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.
The Van Dyck red with white markings was probably a variant of the red-and-white Chinese and Italian Toy.
The Marlborough Blenheim was a cocking Spaniel, or Springer, and I cannot reiterate too often that he was not a Toy Spaniel, though he had probably a cross of the liver-and-white Toy dog of Anne of Cleves, and recently of the dome-headed Toy Spaniel He was used for woodcock shooting, and was not a lap dog. He has been crossed with the Toy Red-and-white comparatively recently. This is the real Blenheim of Blenheim, and his type may be seen in Larghilliere's picture of Prince James, but again I repeat that he is not an ancestor of our Toy Blenheim, which is not, properly speaking, a Blenheim in any sense of the word, having no connection with that place except by crosses which have been very undesirable for him.
The King Charles Black-and-tan was only crossed with the parti-coloured dogs at the beginning or just before the middle of the last century. The Black-and-white was probably only crossed with the Red-and-white after 1660 or thereabouts.
It will be seen that there is a hopeless confusion in the naming of the breeds and in the type desired.
The chief reforms to be made in the present standard are as follows:
The size should be judged by height not weight, eleven inches being the maximum; the smaller the better, so long as type is not sacrificed. No Red-and-white, Tricolour or Ruby, over eleven inches should be awarded a championship. The Black-and-tans may be rather larger.
The head should be in perfect proportion and never too large or too small.
The tail should be raised, not carried low.
Symmetry should be an essential point.
Lively movement should also be essential, as well as a sprightly disposition.
The "spot" should be cultivated in the Tricolour as well as in the Red-and-white.
The ears, though wide apart, should be set rather high, not low.
The Black-and-tan may be curly or straight in coat, the curly coat being evidence of purer descent.
The Red-and-white should be either straight or wavy in coat, though I myself prefer a wavy coat. The Tricolour may be either wavy or curly, though I prefer the wavy coat.
I am perfectly well aware that in saying that the Black-and-tan may be curly I am laying myself open to execrations from the orthodox fanciers, to whom a straight coat is almost a religion. The facts, however, are there, and it is the province of an historian to deal with facts and not with fashions or prejudices. The Toy ancestor of the present King Charles was undoubtedly always curly - very curly - and, what is more, he remained curly till 1830, and we still see Woolmington's Jumbo curly in 1867. The King Charles has been curly for at least three centuries, and probably for as many more as he has existed, so no wonder our breeders find his coat a trouble to straighten out. The purer the strain the more curliness there will be, as the straight coat came from the cross of Pyrame Brevipilis (short haired).
I must repeat that the Red-and-white and Black-andtan were separate breeds - not only separate varieties of one breed - as was also the Marlborough. The red-and-white Toy and the black-and-white Toy were the Spaniels kept by the sister of King Charles and presumably by himself also, the original Tricolour being doubtless the produce of a cross between the two. The Black* and-tan had nothing to do with them until comparatively recently, when the Tricolour and Ruby were produced by crossing.
Miss Dillon, who kindly lent me certain pictures which represent the type of Woodstock Blenheim sixty years ago, always had a horror of what she called "black blood," and never would own a Blenheim "contaminated " by it