Toy Trawler Spaniel

By Arthur

A now vanished breed of English lapdog, also known as the Trawler Spaniel, the Miniature Toy Trawler or the Miniature Trawler Spaniel.
At the beginning of the 20th century, this little dog was described as the ‘modern representative’ of the old type of curly King Charles Spaniel. One author called it a ‘throwback’ to the original, curly, all-black King Charles.

Although so little is known or written about this dog today, in its heyday it does appear to have reached the show-ring. For example, Robert Leighton records that there were 27 entries in a dog show at Horsham at the beginning of the 20th century. Writing in 1907, he comments that ‘at present it is regarded as a toy, and kept as such in growing numbers’. He goes on to say that the breed was also becoming popular on the continent, especially in Holland and Italy. Despite these encouraging words, it does not appear to have survived long after World War I and must now be considered as an extinct breed.

A preserved specimen of this breed is on display at the Tring Zoological Museum in Hertfordshire. It is a dog called Robin, bred by Lady Wentworth, and was born in 1911. It died in 1920, when the breed was said to be ‘nearly extinct’.

The dominant feature of this breed was its very curly, glossy, silky coat. It was the curly quality of the coat that set it apart from the other Toy Spaniels, and which suggests a link to some kind of ancestral water spaniel. The favoured colour was ‘brilliant black with white waistcoat’, but it also sometimes appeared in black-and-white or red-and-white. In height it was 11-13 in (28-33 Liii) and its weight was 1215 lb (5-7 kg). The well-feathered tail, which did not curl up over the back in the spitz style, was docked to a length of 4-5 in (10-12 cm). In temperament the dog was said to be bold and courageous and never timid.

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