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.
There is a print at the beginning of "Anecdotes of Dogs," 1846, of two "King Charles" dogs, one very heavily marked tricolour, and the other red-and-white, both with long noses. The plate of field Spaniels shows dogs exactly the size and shape of Marlborough Blenheims.
I find the following in The Field of May 12, 1859: "Spaniels for Woodcock shooting. Melita asks what are the best Spaniels for the sport? Melita can use a team of pretty red-and-white Blenheims, their noses are very delicate and their cry musical, but they soon knock up. The Blenheims are fit for better things than being lap dogs."
At this time the effect of the Toy cross is beginning to be felt, previous authors speaking of them as indefatigable.
Extract from The Field, November 25, 1865: "Cockers are crosses from, or large specimens of the King Charles or Blenheim Spaniels." This is the reverse opinion to that held by modern writers. Mr. Nave says that the short face and black-and-tan colour in the King Charles were produced by a cross of black-and-tan Japanese Spaniel, but I think this is most improbable.
In the Natural History Museum there is a stuffed Blenheim with a pointed nose. Her label says that she is interesting as showing the type of Blenheim known in the early part of the nineteenth century. She is distorted by being very badly stuffed, as are also most of the more recent specimens, but one can see pretty well what the type was like, and it had greatly degenerated from the type kept by Henrietta of Orleans.
The Field, February 12, 1859, says of the Blenheim that it is "red-and-white with black nose, fine, but short muzzle, and of elegant form, quite a fairy among dogs." This goes to show that the Italian type was still to be seen in 1859.
At the beginning of the tenth century, under Vene-dotian Code, N. Wales, the worth of a Spaniel of the King and of a highman was assessed at £1, the Spaniel of a freeman six score pence, and the Spaniel of a villain of the King four pence, the same worth as his cur.
In 1571, Spaniel whelps with brimstone, turpentine, nettles, oil of balm, and parmacete were considered a cure for gout.
Under Henry VIII, 1529, amongst instructions for the Royal Household was one relative to dogs: " Noe dogges to be kept in Court then (than) some small span-yells for ladies or others."
There is frequent mention relating to his dogs in the Privy Purse expenses of Henry VIII from 1529 to 1532, edited by Nicholas Harris, 1827. Payments of 10/ - and 5/ - occur "For bringing Cut the kings span-yell ayen," also of 4/8 to a "poore woman in rewarde for bringing ayenne of Cutie the kinges dog."
The first representation of Toy Spaniels in England is in the picture by Sir Antonio More at Woburn Abbey, 1551. It shows two very small pet dogs; their ears are long, noses very pointed, and their necks have collars of bells, their colour is liver-and-white. This variety is now extinct, having been probably merged into the Marlborough and bred out. It was not the same as the Italian Toy Spaniel.
In Mary's Privy Purse expenses is the entry: "Gevenne to Sir Bryan Tulxes servante bringing a couple of little fayre hounds to my lade's grace 5/." (Doubtless these were the ones in the painting.) Mary gave twenty shillings for a little "Spanyell." The next representation of Toy Spaniels is the picture by Sir Peter Lely. Then we come to a portrait of Elizabeth Langstaffe, 1728, and also to some old needlework tapestry worked in 1736 to 1750 by the five wives of Thomas Foley.
Jesse1 says: "Others are cushion dogs and for pleasure."
A very old work speaks of "the smaller ladyes popees that bear away the flees and dyvers small fowles." This suggests an original reason for lady's lap dogs. The "dyvers small fowles " is a most alarming sentence!
The Earl of Shaftesbury says in a description of a country gentleman of the seventeenth century: "The parlour was a large room . . . on a great hearth paved with brick lay some terriers, and the choicest hounds and Spaniels. Seldom but two of the great chairs had litters of young cats in them which were not to be disturbed, he having three or four always attending him at dinner, and a little white round stick of fourteen inches lying by his trencher, that he might defend such meat as he had no mind to part with to them."
Blaine's Rural Sports says that five thousand* Spaniels were kept as parlour pets in London alone about 1841.
Samuel Pepys describes a visit to the Council Chamber of Charles II on September 1, 1666. He says: "All I observed there was the silliness of the King, playing with his dog all the while and not minding the business."
Again he says: "At Hatfield we baited and walked into the great house through all the courts and I would fain have stolen a pretty dog that followed me, but I could not, which troubled me."
1"Sindar in his Reevels."
I think most dog lovers are "troubled " at times by regret at not being able to carry off somebody else's pretty dog!
He also speaks of having his wife painted by Savill, and says: "Her little black dogge sat in her lap and was drawn, which made us very merry." There is, however, nothing to show the breed of this particular lap dog, but Mr. Pepys intense "Royalism" probably led him to own the same variety as the King, unless I am much mistaken.
Rural Sports says: "Charles II was famous for a partiality for a particular breed, and came generally accompanied to the Council Board with a favourite Spaniel. His successor, James II, had a similar attachment, and it is reported of him by Bishop Burnet that being once in a dangerous storm at sea and obliged to quit the ship to save his life, he vociferated with impassioned accents as his principal concern: 'Save the Dogs . . . and Col. Churchill,' " Col. Churchill being added as an afterthought.
Nicolas de Larghilliere painted a picture of Prince James, in 1695, in which there is a yellowish-liver-and-white Springer with a perfect spot. This painter was a contemporary of Mignards, and this settles once for all the contention that our red-and-white Toy Spaniel was an evolution from the Springer, as it already existed in a perfect toy form and had so existed for nearly two centuries before Larghilliere painted the Springer with the spot. In Le Clerc Buffon's "Histoire Naturelle Generate et Particulare," 1777, there is a coloured plate (XVII) called " L'epagneul." The dog represented has a straight coat, the body white, tail curled over the back like a Pomeranian, the head that of a Pomeranian, black-and-white, the ears like a Spaniel, fairly long, and the nose pointed.