Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

better shoulders and squarer muzzles. I agree with the point values as laid down pretty well, but not as adjudicated upon. For instance, head and jaws, 10; stern, 10; yet a dog with a gaily carried stern or a strong head, under some judges, is turned straight out of the ring, though neither point in any way affects its working qualities. It should be remembered that coloured cockers, as distinguished from blacks, were by no means popular until recently. They have always been in the hands of sportsmen, and have never been advocated as ladies' pets. Consequently they are more workmanlike in type, being longer legged, shorter bodied, and, as a rule, not as smooth in coat. Mr Porter's Braeside Bustle is the pillar of the stud, and its name should go down to posterity as the dog from which nearly every coloured cocker is descended.

MR. HENRY W. G. GARNETT (Hon. Sec. of the Cocker Club).-I do not find very much to complain of as to present type ; the chief fault, in my opinion, is the tendency of breeders to breed too much on the lines of the field spaniel, too long and too low. A cocker should have a short back, and be higher on the leg than he is being bred at present. Efforts are, however, I am glad to say, being made to improve this. One of the chief charms to me is the varied colour of the cocker spaniel ; a brace of blue or red roans, or black and tans, are, I think, as pretty a colour to the eye of the dog-lover as can be found. There is another point I am particular in, and that is expression. Many otherwise good dogs are spoiled by bad expression. It is necessary to a typical cocker to have a look of intelligence and brightness. Incessant tail action should also always be insisted on; in fact the dog should be required by judges to be a thoroughly active-looking animal, and able to do a good day's work, -not one that is bred purely for the purpose of being carried from show to show. The cocker is, in my opinion, unrivalled for working fences and rough ground; of course he requires careful handling, or shows a tendency to wildness. As a companion I do not know of any breed to excel him.

MR. CHARLES A. PHILLIPS. — The type is better throughout than it ever has been, but improvement could be made in many specimens by length of neck, squareness of muzzle, better bend of stifle, and general balance in outline—namely, avoiding extremes in either length or shortness of body. The cocker is undoubtedly one of the oldest of our spaniels. Early writers have divided the spaniel into three varieties—the water, the springer, and the cocker. It is worthy of note to find what an important part the cocker has played in the production of field spaniels. In the early 'Fifties Mr. Burdett had a black and tan cocker dog Frank, which was mated to a black and white cocker bitch, Venus, the property of Mr. Mousley, and from this union was produced Mr. Burdett's black cocker dog Bob (K.C.S.B. 2107211I), born in 1856. I may here mention there are several inaccuracies in the earlier volumes of the Stud Bood in pedigrees, colour, etc., the same dog appearing under different numbers. My authority for the above particulars being correct was the late Mr. T. B. Bowers, who took much trouble in verifying all the particulars of the spaniels. I am in possession of his stud books and show catalogues with corrections and memoranda. This year, out of pure curiosity, I traced the pedigrees of the black field spaniel Bridford Boy, the coloured field spaniel Shillington Rona, and the cocker Sandy Obo, all of whom won championships at Cruft's in 1903. I found these three dogs all traced their pedigree back to the black cocker Bob, before mentioned ; so emphasising what I have already stated_namely, the great influence cockers have had in producing the field spaniel of to-day. Some fifteen years ago cockers had got to so low an ebb that only a few of the largest shows would provide a class for them. The 25 lbs. limit was then in vogue, and every spaniel that was under this weight was entered as a cocker, regardless of what type it represented. It became evident to those closely interested in the breed how impossible it was for this state of things to continue, and they set about putting their house in order. Notwithstanding all this muddle one breeder in particular, Mr. James Farrow, had kept his Obo's very consistent to type, and had bred some beautiful specimens. I might mention Lily Obo and Frank Obo in particular. The coloured specimens were then represented by Mr. H. J. Price's Ditton Brevity (black and roan), Ditton Gaiety (tricolour), and Mr. Robinson's Beauty (liver, white and tan), and Rivington Merrylegs (black and white), in my possession. Some of these were inclined to be plain in head and wide in chest ; otherwise they were correct in type. What might rightly be described as the pillars of the cocker stud of their day and our day were the black Ch. Obo and the liver, roan and tan Ch. Fop, both of whom trace their pedigrees back to Frank and Venus, parents of Bob, aforementioned. Since then other sires have played a conspicuous part in continuing the breed, but they all contain the blood of either Fop or Obo. The cocker is now almost as popular as any breed of dog we have, and if we may judge by the entries at recent shows the most popular of the spaniel breed.

VOL. II

Whether it has now reached high-water mark or not it is difficult to predict, but with such breeders as Mr. James Farrow, Mr. Harding Cox, Mr. R. de C. Peele, Mr. J. Caless, and others still interested in it, the variety is hardly likely to suffer.

MR. HARDING Cox.-The table of points requires revising, so that a level type may be agreed on and bred up to. There are three distinct types being shown. As matters stand it is a case of every one thinking his own crow the blackest, and when an exhibitor fails to produce a specimen of the once accepted type, he tries to pass off his “ waster" as the ideal cocker. Any one in search of a really beautiful, lovable dog cannot do better than adopt this breed. Nothing beats them for use when pottering about with a gun, and they are easily entered to any variety of game. Most of them take to retrieving naturally, and some are excellent water-dogs. They have grand noses, and throw the tongue when hot on the line. Their action is full of go and spaniel character, but they are not too fast, and usually work pretty close to the gun. In the house they are particularly acceptable, being easily trained to cleanliness and order. Their glossy, high-bred appearance is far more attractive than that of the toy spaniel, and their size is very handy. Nothing can exceed their intense love of their master or mistress, and their extreme gentleness and affection. Great gentleness in handling and breaking them is essential; rough usage is fatal to the sensitive, high-bred cocker.

I do not know whether my risible muscles are more susceptible than is correct, but the following anecdote, sent me by one of my contributors, has made me chuckle so consumedly each time I have read it, that I reproduce it in the hope that it may have a like effect on my readers :

The cocker's powers of reasoning are well defined. Likewise, under some circumstances, it evinces a disposition to jealousy, as may be gathered from the following reminiscence. At one of those happily combined small shows of dogs and poultry, which are occasionally arranged in Wales, a certain owner showed a smart cocker of which he was particularly proud, likewise a cockerel, which had a possible chance. It was a cold, miserable day, but the rooster was comfortably ensconced in a pen, well littered with straw; fed plentifully, made much of, and awarded first honours by a committee whose thoughts were possibly more enamoured of roast chicken than matters canine. The poor unfortunate dog was tethered to a bench bare of straw, without food, and his only refreshment the rain that dripped through a series of holes in the roof of the marquee, apparently following him to every spot to which he moved to avoid it. In the ring he was treated with contempt, and undeservedly disgraced when the awards were arrived at. Prizeless and heartsore, he slunk behind his master, but his mind hard at work how to settle matters and level up with the prize cockerel, which crew defiance and taunts at him. Settled they were that night, when he incorporated the first prize and an admirable dinner—without waiting for it to be roasted.

The Cocker Spaniel Club, of which Mr. Harding Cox is the President, and Mr. H. W. G. Garnett the Honorary Secretary, looks after the interests of the breed. The annual subscription is the usual guinea. The following description is taken from the Club's publication :

STANDARD OF POINTS OF THE BLACK COCKER SPANIEL

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 snipey, and yet not so square as in the Clumber or Sussex varieties, but always exhibiting a sufficiently wide and well-developed nose. Fore. head perfectly smooth, rising without a too decided stop from the 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 wide-awake, bright and merry; never gozzled or weak, as in the King Charles and Blenheim kinds.

EARS.—Lobular, set on low, and not extending beyond the nose ; well clothed with long silky hair, which must be straight or wavy, no positive curls or ringlets.

Neck.-Strong, muscular, and neatly set on to fine sloping shoulders.

Body (including size and symmetry).--Not quite so long and low as in other breeds of spaniels ; more compact and firmly knit together, giving the impression of power and untiring activity; the total weight should not exceed 25 lbs.

Nose.-Sufficiently wide and well developed to ensure the exquisite scenting powers of the breed; colour black.

SHOULDERS AND CHEST.---The former sloping and fine ; chest deep and well developed, but not too wide and round to interfere with the wide action of the fore legs.

BACK AND Loin.—Immensely strong and compact in proportion to the size and weight of the dog ; slightly drooping towards the tail.

HINDQUARTERS. — 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.—The 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 in a line with the back, although the lower its carriage and action the better. And when at work its action should be incessant in this, the brightest and merriest in the whole spaniel group.

FEET AND LEGS. — The legs must 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 so short as to interfere with its full activity. Feet firm, round, and cat-like ; not too large or spreading and loose-jointed. This distinct breed of spaniel does not follow exactly on the lines of the larger field spaniels, either in lengthiness, lowness, or otherwise, but should be shorter in the back and rather higher on the legs.

Coat.-Flat or waved, and silky in texture; never wiry, woolly, nor curly ; with sufficient feather of the right sort, viz., waved or setter-like, but not too profuse, and never curly.

COLOUR. —Jet black; a white shirt frill should never disqualify, but white feet should not be allowed in any specimens of self-colour.

GENERAL APPEARANCE. --Confirmatory of all indicated above, viz., a concentration of pure blood and type, sagacity, docility, good temper, affection, and activity.

STANDARD OF POINTS FOR ANY OTHER VARIETY

COCKER SPANIEL Head, eyes, neck, body, shoulders, chest, back, loin, stern, feet, legs, coat (except in colour), and general appearance, the same as in the black cocker.

Nose. -Dependent on the colour.

COLOUR.- Black and tan; liver and tan; liver ; black, tan, and white; liver, tan and white ; lemon and white; roans; and, in fact, nearly any combination or blending of colours. Point l'alues—

Positive Points
Head and jaws
Eyes
Ears
Neck
Body
Fore legs.
Hind legs

Olo oñanna

Carry forward

« ForrigeFortsett »