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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