National Geographic : 1937 Jan
FIELD DOGS IN ACTION Short-hair has exceptionally good scenting powers ? However, it is recommended that this dog be broken to point birds before he is taken out on night hunting, because it is very likely that one possessed of so much hound blood would rather hunt animals than birds. He prefers the stronger scent on the ground. The color that predominates in this dog is liver or brown. He may be solid liver; liver and white spotted; liver and white spotted and ticked; or liver and white ticked. Any colors other than liver and white are not recognized. The tail is docked and the coat is short, flat, and firm. A male may stand 23 to 25 inches and weigh 55 to 70 pounds. Females, of course, are smaller. Cocker Spaniel The Cocker, smallest of the sporting spaniels, is an exceptionally lovable dog with a nature as kindly as its countenance (Plate III). A native of Britain, it was given its name because of its excellence for use in wood cock shooting. Today it is widely popular both as a sportsman's dog for the outdoors and as a pet for the children at home. No dog, I believe, has a temperament more equable and affectionate. Of all the shooting dogs none is so widely distributed the world over. There are more Cocker Spaniels registered in the kennel clubs of all countries than any other sporting kind-proof of the enormous popularity they enjoy among dog lovers of all nations. Many Cockers are black, and on delving into the long lines of ancestry one finds that these have descended from the larger black Field Spaniel (Plate III). The large pup pies of a Field Spaniel litter were called "field," while the small ones were desig nated "cocker" because they were not ex pected to retrieve anything larger than a woodcock. Nowadays the Cockers used for sporting purposes are being bred longer in leg and more powerful in jaw, for at field trials they are called upon to retrieve all sorts of game birds. The future probably will see considerable crossing of the stronger, leggier English bred Cocker with the superlatively beauti ful American-bred Cocker, usually of less weight, height, and consequent power. The progeny should prove entirely satisfac tory as sporting Cocker Spaniels. American-bred Cockers are portrayed in Mr. Miner's painting (Plate III). The Cocker Spaniel may be self-colored -black, liver, or red; or parti-colored, in cluding combinations of blue-roan, liver roan, lemon-roan, red-roan, black and white, liver and white, lemon and white, black, tan, and white. The American-bred Cocker weighs from 18 to 24 pounds, the English-bred 25 to 30 pounds. Field Spaniel A well-made dog is the present-day Field Spaniel, another of the varieties produced in Britain. He is a good hunting comrade as well as a handsome fellow, usually ideal in disposition and a capable retriever from land or water (Plate III). As a show dog during the late Victorian period, the Field Spaniel, like the Sussex Spaniel, was bred so that its body might be long and its legs short. High prices were paid for specimens of exaggerated length and lowness. But with the coming of field trials for spaniels, the comparative uselessness of the extremely low-set working dogs was appar ent to all. The style in breeding underwent a decided change and the "fields" became longer in leg and more compact in body. They are usually black. The show male Field Spaniel of today stands about 18 inches at the shoulder and scales around 35 to 50 pounds. Sussex Spaniel The Sussex Spaniel is named for the County of Sussex, in the southeast of Eng land, where it was used for hunting pheas ants and other game in a terrain of field, farm, and woodland (Plate III). In common with the Field Spaniels and even the Cocker Spaniels of the time, the Sussex of the late Victorian era was bred very long in the body and very short in the leg-a build altogether unsuitable for the activity and lasting powers a working span iel must possess. Today the Sussex is produced with longer legs while the length of the body has been shortened. It has a tractable disposition and makes a sensible, hard-working pheas ant, woodcock, ruffed grouse, and rabbit shooting dog. In America this breed is seldom seen. The rich golden-liver coat marks the purity of the Sussex Spaniel's blood. He should weigh from 35 to 45 pounds.