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The Sporting Spaniel

I. THE SPANIEL FAMILY.--The Spaniel family is without any doubt one
of the most important of the many groups which are included in the
canine race, not only on account of its undoubted antiquity, and,
compared with other families, its well authenticated lineage, but
also because of its many branches and subdivisions, ranging in size
from the majestic and massive Clumbers to the diminutive toys which
we are accustomed to associate with fair ladies' laps and gaily-decked
pens at our big dog shows.

Moreover, the different varieties of Setters undoubtedly derive their
origin from the same parent stock, since we find them described by
the earlier sporting writers as setting or crouching Spaniels,
in contradistinction to the finding or springing Spaniel, who
flushed the game he found without setting or pointing it. As time
went on, the setting variety was, no doubt, bred larger and longer
in the leg, with a view to increased pace; but the Spaniel-like head
and coat still remain to prove the near connection between the two

All the different varieties of Spaniels, both sporting and toy, have,
with the exception of the Clumber and the Irish Water Spaniel (who
is not, despite his name, a true Spaniel at all), a common origin,
though at a very early date we find them divided into two
groups--viz., Land and Water Spaniels, and these two were kept
distinct, and bred to develop those points which were most essential
for their different spheres of work. The earliest mention of Spaniels
to be found in English literature is contained in the celebrated
Master of Game, the work of Edward Plantagenet, second Duke of York,
and Master of Game to his uncle, Henry IV., to whom the work is
dedicated. It was written between the years 1406 and 1413, and
although none of the MSS., of which some sixteen are in existence,
is dated, this date can be fairly accurately fixed, as the author
was appointed Master of Game in the former and killed at Agincourt
in the latter year. His chapter on Spaniels, however, is mainly a
translation from the equally celebrated Livre de Chasse, of Gaston
Comte de Foix, generally known as Gaston Phoebus, which was written
in 1387, so that we may safely assume that Spaniels were well known,
and habitually used as aids to the chase both in France and England,
as early as the middle of the fourteenth century.

In the eighteenth and early part of the nineteenth century the Spaniel
was described by many writers on sporting subjects; but there is a
great similarity in most of these accounts, each author apparently
having been content to repeat in almost identical language what had
been said upon the subject by his predecessors, without importing
any originality or opinions of his own. Many of these works,
notwithstanding this defect, are very interesting to the student of
Spaniel lore, and the perusal of Blaine's Rural Sports, Taplin's
Sporting Dictionary and Rural Repository, Scott's Sportsman's
Repository, and Needham's Complete Sportsman, can be recommended
to all who wish to study the history of the development of the various
modern breeds. The works of the French writers, De Cominck, De
Cherville, Blaze, and Megnin, are well worth reading, while of late
years the subject has been treated very fully by such British writers
as the late J. H. Walsh (Stonehenge), Mr. Vero Shaw, Mr. Rawdon
Lee, Colonel Claude Cane, and Mr. C. A. Phillips.

Nearly all of the early writers, both French and English, are agreed
that the breed came originally from Spain, and we may assume that
such early authorities as Gaston Phoebus, Edward Plantagenet, and
Dr. Caius had good reasons for telling us that these dogs were called
Spaniels because they came from Spain.

The following distinct breeds or varieties are recognised by the
Kennel Club: (1) Irish Water Spaniels; (2) Water Spaniels other than
Irish; (3) Clumber Spaniels; (4) Sussex Spaniels; (5) Field Spaniels;
(6) English Springers; (7) Welsh Springers; (8) Cocker Spaniels. Each
of these varieties differs considerably from the others, and each
has its own special advocates and admirers, as well as its own
particular sphere of work for which it is best fitted, though almost
any Spaniel can be made into a general utility dog, which is, perhaps,
one of the main reasons for the popularity of the breed.

II. THE IRISH WATER SPANIEL.--There is only one breed of dog known
in these days by the name of Irish Water Spaniel, but if we are to
trust the writers of no longer ago than half a century there were
at one time two, if not three, breeds of Water Spaniels peculiar to
the Emerald Isle. These were the Tweed Water Spaniel, the Northern
Water Spaniel, and the Southern Water Spaniel, the last of these
being the progenitors of our modern strains.

The history of the Irish Water Spaniel is in many ways a very
extraordinary one. According to the claim of Mr. Justin McCarthy,
it originated entirely in his kennels, and this claim has never been
seriously disputed by the subsequent owners and breeders of these
dogs. It seems improbable that Mr. Justin McCarthy can actually have
originated or manufactured a breed possessing so many extremely marked
differences and divergences of type as the Irish Water Spaniel; but
what he probably did was to rescue an old and moribund breed from
impending extinction, and so improve it by judicious breeding, and
cross-breeding as to give it a new lease of life, and permanently
fix its salient points and characteristics. However that may be,
little seems to have been known of the breed before he took it in
hand, and it is very certain that nearly every Irish Water Spaniel
seen for the last half century owes its descent to his old dog
Boatswain, who was born in 1834 and lived for eighteen years. He must
have been a grand old dog, since Mr. McCarthy gave him to Mr. Joliffe
Tuffnell in 1849, when he was fifteen years old; and his new owner
subsequently bred by him Jack, a dog whose name appears in many

It was not until 1862 that the breed seems to have attracted much
notice in England, but in that year the Birmingham Committee gave
two classes for them, in which, however, several of the prizes were
withheld for want of merit; the next few years saw these dogs making
great strides in popularity and, classes being provided at most of
the important shows, many good specimens were exhibited.

During the last few years, however, the breed seems to have been
progressing the wrong way, and classes at shows have not been nearly
so strong, either in numbers or in quality, as they used to be. Yet
there have been, and are still, quite a large number of good dogs
and bitches to be seen, and it only needs enthusiasm and co-operation
among breeders to bring back the palmiest days of the Irish Water

There is no member of the whole canine family which has a more
distinctive personal appearance than the Irish Water Spaniel. With
him it is a case of once seen never forgotten, and no one who has
ever seen one could possibly mistake him for anything else than what
he is. His best friends probably would not claim beauty, in the
aesthetic sense, for him; but he is attractive in a quaint way
peculiarly his own, and intelligent-looking. In this particular his
looks do not bewray him; he is, in fact, one of the most intelligent
of all the dogs used in aid of the gun, and in his own sphere one
of the most useful. That sphere, there is no doubt, is that indicated
by his name, and it is in a country of bogs and marshes, like the
south and west of Ireland, of which he was originally a native, where
snipe and wildfowl provide the staple sport of the gunner, that he
is in his element and seen at his best, though, no doubt, he can do
excellent work as an ordinary retriever, and is often used as such.

But Nature (or Mr. McCarthy's art) has specially formed and endowed
him for the amphibious sport indicated above, and has provided him
with an excellent nose, an almost waterproof coat, the sporting
instincts of a true son of Erin, and, above all, a disposition full
of good sense; he is high-couraged, and at the same time adaptable
to the highest degree of perfection in training. His detractors often
accuse him of being hard-mouthed, but this charge is not well founded.
Many a dog which is used to hunt or find game as well as to retrieve
it, will often kill a wounded bird or rabbit rather than allow it
to escape, while there are many Irish Water Spaniels who, under normal
circumstances, are just as tender-mouthed as the most fashionable
of black Retrievers. Besides his virtues in the field, the Irish Water
Spaniel has the reputation--a very well-founded one--of being the
best of pals.

Most people are well acquainted with the personal appearance of this
quaint-looking dog. The points regarded as essential are as follows:--

* * * * *

COLOUR--The colour should always be a rich dark liver or puce without
any white at all. Any white except the slightest of shirt fronts
should disqualify. The nose of course should conform to the coat
in colour, and be dark brown. HEAD--The head should have a capacious
skull, fairly but not excessively domed, with plenty of brain room.
It should be surmounted with a regular topknot of curly hair, a most
important and distinctive point. This topknot should never be
square cut or like a poodle's wig, but should grow down to a well
defined point between the eyes. EYES--The eyes should be small, dark,
and set obliquely, like a Chinaman's. EARS--The ears should be long,
strong in leather, low set, heavily ringleted, and from 18 to 24
inches long, according to size. MUZZLE AND JAW--The muzzle and jaw
should be long and strong. There should be a decided stop, but not
so pronounced as to make the brows or forehead prominent. NECK--The
neck should be fairly long and very muscular. SHOULDERS--The shoulders
should be sloping. Most Irish Water Spaniels have bad, straight
shoulders, a defect which should be bred out. CHEST--The chest is
deep, and usually rather narrow, but should not be so narrow as to
constrict the heart and lungs. BACK AND LOINS--The back and loins
strong and arched. FORE-LEGS--The fore-legs straight and well boned.
Heavily feathered or ringleted all over. HIND-LEGS--The hind-legs
with hocks set very low, stifles rather straight, feathered all over,
except inside from the hocks down, which part should be covered with
short hair (a most distinctive point). FEET--The feet large and rather
spreading as is proper for a water dog, well clothed with hair.
STERN--The stern covered with the shortest of hair, except for the
first couple of inches next the buttocks, whiplike or stinglike (a
most important point), and carried low, not like a hound's. COAT--The
coat composed entirely of short crisp curls, not woolly like a
Poodle's, and very dense. If left to itself, this coat mats or cords,
but this is not permissible in show dogs. The hair on the muzzle and
forehead below the topknot is quite short and smooth, as well as that
on the stern. GENERAL APPEARANCE--Is not remarkable for symmetry,
but is quaint and intelligent looking. HEIGHT--The height should be
between 21 and 23 inches.

* * * * *

III. THE ENGLISH WATER SPANIEL.--In the Kennel Club's Register of
Breeds no place is allotted to this variety, all Water Spaniels other
than Irish being classed together. Despite this absence of official
recognition there is abundant evidence that a breed of Spaniels
legitimately entitled to the designation of English Water Spaniels
has been in existence for many years, in all probability a descendant
of the old Water-Dogge, an animal closely resembling the French
Barbet, the ancestor of the modern Poodle. They were even trimmed
at times much in the same way as a Poodle is nowadays, as Markham
gives precise directions for the cutting or shearing him from the
nauill downeward or backeward. The opinion expressed by the writer
of The Sportsman's Cabinet, 1803, is that the breed originated from
a cross between the large water dog and the Springing Spaniel, and
this is probably correct, though Youatt, a notable authority, thinks
that the cross was with an English Setter. Possibly some strains may
have been established in this way, and not differ very much in make
and shape from those obtained from the cross with the Spaniel, as
it is well known that Setters and Spaniels have a common origin.

In general appearance the dog resembles somewhat closely the Springer,
except that he may be somewhat higher on the leg, and that his coat
should consist of crisp, tight curls, almost like Astrakhan fur,
everywhere except on his face, where it should be short. There should
be no topknot like that of the Irish Water Spaniel.

IV. THE CLUMBER SPANIEL is in high favour in the Spaniel world, both
with shooting men and exhibitors, and the breed well deserves from
both points of view the position which it occupies in the public
esteem. No other variety is better equipped mentally and physically
for the work it is called upon to do in aid of the gun; and few,
certainly none of the Spaniels, surpass or even equal it in

As a sporting dog, the Clumber is possessed of the very best of noses,
a natural inclination both to hunt his game and retrieve it when
killed, great keenness and perseverance wonderful endurance and
activity considering his massive build, and as a rule is very easy
to train, being highly intelligent and more docile and biddable.
The man who owns a good dog of this breed, whether he uses it as a
retriever for driven birds, works it in a team, or uses it as his
sole companion when he goes gunning, possesses a treasure. The great
success of these Spaniels in the Field Trials promoted by both the
societies which foster those most useful institutions is enough to
prove this, and more convincing still is the tenacity with which the
fortunate possessors of old strains, mostly residents in the immediate
neighbourhood of the original home of the breed, have held on to them
and continued to breed and use them year after year for many

As a show dog, his massive frame, powerful limbs, pure white coat,
with its pale lemon markings and frecklings, and, above all, his
solemn and majestic aspect, mark him out as a true aristocrat, with
all the beauty of refinement which comes from a long line of cultured

All research so far has failed to carry their history back any further
than the last quarter of the eighteenth century. About that time the
Duc de Noailles presented some Spaniels, probably his whole kennel,
which he brought from France, to the second Duke of Newcastle, from
whose place, Clumber Park, the breed has taken its name. Beyond this
it seems impossible to go: indeed, the Clumber seems to be generally
looked upon as a purely English breed.

From Clumber Park specimens found their way to most of the other great
houses in the neighbourhood, notably to Althorp Park, Welbeck Abbey,
Birdsall House, Thoresby Hall, and Osberton Hall. It is from the
kennels at the last-named place, owned by Mr. Foljambe, that most
of the progenitors of the Clumbers which have earned notoriety derived
their origin. Nearly all the most famous show winners of early days
were descended from Mr. Foljambe's dogs, and his Beau may perhaps
be considered one of the most important pillars of the stud, as
he was the sire of Nabob, a great prize-winner, and considered one
of the best of his day, who belonged at various times during his
career to such famous showmen as Messrs. Phineas Bullock, Mr.
Fletcher, Mr. Rawdon Lee, and Mr. G. Oliver.

There has been a great deal of lamentation lately among old breeders
and exhibitors about the decadence of the breed and the loss of the
true old type possessed by these dogs. But, despite all they can say
to the contrary, the Clumber is now in a more flourishing state than
it ever has been; and although perhaps we have not now, nor have had
for the last decade, a John o' Gaunt or a Tower, there have been a
large number of dogs shown during that time who possessed considerable
merit and would probably have held their own even in the days of these
bygone heroes. Some of the most notable have been Baillie Friar,
Beechgrove Donally, Goring of Auchentorlie, Hempstead Toby, and
Preston Shot, who all earned the coveted title of Champion.

The Field Trials have, no doubt, had a great deal to do with the
largely augmented popularity of the breed and the great increase in
the number of those who own Clumbers. For the first two or three years
after these were truly established no other breed seemed to have a
chance with them; and even now, though both English and Welsh
Springers have done remarkably well, they more than hold their own.
The most distinguished performer by far was Mr. Winton Smith's
Beechgrove Bee, a bitch whose work was practically faultless, and
the first Field Trial Champion among Spaniels. Other good Clumbers
who earned distinction in the field were Beechgrove Minette,
Beechgrove Maud, the Duke of Portland's Welbeck Sambo, and Mr.
Phillips' Rivington Honey, Rivington Pearl, and Rivington Reel.

The points and general description of the breed as published by both
the Spaniel Club and the Clumber Spaniel Club are identical. They
are as follows:--

* * * * *

HEAD--Large, square and massive, of medium length, broad on top, with
a decided occiput; heavy brows with a deep stop; heavy freckled
muzzle, with well developed flew. EYES--Dark amber; slightly sunk.
A light or prominent eye objectionable. EARS--Large, vine leaf shaped,
and well covered with straight hair and hanging slightly forward,
the feather not to extend below the leather. NECK--Very thick and
powerful, and well feathered underneath. BODY (INCLUDING SIZE AND
SYMMETRY)--Long and heavy, and near the ground. Weight of dogs about
55 lb. to 65 lb.; bitches about 45 lb. to 55 lb. NOSE--Square and
flesh coloured. SHOULDERS AND CHEST--Wide and deep; shoulders strong
and muscular. BACK AND LOIN--Back straight, broad and long; loin
powerful, well let down in flank. HIND-QUARTERS--Very powerful and
well developed. STERN--Set low, well feathered, and carried about
level with the back. FEET AND LEGS--Feet large and round, well covered
with hair; legs short, thick and strong; hocks low. COAT--Long,
abundant, soft and straight. COLOUR--Plain white with lemon markings;
orange permissible but not desirable; slight head markings with white
body preferred. GENERAL APPEARANCE--Should be that of a long, low,
heavy, very massive dog, with a thoughtful expression.

* * * * *

IV. THE SUSSEX SPANIEL.--This is one of the oldest of the distinct
breeds of Land Spaniels now existing in the British Islands, and
probably also the purest in point of descent, since it has for many
years past been confined to a comparatively small number of kennels,
the owners of which have always been at considerable pains to keep
their strains free from any admixture of foreign blood.

The modern race of Sussex Spaniels, as we know it, owes its origin
in the main to the kennel kept by Mr. Fuller at Rosehill Park,
Brightling, near Hastings. This gentleman, who died in 1847, is said
to have kept his strain for fifty years or more, and to have shot
over them almost daily during the season, but at his death they were
dispersed by auction, and none of them can be traced with any accuracy
except a dog and a bitch which were given at the time to Relf, the
head keeper. Relf survived his master for forty years, and kept up
his interest in the breed to the last. He used to say that the golden
tinge peculiar to the Rosehill breed came from a bitch which had been
mated with a dog belonging to Dr. Watts, of Battle, and that every
now and then what he termed a sandy pup would turn up in her
litters. Owing to an outbreak of dumb madness in the Rosehill kennels,
a very large number of its occupants either died or had to be
destroyed, and this no doubt accounted for the extreme scarcity of
the breed when several enthusiasts began to revive it about the year
1870. Mr. Saxby and Mr. Marchant are said to have had the same strain
as that at Rosehill, and certainly one of the most famous sires who
is to be found in most Sussex pedigrees was Buckingham, by Marchant's
Rover out of Saxby's Fan.

It was from the union of Buckingham, who was claimed to be pure
Rosehill--with Bebb's daughter Peggie that the great Bachelor
resulted--a dog whose name is to be found in almost every latter-day
pedigree, though Mr. Campbell Newington's strain, to which has
descended the historic prefix Rosehill, contains less of this blood
than any other.

About 1879 Mr. T. Jacobs, of Newton Abbot, took up this breed with
great success, owning, amongst other good specimens, Russett, Dolly,
Brunette, and Bachelor III., the latter a dog whose services at the
stud cannot be estimated too highly. When this kennel was broken up
in 1891, the best of the Sussex Spaniels were acquired by Mr.
Woolland, and from that date this gentleman's kennel carried all
before it until it in turn was broken up and dispersed in 1905. So
successful was Mr. Woolland that one may almost say that he beat all
other competitors off the field, though one of them, Mr. Campbell
Newington, stuck most gallantly to him all through.

Mr. Campbell Newington has been breeding Sussex Spaniels for over
a quarter of a century with an enthusiasm and tenacity worthy of the
warmest admiration, and his strain is probably the purest, and more
full of the original blood than any other. His kennel has always
maintained a very high standard of excellence, and many famous show
specimens have come from it, notably Rosehill Ruler II. (a splendid
Sussex, scarcely inferior to Bridford Giddie), Romulus, Roein, Rita,
Rush, Rock, Rag, and Ranji, and many others of almost equal merit.

Colonel Claude Cane's kennel of Sussex, started from a Woolland-bred
foundation, has been going for some seventeen years, the best he has
shown being Jonathan Swift, Celbridge Eldorado, and Celbridge

The breed has always had a good character for work, and most of the
older writers who mention them speak of Sussex Spaniels in very
eulogistic terms. They are rather slow workers, but thoroughly
conscientious and painstaking, and are not afraid of any amount of
thick covert, through which they will force their way, and seldom
leave anything behind them.

A well-bred Sussex Spaniel is a very handsome dog. Indeed, his
beautiful colour alone is enough to make his appearance an attractive
one, even if he were unsymmetrical and ungainly in his proportions.

This colour, known as golden liver, is peculiar to the breed, and
is the great touchstone and hall-mark of purity of blood. No other
dog has exactly the same shade of coat, which the word liver hardly
describes exactly, as it is totally different from the ordinary liver
colour of an Irishman, a Pointer, or even a liver Field Spaniel. It
is rather a golden chestnut with a regular metallic sheen as of
burnished metal, showing more especially on the head and face and
everywhere where the hair is short. This is very apparent when a dog
gets his new coat. In time, of course, it is liable to get somewhat
bleached by sun and weather, when it turns almost yellow. Every expert
knows this colour well, and looks for it at once when judging a class
of Sussex.

The description of the breed given by the Spaniel Club is as

* * * * *

HEAD--The skull should be moderately long, and also wide, with an
indentation in the middle, and a full stop, brows fairly heavy;
occiput full, but not pointed, the whole giving an appearance of
heaviness without dulness. EYES--Hazel colour, fairly large, soft
and languishing, not showing the haw overmuch. NOSE--The muzzle should
be about three inches long, square, and the lips somewhat pendulous.
The nostrils well developed and liver colour. EARS--Thick, fairly
large, and lobe shaped; set moderately low, but relatively not so
low as in the Black Field Spaniel; carried close to the head, and
furnished with soft wavy hair. NECK--Is rather short, strong, and
slightly arched, but not carrying the head much above the level of
the back. There should not be much throatiness in the skin, but well
marked frill in the coat. CHEST AND SHOULDERS--The chest is round,
especially behind the shoulders, deep and wide, giving a good girth.
The shoulders should be oblique. BACK AND BACK RIBS--The back and
loin are long, and should be very muscular, both in width and depth;
for this development the back ribs must be deep. The whole body is
characterised as low, long, level, and strong. LEGS AND FEET--The
arms and thighs must be bony, as well as muscular, knees and hocks
large and strong, pasterns very short and bony, feet large and round,
and with short hair between the toes. The legs should be very short
and strong, with great bone, and may show a slight bend in the
forearm, and be moderately well feathered. The hind-legs should not
be apparently shorter than the fore-legs, or be too much bent at the
hocks, so as to give a Settery appearance which is so objectionable.
The hind-legs should be well feathered above the hocks, but should
not have much hair below that point. The hocks should be short and
wide apart. TAIL--Should be docked from five to seven inches, set
low, and not carried above the level of the back, thickly clothed
with moderately long feather. COAT--Body coat abundant, flat or
slightly waved, with no tendency to curl, moderately well feathered
on legs and stern, but clean below the hocks. COLOUR--Rich golden
liver; this is a certain sign of the purity of the breed, dark liver
or puce denoting unmistakably a recent cross with the black or other
variety of Field Spaniel. GENERAL APPEARANCE--Rather massive and
muscular, but with free movements and nice tail action denoting a
tractable and cheerful disposition. Weight from 35 lb. to 45 lb.

* * * * *

VI. THE FIELD SPANIEL.--The modern Field Spaniel may be divided into
two classes. Indeed, we may almost say at this stage of canine
history, two breeds, as for several years past there has not been
very much intermingling of blood between the Blacks and those known
by the awkward designation of Any Other Variety, though, of course,
all came originally from the same parent stock.

The black members of the family have always been given the pride of
place, and accounted of most importance, though latterly their
parti-coloured brethren seem to have rather overtaken them.

Among the really old writers there is one mention, and one only, of
Spaniels of a black colour. Arcussia speaks of them, and of their
being used in connection with the sport of hawking, but from his time
up to the middle of the nineteenth century, though many colours are
spoken of as being appropriate to the various breeds of Spaniels,
no author mentions black.

The first strain of blacks of which we know much belonged to Mr. F.
Burdett, and was obtained from a Mr. Footman, of Lutterworth,
Leicestershire, who was supposed to have owned them for some time.
Mr. Burdett's Bob and Frank may be found at the head of very many
of the best pedigrees. At his death most of his Spaniels became the
property of Mr. Jones, of Oscott, and Mr. Phineas Bullock, of Bilston,
the latter of whom was most extraordinarily successful, and owned
a kennel of Field Spaniels which was practically unbeatable between
the dates of the first Birmingham Show in 1861 and the publication
of the first volume of the Kennel Club's Stud Book in 1874, many,
if not most, of the dogs which won for other owners having been bred
by him. His Nellie and Bob, who won the chief prizes year after year
at all the leading shows, were probably the two best specimens of
their day. Another most successful breeder was Mr. W. W. Boulton,
of Beverley, whose kennel produced many celebrated dogs, including
Beverlac, said to be the largest Field Spaniel ever exhibited, and
Rolf, whose union with Belle produced four bitches who were destined,
when mated with Nigger, a dog of Mr. Bullock's breeding, to form the
foundation of the equally if not more famous kennel belonging to Mr.
T. Jacobs, of Newton Abbot.

It was Mr. Jacobs who, by judiciously mating his Sussex sires
Bachelor, Bachelor III., and others with these black-bred bitches,
established the strain which in his hands and in those of his
successors, Captain S. M. Thomas and Mr. Moses Woolland, carried all
before it for many years, and is still easily at the top of the tree,
being the most sought for and highly prized of all on account of its

If Black Spaniels are not quite so popular at present as they were
some years ago, the fault lies with those breeders, exhibitors, and
judges (the latter being most to blame) who encouraged the absurd
craze for excessive length of body and shortness of leg which not
very long ago threatened to transform the whole breed into a race
of cripples, and to bring it into contempt and derision among all
practical men. No breed or variety of dog has suffered more from the
injudicious fads and crazes of those showmen who are not sportsmen
also. At one time among a certain class of judges, length and lowness
was everything, and soundness, activity, and symmetry simply did not
count. As happens to all absurd crazes of this kind when carried to
exaggeration, public opinion has proved too much for it, but not
before a great deal of harm has been done to a breed which is
certainly ornamental, and can be most useful as well. Most of the
prize-winners of the present day are sound, useful dogs capable of
work, and it is to be hoped that judges will combine to keep them

The coloured Field Spaniel has now almost invariably at the principal
shows special classes allotted to him, and does not have to compete
against his black brother, as used to be the case in former years.

The systematic attempt to breed Spaniels of various colours, with a
groundwork of white, does not date back much more than a quarter of
a century, and the greater part of the credit for producing this
variety may be given to three gentlemen, Mr. F. E. Schofield, Dr.
J. H. Spurgin, and Mr. J. W. Robinson. In the early days of breeding
blacks, when the bitches were mated either with Sussex or liver and
white Springers or Norfolk Spaniels, many parti-coloured puppies
necessarily occurred, which most breeders destroyed; but it occurred
to some of these gentlemen that a handsome and distinct variety might
be obtained by careful selection, and they have certainly succeeded
to a very great extent. The most famous names among the early sires
are Dr. Spurgin's Alonzo and his son Fop, and Mr. Robinson's Alva
Dash, from one or other of whom nearly all the modern celebrities
derive their descent.

Those who have been, and are, interested in promoting and breeding
these variety Spaniels deserve a large amount of credit for their
perseverance, which has been attended with the greatest success so
far as producing colour goes. No doubt there is a very great
fascination in breeding for colour, and in doing so there is no royal
road to success, which can only be attained by the exercise of the
greatest skill and the nicest discrimination in the selection of
breeding stock. At the same time colour is not everything, and type
and working qualities should never be sacrificed to it. This has too
often been done in the case of coloured Field Spaniels. There are
plenty of beautiful blue roans, red roans, and tricolours, whether
blue roan and tan or liver roan and tan, but nearly all of them are
either cocktailed, weak in hind-quarters, crooked-fronted, or
houndy-headed, and showing far too much haw. In fact, in head and
front the greater number of the tricolours remind one of the
Basset-hound almost as much as they do in colour. It is to be hoped
that colour-breeders will endeavour to get back the true Spaniel type
before it is too late.

The points of both black and coloured Field Spaniels are identical,
bar colour, and here it must be said that black and tan, liver and
tan, and liver are not considered true variety colours, though of
course they have to compete in those classes, but rather sports
from black. The colours aimed at by variety breeders have all a
ground colour of white, and are black and white, blue roan, liver
and white, red roan, liver white and tan, and tricolours or
quadri-colours--i.e., blue or red roan and tan, or both combined,
with tan. The Spaniel Club furnishes the following description of
the Black Field Spaniel:--

* * * * *

HEAD--Should be quite characteristic of this grand sporting dog, as
that of the Bloodhound or the Bulldog; its very stamp and countenance
should at once convey the conviction of high breeding, character and
nobility; skull well developed, with a distinctly elevated occipital
tuberosity, which, above all, gives the character alluded to; not
too wide across muzzle, long and lean, never snipy nor squarely cut,
and in profile curving gradually from nose to throat; lean beneath
eyes, a thickness here gives coarseness to the whole head. The great
length of muzzle gives surface for the free development of the
olfactory nerve, and thus secures the highest possible scenting
powers. EYES--Not too full, but not small, receding or overhung;
colour dark hazel or dark brown, or nearly black; grave in expression,
and bespeaking unusual docility and instinct. EARS--Set low down as
possible, which greatly adds to the refinement and beauty of the head,
moderately long and wide, and sufficiently clad with nice Setter-like
feather. NECK--Very strong and muscular, so as to enable the dog to
retrieve his game without undue fatigue; not too short, however. BODY
(INCLUDING SIZE AND SYMMETRY)--Long and very low, well ribbed up to
a good strong loin, straight or slightly arched, never slack; weight
from about 35 lbs. to 45 lbs. NOSE--Well developed, with good open
nostrils, and always black. SHOULDERS AND CHEST--Former sloping and
free, latter deep and well developed, but not too round and wide.
BACK AND LOIN--Very strong and muscular; level and long in proportion
to the height of the dog. HIND-QUARTERS--Very powerful and muscular,
wide, and fully developed. STERN--Well set on, and carried low, if
possible below the level of the back, in a perfectly straight line,
or with a slight downward inclination, never elevated above the back,
and in action always kept low, nicely fringed, with wavy feather of
silky texture. FEET AND LEGS--Feet not too small, and well protected
between the toes with soft feather; good strong pads. Legs straight
and immensely boned, strong and short, and nicely feathered with
straight or waved Setter-like feather, overmuch feathering below the
hocks objectionable. COAT--Flat or slightly waved, and never curled.
Sufficiently dense to resist the weather, and not too short. Silky
in texture, glossy, and refined in nature, with neither duffelness
on the one hand nor curl or wiriness on the other. On chest under
belly, and behind the legs, there should be abundant feather, but
never too much, and that of the right sort, viz., Setter-like. The
tail and hind-quarters should be similarly adorned. COLOUR--Jet black
throughout, glossy and true. A little white on chest, though a
drawback, not a disqualification. GENERAL APPEARANCE--That of a
sporting dog, capable of learning and doing anything possible for
his inches and conformation. A grand combination of beauty and

* * * * *

VII. THE ENGLISH SPRINGER.--It is only quite recently that the Kennel
Club has officially recognised the variety known by the name at the
head of this section. For a long time the old-fashioned liver and
white, or black Spaniels, longer in the leg than either Sussex or
Field Spaniels, had been known as Norfolk Spaniels, and under this
title the Spaniel Club has published a description of them. There
had, however, been a considerable amount of discussion about the
propriety of this name of Norfolk, and the weight of the evidence
adduced went to show that as far as any territorial connection with
the county of that name went, it was a misnomer, and that it probably
arose from the breed having been kept by one of the Dukes of Norfolk,
most likely that one quoted by Blaine in his Rural Sports, who was
so jealous of his strain that it was only on the expressly stipulated
condition that they were not to be allowed to breed in the direct
line that he would allow one to leave his kennels.

But, when this old breed was taken up by the Sporting Spaniel Society,
they decided to drop the name of Norfolk, and to revert to the old
title of Springer, not, perhaps, a very happy choice, as all
Spaniels are, properly speaking, Springers in contradistinction to
Setters. The complete official designation on the Kennel Club's
register is English Springers other than Clumbers, Sussex, and
Field, a very clumsy name for a breed. There is no doubt that this
variety of Spaniel retains more resemblance to the old strains which
belonged to our forefathers, before the long and low idea found favour
in the eyes of exhibitors, and it was certainly well worth preserving.
The only way nowadays by which uniformity of type can be obtained
is by somebody having authority drawing up a standard and scale of
points for breeders to go by, and the Sporting Spaniel Society are
to be commended for having done this for the breed under notice, the
fruit of their action being already apparent in the larger and more
uniform classes to be seen at shows.

As the officially recognised life of the breed has been such a short
one, there are naturally not very many names of note among the
prize-winners. The principal breeders and owners have so far been
Mr. W. Arkwright, Mr. Harry Jones, Sir Hugo FitzHerbert, Mr. C. C.
Bethune Eversfield, and Mr. Winton Smith.

They are undoubtedly the right dogs for those who want Spaniels to
travel faster and cover more ground than the more ponderous and
short-legged Clumbers, Sussex, or Field Spaniels do, but their work
is hardly equal in finish and precision to that of either of the two
former breeds.

The following revised description of the English Springer has been
issued by the Sporting Spaniel Society:--

* * * * *

SKULL--Long and slightly arched on top, fairly broad, with a stop,
and well-developed temples. JAWS--Long and broad, not snipy, with
plenty of thin lip. EYES--Medium size, not too full, but bright and
intelligent, of a rich brown. EARS--Of fair length, low set, and
lobular in shape. NECK--Long, strong, and slightly arched.
SHOULDERS--Long and sloping. FORE-LEGS--Of a moderate length,
straight, with flat strong bone. BODY--Strong, with well-sprung ribs,
good girth, and chest deep and fairly broad. LOIN--Rather long,
strong, and slightly arched. HIND-QUARTERS AND HIND-LEGS--Very
muscular, hocks well let down, stifles moderately bent, and not
twisted inwards or outwards. FEET--Strong and compact. STERN--Low
carried, not above the level of the back, and with a vibratory motion.
COAT--Thick and smooth or very slightly wavy, it must not be too long.
The feathering must be only moderate on the ears, and scanty on the
legs, but continued down to the heels. COLOUR--Liver and white and
black and white (with or without tan), fawn and white, yellow and
white, also roans and self colours of all these tints. The pied
colours are preferable, however, as more easily seen in cover. GENERAL
APPEARANCE--An active compact dog, upstanding, but by no means stilty.
His height at shoulder should about equal his length from the top
of the withers to the root of the tail.

* * * * *

VIII. THE WELSH SPRINGER.--Like the English Springer, the Welsh
Springer has only very recently come into existence--officially, that
is to say; but his admirers claim for him that he has existed as a
separate breed for a long time, though not beyond the bounds of the
Principality, where he is referred to as the Starter.

When his claims were first put forward they were vigorously contested
by many who could claim to speak and write with authority upon the
various breeds of Spaniels existing in these islands, and it was
freely asserted that they were nothing but crossbreds between the
ordinary Springer and probably a Clumber in order to account for the
red or orange markings and the vine-leaf-shaped ears. Even if they
are a new breed, they are a most meritorious one, both in their
appearance, which is eminently sporting and workmanlike, and for the
excellence of their work in the field, which has been amply
demonstrated by the record earned at the field trials by Mr. A. T.
Williams and others, but those who have seen them at work have nothing
but good to say of them, and for working large rough tracts of country
in teams their admirers say they are unequalled.

In appearance they are decidedly attractive, rather more lightly built
than most Spaniels, small in size, indeed very little larger than
Cockers, invariably white in colour, with red or orange markings,
and possessing rather fine heads with small Clumber-shaped ears. Their
general appearance is that of extremely smart and active little dogs.

The Welsh Springer is described by the Sporting Spaniel Society as

* * * * *

SKULL--Fairly long and fairly broad, slightly rounded with a stop
at the eyes. JAWS--Medium length, straight, fairly square, the
nostrils well developed, and flesh coloured or dark. A short, chubby
head is objectionable. EYES--Hazel or dark, medium size, not
prominent, not sunken, nor showing haw. EARS--Comparatively small
and gradually narrowing towards the tip, covered with feather not
longer than the ear, set moderately low and hanging close to the
cheeks. NECK--Strong, muscular, clean in throat. SHOULDERS--Long and
sloping. FORE-LEGS--Medium length, straight, good bone, moderately
feathered. BODY--Strong, fairly deep, not long, well-sprung ribs.
Length of body should be proportionate to length of leg.
LOIN--Muscular and strong, slightly arched, well coupled up and knit
together. HIND-QUARTERS AND HIND-LEGS--Strong; hocks well let down;
stifles moderately bent (not twisted in or out), not feathered below
the hock on the leg. FEET--Round, with thick pads. STERN--Low, never
carried above the level of the back, feathered, and with a lively
motion. COAT--Straight or flat, and thick. COLOUR--Red or orange and
white. GENERAL APPEARANCE--Symmetrical, compact, strong, merry,
active, not stilty, built for endurance and activity, and about 28
lb. and upwards in weight, but not exceeding 45 lb.

* * * * *

IX. THE COCKER SPANIEL.--For the last few years the popularity of
this smaller sized branch of the Spaniel tribe has been steadily
increasing, and the Cocker classes at most of the best shows are now
remarkable both for the number of entries and the very high standard
of excellence to which they attain.

A short time ago black Cockers were decidedly more fashionable than
their parti-coloured relatives, but now the reverse is the case, and
the various roans and tricolours have overtaken and passed the others,
both in general quality and in the public esteem. The reason for this
popularity of the breed as a whole is not far to seek. The
affectionate and merry disposition of the Cocker and his small size
compared with that of the other breeds pre-eminently fit him for a
companion in the house as well as in the field, and he ranks among
his admirers quite as many of the fairer sex as he does men--a fact
which is not without a certain element of danger, since it should
never be lost sight of that the breed is a sporting one, which should
on no account be allowed to degenerate into a race of mere house
companions or toys.

Small-sized Spaniels, usually called Cockers, from their being more
especially used in woodcock shooting, have been indigenous to Wales
and Devonshire for many years, and it is most likely from one or both
of these sources that the modern type has been evolved. It is probable
too that the type in favour to-day, of a short coupled, rather cobby
dog, fairly high on the leg, is more like that of these old-fashioned
Cockers than that which obtained a decade or two ago, when they were
scarcely recognised as a separate breed, and the Spaniel classes were
usually divided into Field Spaniels over 25 lb. and Field Spaniels
under 25 lb. In those days a large proportion of the prizes fell
to miniature Field Spaniels. The breed was not given official
recognition on the Kennel Club's register till 1893, nor a section
to itself in the Stud Book; and up to that date the only real
qualification a dog required to be enabled to compete as a Cocker
was that he should be under the weight of 25 lb., a limit arbitrarily
and somewhat irrationally fixed, since in the case of an animal just
on the border-line he might very well have been a Cocker before and
a Field Spaniel after breakfast.

It is not easy to find authentic pedigrees going back further than
a quarter of a century, but Mr. C. A. Phillips can trace his own
strain back to 1860, and Mr. James Farrow was exhibiting successfully
thirty-five years ago. The former gentleman published the pedigree
of his bitch Rivington Dora for eighteen generations in extenso
in The Sporting Spaniel; while the famous Obo strain of the latter
may be said to have exercised more influence than any other on the
black variety both in this country and in the United States.

It was in 1880 that the most famous of all the pillars of the Cocker
stud, Mr. James Farrow's Obo, made his first bow to the public, he
and his litter sister Sally having been born the year before. He won
the highest honours that the show bench can give, and the importance
of his service to the breed both in his owner's kennel and outside
it, can scarcely be over-estimated. Nearly all of the best blacks,
and many of the best coloured Cockers, are descended from him. At
this period the type mostly favoured was that of a dog rather longer
in the body and lower on the leg than it is at present, but the Obo
family marked a progressive step, and very rightly kept on winning
under all the best judges for many years, their owner being far too
good a judge himself ever to exhibit anything but first-class

Meanwhile, although the blacks were far the most fashionable--and
it was said that it was hopeless to try to get the same quality in
coloured specimens--several enthusiastic breeders for colour were
quietly at work, quite undismayed by the predilection shown by most
exhibitors and judges for the former colour. Among them was Mr. C.
A. Phillips, whose two bitches from Mr. James Freme, of Wepre Hall,
Flintshire, succeeded in breeding from one of them, whom he named
Rivington Sloe, the celebrated dog Rivington Signal, who, mated with
Rivington Blossom, produced Rivington Bloom, who was in turn the dam
of Rivington Redcoat. These dogs proved almost, if not quite, as
valuable to the coloured variety as Obo did to the blacks, and formed
the foundation of Mr. J. M. Porter's celebrated Braeside strain which
afterwards became so famous.

During the last few years Mr. R. de Courcy Peele's kennel has easily
held the pride of place in this variety. Most readers are no doubt
familiar with the many beautiful Cockers which have appeared in the
show ring and carried off so many prizes under the distinguishing
affix Bowdler. His kennel was built up on a Braeside foundation, and
has contained at one time or other such flyers as Ben Bowdler, Bob
Bowdler, Rufus Bowdler, Dixon Bowdler, Eva Bowdler, Mary Bowdler,
Blue-coat Bowdler, Susan Bowdler, and others, and Ben and Bob have
also been, as sires, responsible for the success of a good many dogs
hailing from other kennels. He has also been fairly successful with
blacks, which, however, have usually been purchased and not bred by
him, the two best being Master Reuben, bred by Miss Joan Godfrey,
and Jetsam Bowdler, a bitch who has distinguished herself both in
the ring and in the field.

Coloured Cockers are certainly booming just now, and as a
consequence the blacks, who are equally worthy of support, are being
rather neglected. Certainly it is the case that whereas one sees at
most shows big classes of the former filled with a good level lot
with hardly a bad specimen amongst them, the classes devoted to the
latter, besides not being so well filled, are much more uneven, and
always contain a large proportion of weeds and toys. A few years ago
the black classes were immeasurably superior to the coloured, and
it is to be hoped that in the near future they will regain at least
a position of equality with them.

At the last few Field Trial meetings the Spaniel Club has provided
classes confined to Cockers, which have filled fairly well, and
enabled the small breed to demonstrate that it can in its way be quite
as useful as its larger cousins. A Cocker can very often go and work
as well where a larger Spaniel cannot even creep, and for working
really thick hedgerows or gorse has no superior. There seems to be
every prospect of a brilliant future, and increased popularity for
this charming breed.

Its interests are looked after both by the Spaniel Club and the
comparatively newly formed Cocker Spaniel Club, and it is also quite
as much in favour on the other side of the Atlantic as it is in the
United Kingdom. Indeed, the classes in America and Canada compare
very favourably with our own.

The descriptive particulars of the breed are:--

* * * * *

HEAD--Not so heavy in proportion and not so high in occiput as in
the modern Field Spaniel, with a nicely developed muzzle or jaw; lean,
but not snipy, and yet not so square as in the Clumber or Sussex
varieties, but always exhibiting a sufficiently wide and
well-developed nose. Forehead perfectly smooth, rising without a too
decided stop from muzzle into a comparatively wide and rounded,
well-developed skull, with plenty of room for brain power. EYES--Full,
but not prominent, hazel or brown coloured, with a general expression
of intelligence and gentleness, though decidedly wideawake, bright
and merry, never goggled nor weak as in the King Charles and Blenheim
kinds. EARS--Lobular, set on low, leather fine and not exceeding
beyond the nose, well clothed with long silky hair, which must be
straight or wavy--no positive curls or ringlets. NECK--Strong and
muscular, and neatly set on to fine sloping shoulders. BODY (INCLUDING
SIZE AND SYMMETRY)--Not quite so long and low as in the other breeds
of Spaniels, more compact and firmly knit together, giving the
impression of a concentration of power and untiring activity.
WEIGHT--The weight of a Cocker Spaniel of either sex should not exceed
25 lb., or be less than 20 lb. Any variation either way should be
penalised. NOSE--Sufficiently wide and well developed to ensure the
exquisite scenting powers of this breed. SHOULDERS AND CHEST--The
former sloping and fine, chest deep and well developed, but not too
wide and round to interfere with the free action of the fore-legs.
BACK AND LOIN--Immensely strong and compact in proportion to the size
and weight of the dog; slightly sloping towards the tail.
HIND-QUARTERS--Wide, well rounded, and very muscular, so as to ensure
untiring action and propelling power under the most trying
circumstances of a long day, bad weather, rough ground, and dense
covert. STERN--That most characteristic of blue blood in all the
Spaniel family may, in the lighter and more active Cocker, although
set low down, be allowed a slightly higher carriage than in the other
breeds, but never cocked up over, but rather in a line with the back,
though the lower its carriage and action the better, and when at work
its action should be incessant in this, the brightest and merriest
of the whole Spaniel family. FEET AND LEGS--The legs should be well
boned, feathered and straight, for the tremendous exertions expected
from this grand little sporting dog, and should be sufficiently short
for concentrated power, but not too short as to interfere with its
full activity. Feet firm, round, and cat-like, not too large,
spreading, and loose jointed. This distinct breed of Spaniel does
not follow exactly on the lines of the larger Field Spaniel, either
in lengthiness, lowness, or otherwise, but is shorter in the back,
and rather higher on the legs. COAT--Flat or waved, and silky in
texture, never wiry, woolly, or curly, with sufficient feather of
the right sort, viz., waved or Setter-like, but not too profuse and
never curly. GENERAL APPEARANCE--Confirmatory of all indicated above,
viz., a concentration of pure blood and type, sagacity, docility,
good temper, affection, and activity.

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