This appeared in the March 2001  AKC Gazette Cardigan column


Cardigan Comparison with other Breeds

By Marieann Gladstone


       It is an absolute must, whether a novice enthusiast, aspiring breeder, or prospective judge, to study our breed Standard.  By making comparisons to other breeds, we can understand the breed specific traits of the Cardigan.


       The Cardigan, an achondroplastic breed, is long-bodied and low to the ground.  They are descended from the Teckel family, which produced Dachshunds and Basset Hounds, and possess a similar front-end assembly with a prominent prosternum, deep chest, well-sprung ribs, and heavy, well-padded feet. 


The Dachshund Standard states: “Upper Arm… lying close to the ribs, with elbows close to the body…The joints between the forearms and the feet (wrists) are closer together than the shoulder joints, so that the front does not appear absolutely straight.”


The Basset Standard describes feet:  well-rounded and with both feet inclined equally a trifle outward, balancing the width of the shoulders.”  Years of dedicated breeding of these hounds are seen in the show ring – sit and learn from these breeds by observing their correct front assembly. 


       In the 1920’s, Cardigans first appearing at shows were referred as “Alsatians on short legs”.   The overall lines and skull shape are quite similar to the German Shepherd.


       The German Shepherd Standard states, “The dog is longer than tall, deep-bodied and presents an outline of smooth curves rather than angles…. Croup long and gradually sloping…Tail.. set smoothly into the croup and low.”  Noted Shepherd breeder/judge, Helen Miller Fisher wrote:  “ the slope should be such that a drop of water placed on the head should easily run down the length of the topline dropping off at the croup, which is also long and sloping - all one fluid line.”  What a definitive description of correct croup!  Cardigans have a similar slope to croup - a drop of water should easily run down dropping off the sloping croup to the tail all one fluid line.


       The Cardigan is more often compared with the Pembroke, but there are more breed specific differences. The Pembroke is a long, low Welsh breed, but there the similarity ends.  Pembrokes, of Spitz ancestry with straighter legs, are smaller in size, more fox-like with smaller, more pointed ears, and a bobtail.  Cardigans, with their Teckel background, have curved forelegs wrapping around and cradling their deep brisket for support and heavy, front feet with a 30° turnout with wrists set closer together for balance. 


Cardigans display long, soft flowing curves that make up its unique outline, while the Pem has sharper angles. The Cardigan croup, for instance, is sloping downward to a low tail set, giving the Cardigan its’ soft curve, not squared off.  Many Cardigan faults come from when the two corgis were interbred.  Overlapping traits of both are seen in the rings today.


       These differences must be kept separate to keep the two Corgis distinct in breed type.   It isn’t the red Cardi that appears “Pemmie”, but Cardigans of any color with straighter fronts, sharp croups, small and pointed ears and high tail sets are “Pemmie”.    By loosing our breed specific traits, i.e. prominent prosternum, bowed front, long and lowness, heavy feet, sloping croup, we slip further away from the ideal as written in our Standard.  It is essential to reduce the incidence of these breed faults in the overall gene pool for each generation, by careful selective breeding for breed type.  


 ©2001 MZG