This is a fluff.
This is not--any guesses who this cutie is?
I just couldn't resist the last two. But there's something useful there. Well at least with the collie photo. Collies have a similar coat gene, and similar to the cardigans, it either produces a short or long coat. IE, the rough collie vs the smooth collie.
Here's the key kids-fluffs are fun, they make perfect pets and long time breeders have told me that by eliminating the fluff gene we also tend to lose the correctness of a proper coat. I don't really know if that's true or not. But what I do know is that it's a simple cosmetic issue. There are far worse things in this world then fluffs-horrible structure, incorrect movement or crappy temperaments. I personally I am more concerned about that then I am about producing a fluff. And for those not knowing, fluff is a simple recessive gene. Both parents must carry it for it to be expressed in the pup. So if you see a fluffy puppy, both parents carry the gene.
Yes a fluff can be shown. Most judges look down on it. It's a serious fault. Hello, have you seen Eddie lately? Notice though that he has two letters at the beginning of his name and several others after it. We were blessed that judges on multiple occasions saw the what was underneath all the blue fuzz. But you have to be careful. For a new person in the breed, I wouldn't even chance taking a dog like that in the ring. Nor unless the dog has superb structure, risk it. I say it again, it is a serious fault, not a disqualification. A kin to a wry, overshot, or undershot bites, straight or fiddle fronts, shyness, small or pointy ears, weak bouncy toplines or the one thing I see all the time--high tail sets! All these things are rewarded in the ring all the time, so why should showing a fluff coated dog be any different?
I've been muttering this through my brain all weekend. Coats will always be an issue in cardigans, and yes it is something we should be concerned about. For a breeder, you need to think long and hard about a lot of things, coat included. For a newbie, it's even more important that with your first show prospect to find a dog that has as few outstanding faults as possible(remember nothing is perfect!) that makes your first show dog a pleasure trip, rather then a up hill marathon to finish. The other thing I thought was interesting is how breeders fail to say what they think-oh this might have too much coat, fluff, not enough coat, instead, aren't they cute? Lovely head. Great length, wonderful shoulders, etc.
Anyway, that's one of my many ramblings--I've got notes all over the place on other stuff, but thought this was a fun one to start with!