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.
A judge should only be called upon to judge dogs by what they actually are in the ring, and to be told that " you should just see him at home" is no help. It is excessively irritating, I know, to an exhibitor to find his dog suffering from stage fright, but unless the dog is radically a fool he will get over this if he is not shown too young. If he does not, he deserves to lose.
I. Bad Shoulder
II. Good Shoulder
Compare A with B in each of the figures, which are purposely exaggerated to accentuate the difference
Some of our dogs are now so deplorably narrow-chested that their fore feet actually touch each other when standing; the backs are not level, and the dogs stand something in the attitude described in veterinary books as denoting incipient colic - the back arched, the stomach drawn up, and the tail tucked in. I am sure my readers will recognise the justice of this picture. I do not think our reporters know what a good body should be, as I so often see high-nimped, narrow-chested, pigeon-breasted, straight-shouldered dogs spoken of as "grand-bodied " ones. The modern shoulders are very straight, and I strongly object to "ewe" necks. People may say, "What do straight shoulders matter in a pet dog, as he is not a race horse ? " To this I reply, firstly, that a straight shoulder is very ugly; secondly, that it spoils the movement and takes away from the pride of carriage which a dog should have For an instance of a straight shoulder, please look at illustrations.
I once had a Blenheim dog with a very bad shoulder. This dog was continually falling upstairs - i e., missing its footing and knocking its teeth out against the step above. It lost all its front teeth in this way. Another one with the same defect not only fell upstairs, but varied it by falling downstairs. He once fell down a flight of twenty steps and nearly killed himself, and all on account of this wretched shoulder; and I don't see why pet dogs should fall downstairs any more than other dogs.
A very ugly formation of muzzle, now very common in Black-and-tans and Rubies, is the excessive depth from the top of the nose to the under jaw. This is often accompanied by drooping lips and tear stains under the eyes.
A point that is greatly misunderstood is the proper formation of the modern Toy Spaniel's muzzle. A Toy Spaniel's muzzle should not be flat on each side of the nose with a depression under each eye. The muzzle should be so thoroughly well cushioned up on each side of the nose that the nose should look almost embedded in fur, especially when the dog is exceedingly short in face. When looked at in front the outline of the muzzle should form a perfect arch, which puffs out on each side of the nose, the topmost curve almost - sometimes quite - touching the underlids of the eyes. It will be noticed that when the "cushions" of the muzzle are properly developed the whiskers stick straight up out of them, like pins out of a pincushion. The under jaw must not protrude right out beyond the upper lip. The under teeth should just overlap the upper ones comfortably, but the nose should not recede, leaving the under jaw sticking out in Bulldog fashion, even if the teeth do not show. This is an exaggeration which is very ugly and now quite common. The whole face of a Toy Spaniel should have a round, chubby, furry appearance, and a sweet, pretty, lively expression, with no lines, furrows, or irregularities of outline.
If a muzzle is the proper shape, there are practically no marks of tears on it, as, even if the "lachrymal duct is weak " (as stated in the Toy Spaniel Club standard), the tears running out on a rounded surface cannot lodge so as to form stains. Some dogs have a pretty habit of tucking in the upper lip on one side of the muzzle, which gives a very pleasing expression. Please refer to the photograph of Champion The Seraph to illustrate what I mean about the arch of the muzzle.
The eyes must be set absolutely straight - i. e., horizontally - and should also be set very low down, being on a level with the nose when viewed straight in front - i. e., the top of the nose should be level with the top of the eyes. The skull should be perfectly round, on no account peaked or flat at the top, and the ears, as I have already said, should not be exaggeratedly low. In my opinion, Cottage Flyer's ears are set much too low and too far back (see photograph); they should hang forward, and not be thrown back and carried almost inside out, as in some specimens. I think also that Champion Red Clover's muzzle is exaggerated, but she has a pretty expression in spite of it. As an example of prettily set ears, a perfect skull, and eyes set splendidly wide apart, very low and perfectly straight, and a beautiful expression, see the photograph of Mrs. Matthews's Roscoe; this is the modern type at its best. If you examine the angle of Roscoe's eyes, as compared to those of Wee Dot, you will see that the former's eyes are much more perfectly set than the latter's, as they are quite level, whereas Wee Dot's eyes are very slightly oblique.
An untrained observer would not notice this defect, but it is there all the same, and is very noticeable when exaggerated, giving an unpleasing expression. Many good dogs are spoiled by this fault.
As an ideal, I consider that the very broad muzzle is not right, but with some types of very short nose it is right to have good breadth, as a noseless dog with a narrow muzzle is not often pretty. At the same time the expression of a frog or toad must be avoided. Anything in the world is better than that.
In judging a young dog, it must not be forgotten that the head coarsens and thickens very much with age, so that a young dog with a slight coarseness will be three times as coarse in two years' time. It is, therefore, necessary that young dogs should err somewhat on the side of over-elegance rather than be too strong in type.
I recently saw a Toy Spaniel puppy advertised as having "no nose, the tightest of screw. tails, and a thoroughly wrinkled face"; so this is what we are coming to - a Toy Spaniel with a wrinkled face! This is, indeed, a ghastly evolution from the lovely Watteau Spaniel.