Nancy and Dan Willoughby · Columbus, Ohio · (614) 256·7686
Since 1999 - R U Bad?
THE CARDIGAN CORGI
The Cardigan Corgi is an ancient herding breed. There have been dwarf dog bones found in Wales that are more than 3000 years old. The Cardigan was a herder, a vermin catcher, a drover, and probably the child's companion. Not for everyone, they shed and are vocal, especially when they perceive a threat. The modern Cardigan can be a conformation show dog, agility dog, herding competitor, therapy dog, family companion and more. Some are couch potatoes and some love nothing more than to go all day.
Please see our PUPPY PAGE for details on a gorgeous adult Cardigan seeking a home.
HEALTH TESTING IN CARDIGANS
Are purebred dogs too inbred? Is that why there are so many health problems in dogs now-a-days? My feeling is that careful use of inbreeding and linebreeding will not necessarily result in unhealthy dogs, just as outcrossing on its own may not produce healthy dogs. The reason that so many dogs have health issues is complex, including that there are many environmental insults to dogs that didn't exist "back when...". Back yard breeders or puppy mills may not want to spend the money on health testing or breed dogs regardless of health issues. Show breeders may be more focused on winning in the show ring and don't concentrate as much effort on health or temperament. Most show breeders last only 5 years in the fancy before health problems discourage them, so the knowledge that they have gained is lost to those who replace them. Responsible breeding requires one to focus on many traits at once, which severely restricts the choice of breeding partners and may interfere with personal goals in making strides for show ring wins. It also requires a realistic attitude and the ability to move past heartbreaks. Even the most conscientious breeder cannot guarantee perfect health.
My own strategy has evolved into that of choosing dogs with certain health criteria, belonging to people whom I trust. I want to have as much information as possible about the parents, grandparents, siblings and offspring of these dogs. Producing a healthy puppy involves much more than just accumulating health certificates. Structural issues and health problems for which no tests exist can create as much or more heartache and expense for puppy owners as disease that can be tested for.
Please do ask whether your breeder performs health testing. This increases your chances of obtaining a healthy dog, whatever your venue. Just by asking, you will be contributing to an atmosphere that is more conducive to good breeding practices,and this will help improve all pure breeds moving into the future. Your breeder cannot breed only perfect dogs, but he or she should have well thought out reasons for decisions that are made on your behalf.
At a minimum, Cardigans should be tested for hip dysplasia (OFA or PennHip) and eye disease (CERF). Other testing may include patellas (slipping knee cap), and elbow dysplasia. I am also adding cardiac exams, DM (degenerative myelopathy) and genetic testing as it becomes available. I am committed to obtaining health information on as many of our puppies as possible in order to establish a depth of pedigree for our line.
There is a genetic test available for the eye disease Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Cardigans. Our Keats is a PRA carrier and he passed the gene on to our Tullia. I am happy to say that the dogs we have kept in our third generation are all tested PRA clear. We didn't select for this, as there is a genetic test and PRA is a simple recessive. So, PRA carriers can be bred safely without ever producing an affected dog. The stigma around using PRA carriers is irrational and unnecessarily restricts the gene pool. There are very few carriers in the breed, so clear partners are plentiful. We have these tests so that we can safely use dogs and not have to cull them from our breeding programs. Let's focus on traits that we can't as easily eliminate and not artificially on the easy target of PRA.
Rubad was founded in 1999 upon the acquisition of our first Cardigan, Ruby, as a performance dog/pet. We named our kennel after our "Bad Ruby", who could jump onto any table from a standstill and loved to surf for extra food thereon. She was happy go lucky and loved to do it all her own way. Ruby finished her champion title and also had multiple agility titles. I have trained dogs of various breeds in many venues, including obedience, Schutzhund (with my German Shepherd Dog), agility, herding and conformation. My dogs are always owner handled in every venue. Dogs have been an integral part of my life for over 30 years, and Cardigans have been my passion since 1999. I keep track of health and temperament issues in the breed and am always happy to share what I know.
Always mindful that more dogs exist than homes, I breed only infrequently to perpetuate the breed when we are able to add a puppy that can live as a pet in our home or with a co-owner. When I breed a litter, I consider that my puppy buyers and I are "in it together". I make decisions that will impact not just myself, but other families. So, in balancing show looks, health and temperament, I try to choose the least risk for temperament first, then health as a close second, with show wins as icing on the cake. I care about the real health of my dogs and not just "certificate collecting". Unfortunately, perfect health is not possible when breeding dogs, but I discuss my health decisions with all puppy buyers and explain why each breeding decision was made. As a responsible breeder, I consider puppies produced at Rubad to be my responsibility for life.
We follow the Puppy Culture protocol for puppy socialization - the first 16 weeks in a puppy's life make the most difference to his/her adult temperament. We make the most of the time that your puppy spends with us. Your puppy will have early neural stimulation to help him or her handle stress better. We work intensively with the puppies, having other people handle them, take them to safe locations outside of the home, and teach them to accept normal stressors as part of every day life. Additionally, each puppy will have taken at least one two-hour car ride, and will have worn a collar and leash. Puppies are taken outside frequently and given a separate potty area in the puppy pen to imprint for house training. Our goal is to make this your best pet ever.
I am fortunate to have great co-breeders! Big thank you to co-breeders April Clark, Suzanne Geisler and Emily Geisler Spyrou, Cammy Long, Rebecca Harvey and Jill Rauh.
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.
From Two Tramps in Mudtime, Robert Frost
I am a member in good standing of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America, and have been a board and founding member of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Health Foundation.
Feel free to contact me to discuss Cardigans if you would like to learn more about the breed. Call us at 614-256-7686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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