This section is from the book "A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Non-Sporting Division)", by Rawdon Briggs Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland, Non-Sporting Division.
"One cannot dictate exact weights in any breed, but my own belief is that Japanese spaniels are best all round at about 81b., and that if you breed them much under this weight you sacrifice both strength and beauty to a foolish and even cruel fad. That the breed is not naturally so small is proved by the fact that if you leave nature alone you cannot produce diminutive specimens, and I challenge anyone to dispute this assertion. I have seen some very small ones bred, and they have either died young, or been 'effeminate' indeed.
"I write this from no personal interest, for I possess a prize Jap of 61b. weight, and another prize one of 12lb., but in the hope - not a very great hope, since the ladies are against me - of saving what I regard as the most beautiful breed of small dogs in the world from the fatal danger of attenuation.
"May I add that the dogs, though called, and doubtless rightly called, spaniels, are not a bit like typical spaniels in their nature, being the liveliest, sauciest, almost maddest-spirited little dogs in creation; but, then, to be this they must not be dwarfed beyond the limit Nature demands for healthy organism".
There is a good deal of common sense in the above extract, and coming from a great authority on the variety, is the reason of its reproduction here, and especially as there is at the present time a slight run in favour of the Japanese spaniel.
Our big shows now provide classes for them, although, after the exhibition held in 1863, already alluded to, such was not done for a considerable period. In due course, we shall doubtless see the variety included under its own head in the Kennel Club's Stud Book.
Although the usual colour of the "Jap" is black and white, fawn or yellow and white and wholly fawns or yellows are sometimes seen, specimens of the latter colour being, however, extremely rare. All varieties, no doubt, come from the same parents, and Mr. Grindrod writes me that he has just had two litters from black and white parents, good specimens and prize winners, and three out of the ten puppies born are lemon and white in colour, the remainder being beautifully marked black and white; Mr. Grindrod further remarks that the lemon and white when mated together, include black and white in their progeny.
The same authority says: "The Japanese spaniels are a very distinct breed. In character they are intensely affectionate, and do not readily take to strangers. They are likewise noted for their cleanly habits; some of them clean their faces in the same manner as cats do, and, besides, they are a little feline in their peculiar ways and nimble action, in cases eating like cats in a dainty, slow, pecking manner.
"As to type, there are many varieties of this breed in Japan, some large, some small, some short-haired, some long-haired, others thick-legged, others very fine-legged. To describe a typical specimen, I should say from 61b. to 12lb. in weight; black and white in colour, black ears, the colour nearly or quite meeting across the back of the skull, with a broad, white blaze on the forehead; in nearly all specimens the eyes are broadly edged with black, which is continued from the ears, leaving the muzzle white; body either richly broken black and white, or white pointing into black behind, or saddle marked; white tail like an ostrich feather, curling tight over the back; legs white, well feathered, and feet well tufted; ears short, being well forward and long feathered; face very short, with deep stop behind the nose; eyes large, lustrous dark-brown, rather prominent; skull broad and high vaulted - in bitches more flatly arched than in dogs; body square and cobby-shaped, not too long; legs shortish, fine in bone; the feet delicately pointed and very flexible, with deeply divided toes, in fact, the feet are like large pads, and this is a leading characteristic in the breed; the coat should be very long, silky in texture, and not curly. In the best specimens the jaws are square, the head massive, with overhanging forehead; but this is only to be seen in the larger dogs, those of 10lb. or 12lb. weight. In very tiny specimens the face is more pointed and foxlike".
Such is Mr. Grindrod's opinion of what a Japanese spaniel should be in size, colour, etc.; but I consider that fawns marked in a similar manner are equally as good as the black and whites, and the whole or self-coloured fawns equal, if not superior, to either.
Mrs. W. H. B. Warner, Northallerton; Mrs. Grindrod; Miss V. Thomas, Ealing Dean; Mr. L. Edwards, Brixton; and Mr. Lindsay Hogg, London, have from time to time had good specimens of this variety, whilst some years ago, Mr. T. Marples, of Stockport, showed with great success a Japanese called Ming Seng, which weighed 91b.
The following are the points and description of the variety as issued by the Toy Spaniel Club:
Should be large for size of animal, very broad, and with slightly rounded skull. The neck should be short and moderately thick.
The eyes should be large, dark, lustrous, rather prominent, and set wide apart.
Must be strong and wide, very short from eyes to nose. The upper jaw should look slightly turned up between the eyes; the lower jaw should be also turned up or 'finished ' so as to meet it; but should the lower jaw be slightly underhung it is not a blemish, provided the teeth are not shown in consequence.
Very short in the muzzle part, the end or nose proper should be wide with open nostrils, and must be the colour of the dog's marking, i.e., black in black marked dogs, and red or deep flesh colour in red or lemon marked dogs.
Should be small and V-shaped, nicely feathered, set wide apart, and high on the head, and carried slightly forward.
The body should be very compact and squarely built, with a short back, rather wide chest, and of generally 'cobby' shape, the body and legs should really go into a square, i.e., the length of the dog should be about its height. The dog should rival the pug dog in this, and also in its carriage, which should be particularly smart.
The bones of the legs should be small, giving them a slender appearance, and they should be well feathered.
These should be small, and shaped somewhat like a cat's, i.e., the dog stands up on its toes somewhat. If feathered, the tufts should never increase the width of the foot but only its length a trifle.
This must be carried in a tight curl over the back; it should be profusely feathered, so as to give the appearance of a beautiful 'plume' on the animal's back.
The coat ought to be profuse, long, straight, rather silky; it should be absolutely free from wave or curl, and not lie too flat, but have a tendency to stand out, especially at the neck, so as to give a thick mane or ruff, which with profuse feathering on thighs and tail gives a very showy appearance.
These dogs can be whole coloured in either of three colours, viz., black, red, or white, but they are preferable parti-coloured, either black and white, red and white, or lemon and white. The most ordinary and favourite colour is, however, red and white, lemon and white, black and white, in the order named. In all parti-coloured specimens the ground colour should be a pure pearly white, and the other colour be in large evenly distributed patches over the body and over the ears and cheeks. Sometimes the markings are those of a Blenheim spaniel, including the spot; but more colour on head and large saddle on back with coloured tail is equally usual, as are several other distributions of colour, the Blenheim markings are, however, the most showy. All variations of markings are correct providing the colours remain distinct, well defined and distributed in fairly even proportions over the body.
The size desirable is from 41b. to 91b. weight, the smaller size are preferable if of good shape".
Head - Size and shape of skull, 10; shortness of face and muzzle, 10; width of muzzle, 5 .........
Coat and marking
Size, symmetry and condition ..........
Legs and feet............
Grand Total, 100.