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.
A "typical" noseless King Charles is a contradiction in terms. The thing is impossible. One might as well talk of a typical robin with a parrot's beak. To make another analogy, if you breed a Shetland pony with the head of a Clydesdale, it will be a deformity. You could only maintain symmetry by breeding a body to match the head, but then it would be absurd to talk of it as a typical Shetland! Unless you allowed the Shetland his own head, or the Clydesdale his own body, the result would be grotesque. This grotesqueness is just what we have got to in the Toy Spaniel. We have got a type which belongs to the Bulldog breed, and ours is neither flesh, fowl, nor good red herring.
If noselessness is, therefore, a necessity of modern fashion, it is useless to try and keep the King Charles characteristics, which belong to a fairly short but pointed nose. Fortunately there are two chief types of noseless head, and we can choose the best. With regard to the Blenheim, as we cannot have the Henrietta of Orleans type, which is now represented by the Papillon, we must go back to the lines of the Chinese type.
Some of our fanciers may indignantly exclaim that they don't want to breed "Japs." Let me assure them for their consolation that, however much they may try to imitate the good points of this noseless breed, our Toy Spaniels will retain an individual character of their own, which will remain perfectly distinct from the Japanese so long as the breeds are not crossed. We all learn to write by being taught pot-hooks and hangers, yet which two of us ever have an identical handwriting? And so it is with dog breeding. We may all learn Japanese pot-hooks and hangers in the form of certain excellent rules for the production of noseless dogs, but it will not follow that we shall become Japanese philosophers. And as we shall never produce Japanese essays with an English alphabet, so we shall not produce Japanese Toy Spaniels with French, Italian, or English blood. That we can with the material in our hands produce a proper noseless Toy without Japanese crosses is an established fact, but the type must not be left to the haphazard opinions of fanciers who have not studied the question.
I hope that no reporter will pick out one sentence of what I have said here and quote it without the context in order to accuse me of wishing to introduce Japanese crosses into Toy Spaniels. I do not wish it. What I say is that the noseless head is necessarily a characteristic of the Red-and-white Chinese ancestors or a Bulldog characteristic, and it is better that the whole dog should correspond with the best of these two types than to remain simply, so to speak, "amphibious." The Red-and-white, of course, is closely allied to the Japanese by its Chinese ancestor, and has a right to look Jappy. While we are in this amphibious condition, expression matters far more than anything else, for if the expression is wrong nothing else will make up for it; but it must be remembered that beauty of expression means proportion and symmetry of line, resulting in a certain harmony which pleases the eye, so the thing resolves itself as I have already explained.
Much, therefore, as I object to the actually sunken face, I should certainly prefer to give a prize to an ultra noseless dog with a good expression rather than to a moderate nose with a bad one. Unfortunately most judges prefer the ultra-noseless type and the bad expression, and this is the combination against which I strongly protest.
The proper type of a Blenheim Spaniel to breed is that facing page 178; emphatically not the heads facing this page, which is what we are now doing. A I have said, there is nothing wrong in a Blenheim looking Japanese, as he has an ancestral right to do so. The Tricolour is our own English manufacture, so we can give it what points we like.
Mrs. R. Mallock, in her retrospect for 1908, repeated what I have previously published on the subject of expression. I must, however, make it quite clear that what this lady understands by a good and typical expression is quite different from what I understand by it.
I consider that I have every bit as much right as Stonehenge to lay down the points of a Toy Spaniel. In fact, I do not fancy he had studied the breed with half the attention I have given to it. My standard for the modern type is as follows:
Head should be well proportioned to size of dog, and not too big. Skull perfectly round from whatever point it is seen, and this necessarily entails projection over the nose when seen from the side; high and wide, but not abnormally high and swollen. It must not be peaked at the top or rugged. Eyes exceedingly large and as black as possible, not goggled but widely opened, liquid and bright, and showing the whites when turned; set very wide apart, and low in the head, perfectly straight across the face, and almost at right angles to the profile. Nose extremely short, and decidedly turned up, and nostrils broad and quite black. The top of the nose should be almost on a level with the top of the eyes when seen in front, and exactly in the middle, not displaced to either side. The eyes of a Toy Spaniel should not only be very large and dark, but where the dark joins the white of the eyeball the contrast should be as sharp and clear as possible. The eyeball should be perfectly clear and pearly white, not dirty brownish or fuzzy at the edge of the dark part. Lids of the eyes edged with a broad black rim, edges of lips quite black.
Muzzle fairly wide, but not exaggerated, always well cushioned up, and puffed out so as to form an arch when viewed in front; the upper edges of the cushions almost touching the underlids of the eyes. The lips should be close and firm, not loose and pendulous with irregular edges, nor should there be a dewlap. Under jaw turned up, and lower teeth just projecting beyond the upper ones, but not exaggerated as in the Bulldog or showing the teeth or tongue. The nose from its upward tilt has an exceedingly slight" layback," which should be hardly noticeable. The muzzle should not be too deep from the nose downwards, which is a very serious fault indeed. I think the idea that it should be so is the fault of a misreading of the standard, which said the stop should be wide and deep. This, for some reason, gives many readers the impression that the muzzle is meant to be deep, but this is not right. The underneath line of the chin should be curved as in the photograph of Ch. The Seraph and Northampton Wonder. Expression very soft and pretty. The mouth must not be wide like a frog's or drawn down at the corners. A slobbering mouth is a great blemish.