Cardigans in Pembroke Pedigrees and vice versa

Ch. Red Pennon of Elsdyle

In the pedigree I recently featured of Ch Red Pennon of Elsdyle you may have noticed that there is a Cardigan bitch, Forwyn Fach, in the fourth generation of the female line. She was by the well known Cardi sire Toriad-y-Wawr, himself a son of the early champion bitch Nell of Twyn, so one can say that all Pembrokes of today have a champion Cardi among their ancestors. See the pedigree of Forwyn Fach's daughter Frizmouse Dyllis (what wonderful names they had in those days).

Although in general when the two breeds were split the divisions seemed to have been reasonably clear cut, there was a certain degree of overlap. It's fascinating to imagine how it all got sorted out!

You will recall that the decision to ban docking in the early '30s was an utter failure in that undoubted Pembroke-type dogs like Clydey Bob and Tafferteffy were born with full tails.

In the third edition of her book, Thelma Gray writes: "Two persons, each a specialist in one of the two types, were delegated to spend a day at the Kennel Club, going through the files and separating the types. (At the time there were about 300 registrations). This was not always easy, because in some cases the two types were interbred. In such cases, when it was obviously impossible to classify the animals as either Cardigans or Pembrokes, the Kennel Club wrote to the owners, and asked them to state the classification considered correct for their dogs. In this way it was inevitable that some Corgis with 50% Pembroke blood, became registered as Cardigans, and vice versa. Actually, the number thus involved was not great, and apart from a little confusion at shows, when an undocked Pembroke was shown in its own classes and the puzzled judge was led to wonder if a Cardigan had wandered in by mistake, the matter was easily overcome, and no more crossing of the types took place."

Many of the cards are still available on microfiche at the Kennel Club library and when I had a look at them, all the cards had a C or a P written on a corner. In some cases there was obviously doubt; for example a C had been crossed out to be replaced by a P, and then perhaps back to C!

Forwyn Fach is probably the most important known Cardi in Pem pedigrees. There was also a dog called Derek Bach whose pedigree contains many of the most important early Cardis such as Tit o'r Bryn, Bob Llwyd, Mon and Cassie as well as two lines to the Pembroke Caleb. Derek was classed as a Pembroke, though his brother Rustic Bill was a Cardi! Derek was used a little (including on his aunt, a bitch of Cardi lines called Norma who herself appears in some Pem pedigrees) and a few lines from him survive, notably through post-war stud dog Brendon Felcourt Magnet.

Ch. My Rockin Mawer (also known as My Rockin' Mawr)

Cardis too have some 'mixed' ancestry. The Pem champion Ringbourne Islwyn sired a Cardi CC winner but the best known dog of inter-variety lines was the Cardigan Ch My Rockin Mawer (another fabulous name!) who was by the famous Pem champion Ch Bowhit Pepper ex a daughter of the first male champion Pem Bonny Gyp. He was undoubtedly a Cardi, though his sister My Suze is in Pembroke pedigrees and to make matters even more confusing one of his daughters Defiant Girl of Merriedip was one of the earliest Pembroke exports to the US and won the first PWCCA National

I think My Rockin Mawer's line died out in the UK but his double granddaughter Sparkler (whose mother seems to have been a blue merle) was one of the original Cardigan exports to the US and through her daughter Wynne was one of the cornerstones of the breed in America.

Simon Parsons on Facebook - Pembroke Corgi History