This section is from the book "Toy Dogs And Their Ancestors", by Neville Lytton. Also available from Amazon: Toy Dogs And Their Ancestors: Including The History And Management Of Toy Spaniels, Pekingese, Japanese, And Pomeranians.
The whole fabric of modern judging is utterly unsound. The Club judges are, moreover, bound by the Club regulations, which prevent the exercise of any private judgment.
When I say that I consider the modern standard incorrect, I do not mean that we should go back to long noses. I frankly own that before I began my historical investigations I held the same opinion as that of other writers, namely that the ancestors of the Toy Spaniel had long noses, and I was prepared to advocate a return to whatever the original type might have been. My researches have, however, led me to an exactly opposite conclusion. The red-and-white Toy Spaniel has a perfect right to his short nose. The King Charles had comparatively long-nosed ancestors, but is now a composite breed made up to suit modern taste and no longer bears any resemblance to his earlier progenitors.
I still maintain that certain types of modern dogs are monstrosities, and shall to the end of my days fight against these types and protest against their propagation.
I have been working for some years on the system of drawing attention to the distorted noseless type. There are several noseless types but of late breeders have gone in for sensationalism in heads regardless of beauty or even of general soundness.
I have purposely ridiculed these extraordinary deformities, hoping that at last people would see the gro-tesqueness for themselves, and this, I am happy to say, has already resulted in the Toy Spaniel Club taking steps to revise their points. It is, however, impossible for any club to properly revise its points without a complete knowledge of the history of its breed, and this no one has in the case of Toy Spaniels, because no one has ever had access to the proper material.
I think there are some grounds for believing that most of the present distorted, heavy, noseless, undershot types are evidence of mongrel Bulldog blood.
Before going further, I must dispose of the idea, rife among dog lovers outside the "Fancy," that the "smashed noses" are got by smashing. A broken nose is not the least like the nose of the modern type, and the puppies are born with these noseless faces. The kind-hearted old ladies, therefore, who weep over the fancied cruelties of the breeders can dry their tears and rejoice. That this theory should have originated at all is evidence of how unnatural the modern head appears to outsiders. Nothing can explain it except a brutal operation, but a broken nose would never deceive an expert for a moment. I may also remark that nobody has ever suggested that the noses of Japanese dogs are broken, though they are " noseless " dogs, and this is I think due to the fact that in the Japanese the proportions of the head are harmonious, whereas in some types of Toy Spaniel they are heterogeneous.
When a puppy is born with a screw tail and noseless head it will be noticed that there is a ridge of flesh sticking up between the nose and skull, and in this ridge the nostrils are embedded. The ridge is noticeable in the photograph of the fine bulldog, Good Lion, the property of Mr. T. Davis. I have chosen him as a typi-cal Bulldog head.
Heads of newly-born Toy Spaniel Puppies
A, A. Flyers. B. Second-class winner. C. Average head
Pattern for Flannel Coat in Cases of Illness
Spratt's Terrier Travelling Cos
It will also be noticed that this head is harmonious in its lines, each line being thoroughly appropriate to the short nose and fighting type. It shows immense power, and is, to my mind, just what a Bulldog should be to inspire awe. A careful comparison with the two heads of my Toy Spaniels, Spotted Lily and St. Anthony's Marvel, will reveal the close connection of the types, only what is magnificent in the Bulldog is absurd in the Toy dog. I think some types of the short face are got by Japanese crosses. These are the best ones, as the type approximates more nearly to the original stock.
The first mention of abnormally short noses occurs in 1845. Youatt speaks of the new short-nosed type as a recent innovation.
"The King Charles Spaniel of the present day is materially altered for the worse. The muzzle is almost as short and the forehead as ugly and prominent as the veriest bulldog. . . . The Blenheim Spaniel . . . has degenerated of late, and is not to be had pure even in the neighbourhood of Blenheim. The species may be distinguished by the length and silkiness of the coat, the deep fringe about the ear, the full and moist eye, and the blackness of the palate."
An illustration represents Blenheims with a short but distinct nose, so Youatt would indeed have objected to the present type. The Sporting Annual of 1839 also mentions that the Blenheim was leggy and degenerate, but does not mention noses.
H. D. Richardson, in 1851, says of the King Charles: "Distinguished by shortness of muzzle, round and bullet-like shape of head, prominence of his eye, length of ear, and the colour, which must be black-and-tan." But he also calls the Blenheim the black-and-tan Pyrame, and again a Red-and-white Spaniel, so it is difficult to follow him as to colour; but I read this as meaning that at Blenheim were kept both the red-and-white gun dog and the black-and-tan gun dogs.
Meyrick, 1842, says that the King Charles has all the deformities of a prominent watery eye, a protruding tongue, a broad ugly mouth, and a generally apoplectic appearance."
The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1817, says of the King Charles dog: "Head rounded, snout short, tail curved back." Short snout merely meant relatively short, and even in the first edition of Stonehenge, 1867, where he complains of the excessively short noses of the modern dogs, the illustration shows a dog by no means noseless.