Breeding the Cardiganshire type.

By Thelma Gray.


The dog which has had the greatest influence on this breed to date is undoubtedly Bob Llwydd. That this dog’s virtues as sire may be equalled by some of the modern stars, notably Geler Finley and Bussleton Bill, is likely, but his record will certainly be difficult to surpass. The standard of point was originally drawn up with Bob Llwyd as a model. He was red and white, of very good proportions, and his coat, and tail all combined to give him the desirable foxy appearance. He was represented the ideal of the Cardigan breeders many years ago, and his type is still considered a model to-day, so it is fortunate that he left several excellent descendants to carry on his line.

Bob Llwyd died at the age of 18, which fact alone gives him the right to fame. This is certainly a longevity record for his breed, and as far as one knows., is a record for either type.

One of his best sons was CH. Golden Arrow, a very big winner which died before being bred from largely. The two litter brothers, CH Brenig Brilliant and Y Brython, are his best-known sons from a stud point of view. Both these dogs have been used a great deal, and directly or indirectly, are responsible for a generous proportion of present day winners. Brython was a black and white dog, while Brilliant was red, with white markings.

One of Brilliant´s best daughters was CH Kicva, a light red bitch already making a name for herself as a dam. One of her daughters, Peggy Ty Clottas, was a Challenge Certificate winner before being exported to the U.S.A. Another of her sons, and probably her best production to date, was Hen Bont Gar, a young dog which won two Challenge Certificates before an early demise that was much to be regretted. He was one of the best young dogs to be produced in recent years, and those who were hypercritical were only able to find fault with his front, which was rather straight. He was very low to ground and well put together.

The breed owes Y Brython a debt which it would be hard to repay, for his gift to the breed of  Ch Geler Caressa, and her litter brother, Ch Geler Coynant. Coynant sired Geler Cledwyn, and these three magnificent Blue Merles are undoubtedly the best of their colour ever seen. Coynant himself was unshown owing to an injury, but much resembled his distinguished sister. Another Brython Daugther was Titch Fach, a well-known winner in good company.

One of the earlier Cardigan Champions, Nell of Twyn, bred a dog named Toriad-y-wawr, a name found in many pedigrees and usually associated with Cardigans of quality. Toriad-y-wawr sired Drudwyn, which in turn produced Ch. Glantowy, a most consistent winner and a very good dog. He died before he was able to make much impression as a sire.

Tit o´r Byrn was another sire of merit, and among his many winners, he produced Olwen, winner of two Challenge Certificates. She died before she won her third, so never gained the title she so richly deserved. She left behind her a fin daughter in Olwena, also a Certificate winner. Both Olwen and her daughter were attractive brindles in colour.

The old bitch Cassie was a wonderful brood, and one can hardly glance at a pedigree to-day which does not bear her name as an ancestress. She left her mark on the breed here before she went to America, where she produced some of the best stock bred there to date. She was herself of no particular beauty, but some of her stock have been quite outstanding.

In breeding Cardigan Corgis at the present time, where do the chief pitfalls lie? The most serious defect are those attributable to the introduction in the past of Pembrokeshire blood. One can find Cardigans with straight fronts, short bodies, and small ears. Also with long legs and soft coats, all very objectionable features.

Although the crossing of the two types of Corgi is no longer permitted, and the progeny of a Pembroke and a Cardigan would now be considered cross-breds, they were often bred together in the past. Thus from time to time there are throw-backs to a Pembroke ancestor, and only careful selection can keep the true Cardigan type.

A few year ago, the breed was much criticised for its hind action, and cow hocks were far too common, but soundness in general has much improved, though fronts are still rather erratic. The typical, slightly-bowed formation of the front legs which is one of the chief attractions of the breed, besides being one of its characteristics, are too often spoiled by loose elbows or turned out or splayed feet, all details which detract from the dog’s movement and general appearance.

Tails are still far too gaily carried. The lovely Cardigan brush must be set on level with the back. If the croup is short and tail set high. It will be curled and carried high. It is correctly carried low, in a graceful sweep, though it may be raised slightly when the dog is excited or moving.

People often find difficulty in distinguishing a crooked and a bowed front. A correct front is bowed rather in the same manner as the legs of a human being are when they are dubbed “bandy.” Knock-knees, or legs twisted or turned out like a rather bad “dachshund front.” Are faulty.

The Cardigan Corgi, being bigger and heavier than the Pembroke type, has more weight to carry on his very short legs, and that is one reason why it is so important to insist on soundness in breeding. The careful selection of stock, fresh air, and good food all do much to make a puppy grow up sound on its legs. A youngster confined in a small kennel or run, kept on a chain, fed on a superfluity of starchy foods, or allowed to get too fat, is likely to develop loose elbows and cow hocks, even if rickets and kindred complaints are escaped.

When feet are at all splayed, much can be done by exercising on hard stony roads. A rough, loose surface is better than hard asphalt, since the small sharp stones get between a dog’s pads, and he instinctively closes his toes together when walking. The nails should not need attention if the dog is properly exercised, but if they do get long they should be clipped lest the shape of the feet gets spoilt.

In a breed offering such a wide and attractive range of colours as the Cardigan, it is difficult to avoid personal fads, but colour should play no part in the production of a working breed. The various shades are so beautiful, that most people have a preference  for one or the other, but a dog of correct type, soundly constructed and of good character, is more important than another of more flashy colouring, perhaps, but fewer general virtues.

Latterly the tendency has been to encourage the breeding of reds: a great pity since many contend that the other colours are more authentic, and indeed since the majority of Pembrokes are either red or sable, the brindle and blue merle Cardigans, just as charming in their own way, help to emphasise the differences between the two breeds. The original pillars of the breed all varied in colour, and a number of old Cardigan breeders believe that the red shade was only introduced through crosses with Pembroke Corgis.

Although both types have much in common, the aim should be to produce a dog that is at once like, and unlike the Pembroke Corgi. The typical Cardigan must be much larger, stronger, heavier, with a wider head, bigger ears placed more to the side of the head, and, of course, a bowed front. The coat should be as dense, but shorter and harsher, and heavy bone which might be termed coarseness in a Pembrokeshire dog would be admired in a Cardigan. All light, weedy, small, or leggy specimens should be discarded, and only the right type of dog and bitch used for breeding. Timid specimens are not to be encouraged, and those with the bold sensible temperament should have preference. Avoid the short-backed, untypical dogs, aiming for the long thick balanced body, an essential point in a Cardigan. It must not be said that the Cardigan Corgi has become a toy. He is a rugged, working Welshman, and as such he must be kept.



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