Cardigan Corgi Breeder – Alta and Jason Hertz

the litter reflectionWe have found Cardigans to be a very charming and healthy breed. They are excellent with children and other animals. They typically adore cats. The average life span of the breed is 13 to 15 years but many thrive long past this point. If you are interested in owning a Cardigan, it’s best to do your research and make sure this intelligent breed will fit into your lifestyle. Then consult a reputable breeder. Also, be aware that Cardigans do shed but it’s nothing a good vacuum can’t handle!

Fiona-Richland-2012Our philosophy of dog breeding comes from spending time with our mentor, Kim Shira of Coedwig Cardigans. We share the notion that one of the most important principles of dog breeding is to think how our breeding decisions will impact the future of the breed. Temperament and health are of utmost importance, as is breeding to the National club’s breed standard. Even though each of our breedings focuses on our next top winning show dog, the truth of the matter is that most of the litter will go to companion homes. We want all of our dogs to be good companions, no matter what their physical show attributes are. Good show dogs should also be great companions.

Jason and AltaWe have owned Cardigans since 2007. Our first breeding was in 2012 between Liam and Polly. Our second breeding was this year between our girl, Karis, and Honey Badger from Lock&Key Kennel in Alaska. Our mentor, Kim, has been breeding since 1974, usually breeds about two to four litters per year, and has over 120 AKC breed champions to her credit along with numerous performance stars. We generally know someone within the Cardigan community who is breeding at any given point throughout the year and are more than happy to refer a potential owner to a fellow breeder.

Emmett and Karis at Doggie DashWhen planning a breeding, we have several top priorities: good health and genetic clearances, great temperament, and excellent structure and breed type. We want a Cardigan to look like a Cardigan (i.e., big rounded ears, a proper front structure, correct body proportions, correct large round feet, and so forth). We do genetic testing for Degenerative Myopathy (DM) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). We also evaluate hip and elbow structure through x-rays. We only breed dogs that possess many strong breed virtues, strong enough to overcome any single glaring fault. We will not breed “mediocre” dogs simply because they finish their AKC title easily. We want the breed to move forward and breed according to the AKC and national club standards. We feel that all of the characteristics of breed quality and type are important, with overall balance very important. Needless to say, we want our Cardigans to have sound structure and to be attractive.

Our current Cardigan household consists of:


Polly (6 years old)—AKC Champion and queen couch potato


Liam (5)—AKC Grand Champion and sire of a Grand Champion, a typical Cardigan goofy clown with super (almost scary) intelligence


Karis (3)—AKC Champion and future agility star


Emmett (3)—AKC Champion and tennis ball extraordinaire

dirty fiona

Fiona (18 months)—working on her AKC championship and lap dog aficionado

Kim Shira now has:

  • Maya (9 years old)—AKC Champion with 17 group winner and/or specialty wins
  • Rocky (5)—AKC Champion and herding star with advanced titles in AKC, ASCA, HTAD
  • Flower (3)—AKC Champion
  • Thimble (2)—working on her AKC championship
  • Nala (18 months)—working on her AKC championship
  • Jade (10 months)—working on her AKC championship
  • Firefly (9 months)—working on his AKC championship
  • Annie (9 months)—working on her AKC championship
  • Poppy (13 weeks)—from the Karis/Honey Badger litter

I often tell people our Cardigans are like potato chips—you can never have just one. They do need to be socialized with other people and dogs. They adore obedience training and excel at agility and other sports. As a breed, Cardigans are devoted to their humans and a joy to be around. I do not remember what life was like before my dogs nor would I want to go back there. Every day with them is a blessing.

Summer tips for Cardigan owners

LiamDuring hot summer months, Cardigans usually need a little help keeping cool. Most Cardigans will get into a wading pool, so we always have a few in the yard during the summer. Of course, keep the pool in the shade! In hot climates, we have used misting systems to keep our patio cool, and the dogs seem to love the mist! Pay attention in hot weather because—just like humans—dogs can get overheated. If your dog is displaying signs of being overheated—heavy panting, excessive thirst, weakness, increased pulse rate or heartbeat, glazed eyes, bright or dark red tongue and gums, excessive drooling or seizures—try to cool them off immediately by taking them indoors with air conditioning or putting them in shade and with cool (not cold) water. Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms continue. Be sure to have clean, cool water available at all times and do not allow your dog to drink large amounts in one sitting. Too much water at one time can cause vomiting. Remember dogs don’t sweat like humans, and they can only pant to cool off. A final important thing to remember in the summer months is dog paws on hot pavement. You wouldn’t walk barefoot on the hot pavement, so don’t let them do it either.

To contact Jason and Alta:
To contact Kim:

Dr. Lynn Shanks, North Portland Veterinarian

Lynn ShanksLynn Shanks is a general practitioner of veterinary medicine, with a special interest in surgery. She’s been at North Portland Veterinarian Hospital for a number of years, following her graduation from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992 and an internship at Oradell Animal Hospital.

Being a veterinarian is more than nuts and bolts to Lynn—what she strives for is practicing great medicine with compassion, bettering the human-animal bond through education, and actively listening while communicating the needs and responses of owners and their pets alike.

Every year you’ll find Lynn in education seminars that enable her to stay up to date on the latest medical procedures benefiting the quality of life of those pet-patients she sees. For basic Corgi care, she recommends annual exams, vaccines, and the routine exercise that keeps them healthy.

After all, Corgis not only need exercise fun and games, they also need to keep thin in order to help with arthritis. In the summertime, particularly, Corgis should walk in the early morning and late evening, avoiding the heat of the day. Lynn adds that glucosamine can be helpful for Corgis with back issues, but keeping them fit and at a good weight is more important

Lynn’s own Corgi (of course!), named Darwin, is six years old and a great ball retriever (you’ll see him as Mr. November in the 2014 Corgi calendar).

To contact Lynn:

Pembroke Corgi Breeder – Patsy Smith

Cariadh corgi puppiesMy life with Corgis goes back to the 1970s. The first Pembroke to “own” me arrived in 1979. I was searching for a dog for my parents and thought a Pem might fit well into their household. But when I met “Zap” (Bundocks Viva Zapata, CD), this beautiful sable Pem pulled at my heartstrings. He soon ended up at my house instead of my parents’. The rest, as they say, is history. Zap was my “heart dog” for nearly 16 years. He was a joy in every way and introduced me to the dog world. When Zap came to be 14, we brought home a new puppy “Obi” (Can. CH Aurora’s Oberon, CD), who became my first conformation show dog. There will never be another Obi, my true four-legged angel.

Cariadh Patsy Smith

Obi and I joined the Cascade Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club and fell hook, line, and sinker into the dog world of conformation, obedience, herding, and therapy. Before long I was pouring over pedigrees, planning a breeding program, and dreaming about the possibility of breeding a litter. I found the English Corgis most appealing with their beautiful physique and soft expressive faces.

Thus began my search for a dog to become the foundation of my breeding program. The pursuit led me to England and Scotland and the homes of many wonderful UK breeders. I made lifelong friends on that hunt and eventually returned home with two lovely dogs. Camberwell Tea Rose, “Lucy,” became the foundation of my breeding program; to this day every dog I have bred proudly goes directly back to that beautiful, spirited little Scottish Corgi lass.

I bred my first litter in 1996, and soon a friend from Scotland suggested the name CARIADH for my kennel. Cariadh means “little darling” in Welsh and she thought it appropriate because she knew my dogs were all “little darlings” to me. As a Breeder of Merit, every dog I breed is registered with the American Kennel Club and its registered name begins with Cariadh.

Cariadh Patsy Smith and corgisA year or two of research precedes the breeding of every Cariadh litter. Though I have been breeding for nearly 20 years, I only breed a litter about once every 2 years. I research pedigrees, attend dog shows throughout the country to check out bloodlines and possible stud dogs, and do health checks on the prospective parents. I do hip x-rays, eye exams, and genetic tests. Both parents must be in excellent health and top condition before a breeding occurs.

Since the majority of my puppies spend their lives in wonderful pet homes, producing strong, healthy, structurally sound Corgis with great temperaments has to be my #1 goal. The perfect dog probably isn’t out there, but we strive for the “ultimate puppy” in every litter we breed. Of course my hope is to produce a winning show puppy, but that puppy also needs the qualities to excel in herding, agility, obedience, and the even temperament to be a therapy dog.

Corgi lovers seem to “click” with one another, and I have met many of my dearest friends either through the Corgi club or through my puppies. It truly warms my heart to see the joy my puppies have engendered over the years. I stay in touch with my Corgis throughout their lives and love hearing stories about 13- 14- and even 15- year olds that are still enjoying life and continuing to bring joy to their families.

Some folks may be taken aback at the depth of my interview process for prospective puppy owners.  As with many breeders, my puppies are my “babies” and it is critical that their new homes be a good fit for life. I look for loving families that understand the pros and cons of owning this demanding and hairy breed and are prepared to be “owned” by a Corgi for many years. Corgis need a loving, structured, and safe environment with lots of attention and activity, both physical and mental. At least the basics of obedience training are a must for a well-adjusted Corgi and for his/her family. A 5-star vacuum cleaner can sure come in handy too!

My household pack consists of 5 incredible and very individual Corgis:

The 11-year-old Patriarch, Tynen (CH Cariadh Man about Town, RN)

The 11-year-old Patriarch, Tynen (CH Cariadh Man about Town, RN)

Tynen’s daughter Pixie, the 7-year-old Matriarch (CH Cariadh Tyger’s Eye)

Tynen’s daughter Pixie, the 7-year-old Matriarch (CH Cariadh Tyger’s Eye)

Tynen’s granddaughter, Scottie, age 5 (GrandCH Cariadh Dragonfly in Amber)

Tynen’s granddaughter, Scottie, age 5 (GrandCH Cariadh Dragonfly in Amber)

Pixie’s daughter, the 3-year-old debutante, Ghillie (GrandCH Cariadh Cierra Temptation Eyes)

Pixie’s daughter, the 3-year-old debutante, Ghillie (GrandCH Cariadh Cierra Temptation Eyes)

Scotties daughter and our next star hopeful, 4-month-old baby Ruth (Cariadh Fly Me to the Moon)

Scotties daughter and our next star hopeful, 4-month-old baby Ruth (Cariadh Fly Me to the Moon)

Here are a few summer tips for Corgi owners that come to mind:

Bees and wasps – Allergic reactions can occur with stings, especially on the head. You can give a 25mg Benadryl tablet in an emergency until you can get your dog to a veterinarian.
Fleas – Summer can be problematic, so keep an eye out for scratching and treat your dogs before “hot spots” develop.
Over-exertion – Corgis can over heat with too much exercise or high temperatures, so give them lots of water to drink and wet them down, especially in the belly area, to keep them cool. Be mindful that tri’s are usually more sensitive to the heat, and if it’s too hot for you, it’s to hot for your Corgi too!
Hot pavement – Remember, Corgis are low to the ground and that means they are close to hot pavement, so they will get hot faster than taller dogs when walking on summertime pavement. Beware that pavement can get very hot and uncomfortable for your dog’s feet.

Corgis are known as a magical breed, and they truly do seem to have a magical way of bringing us all joy. Enjoy your Corgis, hug them, love them, and be kind to them. Each and every Corgi is a treasure.

To contact Patsy: