About the breed
The Welsh Corgi Cardigan is a very old breed, originating in Wales where they were used to help stockmen bring cattle from mountains to the markets across the country. Built for endurance not speed, they would push the cattle along the drovers roads at a steady pace, nipping at the heels of any recalcitrant animals to keep them going, dashing quickly out of the way of flailing cattle hooves.
Clearly, over the years, theat role has disappeared and the breed is now pretty much just a family pet.
In the UK the breed is on the KC vulnerable list there being usually only a hundred or so per year being registered, across the world however there are many countries where the Cardi is highly valued and there is a large and growing population. It is widely believed by many enthusiasts that the Cardigan corgi suffered in terms of popularity because of the Queens preference for the Pembroke Corgi.
Physically the Cardigan is a fairly large dog on short legs, heavier than the Pembroke, they should have strong bone, big round, well padded feet, large well rounded ears, a fairly long body finished off with a thick bushy tail, resembling a foxes brush.
Temperament- the Cardigan, is a reasonably calm dog, very intelligent and usually easy to train. They are friendly dogs, very loyal to their family, but can be reserved around people that they do not know, that's not to say aggressive, but they may take a while to weigh up any newcomers.
Grooming a cardi is not a difficult process, they have a double coat, a short fluffier undercoat, which is insulating and a waterproof top coat of harder straight hair. The coat is described in the breed standard as "short to medium" in length, however, there are also "Fluffs". These dogs carry a gene from both parents that cause a longer coat, these are a little more time consuming to look after and daily attention is required for our fluffy ones. Neglecting such coats can end up with knots and tangles and genuine problems if left. Regular checks of ears, teeth, nails etc are all essential (as they are with any breed of dog). Apart from that, this is a very easy to look after dog, after a walk in the pouring rain, a quick towel dry is usually sufficient, a muddy dog will dry off in a crate and the mud will fall or brush off. A regular brush will keep the dog clean and help the bond between dog and owner.
Training, while this clearly depends on the skill of the trainer, Cardis are usually keen to please their owners and respond well to basic obedience. Cardigans are also active in many different canine activities, agility, flyball, mantrailing, hiking and running to name but a few, so there are plenty of options for new owners.
Health-there is only one health test that breeders have to carry out for Cardis, that is PRA (progressive Retinal Atrophy). The CWCA was fortunate many years ago to have the PRA gene identified and passed a motion (in the UK) at the following AGM that no further animals who are either "Carriers" or "Affected" by the condition would be bred from, so as far as we know there are no Cardigans in the UK who carry the PRA gene. Being a low to ground, long backed breed, we obviously have to take care of our young dogs, ensuring that they do not jump on and off of sofas, or bounce down stairs. As they mature, they will muscle up and can lead a full active life, but early care is important.
Sally and Carrie on the rocks