III. SPANIELS. -- The spaniels are characterized by large pendulous ears, long silky hair often curled and shaggy, and acute scent. In cerebral development, and, consequently in intelligence, they are probably superior to all other dogs, while they are unrivalled in docility and in devotion to mans service. They include the Common Spaniel, the Water Dog, and the Setter, besides numerous fancy varieties, as King Charless Spaniel, the Blenheim Spaniel, and the Maltese Dog.
The Spaniel is the favourite of the sportsman, entering more than any other dog into his masters feelings, and seeming to enjoy the sport for its own sake. It is elegant in form, with remarkably long ears and beautifully waved hair, usually of a red and white colour. It takes readily to the water, and has been known to exhibit a remarkable propensity, as well as great dexterity, in fish-catching.
The Water Dog is larger than the spaniel, and its covered with abundant curly hair. Its colour is generally a mixture of black and white. From its aquatic habits it is of great service to the water-fowl sportsman as a retriever. It is readily taught to fetch and carry, and the sagacity which it shows in finding any article it has once seen, but which has afterwards been lost or purposely concealed, is truly remarkable.
The Setter is also a favourite with sportsman, its habit of crouching when it has scented game rendering it specially serviceable. This habit, like that of pointing, is probably, as Darwin suggests, "merely the exaggerated pause of an animal about to spring on its prey." It is generally white in colour, with large liver-coloured spots.
Read the rest of this article:
Dog - Table of Contents