writers, such as Blome, Surflet, Markham, and others. Shakespeare speaks of it in the Two Gentlemen of Verona. The breed was probably largely crossed with the land spaniel, and by the beginning of the nineteenth century the original breed was almost lost. About this time, or rather earlier, fresh importations of dogs probably took place from France, and we begin to hear for the first time of the rough water-dog, which was the same as the barbet of France, and was the progenitor of the modern poodle. The English water spaniel of the nineteenth century was almost certainly produced by a cross between the water-dog and the English springer spaniel, with, very likely, some of the old English breed in it as well. The English water spaniel continued to be much prized in England until the gradual draining of the fen country did away with its object. It then became gradually lost by being crossed with the springer. The nearest approach to it at the present day can be seen in the numerous very curly-coated springers to be met in country districts. The curly-coated retriever has also much of the water spaniel blood in him, being the outcome, probably, of a water spaniel and a Newfoundland cross.

I am glad to be able to supplement these notes with one or two I have been able to pick up from other sources. The description of Dr. Caius, for instance, runs as follows: “The water spaniel is that kind of a dog whose service is required in fowling upon waterpartially through a natural towardness, and partially by diligent teaching is endued with that property. The sort is somewhat big, and of a measurable greatness, having long, rough, and curled hair, not obtained by extraordinary trades, but given by Nature's appointment.” In the Sportsman's Cabinet (1802) the dog is described as having the hair long and naturally curled, not loose and shaggy. I am able to give a reproduction of Reinagle's English water spaniel of the same period ; indeed the article in the Cabinet was illustrated by a copy of Reinagle's picture. Youatt, about forty years later, describes the "water spaniel as originally coming from Spain ; the pure breed has been lost, and

the present dog is probably descended from the large water-dog and the English setter. Mr. Rawdon Lee believes the old English spaniel and the water-dog



After Reinagle.


W.Iuker jina

23. WATER-DOG OR BARBET. were identical, but in this I am unable to follow him. An authority, writing in 1843, gives an illustration of the water-dog, which I reproduce, and says in his letterpress : “The water-dog must not be confounded with

the water spaniel, compared with which it will be found much more robust. Its coat is curly and shaggy, and generally variegated with black and white, but some individuals are brown and white, or nearly all white. The muzzle is short and abrupt, and the tail rather short, and carried erect. The aquatic habits of the dog, its acute sense of smell, its great sagacity and strength, render it a highly useful servant to the numerous gunners of the north of England and Scotland, who live chiefly by shooting water-fowl, in the retrieving of which it exhibits the highest degree of docility and hardihood. The dog is often kept on board ship to recover articles which may have fallen into the water." The same authority gives a cut of the large water spaniel and the small one ; the former, he says, is probably descended from the common spaniel and the large water-dog ; the latter he thinks a sub-variety of the same breed, and describes it as combining the aquatic propensities of the water-dog with the fine hunting qualities of the spaniel. The illustration depicts a white and liver dog very like Reinagle's, but a little longer in the leg. The large water spaniel indicated is black with white or grey shadings, and more of the Newfoundland type. All these descriptions and illustrations combine to show how popular and well known the water spaniel originally was. Nowadays it wants a “lucky shot” to find a typical one for the purposes of a single illustration, and I consider myself extremely fortunate in having secured a photograph of Mr. Stansfeld's Lucky Shot, which bears a distinct generic resemblance to an old breed, that has not been unsung in poetry, for Cowper has left us some stanzas on the intelligence and skill in retrieving of his water spaniel Beau.

The description of an “ideal” English water spaniel from Mr. Stansfeld is as follows :

MR. STANSFELD'S IDEAL ENGLISH WATER SPANIEL.—The English water spaniel's vocation in life was that of assisting his master in the hunting of wild-fowl in the fens and other marshy districts. My ideal therefore should be essentially workmanlike in appearance, hardy in constitution, and untiring in disposition, His head should be long and narrow, with rather small but very intelligent eyes, neither light in colour nor brown, but hazel ; his muzzle strong and deep; his nose large ; his coat very dense, being composed of tight, crisp curls, almost like astrakhan, which should cover the body, leaving only the top of his head, his face, and the front of his legs smooth. This density of coat helps to protect him from the cold of the water. My ideal water spaniel should be a very strong swimmer, able to continue all day in the coldest weather. For this reason his loins should be strong, his legs straight, with great bone and muscle, and his feet large and spreading, so as to act like the web of a duck's foot. In size he is rather larger than the springer, his colour being liver and white for choice, though liver, black, and black and white are equally correct. His body is round, with well sprung ribs; his neck thick and short ; his tail, which is covered with thickly curled hair, may be slightly curved upwards, though not above the level of his back. His manners and movement indicate utter indifference ; he generally may be seen lounging about with an expression of boredom in his face, which gives way, instantly, to a look of wonderful delight and intelligence on the arrival of a friend, and the possibility of a day's hunting. He is not quarrelsome, but does not make friends easily; though when he does he never forgets, and the faithfulness of the breed is phenomenal. To me the English water spaniel is the most ideal companion a sportsman can have.

I have but few criticisms on the type of the breed as it exists to-day. Mr. Stansfeld is not satisfied with type, considering “the coat should be more curly, and the dog a trifle higher on the leg. The head is not right yet, as it has a trifle too much of the English springer, and not enough of the water spaniel type, which is long and rather narrow.” Messrs. Tilley Brothers think “there are very few of the old style type of the breed, and many sorts and types of so-called English water spaniels. They are inclined to be too long and low for practical use; having used them largely, we find them most useful, with little coat on face, and hair of legs in long narrow curls, on body and tail short and flat, preference being given to the liver colour. We would like to see the breed noticed more, it being most intelligent, good tempered, hard working, and quick retrieving under great difficulties; also the most persevering of any breed of spaniels.” Mr. Winton Smith considers coat is not nearly curly enough. Mr. Stansfeld adds, The breed is exceptionally intelligent, docile, easy to train, and no day's work is too long for them. It is not noisy, and therefore especially good for water-fowl shooting. It used to be celebrated for its diving and its power of withstanding cold.



Head.---Long, somewhat straight and rather narrow, muzzle rather long, and, if anything, rather pointed.

EYES. --Small for the size of the dog.
EARS.-Set on forward, and thickly clothed with hair inside and out.

BODY (including size and symmetry).-Large, and very deep throughout ; back ribs well developed, not quite so long as in field spaniels.


SHOULDERS AND CHEST.-Shoulders low, and chest rather narrow but deep.

BACK AND LOINS.—Strong, but not clumsy.

HINDQUARTERS.—Long and straight ; rather rising toward the stern than drooping, which, combined with the long shoulder, gives him the appearance of standing higher behind than in front.

STERN.-Docked from 7 to io inches, according to the size of the dog, carried a little above the level of the back, but by no means high.

FEET AND LEGS.— Feet well spread, large and strong ; well clothed with hair, especially between the pads. Legs long and strong; and stifles well bent.

Coat.-Covered with crisp curls or with ringlets ; no top-knot, but the close curl should cease on the top of the head, leaving the face perfectly smooth and lean looking.

COLOUR. --Black and white, liver and white, or self-coloured black or liver. The pied for choice.

GENERAL APPEARANCE.-Sober looking, with rather a slouching gait

« ForrigeFortsett »