This section is from the book "British Dogs: Their Varieties, History, Characteristics, Breeding, Management, And Exhibition", by Hugh Dalziel. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs.
The "Merry Monarch" did many more foolish things than take under his royal care and favour, thereby raising to the position of a court idol, the beautiful toy spaniel that still bears his name. Harsh censors may say this trifle is a fit emblem of a frivolous time, and sneer at court voluptuaries toying with pets which in greater times had been by their sterner and manlier forefathers contemptuously treated as "fisting curres," and only looked upon as "meet playfellows for mincing mistresses."
MR. RUSSELL EARP'S WHITE, BLACK AND TAN KING CHARLES SPANIEL "TWEEDLEDEE."
MR. M. A. FOSTER'S BLENHEIM SPANIEL "DUKE OF BOW" (K.C.S.B. 7794). Sire Mr. E. Short's Charley (K.C.S.B. 4717), by Old Charley out of Minnie - Dam a bitch by Mr. T. Hawks"s Charlie (K.C.S.B. 3841).
Be that as it may, the royal favour of Charles has secured for this dog a popularity which has ebbed and flowed ever since, and is never likely to disappear. No matter what pet dog may be in the ascendant, for the time being the royal spaniel has always his votaries, and on the whole succeeds pretty well in keeping the pride of place due to his exalted association.
Being a court favourite, he of course got painted, and no less an artist than Vandyke has immortalised him on canvass, but there he is represented as a liver and white dog, although doubtless they varied in colour. There is but little difference between dark liver and black, and both these, as also red are specially spaniel colours. It is easy to conceive the ones selected by the painter to be individual favourites, and not chosen as representatives of the breed in that one particular.
Landseer and Frith have both chosen the black, white, and red in painting these dogs, doubtless as the more effective from an artistic point of view, and the tri-coloured variety was the most popular half a century ago and to a later time. A writer in 1802 referring to the breed of King Charles, says "they were supposed to be the small black curly sort which bear his name, but they were more likely to have been of the distinct breed of cockers, if judgment may be consistently formed from the pictures of Vandyke, in which they are introduced." From this writer, it would appear that, eighty years ago, the black, by which probably he meant black and tan, were considered the correct thing.
From all of these facts and statements, with many others of a similar kind, it appears to me that the breed has been modified to suit the fashion of the day.
MR. JOSEPH NAVE'S BLACK AND TAN KING CHARLES SPANIEL "COVENT GARDEN CHARLIE."
Sire Mr. W. Forder's champion Young Jumbo (K.C.S.B. 5710) - Dam Mr. J. Garwood's Daisy out of Mr. J. Wells's Siss, by Mr. J. Garwood's Bertie by his Old Duke.
At present the jet glossy black, with rich warm tan markings, are in favour, and no other colours have a chance with these in the judging ring.
The breeders of these toys, in London and elsewhere, have certainly brought them in form and colour to a high state of perfection; and, judged by the standard set up - whether the lines be approved or not - both these and the modern Blenheims are marvels of the breeder's skill.
In respect to colour, and the close connection between the black and tan, and red, or liver, it is worthy of notice that Mr. Garwood, one of the oldest London breeders, took first prize at the Alexandra Palace show, 1878, in a class for King Charles spaniels of any other colour than black and tan, with a red dog, Dandy, the same dog having been second to Miss Dawson's Frisky in an open King Charles spaniel class, 1875, and Garwood has assured me the dog was black and tan bred on both sides for some generations.
This is at once accounted for when we remember that the black and tan King Charles and the red and white Blenheims have been repeatedly crossed by the trading breeders of fancy dogs, so that even now a well bred bitch of either sort, mated with one like herself, may throw a pup of the other variety.
Such occurrences are, however, becoming rare, for the two are bred distinct, except where the cross is purposely resorted to to produce specimens of the charming tricoloured pets once so much in vogue.
Although the black, white, and tan variety is at present rather out of fashion, it is not without its admirers, and I believe they are on the increase, so that I quite look to them taking a prominent place at shows at no distant date. Two of the most beautiful specimens of these I know are Mrs. Russell Earp's Tweedledee, a winner at the Alexandra Palace, of which we give an engraving, and Conrad, brother to Tweedledee, and the property of Miss Violet Cameron.
When the colours are rich and nicely distributed, this variety is much more attractive and gay than the black and tan King Charles, or even the red and white Blenheim; and if encouragement were given at shows to these beautiful toys, they would soon appear in numbers, and regain the popularity they have temporarily lost.
They are a variety of pet dog that are at least worth preserving, and for this purpose, whilst good specimens are so scarce, I would recommend good rich coloured King Charles bitches to be crossed with Blenheim dogs, as most likely to produce desirable specimens.
The King Charles, too, is generally rather the largest, which is a distinct advantage.
The produce might be depended on to be stronger and more easily reared than the in-and-in bred of either of the parent variety.
The following are the points of the modern King Charles spaniel, together with those of the Blenheim, drawn up by "Stonehange," which I do not think can be improved upon.
If fashion changes, or if, without neglecting the present style, a miniature spaniel on the lines of our best field spaniels, should be introduced, a set of descriptive points forming a standard to breed up to can be easily arranged and agreed to by those interested; in the meantime, it is much more to be desired that the standards already drawn up for existing breeds should be made practical use of than merely reproduced by different writers with variations.
The present standard would well apply to the black, white, and tan variety.
Points of toy spaniels:
The head should be well domed, and in good specimens is absolutely semi-globular, sometimes even extending beyond the half circle, and absolutely projecting over the eyes, so as nearly to meet the upturned nose.
The nose must be short, and well turned up between the eyes, without any indication of artificial displacement afforded by a deviation to either side. The colour of the end should be black, and it should be both deep and wide, with open nostrils.
The lower jaw must be wide between its branches, leaving plenty of space for the tongue and for the attachment of the lower lips, which should completely conceal the teeth. It should also be turned up or "finished," so as to allow of its meeting the end of the upper jaw, turned up in a similar way as above described.
The ears must be long, so as to approach the ground. In an average sized dog they measure 20in. from tip to tip, and some reach 22in., or even a trifle more. They should be set low on the head, and be heavily feathered. In this respect the King Charles is expected to exceed the Blenheim, and his ears occasionally extended to 24in.
The eyes are set wide apart, with the eyelids square to the line of face, not oblique or fox-like. The eyes themselves are large, lustrous and very dark in colour, so as to be generally considered black; their enormous pupils, which are absolutely of that colour, increasing the description. From their large size, there is almost always a certain amount of weeping shown at the inner angles.
In compactness of shape these spaniels almost rival the pug, but the length of coat adds greatly to the apparent bulk, as the body, when the coat is wetted, looks small in comparison with that dog. Still, it ought to be decidedly "cobby," with strong stout legs, broad back, and wide chest.
The symmetry of the toy spaniel is of some importance, but it is seldom that there is any defect in this respect.
The colour varies with the breed. In the King Charles a rich black and tan is demanded without white, the black tan and white variety being disregarded, though, in the best bred litters, occasionally a puppy of this colour appears. Tan spots over the eyes and on the cheeks, as well as the usual marking on the legs, are also required. The Blenheim, on the other hand, must on no account be whole-coloured, but should have a ground of pure pearly white, with bright rich chesnut red markings, evenly distributed in large patches. The ears and cheeks should be red, and there should be a blaze of white extending from the nose up to the forehead, and ending between the ears in a crescentic curve. In the centre of this blaze there should be a clear "spot" of red, of the size of a sixpence.
The coat in both varieties should be long, silky, soft, and wavy, but not curly. In the Blenheim there should be a profuse mane, extending well down in front of the chest.
The feather should be well displayed on the ears and feet, where it is so long as to give the appearance of their being webbed. It is also carried well up the backs of the legs. In the King Charles the feather on the ears is very long and profuse, exceeding that of the Blenheim by an inch or more. The feather on the tail, which is cut to a length of about three and a half or four inches, should be silky, and from five to six inches in length, constituting a marked "flag" of a square shape.
In size, both breeds vary from 51b. to 101b. in weight; the smaller the better, if otherwise well proportioned.