Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Who doesn't love a speckled spaniel pup?

If you base their popularity on my vintage photo collection, everybody in the 19th century loved spaniels. I got this photo at a thrift store in Canada.  On the back it says "Uncle Fred and Doc."  Do you think this is a Water Spaniel?

According to writing on the back, this is "Georgie Jameson and Jim."

It wasn't until late in the 19th century that spaniels begat all the different kinds we have today. Cynologist Johnathon Caius wrote in his 16th century Treatise on Dogs, that there were two kinds of spaniels, one for land game and the other for water.  He elaborated, "The land spaniels have no peculier names assigned unto them, some onely that they be denominated after the byrde which by  naturall appointment he is alotted to take, for which consideration, some be called dogges for the Falcon, the Phesant, the Partridge, and such like."

By 1800 there were 7 types of spaniels.
These are the water spaniels. 
(Both engravings by Wm. Lizars, "The Naturalist's Library," 1830-1840)

And the land spaniels.

In some cases, spaniels were subdivided as the consequence of dog shows which became popular in the 1880s.  Sports minded breeders didn't care if their land spaniel broods were too diverse in size to be considered a breed by 19th century standards.  The small dogs in their litters were used under brush to hunt woodcock and the large ones to spring birds in the field.  However, for purposes of dog shows, anything over 28 pounds was a "springing" spaniel, 28 pounds and under deemed it a "cocking" spaniel.  Arranged in rigid systems of classification based on strict differentiation of shape, size and color, individuals within each group began to look more like each other and less like the generic spaniel.

This looks like a Springer Spaniel, circa 1930.

Today dog enthusiast breed  24  spaniels:  American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, Blue Picardy Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel, Brittany, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel,  Drentse Patrijshond, Field Spaniel, French Spaniel, German Spaniel, Irish Water Spaniel, King Charles Spaniel, Kooikerhondje, Large Musterlander, Papillon, Phalene, Picardy Spaniel, Pont-Audemer Spaniel, Russian Spaniel, Small Musterlander, Sussex Spaniel and Welsh Springer Spaniel.

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