Identifying the best breeders takes patience and an understanding of what goes into becoming an outstanding breeder. We spoke with long-time breeder and club member Shelley Camm, of Yasashiikuma Kennels, to hear her ideas. Shelley credits her achievements to the importance of listening to and learning from other breeders, as there are different opinions and visions of the ideal Cardigan. The best breeders keep open minds, are constantly assessing their breeding programs and are willing to bring in new lines to help accomplish their goals.
The Cardigans themselves are great teachers. Shelley continually watches dogs. Lots of dogs from other breeders, each with their own objectives. Often we look at each part of a dog separately, but it’s vital to be able to assess the “whole” dog, and understand the sum of the parts. It’s also essential to be honest and open about issues surrounding health and temperament. It’s often said that without a sound mind and body, there really is no dog.
What does this mean to someone looking for their first Cardigan? Both long established breeders and those who are just beginning should have good depth of knowledge about Cardis and about the different dogs in their puppies’ pedigrees. Look for evidence that the breeder is actively engaged with others; they may co-own some of their breeding stock with another breeder(s), their puppies’ pedigrees might show evidence that they are using breeding stock from more than just their own kennel. Questions about health and temperament will be answered honestly – perfection doesn’t exist, but good breeders constantly work towards it. Finally, remember Shelley’s advice, and look at their Cardis carefully. You don’t need to be able to assess all of the fine points of the breed, but you can certainly tell if the dogs have sound minds and bodies. Finding the best breeders, and your awesome Cardigan puppy, takes patience. But Cardis are most definitely worth it!
Shelley and her friend Carrie with five generations of beautiful Yasashiikuma Cardig