Corgi day in Dorset

WELSH CORGIS, PEMBROKE

NEWS FROM A UK PERSPECTIVE

Next week’s notes will no doubt be dominated by EuroCorgi, so here is a little extra about other items.

The indefatigable Kevin Egan tells me about a country fair featuring the breed, the Buckham Fair on Saturday August 19 from 8am to 4pm, at Stinford Lane, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3SB.

Kevin describes it as an ‘old fashioned English funfair, equestrian show and dog show rolled into one’. Corgis will have a breed booth gazebo where visitors can meet the dogs, and there will be a parade of Corgis at 1pm in the main arena.

Admission is £8, children under 16 free. Details: www.buckhamfair.co.uk

I don’t know if any Corgis will be among the 900 British dogs who will be travelling to the World Show in Amsterdam. If so, they will be among 142 Pembrokes to be judged by Andi Hudono from Indonesia starting at 9am on Friday Aug 10 in ring 1. Cardis, judged by Dan Ericsson from Sweden, are at 9am in ring 7 and total 85 dogs.

On Thursday is the Benelux Winner Show. The 72 Pems will be assessed by Marie-Josée Melchior from Luxembourg in ring 7a at 9am, while the 49 Cardis at noon in ring 2c have a breed judge in the Netherlands’ Rachel Dijkhorst-Noij (Waggerland).

A third opportunity comes at the specialty events on the Saturday where the judge for both breeds is Pamela Runderkamp from the Netherlands, starting at 2pm in ring 6b. There are 41 Cardis followed by 85 Pems.

It always amazes me that they seldom invite breed specialist judges for the World Show. Sarah and Diana did officiate at the Helsinki show, and Edith Soltesz and Glenda Cook in Austria, both a few years ago, but those are very much the exception. At both Paris and Stockholm Pems did have a UK judge, but the same all-rounder who had awarded CCs once in the breed.

At Crufts we are so lucky that the breed judges are almost always experienced breed specialists or those with a close connection to the breed.

Back to the breed Standards, and on eyes, the Kennel Club says: “Well set, round, medium size, brown, blending with colour of coat.”

In America there is as usual more detail, and for the first time we have a major departure from the country of origin: “Oval, medium in size, not round, nor protruding, nor deepset and piglike. Set somewhat obliquely. Variations of brown in harmony with coat color. Eye rims dark, preferably black. While dark eyes enhance the expression, true black eyes are most undesirable, as are yellow or bluish eyes.”

Another example of how the KC concentrates on the positive, while the AKC also includes information on what’s NOT wanted.

So, the big question, should a Pembroke’s eyes be round, or not round?

Of course it’s really the shape of the aperture that is relevant, not the actual eye itself. Even the roundest eye is likely to have slight ‘corners’, but clearly the Americans want these to be more pronounced and with a more elongated eye shape.

Can anyone explain how this complete contradiction came about?

There is also the question of the set of the eye. The KC says ‘well set’ which I interpret as pointing straight forward, while the American eye is set ‘somewhat obliquely’.

In practice, I’m not sure there is nowadays a great deal of difference. Judging by old photos there was a period many years ago now when some American Corgis had what appeared to British specialists a rather ‘hard’ expression, not just caused by the variation in eyes, but I’m not sure there is any greater variation between British and American eyes in general that there is within the breed populations in either country. So why the Standards need be so different in this respect I’m not sure.

We all agree on colour of eyes. The Americans warn against ‘true black’ eyes but I’m not sure if such a thing exists in the breed. I’m sure we all also concur that yellow or bluish eyes are no-nos.

An important factor in the expression comes from the ‘mascara’ around the eyes and at first glance the extent and pattern of this can give the illusion of different eye shapes – perhaps that’s where the Transatlantic variations originated? Neither Standard mentions this though the AKC version does point out that the eye rims should be dark, preferably black. My feeling is that the UK Standard really ought to mention this too, as pale eye rims do detract from the expression.

I’ve run out of time and space so ears will have to wait until another set of notes.

SIMON PARSONS

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