Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

endeavoured to buy it when visiting the Royal York Dog Show, of which I was the Honorary Secretary. The dog, or rather bitch, which the late Mr. Hugh Dalziel selected to illustrate the breed in the first edition of his book on the dog, belonged to a gentleman residing near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and I ultimately purchased her, and sold her to go to America.

With a view to finally settling the question, Mr. James Farrow wrote to the late Duke of Norfolk, who replied to the effect (I quote from memory) that he knew nothing of any breed of liver and white spaniels named Norfolk, and his family never owned such a strain. Besides, the Spaniel Sporting Club have dropped the name “ Norfolk" and substituted “Springer." For these reasons it is proposed to discontinue the description in the next issue of our Standard of Points, and at our next general meeting steps will be taken to withdraw that which was inserted in error many years

ago.

Such an authoritative statement cannot, of course, be controverted. Mr. Rawdon Lee is of the same opinion, for he writes : “Personally I do not consider the liver and white spaniel any particular variety at all; Devonshire, for instance, has attained a celebrity for hardy spaniels that had to work in the rough country, and many of them were liver and white in colour. They never came from Norfolk, nor did the Devonshire men claim them as their own. ... Liver and white spaniels, almost infinite in shape and size, may be seen running about the streets in any country place-a leggier, closer and better coated animal often than the ordinary spaniel we see when standing at the ring side."

If the illustration I give is not that of a “Norfolk” spaniel, it is at least one for which that designation is claimed ; and when the nomenclature has become extinct, it will serve to show what was accepted as the type of the breed. And this is what Mr. H. G. Bleazby writes on the subject :

With regard to the Norfolk spaniel, the first thing I object to is the classification granted by the Kennel Club, which classes a pure Norfolk spaniel with any cross-bred spaniel that is high on the leg. A distinct breed, having a distinct type, should be recognised. Secondly, a little respect should be shown the breed by judges. At present it is treated with so much contempt that a person feels ashamed to take a dog, however good, into the ring. When he does, his dog is spoken of with derision as a “worker," which, in my opinion, ought to be the highest compliment it is possible to pay a spaniel. In the ring to-day the worst points a dog can possess is ability to do a spaniel's work. The points most desired are those which make him physically unfit for his work in the field. It seems to be overlooked that dog shows were started to develop those qualities that make dogs workers in the field, and to improve sporting dogs. Nowadays the only thing a show encourages is a type known as “show type,” which is generally acknowledged to be, to say the least, inferior in working powers. I do not agree with the present value of points, which give the bulk of value to exaggerated features, and destroy what, in my opinion, is of the greatest value of all-__"balance.” I have always felt very acutely the way in which the two national breeds of spaniels—the Sussex and the Norfolk have been treated by the Kennel Club, who have always been glad to give encouragement to any foreign dogs. Norfolks are more capable of doing a day's work in the field than any other variety of spaniel ; they are hardier and more enduring, and, on the whole, keener and more intelligent, though, perhaps, through their very keenness, harder to keep under control. If I keep a spaniel I want a dog capable of doing a spaniel's work. For want of a classification I have to show my spaniel Toss in “ any other variety” classes. With one exception he has always been in the money, although he has had to meet Clumber and cocker spaniel champions, with whom he has been placed equal. Every judge who has seen him has admired him, and one of the leading critics in the dog-press called him "an ideal type.” On several occasions he has been brought out by judges as an object lesson, and most of them have regretted there have not been more dogs of his type. Now, is it fair to call a dog with that record a mongrel ?

As I certainly do not think it is fair, and as I admire Mr. Bleazby's spirit in championing his dog, and also greatly admire the dog, of which he sent me a photograph (conceiving it very like Reinagle's springer spaniel of a hundred years ago), it has given me great pleasure

to reproduce Toss's portrait in these pages, and to hand him down to posterity as a “Norfolk” spaniel. And if you asked me which dog I would sooner have for pheasant shooting in the Himalayas-Toss or the con

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ventional show-bench spaniel, I am Goth enough to declare I would sooner have Toss to tackle those

precipitous ups and downs of 1000 to 3000 feet climbing that occur in a day's sport. But this is my personal and not my editorial opinion.

Whether I am justified or not in reproducing a “leggy" spaniel into my illustrations it is for my critics to say ; but I am certainly justified in including in my letterpress the two drawings which accompany this section. One is Reinagle's springer, the other a springer spaniel of the year 1843-dogs of a hundred and of sixty years ago. And all I will say is that if our modern show-bench spaniels are "object lessons," so are these obsolete types—and so is Toss.

As a epitaph on a departing classification, I am glad to give Mr. Bleazby's description of an “ideal Norfolk spaniel,” by which future generations shall know what this survival to the twentieth century was like.

MR. BLEAZBY'S IDEAL NORFOLK SPANIEL.—My idea of a Norfolk spaniel is as follows:-A dog weighing about 45 to 50 lbs., with a very deep but rather short head ; deep, square muzzle ; large mouth, well covered by the lips; good stop ; skull well developed and somewhat square (plenty of room for reasoning and scenting powers); ears large, set high, and somewhat pointed, well covered with hair on the outside only, except at the edges ; hair only just exceeding the length of the ear. Neck round and very powerful, sufficiently long to allow him to keep his nose to the ground when travelling ; chest broad and very deep, heavily covered with long hair, forming a ruff down the centre. Body of medium length, well ribbed up; back ribs very strong and round, very strong loins ; tail, although set rather higher than a Sussex spaniel's, never carried above the level of the back. The body should be clothed with a thick coat, straight and flat except on the chest, fine in texture, short on the back, and getting longer towards the belly, and coarser, especially between the fore legs ; the undercoat should be very thick. The legs should be of medium length, but with very big bone ; well feathered both fore and hind, almost to the feet, particularly the fore legs, which should have long and silky feather, getting gradually shorter to the feet; the hind legs should have long and rather coarse feather

to the hocks; below the hocks fine, short, but thick feather to the feet. The feet should be large, round, and the toes well arched, with plenty of short, coarse hair covering them. The dog should be well balanced, but not heavily built, giving the idea of great strength combined with activity. A quick, bright expression, and a thorough spaniel, not a retriever head.

My other contributor in this section is Mr. F. Winton Smith, but he writes under the heading of “Springer," not “Norfolk” spaniels. He is satisfied with the type as laid down by the Spaniel Club, and considers that for all-round wear and tear work this breed cannot be surpassed, and that it is better adapted for work than any other spaniel.

I may here make a note that the Spaniel Club classifies the variety of spaniel of which this section treats under the heading “Sussex and other Livercoloured Spaniels," which seems a little incongruous and hard on the latter variety. For Mr. Cowell declares them to be the commonest spaniel in England, whilst Colonel Claude Cane infers that the Sussex is the “scarcest” and purest. If the liver and white is a “mongrel," as some assert, it is an anomaly to place it in competition with the breed considered the purest.

The following are the correct points of the spaniel, which is now classified by the Kennel Club as the “ English springer, other than Clumber, Sussex, and field"-a considerably bigger mouthful to pronounce than the neat and natty “ Norfolk":

STANDARD OF POINTS OF THE SPRINGER OR

NORFOLK SPANIEL HEAD.-Skull long and rather narrow; a stop; the muzzle broad and long to the end.

EYES. – Rather small, bright, and intelligent.
EARS.—Long, low-set, and lobular.
Neck.-Lean, long, and slightly arched.

BODY (including size and symmetry).–Fairly heavy body; legs rather longer than in other field spaniels, but not so long as in Irish ; medium size.

VOL. II

« ForrigeFortsett »