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.
"Pale coloured Blenheims are very inferior and valueless, but all specimens are of this same hue till they have changed their coat. Nine pounds is the outside limit, but valuable dogs should not weigh above six or seven.
" The nose has been shortened till it is deformed, and the broad mouth and protruding tongue of many specimens are revolting and untrue to the type of genuine Blenheim Spaniel, which, when in any degree approaching perfection, is one of the most beautiful of our parlour pets."
The writer of an article on Japan in 1860 (quoted by Mrs. Jenkins) suggests that Captain Saris brought presents of Japanese dogs to England in 1613. This is, however, pure conjecture, and he adds that it tallies with the appearance of the Toy Spaniel in 1613. As far as I can trace there were no Toy Spaniels in England till about 1660, except the liver-and-white, which came presumably with Anne of Cleves. I can discover no mention whatever of Japanese Spaniels before 1854, when Japanese Spaniels were imported into England by Admiral Stirling. The short nose of the Toy Spaniel was already on the way in 1836, so that it would appear hardly likely that this should have been its origin, but I consider that the Red-and-white Toy Spaniels, Japanese, and Pekingese, have a common Chinese ancestry.
Mr. Vero Shaw, in his book on the dog, published in 1889, announced his intention of crossing Toy Spaniels with Japanese, and I should be very glad to know if he did so; as this cross might explain some of our particularly Japanese coated strains. In 1889 he says that Mr. Nave agrees with him in considering the short nose was obtained by a cross of Pug, and quotes the paragraph to which he refers. I, however, understand it differently. Mr. Nave said that he considered the short nose was obtained by a " cross of Black-and-tan Japanese Spaniel" (also called Japanese Pug). Black-and-tan does not appear to exist as a pure Japanese colour, nor does it exist in Pugs. He mentions the Pug only to state his opinion of its origin, but not in connection with the Toy Spaniel.
Sir Rutherford Alcock thus describes the fancy dogs in Japan: " And first I am to find a pair of well bred Japanese dogs, with eyes like saucers, no nose, the tongue hanging out of the side, too large for the mouth, and white-and-tan, if possible, and two years old. My dogs are chosen, species of Charles II Spaniels intensified. There is so much genuine likeness that I think it probable the Merry Monarch was indebted to his marriage with a Portugese Princess for the original race of Spaniels as well as her dower."
If there has been any direct cross of Japanese it has been since 1850, and there is only one of our strains which shows evidence of it, unless the very short faces are taken as evidence.
Stonehenge, fourteenth edition, 1878, says of the King Charles: "Nor is the shortness of face of old standing, when carried to the extent which now prevails . . . those which I remember early in the present century were at least only half way on the road to the state in which they are now exhibited, with faces like those of the Bulldog."
I have seen two coloured prints of Tricolour Spaniels kindly lent me by Mr. Perrin. One is called " Jumbo" 1836, and the other "Busy," of the same date. Both represent cobby, well-feathered, well-marked little dogs with great big eyes. Their noses are moderately short, rather tapering, but very well cushioned up with round muzzles. These certainly are a little Japanese in type, but, as there were no Japanese recorded in England before 1850, this cannot be considered a proof of any cross, and is probably only the natural throwing back to the Chinese ancestor.
The Kennel Gazette, of November, 1886, says of the Blenheim: " There are two points to which I should like to call the attention of the breeders of Blenheims. One is the absolute necessity for a short back, the Blenheim is essentially a Cocker 1 in miniature; the other is that the cross with the King Charles is bringing in the cocoa-nut skull." This last warning, alas! passed unheeded.
There are at present four recognised varieties of Toy Spaniel. Blenheims, or Red-and-white; King Charles, or Black-and-tan; Prince Charles, or Tricolour; and Ruby, or Red. They are all supposed to have precisely the same points, but it is quite certain that there is a vast difference in type between the Blenheim and Prince Charles, i. e., the " broken colours," and the King Charles and Ruby, or "whole colours." Besides the present recognised colours they sometimes occur all liver or liver-and-white, and lately there have been two examples of Blenheims whose red markings are, as it were, shot with black, giving a very beautiful effect indeed. I have also seen a dull blue-and-tan puppy bred from a Ruby and a Black-and-tan. It unfortunately did not live to maturity, but I have kept its skin as a curiosity. The King Charles breed truer, and are more constant to the short nose than the Blenheims. There is a strong tendency in the Blenheims to revert to the pointed nose of their Italian ancestors, and if they are not periodically crossed with the whole colours, or very carefully selected, they rapidly get longer and more tapering in face and flatter in skull, owing to the Marlborough blood with which they are infected.
Some of the oldest fanciers, to the great indignation of the modern fanciers, are most decided in attributing the present type of King Charles to an infusion of Bulldog blood, and this view would seem to be confirmed by the curious fact that, whenever a puppy is born with a face so short as to be noseless, it is pretty sure to have a screw tail as well. This is a peculiarity very prevalent among Bulldogs, but as it is supposed to be due to arrested development, it may be an independent coincidence. It is very seldom that such specimens ever grow a really profuse coat. Generally, too, their ears are set on very high and thrown back with a "rose" carriage, the "leather" is extremely short, and their faces are inclined to be wrinkled. It is another curious coincidence that, in those parts of London where the best show King Charles Spaniels are often bred, there are occasional epidemics of noseless specimens, and a cautious investigation generally reveals the fact that the breeder of these wonders has a cousin, an aunt, or a brother-in-law who owns a Bulldog ! I feel inclined to think that it is this Bulldog cross which has spoilt the elegance of the King Charles and given the present specimens the wide, often out-at-g 97 elbows forelegs, and the comparatively pinched hindquarters and heavy movement of which I intend to complain presently.