View Full Version : Toy spaniels in 1911.

22nd August 2008, 10:26 PM
]I got hold of my mother in law’s old book on dogs called “the dog as a companion and guard” by F Townend Barton MRCVS from 1911. In the section on spaniels the author states about working spaniels (Welsh springers /cockers/clumber)
“ So many of the show bench spaniels are perfectly useless for field work, owing to the enormous amount of inbreeding that has been indulged in”….sound familiar?
In 1911 there seemed to be a variety of “Toy spaniels” some of which were British in origin and others of Asiatic descent
The dogs were categorized by colour, “the Blenheim was at one time used in field sports but the present type would be of very little use for such purposes. It seems to be the aim of the present day fancier to reduce the toy spaniel to a minimum weight compatible with show bench points"
Blenheims were orange and white, the body being white with orange patches or markings, body compact, forelimbs perfectly straight and heavily feathered. Hind limbs straight with a superabundance of feathering, while that on the tail must be five to six inches long. The head must be well domed ,forehead projecting well over the eyes and the stop deep so as to render the animal apparently noseless.It also mentions the lozenge about the size of a sixpence in the centre of the blaze but the absence of the spot was still considered typical. The best weight being seven to ten pounds.
The King Charles apparently was the black and tan version and the Prince Charles was the tricolour! A fourth toy spaniel called the ruby also existed!
The toy spaniels were "active little dogs and ought not be pampered too much, otherwise they become fat asthmatical and liable to develop skin trouble” and a fairly good one could be bought for ten to twelve guineas!

23rd August 2008, 03:11 AM
Personally, I really love the history of toy and cavalier spaniels.

A more flattering depiction is that they were dogs for aristocratic families who could afford to keep a dog that did not have a working useful job. They say that cavaliers were used to ride in carriages with ladies on their laps and to warm them and protect them from fleas. Also, they would sit with ladies and on their feet to help keep them warm in drafty homes of the day.

This is where their sweet, loving and cuddly personalities came from - bred for a VERY useful job of pure companionship and love.

** I'm no expert or historian so I'm not going to argue if this is wrong, but it shows up in several cavalier books and websites and I think it is so charming :)

The internet is such a scary place, where we feel we have to back peddle everything we say so not to assert and offend someone XD

Cathy T
23rd August 2008, 03:13 AM
The toy spaniels were "active little dogs and ought not be pampered too much

Oops.....not the case with any of the dogs on this board is it? ;)

That was really interesting to read.

23rd August 2008, 07:15 AM
When we got our first ever cav about 25 years ago we bought a book which I wish I could find- anyway it referred to them as being used by aristocracy in around the 16th century to be kept under the skirts of ladies to keep them warm. Legend has it that when Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded 2 cavaliers spaniels ran from under her skirts!
Another story I read referred to the lozenge on the head being the result of Queen Marys thumb print as she was stroking one of her dear companions at the point of her execution and pressed down on his little head with her thumb- causing the lozenge!
Again, cant reference the book so take with a pinch of salt! I like both stories though!

23rd August 2008, 09:16 AM
I love old books anyway but in the feeding section the author advises the reader :
"It is a shame to keep a dog and not look after it properly,although unfortunately,many people seem to think that any sort of treatment is good enough for a dog,but the old proverb that the righteous man regardeth the life of his beast stands as true today in substance and in fact".
He also states in he next paragraph that as a rule Ladies dogs are far too fat,being pampered and fed up more after the style of fat stock for the Christmas market.Premature decay of the constitution is the result with loose and carious teeth,asthma, cataract sore feet and blotches uopn the skin.
So it would appear that 100 years ago our spaniel ancestors suffered health problems through overfeeding and today's vets still deal with the same canine problems too.