spaniel

spaniel

[span-yuhl]
spaniel: see sporting dog; toy dog.

Cocker spaniel.

Any of several breeds of dogs used to flush game. Spaniels originated in Spain, but most modern breeds were developed in Britain. Breeds range from 14 to 20 in. (36–51 cm) and from 22 to 55 lbs (10–25 kg). The larger breeds are called springers, the smaller ones cockers. Breeds include the cocker spaniel, a round-headed, floppy-eared dog; the English and Welsh springer spaniels; the American water spaniel, a curly-coated, dark brown dog; the Brittany spaniel, a short-tailed French dog and the only spaniel that points; the Clumber spaniel, a low-slung, long-bodied dog; the Irish water spaniel, a water retriever; the Japanese spaniel; and the English toy spaniel.

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A Spaniel is a type of gun dog. Spaniels are generally small dogs with long coats and drop ears. Spaniels assist in bird hunting.

It is desirable that Spaniels work within gun range, are steady to shot, are able to mark the fall and retrieve shot game to hand with a soft mouth. A good nose is highly valued, as it is in most gun dog breeds. They are versatile hunters traditionally being used for upland game birds, but are equally adept at hunting rabbit and waterfowl. Whether hunting in open fields, woodlands, farm lands - in briars, along fencerows or marshlands, a spaniel can get the job done.

On the basis of function and hunting style, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) draws a distinction between continental and Anglo-American spaniels. FCI places continental dogs of the spaniel type in the pointing group (Group 7, sect. 1.2) because they function more like setters which "freeze" and point to game. Breeds in this group include the Blue Picardy Spaniel, the French Spaniel, the Brittany, the Pont-Audemer Spaniel, and the Small Münsterländer. FCI classifies most other dogs of the spaniel type as flushing or water dogs (Group 8, sections 2 and 3).

Not much has changed about spaniels in general over the years, as can be seen in this 1921 entry in Collier's New Encyclopedia:

Their distinguishing characteristics are a rather broad muzzle, remarkably long and full ears, hair plentiful and beautifully waved, particularly that of the ears, tail, and hinder parts of the thighs and legs. The prevailing color is liver and white, sometimes red and white or black and white, and sometimes deep brown, or black on the face and breast, with a tan spot over each eye. The English spaniel is a superior and very pure breed. The King Charles is a small variety of the spaniel used as a lapdog. The water spaniels, large and small, differ from the common spaniel only in the roughness of their coats, and in uniting the aquatic propensities of the Newfoundland dog with the fine hunting qualities of their own race. Spaniels possess a great share of intelligence, affection, and obedience, which qualities, combined with much beauty, make them highly prized as companions.

The name comes from the word for Spanish (Español).

Breeds

American Cocker Spaniel
American Water Spaniel
Blue Picardy Spaniel
Boykin Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Clumber Spaniel
English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel
Field Spaniel
French Spaniel
German Spaniel
Irish Water Spaniel
Japanese Chin
King Charles Spaniel
Kooikerhondje
Pont-Audemer Spaniel
Russian Spaniel
Sussex Spaniel
Welsh Springer Spaniel

Extinct breeds

English Water Spaniel
Norfolk Spaniel
Tweed Water Spaniel

References

See also

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