aust.Ch. Beckrow Barona Doubtful, Beckrow Baronet and Beckrow Blue Fire ( from the sire line of Bob Llwyd and the dam line of Crynllys)
Dilwel Peter and Dilwel Syr Alec (Bob Llwyd-Cassie)
Aust Ch.Hannaford Elkay Lowri (Bob Llwyd-Cassie ) and Aust Ch.Hannaford Rudie (Bob Llyd-Quito), also Aust Ch. Hannaford Nikki (Mon-Cassie)
Aust Ch. Jezalin Fanfare of Dilwel (Bob Llwyd-Crynllys)
Jezalin Phoenix of Joseter (Bob Llwyd-Crynllys)
Jezalin Top Secret (Bob Llwyd-Quito)
Four Cardigans were imported from the UK Kentwood kennel, three of the Bob Llwyd-Omar lines and one of Cochyn Bach-Omar lines.
Three Parmels, NZ Ch. Parmel Barman (Bob Llwyd-Cassie) and Eng/Aust Ch. Parmel Dambuster and NZ Ch. Parmel Debonair (Bob Llwyd-Crynllys).
Other UK kennels represented in these imports up to 1985 included Rhiwelli, Ringinglow, Robgwen, Rozavel and Vennwoods.
From these early beginnings, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi breed successfully established itself throughout Australia. For a more in-depth explanation of how this was achieved up to 1985, the reader is referred to John Johnston's excellent and well researched book, "Corgis In Australia" which along with breed club publications, was used as a partial reference for these notes.With grateful thanks to Mr John Johnston, for his permission to use his book as a valuable source of information for this educational website.
Subsequent to the arrival of those first imports in 1954 and up until 1985, many successful breeders and kennels were established. In total far too many to completely list here and with the inherent danger of leaving someone out, that task will not even be attempted.
Cardigems Cardigan Welsh Corgis