This section is from the book "All About Dogs - A Book For Doggy People", by Charles Henry Lane. Also available from Amazon: All About Dogs: A Book For Doggy People.
A good many I have known, make much and think highly of some of the breeds of Spaniels. These are noted for their affectionate disposition and docility. The least often seen, and therefore not much known, are the Irish and the English Water Spaniels. The former should be dark liver coloured, covered with curls, except on the tail, which should be nearly bare of hair, and on the head a considerable tuft of hair, called the top-knot, hanging down over the eyes and face, so as to almost hide the former. There is something very comical, and quite "Hibernian," about the look of this breed, and they always appear to be open for any amount of fun, but they are also grand workers, and for duck-shooting, and retrieving in general, they are above the average in achievements, as they are above most of their fellows in size. The English Variety is also a capital all-round useful dog, generally roan or dark coloured in ground, with sometimes spots or markings on head and body, also covered with curls, and looks best with tail moderately docked. He gives you the idea of a "business dog," and is very lively and ready for work of almost any sporting kind, and can stand a deal of it.
Another of the family I am very partial to and have sometimes met with and kept as a companion, is the Clumber. I think this is the most aristocratic-looking of the sporting varieties of the breed, and should be a creamy white, with patches of lemon or light orange-tan, about the head and body. Either the tactics of the sportsmen of the present day are too rapid, or for some other cause, but there certainly are not so many of the breed to be seen now as there were some fifteen or twenty years since, but I am glad to see the present Duke of Newcastle is keeping up the breed at Clumber, where it is supposed to have been originally produced, and that there are still a few kennels in the country, where they are breeding some of these beautiful dogs, for I contend that a Clumber, in good form and well-groomed (when his coat will have quite a bloom on it), is one of the handsomest dogs a sportsman can wish to accompany him, and although his build and formation are not suited for a high rate of speed, he can get over a good deal of ground in the course of the day, and render some useful service to his owner and his friends.
In that celebrated book, "The Master of the Game," preserved in the British Museum, and attributed to a royal author, being supposed to be written by a son of King Edward III. (who died in 1402), the Spaniel is spoken of as "Saynolfe," no doubt a term intended for "Spay-nolfe," and is described as one of the hounds used for hawking, and called a Spaynel, "because the nature of him cometh from Spain, notwithstanding they are to be found in other countries." and such hounds, the author declares, have many good customs and evil. He insists that a good hound for hawking should have a large head and body, and that he should be of a "fair hewe," white or tawne, and not too "jough," that is, hairy or rough, but, his tail should be "rough," or feathered; he goes on to describe the proper temperament, as a sportsman of the present age would speak of a modern Clumber, leaving out one of its greatest merits, its silence, or muteness, in work, however excited, so much to be desired. A great deal of sport may be had over a brace of Clumbers, which are as much as a sportsman can do with, particularly with a Retriever to look after the "killed and wounded".
CLUMBER-SPANIEL. "SANDRINGHAM -BUSTLER". H.R.H.PRINCE OF WALES. OWNER.
I have also, occasionally, seen a specimen of the Sussex Spaniel, which are rare dogs for work, made a house pet of. They should be rich copper colour, and are very showy and distinguished looking in appearance, strong and muscular in build, more active than you would give them credit for, by their looks, and possessed of much intelligence and affection for their friends, good guards, and well able to take their own parts in any row, seldom coming off worst, even with larger antagonists. They have been brought to great perfection of late years. I should say there are some as good as any ever seen, to be met with at the present day, and especially at the well known Bridford Kennels in Devon. I think they are rather growing in public favour, to the reverse being the case; I often see what I may call "the Field Spaniel proper," the old glossy black, kept as a companion; the very long backed, and short-legged type, now in favour, don't strike one as being able to stand so much hard work, in the covers, as the more old fashioned sort, but they are, many of them, very beautiful dogs, and of high quality, and, what is also of importance to breeders, they command very high prices.
I heard of an instance, not very long since, when a buyer was found for five or six specimens of the Black Field Spaniel, at £1,100, and another gave £400 for a single dog. I know all the three parties, that is, the seller and the two buyers, in these transactions, and believe them to be bond fide and true, in substance and fact, so that Spaniel breeding evidently can be made to pay. Although I sometimes see some of the old liver and white, roan, blue and black Spaniels about, I certainly think they are not so popular as they were some years since. As a rule they are tractable, good tempered, "born sportsmen," particularly fond of a ramble amongst country lanes and hedgerows, and capital companions for all, attaching themselves readily to ladies and children, and making themselves "at home" as members of the household, though always ready for their own proper work, outside, when called upon.
I will here give the show points of the several Sporting Spaniels, commencing with the Clumber, The points of this breed are as follows: - He should be long, low, and heavy, weight varies, but averages about forty to forty-five pounds. Colour, white, of a creamy shade, with orange or lemon markings; actual liver colour, or the very pale lemon, once made a point of, are now objected to by some breeders of the present day. Height should not be over eighteen or twenty inches. Legs, both short and strong, in fact, so much so that, with his deep, well-coated body, he shows little "daylight" below him, as he stands or walks. Head, large, long, coloured to a line under the eyes, and showing a "blaze" up the face. Eyes, rather small for size of head, sunken, pensive, and thoughtful. Nose, dark flesh, or liver, coloured. Ears, large and much feathered, below, where the fleshy part of the ear ends. Neck, long, strong, and muscular. Back, straight and long. Chest, wide, also the shoulders, and substantial, likewise the forearm, which is very heavy for his size. Hocks, and hind quarters, large, bony, and very muscular. Loins, not arched, but straight. Ribs, round and prominent, back-ribs, in particular, very deep.
Stern, set on low, looks best "docked," as is usually the case, with a little hair hanging at the fag end. Coat should be not too full in quantity, but very straight, silky, shining, and soft, in texture. The appearance and general character being that of a high class, dignified specimen of the sporting dog, well able to do all that can be reasonably required of him, but with no idea of being dictated to, hurried, or "put out of the way," by any one.