Patrick  Ormos, Phi-Vestavia Cardigans, USA

Coat: trimming is encouraged, and should be done artistically so that the true Cardigan silhouette is always enhanced. Trimming of the feet, whiskers, tail and feathering is usual in this breed - an imaginary standard!

The AKC standard actually says something quite different. But nonetheless it seems quite clear that some people are adhering to the above imaginary paragraph. Our standard says, Coat-...Trimming is not allowed except to tidy feet and, if desired, remove whiskers.

Why is it that so many people seem to think this is completely wrong? Do we want to change the standard?

One of the major characteristics of this breed which attracted me when I changed breeds was its naturalness. I had handled any number of breeds, from Long-haired Chihuahuas to Old English Sheepdogs to Pembrokes. I didn't want a breed which I had to trim, hand-strip, fluff dry, etc. I
didn't want a breed where I had to crop ears and dock tails. Cardigans were a very natural breed. What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG for computer buffs) in this breed. I don't even like trimming whiskers! I tolerate the removal of dew claws.

Yet now I see people trimming, combing in and moussing in top lines, stripping, fluff drying, etc. This is certainly an improvement from earlier days when this breed often came into the ring dirty and smelling! But, haven't we gone just a little bit too far?

Certainly Cardigans need to be washed properly and groomed before going into the ring. That means a full bath one or two days before the show, depending on how harsh the coat is, followed by a full brushing out. Then on the day of the show we comb, brush, chalk the white and do a belly bath if needed. But that's all! Nails and feet should have been trimmed when we gave the full bath, not the day of the show. A blow-dried Cardigan is not correct, the coat will stand out from the body, giving the impression of an open coat (a fault).

Is the standard wrong? Are our dogs really supposed to be that over-groomed? Or, maybe our quest for the ribbons is taking us too far!



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