These diminutive Orientals the Japanese Spaniel have for a number of years enjoyed a remarkable vogue in both this country and in Europe. They are not as popular today as they were a few years ago, but a good specimen never fails to command admiration and a handsome price.
The Japanese Spaniel is a native of Nippon. In general appearance, they resemble the Toy Spaniel species, but are in no ways related. Like them, they are short-faced toys quite similar in shape and alike in coat, except that black-and-white is the prevailing color.
The Jap differs from the Toy Spaniel in the shape of the head, which is less domed, and the placement of the eye, which is more to the side. The ears are placed higher on the head, the nostrils are smaller, the foreface is wider and not so deep.
The first Japs imported were on the large order, many of them scaling over ten pounds. Later it was learned that in Japan only the diminutive specimens weighing in the vicinity of five pounds were in demand, and that these dogs were carried in the sleeves of the ladies of rank and fashion. There was an immediate slump in the values of the larger Japs and a craze for the smallest obtainable. Many were imported and English and American breeders also devoted themselves to bantamizing the Jap. They succeeded admirably, and now there are many small-sized Japs of splendid quality in this country.
The Japanese Spaniel, particularly the dwarfed specimens, are delicate and hard to raise. Distemper carries off many and they are susceptible to many diseases.
The Jap has, above all things, the appearance of an aristocrat, with a finished dignity and self-satisfied air of importance that is an amusing contrast to his diminutive size. They make interesting companions and affectionate pets.
Points to look for in puppies are very similar to those given for English Toy Spaniels.
The following is the description and points laid down by the Japanese Spaniel Club:
GENERAL APPEARANCE.-That of a lively, highlybred little dog, with dainty appearance, smart, compact carriage, and profuse coat. These dogs should be essentially stylish in movement, lifting the feet high when in motion, carrying the tail (which is heavily feathered, proudly curved, or plumed) over the back. In size they vary considerably, but the smaller they are the better, provided type and quality are not sacrificed. When divided by weight, classes should be for under and over seven pounds.
COATS.-The coats should be long, profuse, and straight, free from curl or wave, and not be too flat. It should have a tendency to stand out, more particularly at the frill, with profuse feathering on the tail and thighs.
COLOR.-The dogs should be either black-andwhite or red-and-white-i. e., parti-colored. The term red includes all shades of sable, brindle, lemon, and orange, but the brighter and clearer the red the better. The white should be clear white, and the color, whether black or red, should be evenly distributed patches over the body, cheeks, and ears. HEAD.-Should be large for size of dog, with broad skull, rounded in front; eyes large, dark, set far apart; muzzle very short and wide and well cushioned-i. e., the upper lip rounded on each side of nostril, which should be large and black, except in the case of red-and-white dogs, when a brown-colored nose is as common as a black one.
EARS.-Should be small, set wide apart, and high on the dog’s head, and carried slightly forward, V-shaped.
BODY.-Should be squarely and compactly built, wide in chest, “cobby” in shape. The length of the dog’s body should be about its height.
LEGS AND FEET.-The legs should be straight and the bone fine; the feet should be long and hareshaped. The legs should be well feathered to the feet on the front legs and to the thighs behind. The feet should also be feathered.
VALUE OF POINTS.-Head: Size of head, 5; shape of skull, 5; shortness of nose, 5; width of muzzle, 5; eyes, 10; ears, 5; coat and feathering, 15; color and markings, 10; legs and feet, 10; action, shape, style, and carriage of tail, 20; size, 10. Total, 100.