"Pink" Cardigan Corgis"Pink" or "clear red" Cardigans are basically dogs who carry the double recessive "e" gene.
Newborn "pink" puppy among normal coloured siblings.
The term "pink" or "clear red" was attached to these Cardigans because there is never any black in their coat. Since all "normal" red Cardigan puppies have a camouflaging black overlay on their coats as newborns, this makes the clear reds easy to spot as babies. As the clear reds get older they can often darken to a normal red colour, so their identification in the whelping box is important.
A normal red puppy.
Notice how much black hair this puppy still has.
This is a clear red puppy (ee), at the same age, who is genetically a tri-color.
(Nowadays, there is a DNA-test to determine the colour genes.)
Clear Red is a recessive modifier gene. In order to get a clear red (ee), both parents may be normal colours, but both must carry the clear red gene (e). This recessive gene operates to prevent black hair from showing visibly. In the case of a red Cardigan, they are still red although they often have a pale, kind of dusty look. If they are any of the other colours - tricolour, blue merle, brindle, brindle pointed black & white - they will all appear as some shade of red.
The clear red puppy at maturity.
Nose pigment is unaffected by the "ee" recessive in the sense that dogs with black noses still have black noses, but the depth of pigment on the "ee" red dogs will vary from pale pigment to normal black pigment. This means that although some puppies have normal black pigmentation, as adults their noses, lips and eye rims often fade to dark grey-black or a bluish-black.
Here is an example of a combination of two Ee-carriers, a blue merle (sire) and a brindle pointed tricolor (dam), resulting in 2 brindle pointed, 1 blue merle and 3 pink (clear red) puppies.
Clear red Cardigan with black nose, now "faded" to dark grey
Photo: Courtesy Stella Wise
The current breed standard for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi states: Nose black. Clear reds are a shade of red and at this time an acceptable colour, as long as their noses appear black.
I have often wondered whether the dogs of a rich golden yellow tinged with red gold, and tending at certain seasons to become almost entirely red gold, described by W. Lloyd-Thomas, were in fact clear reds.