ON THE TRACKING FIELD
by Ted Sprague
It all started in the year 1970, when a Cardigan for the first time succesfully followed a human trail to earn the AKC TD (Tracking Dog). Since then, a long procession of others have followed in that first dog's footsteps. The total now stands at twenty-two, a most impressive figure relative to the breed's population. Additionaly, at least 7 have travelled North to earn TD's in Canada.
Three Cardis have to date passed the very difficult AKC Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) test, plus four in Canada. Here the dog-handler team is confronted with major difficulties not encountered in the simpler TD test. For example, the track is aged from 3-5 hours, and is several hundred yards longer. It may pass over obstacles such as a paved road, a ditch, or a fence. And it is crowed by diversionary tracks which the dog must recognize as such, and avoid.
Cardis have been tracking in many parts of the country. Close to half of our TD's have been produced in the strip of States stretching from Massachusetts to Virginia. Three isolated trackers have come from the mid-west and the south-west. Three more are from Washington State, while the largest single pocket of activity is in the southern area of California, which has produced seven to date. Perhaps this is the area where it might be easiest to find support for a Cardigan Specialty Tracking Test!
Cardis have certainly been doing increasingly well both in Conformation and Obedience, what with recent Group placings and BIS's and OTCh's. However, relative to other breeds, we cannot claim to rival the best records in these areas of the sport. In Tracking, however, probably no breed has a more impressive record!
Published in the CWCCA AKC Centennial Handbook (1985).