colours grooming length moderate size tailset temperament


by Patrick Ormos, Phi-Vestavia Cardigans, USA

How many of us have actually studied what the standard has to say about movement? Perhaps the most important line in the AKC standard is "This is a herding dog which must have the agility, freedom of movement, and endurance to do the work for which he was developed." This sentence describes both the Cardigan's function (purpose) and overall impression of its movement.

Many Cardigans move with short, stilted steps - a legacy of their poor shoulder angulation and restricted rears. The positive characteristic which these dogs show is that they are "true" coming and going. That is, their legs do not deviate from straight lines as they come and go, they do not cross over in the front or the rear. For many people that is the basic definition of "true". For herding dogs, however, that is quite, quite wrong!

A Cardigan which comes and goes while moving parallel is definitely incorrect. "Viewed from the front, legs do not move in exact parallel planes, but incline slightly inward to compensate for shortness of leg and width of chest. Hindlegs, when trotting, should reach well under body, move on a line with the forelegs, with the hocks turning neither in nor out, and in one continuous motion drive powerfully behind, well beyond the set of the tail." Please note the printing error in the AKC book when you read this. Parallel movement (as a terrier) is completely wrong for this breed. Or else, the standard is wrong in its description of ideal movement.

So many dogs simply do not have the angulation at the shoulder or the stifle to move properly. And if they do have good rear angulation, then usually they have long hocks, which also interferes with correct movement.

Side gait is of paramount importance in judging movement in this, and most, breeds. Do the front legs extend well forward, while staying close to the ground? Do the rear legs extend well back ("beyond the set of the tail"), or do they restrict and move up instead of back? Is the drive one
continuous motion, or does it hitch and hesitate?

If the standard is right, then many of our dogs are wrong. It is time that we paid attention to movement. This is not a head breed, but a herding breed. What do we need to select for in our breeding programs to get us back on track?


Is the standard wrong, or right? What do you think?


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