The cream always rises to the top. An outstanding Cardigan, well… stands out. You cannot miss the beautiful long and low outline, the correct head planes and strong underjaw. The requisite round bone is revealed in the round feet and strong, stocky legs, the rounded muzzle, the soft curves of the underline, the slightly sloping croup and finally in the gentle wrap of the upper arm around the chest.
A correctly built Cardigan could work all day, as he once did on the Welsh farms. To do that he must have a smooth, flawless gait with balanced reach and drive. Labored movement would not get him to his morning coffee break, let alone lunch. He also must have a strong, level top line. To hold that top line, a dog who is approximately twice as long as he is high must have his length in his ribcage, not in the loin.
As a judge, it can sometimes be difficult to place dogs that have vastly different virtues and faults. The correct wrap around front is the hall mark of the breed. Regardless of other virtues, if a dog does not have the correct front he should not be rewarded. A correct front also includes the correct placement of shoulders when viewed from the side. A front set too far forward is incorrect and makes for an unbalanced dog. If the dog you are judging in the Cardigan ring goes not have round feet, he cannot have round bone. Round bone distinguishes a Cardigans from, among others, his oval boned cousin, the Pembroke.
From this point on, the comparison of virtues and faults becomes cloudy. One judge may place a dog with a more correct head and forgive a higher tail carriage. Another may ignore a soft coat but fault a poor top line. Judging at its best is subjective when it comes to the finer points of any breed. There are, however, some characteristics that clearly identify one breed from another. A correct front and round bone are two elements of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi that should not be ignored.
By Vivian Moran