Spaniel: Wikis


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English Cocker Spaniels are small-to-medium Spaniels.
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, one of the smaller breeds, is primarily a lap dog.
The Clumber Spaniel is one of the heavier Spaniel breeds.

A Spaniel is a type of gun dog. It is assumed spaniels originated from Spain as the word spaniel may be derived from Hispania (Spain) or possibly from the French phrase "Chiens de l’Espagnol" (Dogs of the Spaniard). Spaniels were especially bred to flush game out of dense brush. By the late 1600’s spaniels had become specialized into water and land breeds. The extinct English Water Spaniel was used to retrieve water fowl shot down with arrows. Land spaniels were setting spaniels—those that crept forward and pointed their game allowing hunters to ensnare them with nets, and springing spaniels—those that sprang pheasants and partridges for hunting with falcons, and rabbits for hunting with greyhounds. During the 17th century, the role of the spaniel dramatically changed as Englishmen began hunting with flintlocks for wing shooting. Goodall & Gasow (1984), write the spaniels were "transformed from untrained, wild beaters, to smooth, polished gun dogs."


Definition and description

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Spaniel as "a breed of dog with a long silky coat and drooping ears".[1]

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 origin of the word Spaniel is described by the Oxford English Dictionary as coming from the Old French word espaigneul which meant "Spanish (dog)"; this in turn originated from the Latin Hispaniolus which simply means "Spanish".[1] In Edward, 2nd Duke of York's work "The Master of Game", which was mostly a 15th century translation of an earlier work by Gaston III of Foix-Béarn entitled "Livre de chasse", Spaniels are described as being as much from Spain as you could consider all Greyhounds to be from England or Scotland.[2]


Celtic origin theory

In the added appendices to the 1909 re-print, the editors add a theory to the origin of the spaniel. It is explained that the type of dogs may have been brought into the British Isles as early as 900 BC by a branch of the Celts moving from Spain into Cornwall and on into Wales, England and Ireland.[2] Theories on the origin of the Welsh Springer Spaniel support this theory, as it is believed that the breed specifically is a direct descendent of the Agassian hunting dog, which belonged to the Celtic tribes of Roman-occupied Britain.[3]

Roman origin theory

Another theory to the origin of the Spaniel is that the Roman Empire imported the Spaniel into England, by way of the trade routes to the far east. Colonel David Hancock in his book "The Heritage of the Dog" adds a belief that the sporting type of spaniel originated in China from the short-faced ancestors of dogs such as the Pekinese, Pug and Shih Tzu. The theory goes that these ancestors were introduced into Southern Europe and evolved into the small sporting spaniels of the period around 1300–1600 AD. The issue of how a short muzzled dog could evolve into a longer muzzled dog is addressed by pointing the evolution of the King Charles Spaniel into the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in less than a century.[4]

Arabic origin theory

The first French Spaniel is speculated to have originated in the middle east towards the end of the 11th Century. French Knights travelled to the Holy Land, and were accompanied by their pointers and other hunting hounds. Breeding between these dogs and the Arabic Greyhounds was considered inevitable and the progeny became the first French Spaniels.[5]


In assisting hunters, 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.[6]

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).[7][8]


Type of Spaniel Also Known As Country of Origin Min. Height Max. Height Min. Weight Max. Weight Image
American Cocker Spaniel Cocker Spaniel
(in the United States)
United States United States 13 in (33 cm) 15 in (38 cm) 24 lb (11 kg) 29 lb (13 kg)[9] Cockeramericain1.jpg
American Water Spaniel United States United States 15 in (38 cm) 18 in (46 cm) 25 lb (11 kg) 45 lb (20 kg)[10] Chien d'eau americain champion 1.JPG
Blue Picardy Spaniel Blue Picardy Spaniel France France 22 in (56 cm) 24 in (61 cm)[11] 43 lb (20 kg) 45 lb (20 kg)[12] Epagneul bleu de picardie 868.jpg
Boykin Spaniel United States United States 15 in (38 cm) 18 in (46 cm) 25 lb (11 kg) 45 lb (20 kg)[13] Boykin spaniel.jpg
Brittany Spaniel France France 17.5 in (44 cm) 20.5 in (52 cm) 30 lb (14 kg) 40 lb (18 kg)[14] Epagneul Breton.jpg
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel England England 12 in (30 cm) 13 in (33 cm) 13 lb (5.9 kg) 18 lb (8.2 kg)[15] CarterBIS.Tiki.13.6.09.jpg
Clumber Spaniel England England 17 in (43 cm) 20 in (51 cm) 55 lb (25 kg) 85 lb (39 kg)}[16] Clumber spaniel 767.jpg
Drentse Patrijshond Dutch Partridge Dog Netherlands The Netherlands 21.5 in (55 cm) 25.5 in (65 cm) 21 lb (9.5 kg) 23 lb (10 kg)}[17] Drentse Patrijshond.jpg
English Cocker Spaniel Cocker Spaniel
(In the United Kingdom)
England England 15 in (38 cm) 17 in (43 cm) 26 lb (12 kg) 34 lb (15 kg)[18] EnglishCockerSpaniel simon.jpg
English Springer Spaniel England England 19 in (48 cm) 20 in (51 cm) 40 lb (18 kg) 50 lb (23 kg)[19] EnglishSpringerSpan2 wb.jpg
Field Spaniel England England 17 in (43 cm) 18 in (46 cm) 35 lb (16 kg) 50 lb (23 kg)[20] Field spaniel 581.jpg
French Spaniel Epagneul Français France France 21 in (53 cm) 24 in (61 cm) 50 lb (23 kg) 70 lb (32 kg)[21] Epagneulfrancais.jpg
German Spaniel Deutscher Wachtelhund Germany Germany 16 in (41 cm) 20 in (51 cm) 44 lb (20 kg) 66 lb (30 kg)[22] Płochacz niemiecki 2009 pl.jpg
Irish Water Spaniel Republic of Ireland Ireland 21 in (53 cm) 24 in (61 cm) 45 lb (20 kg) 65 lb (29 kg)[23] Irlandzki spaniel wodny 676.jpg
King Charles Spaniel English Toy Spaniel
(in the United States)
England England 09 in (23 cm) 10 in (25 cm) 06 lb (2.7 kg) 12 lb (5.4 kg)[24] King Charles Spaniel Mike 3.jpg
Kooikerhondje Netherlands The Netherlands 14 in (36 cm) 16 in (41 cm) 20 lb (9.1 kg) 24 lb (11 kg)[25] Płochacz holenderski (kooikerhondje) 11.jpg
Large Münsterländer Großer Münsterländer Germany Germany 23 in (58 cm) 25 in (64 cm) 55 lb (25 kg) 70 lb (32 kg)[26] GrosserMuensterlaender.jpg
Papillon Continental Toy Spaniel,
Épagneul Nain Continental
France France 08 in (20 cm) 11 in (28 cm)[27] 05 lb (2.3 kg) 10 lb (4.5 kg)[28] Outdoor Continental Toy Spaniel Papillon.jpeg
Phalène Continental Toy Spaniel,
Épagneul Nain Continental
Belgium Belgium 08 in (20 cm) 11 in (28 cm) 05 lb (2.3 kg) 10 lb (4.5 kg)[29] Spaniel miniaturowy kontynentalny phalene 546.jpg
Picardy Spaniel Épagneul Picard France France 22 in (56 cm) 23.5 in (60 cm) 44 lb (20 kg) 55 lb (25 kg)[30] Epagneul picard 685.jpg
Pont-Audemer Spaniel Épagneul Pont-Audemer France France 20 in (51 cm) 23 in (58 cm)[31] 40 lb (18 kg) 53 lb (24 kg)[32] Epagneul de pont-audemer h67.jpg
Russian Spaniel Russia Russia 15 in (38 cm) 17 in (43 cm) 28 lb (13 kg) 40 lb (18 kg)[33] Russpaniel.jpg
Small Münsterländer Kleiner Münsterländer Germany Germany 19 in (48 cm) 22 in (56 cm) 30 lb (14 kg) 38 lb (17 kg)[34] Kleiner Munsterlander edit.jpg
Sussex Spaniel England England 13 in (33 cm) 15 in (38 cm) 35 lb (16 kg) 44 lb (20 kg)[35] Sussex spaniel t43.jpg
Welsh Springer Spaniel Wales Wales 17 in (43 cm) 19 in (48 cm) 35 lb (16 kg) 55 lb (25 kg)[36] Welsh Springer Spaniel 1.jpg

Extinct breeds

Type of Spaniel Country of origin Period of extinction Image
Alpine Spaniel Switzerland Switzerland
Savoy Savoy
1830s Alpine spaniel.jpg
English Water Spaniel United Kingdom United Kingdom 1930s English Water Spaniel.jpg
Norfolk Spaniel United Kingdom United Kingdom 1902 Norfoldspaniel.jpg
Toy Trawler Spaniel United Kingdom United Kingdom 1920s Trawler spaniel goblin.jpg
Tweed Water Spaniel United Kingdom United Kingdom 1800s Tweed Water Spaniel.jpg

Misnamed breeds

The following breeds are not true spaniels, but are named as such due to their resemblance to the spaniels.

Type of Spaniel Also Known As Country of Origin Min. Height Max. Height Min. Weight Max. Weight Image
Japanese Chin Japanese Spaniel Japan Japan 09 in (23 cm) 10 in (25 cm) 04 lb (1.8 kg) 11 lb (5.0 kg)[37] Sachi.jpg
Pekingese Chinese Spaniel[38] People's Republic of China China 08 in (20 cm) 09 in (23 cm) 08 lb (3.6 kg) 14 lb (6.4 kg)[39] Bailey Pekingese.jpg
Tibetan Spaniel Tibet Tibet 09 in (23 cm) 11 in (28 cm) 09 lb (4.1 kg) 15 lb (6.8 kg)[40] Tibetansk spaniel.jpg


  1. ^ a b "spaniel". Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  2. ^ a b Edward of Norwich, 2nd Duke of York (1909). The Master of Game. Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. p. 195. 
  3. ^ "Welsh Springer Spaniel Did You Know?". American Kennel Club. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Judah, J.C. (2007). An Ancient History of Dogs: Spaniels Through the Ages. p. 42. 
  5. ^ "Blue Picardy Spaniel Information". Sarah's Dogs. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  6. ^ Spaniel Journal
  7. ^ FCI - Breeds nomenclature
  8. ^ FCI - Breeds nomenclature
  9. ^ Fogle (2006): p. 152
  10. ^ Palika (2007): p. 131
  11. ^ "Blue Picardy Spaniel - Breed Description and Information". Canada's Guide to Dogs. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  12. ^ Fogle (2006): p. 230
  13. ^ Palika (2007): p. 172
  14. ^ Palika (2007): p. 176
  15. ^ Coile, D. Caroline (2008). Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (2nd ed.). Barron's Educational Series. p. 11. ISBN 978-0764137716. 
  16. ^ Smith (2002): p. 128
  17. ^ Cunliffe, Juliette (1999). The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Parragon. p. 323. ISBN 0-75258-018-3. 
  18. ^ Lambert, Cathy. Getting to Know English Cockers. Animalinfo Publications. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-921537-15-8. 
  19. ^ Smith (2002): p. 134
  20. ^ Palika (2007): p. 237
  21. ^ "French Spaniel - Breed Description and Information". Canada's Guide to Dogs. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  22. ^ Fogle (2006): p. 344
  23. ^ Palika (2007): p. 269
  24. ^ Palika (2007): p. 232
  25. ^ Larkin, Peter (2003). The Essential Dog Book. Anness Publishing. p. 135. ISBN 9780681864856. 
  26. ^ Smith (2002): p. 166
  27. ^ Hungerland, Jacklyn E. (2003). Papillons. Barron's Educational Series. p. 11. ISBN 978-0764124198. 
  28. ^ Palika (2007): p. 311
  29. ^ "Breed Information: Phalene". Purina Care: Pet Health Library. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  30. ^ "Picardy Spaniel Information". Sarah's Dogs. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  31. ^ Cunliffe, Juliette (2005). The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds (2nd ed.). Whitecap Books. p. 310. ISBN 978-0764157004. 
  32. ^ Wilcox, Bonnie (1995). Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World (5th ed.). TFH Publications. p. 383. ISBN 978-0793812844. 
  33. ^ Cunliffe, Juliette (1999). The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. Parragon. p. 347. ISBN 0-75258-018-3. 
  34. ^ Smith (2002): p. 174
  35. ^ Spiotta-DiMare, Loren (1999). The Sporting Spaniel Handbook. Barron's Educational Series. p. 122. ISBN 978-0764108846. 
  36. ^ Smith (2002): p. 122
  37. ^ Fogle (2006): p. 67
  38. ^ Drury, W.D. (1903). "Chapter LVIII. Chinese Spaniels, Chinese Pugs or Pekinese Spaniels, Pekinese Pugs". British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation. Charles Scribner's Sons. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  39. ^ Palika (2007): p. 315
  40. ^ Palika (2007): p. 375


  • Palika, Liz (2007). The Howell Book of Dogs: The Definitive Reference to 300 Breeds and Varieties. Howell Book House. ISBN 978-0470009215. 
  • Fogle, Bruce (2006). Dogs (EYEWITNESS COMPANION GUIDES). DK Adult. ISBN 978-0756616922. 
  • Smith, Steve (2002). The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs: Written by Sportsmen for Sportsmen. Willow Creek Press. ISBN 978-1572235014. 

See also


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