TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION: Correct Cardigan Front Legs
from “Welsh Corgi Cardigan Purebred Information”
This topic was given to me by one of our members who asked why Cardigan legs are crooked and wanted to know if breeders are addressing this to make them straighter like those of a Pembroke. (Please keep those questions coming!)
So let’s talk about those beautifully, curvy Cardigan legs and why they are the way they are.
To begin, I have attached a stock photo of a Cardigan from the front, as well as a photo of one of the less ideally constructed bully sub breeds. One could argue that both breeds carry a lot of chest. In the Cardigan, the chest is deep and wide to provide for plenty of lung and heart space. Dogs carry approximately 70% of their weight on their front legs. In the Cardigan, the legs curve around the chest (called the wrap) and settle well beneath the shoulders so that the dog’s weight is supported by two pillars, the legs.
In the bully type, the shoulders are wide and set apart like an apex. The chest is suspended between them, causing the weight of the body to be supported primarily by muscle and ligament. Without the leg bones acting as a structural support, this dog would be prone to soft tissue injuries were it asked to conduct strenuous labor.
I have also posted two diagrams that illustrate the same principle on the Cardigan. A correctly built Cardigan has a scaffold supporting its weight. An incorrect one resembles a bridge with no arch to dissipate weight.
Here is an excellent article describing it further: http://www.cwcorgi.com/Aragorn/Judging.htm
This brings us to turnout. The Cardigan’s front feet should turn out SLIGHTLY, no more than 30% or, if standing above the dog, the feet should aim to be no wider than clockhands at 5 minutes to 1, with the head at 12:00. Too much turnout, and structural weakness occurs, usually in the primary shock absorbers between feet and wrist, called the pasterns. Arthritis and strains might become an issue.
But we should not be aiming for straight front feet like the Pembroke. The Pembroke standard requires the feet to be neither in nor out. It is important to remember that although both breeds carry the generic Welsh word for common or cur dog (Corgi), these dogs are not the same breed, and they are not two types of the same breed. They were erroneously considered two sides of one breed for 7 years almost 100 years ago, and a very small handful of breeders did cross the two during that time, but most breed fanciers recognized that these were two breeds even at that time and did not cross them.
The Pembroke just plain is not built the same as the Cardigan. Its legs do not wrap around the chest like a Cardigan’s do. The Pembroke is built more like its Spitz ancestors, breeds that include everything from the Samoyed reindeer herder, with shoulders similar to the other Spitz drafting breeds, including Huskies, to breeds like the Schipperke and Pomeranian.
The Cardigan is a Teckel breed. Its family includes the Basset hounds (many different types still in Europe) and the Dachshund. Notice that if we straighten the legs and move them outward, as in the incorrect Cardigan diagram, the feet straighten. When the legs are under the shoulders, supporting the dog’s weight, the feet balance slightly outward. The dog would lost stability if the feet were straight or turned inward.
The Basset Hound breed standard requires a front end very similar in structure to the Cardigan, also recognizing that those front feet need to turn out slightly for balance. http://www.basset-bhca.org/index.php…
The Dachshund breed standard also requires a greatly similar front to the Cardigan and also mentions that the front feet may turn out slightly. http://www.dachshundclubofamerica.org/breed-standard/
Here are some other articles that may help explain why the Cardigan’s front legs are just right the way they are. And I look forward to seeing the input from others, as well.