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.
In any case he says that the coats of the Gredins were short, also the hair on the ears, legs, and tail, and Linnaeus refers to the Pyrame as the "Brevipilis," so it is impossible that they should have been true Spaniels, as these were well feathered, long-eared Toys in 1660, and he elsewhere described them as having small, round heads, very long, pendulous ears, well feathered, as also on the chest, breechings, legs and on the tail, which was gaily carried. He says that those which are black-and-white usually have tan markings over the eyes; that their bodies are slight, and though most of them are white, some are liver-and-white on the head, or black-and-white. This description is said by Buffon to apply both to the large and to the pet Spaniels. This liver-and-white Toy Spaniel is seen in early pictures in England and also in Holland, but is distinct from the red-and-white.
I have a picture by Northcote, about 1780, representing one of these dogs asleep on a cushion, and also a similar picture of the time of Charles II.
Sibley's Magazine, in 1791, only copies Smellie, which was just then the standard work, when it mentions the "Gredin or King Charles " in its list of breeds. Linnaeus, in 1792, repeated the same error.
Linnaeus says: "Pyrame Brevipilis. - Black, with flame coloured spots. Dr. Gmelin has evidently confounded two distinct varieties of the same Cocking Spaniel. First, the King Charles, entirely black, and has a black palate; second, the Pyrame is marked black with flame coloured spots."
"Mammalogie," Demarest, 1820, says:
"Chien Anglais, melange petit Danois et Pyrame dont il a la taille, tete bombee, yeux Saillans museau assez pointu queue minie en arc horizontal. Poil ras partout Oreilles mediocres et a moitie relevees, robe d'un noir fonce avec des marques de feu sur les yeux sur le museau sur la gorge et les jambes.
(Note: "Quelquefois le nez est tellement aplati que ce chien devient punais.") This was the same as the Alicante and was smooth haired.
"Gredin. Le Brevipilis."
Bell, 1837, says: "The beautiful breed called King Charles Spaniel was black-and-white, and is supposed to have been the original race of the little black Cocker."
Smith, in 1843, distinctly states that the Gredin was the Cocker, and that the King Charles (a Tricolour of which he gives a coloured picture) is presumed to be the parent of the Cocker. He therefore evidently considered that the little black-and-white or tricolour Spaniel of Buffon was, as Buffon states, the origin of the Gredin or Cocker, but this seems to me more than improbable. As for imported parti-coloured dogs becoming black under the influence of our climate, if this were so, then the red-and-white and black-and-white dogs would have long ago lost their colour in the two and a half centuries since they came over from France, and the Maltese, having been here since the days of Dr. Caius, in 1576, would be as black as coals.
Richardson, in 1847, gives the King Charles as a very curly Black-and-tan with white breast, cobby, with high-set ears and large black eyes. He says the price of King Charles and Blenheims was 150 guineas to 200 guineas, and also thinks the Alicante was related to then.
H. D. Richardson, 1851, says of the King Charles: "The breed has been carefully preserved by the late Duke of Norfolk. The present Duke preserves two varieties of King Charles breed, the Black-and-tan and of middling size like an ordinary field Cocker. These latter sometimes occur black-and-white, and are kept at Arundel Castle. It is said that James II was attracted by these Spaniels. In London the Blenheim (which he previously describes as the black-and-tan or
Pyrame) is frequently crossed with the King Charles, so that the variety of colour on which the difference of nomenclature depends often appears in the same litter." This did not mean that the Red-and-white and Black-and-tan were crossed but the Black with the Black-and-tan.
Jesse, in 1865 (p. 176), says: "Our Marlborough and King James Spaniels are unrivalled in beauty, the latter breed that are black-and-tan, with hair almost approaching to silk in fineness (such as Van Dyck loved to introduce into his portraits), were solely in possession of the late Duke of Norfolk. He never travelled without two of his favourites. When at Worksop he used to feed his eagles with the pups." To feed one's eagles with Toy Spaniel puppies seems rather in the style of bravado with which Ouida's heroes light their cigarettes with bank notes. To feed one's eagles on bank notes would indeed be cheaper nowadays, not to speak of the feelings of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
I can find no trace of the Toy King Charles at Arundel Castle to-day, but there is a picture of the black-and-tan Sussex Spaniel, miscalled the "King Charles."
Lieut. H. Smith, as well as Richardson, says that the "Blenheim" is a Black-and-tan, so possibly the Duke of Marlborough kept the Pyrame as well as the red-and-white Springers with the spot, and both were originally by some people termed "Blenheims," simply from the place where they were bred. The Pyrame is persistently referred to, even as late as 1843, as a different and separate breed from the "King Charles," though the cross had already produced the Duke of Norfolk's Spaniel.
Mr. Martin, in 1845, again described the Blenheim or Marlborough as a Black-and-tan or Black-and-white, with the limbs beautifully spotted and a tanned mark over each eye (i.e., Tricolours). He states that the King Charles breed was black or black-and-white, not black-and-tan, and Craven (1846) also calls the Blenheim a Black-and-tan and the King Charles a black dog. The utter confusion of names and colours which overtakes historians in the nineteenth century is the natural result of the crossing of the breeds.
"The Springer or Cocker," says Rees, "is a variety closely allied to this kind (i.e., the King Charles). The dog called Pyrame by Buffon is also a variety of the same, and is distinguished by a patch of red on the legs and another over each eye." There is here a distinct inference that the true King Charles was not a Black-and-tan. Bewick gives the King Charles and Pyrame as different species, and includes "the Comforter" in the same class, and the woodcut shows it with a nose. In Goldsmith's "History of the Earth," the King Charles is described as " a small variety of springing Spaniel prized as a fancy lap-dog," in proportion to its diminutiveness: sometimes found entirely black, and then is called, in England, King Charles dog from the liking evinced by Charles II.
Youatt, in 1845, speaks of the good Blenheim as rare.