This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
In speaking of the retriever, it is generally understood that the dog for recovering game on land is meant, the distinct kind known as the water spaniel being already alluded to on page 118. With 163 regard to the propriety of using a separate dog for retrieving in open or covert shooting, there is a great difference of opinion. This part of the subject will be considered under the next division of this book. I now confine myself to a description of the crosses used solely as retrievers, including the ordinary cross between the Newfoundland and setter, and that between the terrier and the water spaniel, which is recommended by Mr. Colquhoun, and which I have found especially serviceable.
The qualities which are required in the regular retriever are: Great delicacy of nose, and power of stopping (which latter is often not possessed by the pointer); cleverness to follow out the windings of the wounded bird, which are frequently most intricate, and puzzle the intelligence as well as the nose to unravel them; love of approbation, to induce the dog to attend to the instructions of the master, and an amount of obedience which will be required to prevent his venturing to break out when game is before him. All these are doubtless found in the retriever, but they are coupled with a large heavy frame, requiring a considerable amount of food to keep it, and space in the vehicle when he is to be conveyed from place to place. Hence, if a smaller dog can be found to do the work equally well, he should be preferred, and as some think he can, both shall be described.
The Large Black Retriever is known by his resemblance to the small Newfoundland, and the Irish water spaniel, or setter, between which two he is bred, and the forms of which he partakes of in nearly equal proportions, according to the cross. Hence the modern retriever is distinguished as either the curly-coated or wavy-coated, separate classes being made for them at most of our shows, and sometimes a third depending on color alone.
The Wavy-coated Retriever has a head like that of a heavy setter, but with shorter ears, less clothed with hair. The body is altogether larger and heavier, the limbs stronger, the feet less compact than those of the setter, while the gait more or less resembles in its peculiarities that of the Newfoundland. The color is almost always black, with very little white; indeed, most people would reject a retriever of this kind, if accidentally of any other color. The coat is slightly wavy, but not very long or curly; and the legs are but little feathered. The night is usually about 23 or 24 inches, sometimes slightly more or less. This dog can readily be made to set and back; and he will also hunt as well as a setter, but slowly, and lasting for a short time only.
WAVY-COATED RETRIEVER8. PARIS AND MELODY
The Curly-coated Retriever is distinguished by having the whole body covered with short crisp curls like those of the Irish water spaniel. The head is quite free from these, a well-marked line being apparent just behind the ears. Like the wavy-coated dog he should have a long deep jaw, and with the exception of the coat the two breeds resemble each other closely. The curly-coated dog is black or of a deep liver color, without white.
The Terrier cross is either with the beagle or the pointer, the former being that which I have chiefly used with advantage, and the latter being recommended by Mr. Colquhoun in his "Lochs and Moors." He gives a portrait of one used by himself, which he says was excellent in all respects; and, from so good a sportsman, the recommendation is deserving of all credit. This dog was about 22 inches high, with a little of the rough coat of the Scotch terrier, combined with the head and general shape of the pointer. The sort I have used is, I believe, descended from the smooth white English terrier and the true old beagle; the nose and style of hunting proclaiming the hound descent, and the voice and appearance showing the preponderance of the terrier cross. These dogs are small, scarcely ever exceeding 10 lbs. in weight, and with difficulty lifting a hare, so that they are not qualified to retrieve "fur" any great distance. They must, therefore, be followed when either a hare or pheasant is sought to be recovered.
They are mute in "questing," and very quiet in their movements, readily keeping at heel, and backing the pointers steadily while they are "down charge," for as long a time as may be required; and when they go to their game they make no noise, as is too often done by the regular retriever. They do not carry so well as the larger dog, but in all other respects they are his equal, or perhaps superior. Owing to their small size they are ad* missible to the house, and being constant companions are more easily kept under command; besides which, they live on the scraps of the house, while the large retriever must be kept tied up at the keeper's, and costs a considerable sum to pay for his food.