|Call name: Remi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Breeder/Owner/Handler: Lore Lee Bruder
Interview with Lore Lee Bruder
How did you get involved in Herding? I have been involved in ranching in some form all my life. Rick, my husband of 37 years, and I run a 75 head cattle operation in the very southwest corner of Alberta. It has been over 30 years since I got my first Cardigan for the ranch. Competing just seemed like a natural step when CKC Herding competitions became available.
What drew you to the Cardigan Welsh Corgi? Some of the first Cardigans to come to Canada came to southwest Alberta so I had met a few as a child, plus a few crossbreds. The Cardigan is a drover or pusher by nature, but strong enough to take on the head if needed. If a dog will not take a head it can be almost impossible to turn stock. When moving cattle long distances, they are happy to just pace along behind so long as everything is moving forward. They do not have that need to hurry things up all the time. Cattle can get on the fight very easily if pushed too hard. The fact that they are a "Jack of all trades and master of none" was so intriguing. They allow us to have one breed that fills so many purposes. A little “guardy”, a little “hunty”, a little “herdy” and totally dedicated. I often tell people they are real working dogs...just a little short on leg. They also have an off switch. They are very content to lay around the house for a day or so. They do not dig the yard up if not worked every day. This also makes them very easy to travel long distances with. Cardigans generally have very few health issues and the few that can pop up there are now great testing. It is very common for them to live actively till 14 if kept in condition.
How did Remi get his name? Being totally superstitious about dog names it had to be very cattlemen and honest. Our Ranch name is "Winchester Cattle Company". It is named after the mare that came with me into marriage. She was the foundation of all our horses and everything out of her line has a gun name. I thought how wonderful it would be to pull that strength into my Cardigan. Remington Rifles are very reliable and very historic. The Ranch Hand part was easy. I have said for decades a good dog is better than any hired ranch hand because they don't drink your beer, wreck your truck or woe your daughter!
How and when did you start Herding with Remi? Did Remi show potential right away? Remi comes from a long line of working Cardis as they all worked here on the ranch. His lines can be traced back to those first Cardigans in Alberta through Charlie MacInnes. When the CKC started up the Herding program I got in pretty quick. I signed up for every clinic possible and that affected my breeding program in a very positive way. I started Remi as a tiny puppy just walking through the stock. Then slowly added pressure and allowed him to find his way more. This allowed him to become the great dog he is even while being handled by me. A person who still gets too excited and chatters too much.
What makes a Cardigan Welsh Corgi an ideal Herding competitor? I do not believe any breed is the "ideal" herding dog. Every breed has strengths and weaknesses. Cardigans are ideal for me as they are so dedicated to their person that they forgive our follies better than some breeds. I find the fact that they do have an off switch allows them to truly rest between runs when they do several runs in one day. Cardigans are not driven to herd. Remi has done 7 runs in a day and was the same in 1 as in 7. In the CKC program, many of the obstacles or chores can be in very tight places physically so a smaller dog may have the advantage of taking up less space so long as their mind is in the right set.
Are there any advantages to competing with a shorter breed? Sometimes I feel they put less pressure on sheep and fowl just because they do not tower over them. I have seen some very lovely gentle giants have a real hard time in small spaces. When it comes to cattle is where they can shine. They do not have to crouch to be too low to kick hard. The hardest impact of a kick is at the full reach of a leg. Also, because of the curve in their legs and that big chest when they tuck their legs in they really are just a log. The first time I saw a Cardigan roll under a cow, I almost lost my mind! I still do not like it and try to prevent it, but the way they tuck all in, there is very little chance of broken legs. That is a real risk when a cow gets a dog down to roll it. Cardigans seem to instinctively know not to fight it and just roll on under and come up biting.
How has competing against larger breeds been? I love watching all the breeds as they each have such distinctive styles. I do get a bit of "leg envy" when doing Stockdog out in the big fields or with some of the really flighty young sheep. Generally, it is a pretty even playing field in that the attitude of the dog sets the tone no matter what the stock or venue. I have tried to go a bit slower and do things correctly as there is not much hope of winning on time or catching runaway stock. However, I feel that has made me a better handler over the years. If I have heard it once I have heard it thousands of times "Trust your dog and watch your stock".
What challenges did you face competing in 2021? As Remi was 10 it was a delicate balance between keeping him in top shape for competition and making sure he had the proper amount of rest. Caloric intake was also a balance. When he is working hard he needs the calories for sure, but being a Corgi it does not take much to put extra weight on. The biggest challenge was keeping ahead of an adorable and feisty Pembroke Welsh Corgi!
Any advice for someone interested in herding with their Corgi? As with any breed of dog, if you are serious, do your homework! Find a mentor that understands how a Corgi works. Go to clinics and learn. You may not agree with everything each of them says, but each of them will offer you one more tool for your belt. Work in different places. Work with different ducks, geese, sheep, goats, and cows. Work different flocks. Work big flocks, singles and lambs. We have an old cowboy saying “The difference between a bad horse and a great horse is a million miles”. Well, I believe it takes a million times around the field to create a great dog.
What’s next for Remi? We will still have fun with some sheep and fowl but not as serious for sure. We did a bit of Rally when he was young, so I think we will go back to that venue and I would love to get a CD on him. Remi is still very healthy and mentally clear so we will stay active for sure. Plus lots of long gentle walks around the ranch and some great park trails that are close, not too hard and full of smells and sounds. The perfect day for a pair of seniors.
2021 has been very special in so many ways. I am a CKC life member and a Canadian Cardigan Corgi Club life member. Remi is 2021’s top blue merle in the Cardigan club for I think the 5th time. Then, this incredible accomplishment of Remi in the Herding world. I am humbled, honoured and so grateful to all who helped along this journey.