CHAPTER XXV. THE SPORTING SPANIEL

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HEAD—Not so heavy in proportion and not so high in occiput as in the modern Field Spaniel, with a nicely developed muzzle or jaw; lean, but not snipy, and yet not so square as in the Clumber or Sussex varieties, but always exhibiting a sufficiently wide and well-developed nose. Forehead perfectly smooth, rising without a too decided stop from muzzle into a comparatively wide and rounded, well-developed skull, with plenty of room for brain power. EYES—Full, but not prominent, hazel or brown coloured, with a general expression of intelligence and gentleness, though decidedly wideawake, bright and merry, never goggled nor weak as in the King Charles and Blenheim kinds. EARS—Lobular, set on low, leather fine and not exceeding beyond the nose, well clothed with long silky hair, which must be straight or wavy—no positive curls or ringlets. NECK—Strong and muscular, and neatly set on to fine sloping shoulders. BODY (INCLUDING SIZE AND SYMMETRY)—Not quite so long and low as in the other breeds of Spaniels, more compact and firmly knit together, giving the impression of a concentration of power and untiring activity. WEIGHT—The weight of a Cocker Spaniel of either sex should not exceed 25 lb., or be less than 20 lb. Any variation either way should be penalised. NOSE—Sufficiently wide and well developed to ensure the exquisite scenting powers of this breed. SHOULDERS AND CHEST—The former sloping and fine, chest deep and well developed, but not too wide and round to interfere with the free action of the fore-legs. BACK AND LOIN—Immensely strong and compact in proportion to the size and weight of the dog; slightly sloping towards the tail. HIND-QUARTERS—Wide, well rounded, and very muscular, so as to ensure untiring action and propelling power under the most trying circumstances of a long day, bad weather, rough ground, and dense covert. STERN—That most characteristic of blue blood in all the Spaniel family may, in the lighter and more active Cocker, although set low down, be allowed a slightly higher carriage than in the other breeds, but never cocked up over, but rather in a line with the back, though the lower its carriage and action the better, and when at work its action should be incessant in this, the brightest and merriest of the whole Spaniel family. FEET AND LEGS—The legs should be well boned, feathered and straight, for the tremendous exertions expected from this grand little sporting dog, and should be sufficiently short for concentrated power, but not too short as to interfere with its full activity. Feet firm, round, and cat-like, not too large, spreading, and loose jointed. This distinct breed of Spaniel does not follow exactly on the lines of the larger Field Spaniel, either in lengthiness, lowness, or otherwise, but is shorter in the back, and rather higher on the legs. COAT—Flat or waved, and silky in texture, never wiry, woolly, or curly, with sufficient feather of the right sort, viz., waved or Setter-like, but not too profuse and never curly. GENERAL APPEARANCE—Confirmatory of all indicated above, viz., a concentration of pure blood and type, sagacity, docility, good temper, affection, and activity.