Judges Education Committee
Always approach a Cardigan from the front, or just slightly off to the side, not from the rear. Never come up to a Cardigan from the rear and touch it. This is a herding dog with very quick reflexes. When approached from the rear, the dog may flatten to the ground or whirl around. This is NOT a temperament fault, but part of the breed’s instinctual temperament. In the same way, be aware that sudden noises or other quick movements when on the ground may startle the dog. Only penalize if the dog does not recover quickly. On the other hand, please do not reward shy or nasty dogs
Viewing for Outline:
Outline is one of the unique type indicators for this breed. It must be viewed from a distance to get the overall picture. What will be apparent is the following: height to length ratio, ample neck flowing into a level topline, slight downward slope of croup, prominent forechest with the point of the chest centered nearly midway between the throat and the feet, and moderate tuck-up.
Hands-on evaluation should be limited to the table, as per AKC guidelines. If you wish to reexamine something on the dog, do not bend over the dog while he is on the ground. Please have it put back on the table.
When the dog is first placed on the table, give the handler sufficient time to set up the entire dog, again step back and look at the outline and then come around to the front to approach the dog. This will give you a chance to see the front – another major type issue in this breed – at close to eye level. You may check teeth yourself or ask the owner to show you the bite. It is not necessary to count teeth in CWC, so there is no reason to open the mouth.
From the front and beginning with the head, note eye shape, spacing, and coloring. Measure from the tip of the nose to the base of the stop, check the stop, measure from the base of the stop to the occiput, note flatness of skull between the ears. Feel the cheeks by placing your hands flat along the side of the head and note the cleanness of line, you may feel the ear leathers. Please note that the CWC should not be expected to “show” continuously while on the table. Expression and ear set should be evaluated on the floor rather than the table.
Run your hands down the neck to the shoulders, check the fit of elbows, evaluate the shape and depth of brisket – which should fall below the elbow and fill in the crook in the front legs in mature dogs – check the crook, examine the feet and note turnout of not more than 30 degrees from center line.
Moving to the side of the dog, check for parallel planes of the head and a nice clean underjaw. Note flow of neck into shoulders and evaluate shoulder assembly. Examine depth of chest, topline, and moderate tuck-up. While going over the dog, pay attention to texture and length of the coat. Check the length of the ribbing as compared to the length of the loin, moderate angulation at stifle and hock, and evaluate tail set and croup structure. Note the slight slope of the croup into the tail set, which should be below the level of the back. You may determine this by lifting the tail in your hand and fitting your thumb in the slight slope of croup.
Moving around towards the rear of the dog, check parallel hocks, musculature of thighs and that tail length reaches well below the hocks. Also note the spring of rib and definite waist. Check for two testicles of equal size in males.
This is the place to assess how the dog handles himself. Judges should evaluate gait in terms of what the Cardigan was developed to do. Does the dog have a balanced and workmanlike gait that would serve him long and well? Does he carry a level topline on the move? Coming and going should be evaluated with particular attention paid to the properly constructed CWC front. Expression, ear set, size and shape are evaluated more accurately with the dog on the ground. Tail carriage (as opposed to tail set) must be evaluated on the ground.
Please pay attention to secondary sex characteristics in both males and bitches. While there is a variation in acceptable sizes, the males should look like males and bitches like bitches. Oversize or undersize are equally faulty