Though spaniel breeds make up a relatively small portion of the canine kingdom, plenty spaniel dogs have become household names. From the Cavalier King Charles to the American Cocker Spaniel, many have reached international fame.
While they were once highly skilled hunting companions, spaniels have long since evolved into family companions and pets. Thanks to their playful and active personalities, spaniels seem to seamlessly blend into our homes.
But what are spaniel breeds and who are they? We investigate the typical traits and qualities of these types of dogs. Plus, we tracked down all spaniel-type dogs – from current, to extinct and even spaniel-like dog breeds.
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Table of Contents
- What’s a Spaniel?
- Spaniel-Type Breeds
- 1. English Springer Spaniel
- 2. English Cocker Spaniel
- 3. American Cocker Spaniel
- 4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- 5. English Toy Spaniel
- 6. Clumber Spaniel
- 7. Irish Water Spaniel
- 8. American Water Spaniel
- 9. Field Spaniel
- 10. Welsh Springer Spaniel
- 11. Boykin Spaniel
- 12. Sussex Spaniel
- 13. French Spaniel
- 14. German Spaniel
- 15. Russian Spaniel
- 16. Kooikerhondje
- 17. Stabyhoun
- 18. Drentse Patrijshond
- 19. Picardy Spaniel
- 20. Blue Picardy Spaniel
- 21. Markiesje
- 22. Papillon
- 23. Brittany Spaniel
- 24. Japanese Chin
- 25. Tibetan Spaniel
- Spaniel Dogs of the Past
What’s a Spaniel?
A spaniel breed is a type of dog used primarily as a hunting companion. More specifically, they were used as gun-dogs for flushing out game. In regions occupied by dense brushes, spaniels would jump into bushes and drive game into the open.
From there, hunters would either shoot them down or catch them with a net, depending on what type of game was being hunted. And depending on the spaniel breed, the game could be land birds, rabbits, waterfowl and more.
In some cases, spaniels did more than just flushing. Many spaniels, such as Springer Spaniels, were also trained to retrieve the game after it had been shot. They were multi-purpose gun-dogs, and as a result, were wildly popular among hunters.
Check out this amazing Cocker Spaniel at work:
Spaniels tend to have excellent noses, as the best gun-dogs do. Yes, it’s their duty to flush out birds, but they’re also needed to find the game too. In fact, Dog Time calls the English Springer Spaniel one of the top 10 noses in the dogdom.
Throughout the years, different spaniels were bred for various regions, such as woods, briars, marshlands and more. It didn’t matter where these dogs hunted, they were high capable and excellent at their jobs.
The Spaniel Appearance
No matter what variation of spaniel, they all have similar physical characteristics. The first give-away is the spaniel’s ears. Most spaniels will have long, floppy ears. However, what makes it more distinct is the curly hair on the ears.
Most spaniel dogs will have a medium to long coat with, once again, curly hair. They’ll tend to also have longer hair towards the bottom on their body – on the chest, legs and belly. As such, a spaniel will have a double coat to protect him on the field.
Not all spaniel breeds have the same head shape. While most spaniels tend to develop the standard mesocephalic facial structure, others have a shorter snout. Those short-headed spaniels, such as the King Charles, are called brachycephalic dogs.
Not all spaniels have the same temperaments and personalities. For example, calmer Clumber Spaniels are easy-going and more laid-back. On the other hand, Springer Spaniels are highly energetic and active dogs.
Even so, there are some qualities that are seen in most spaniels across the board. You’re going to always get an affectionate and sweet-natured dog. In order to be great hunting dogs, they also had to be loyal and highly trainable too.
Spaniels not only get along with humans, but also do great with other dogs. This is because of their pack-dog mentality. Many spaniels hunted in packs, often with other various gun-dogs or bird dogs, such as the Springer Spaniel and Greyhound.
Given their background in hunting, spaniels will also be lively and active dogs. Some may love being good lap dogs, but that doesn’t meant they don’t love to play. When given the chance, a spaniel will happily play their hearts out.
Despite having key similarities in both temperament and looks, each spaniel breed is different in their own unique right. They come in all sizes, shapes and colors.
We’ve compiled a list of all spaniel dog breeds in the following. Tell us in the comments section, which is your favorite?
1. English Springer Spaniel
Highlights: Friendly, Trainable, Fun-loving
The English Springer Spaniel is one of the original classic spaniel-type dog breeds. First bred in England many centuries ago, the Springer Spaniel was used as hunting companions when it came to hunting upland game birds.
As such, these dogs earned their reputation as premier gun-dogs through their superior ability to find and track down birds. From there, they would courageously jump into bushes to flush out birds for their hunters to shoot or trap.
Don’t let their adorable looks fool you, English Springer Spaniels were relentless gun-dogs that always gave it their all. Powered by their strong work-ethics, these spaniels were built to hunt all day and night. Few things can deter these dogs.
But in the home, Springer Spaniels are fun-loving dogs with a playful side. They generally get along with all humans, but have the energy to be more than a lap dog. With high intelligence, a Springer Spaniel is both obedient and eager.
2. English Cocker Spaniel
Highlights: Energetic, Cheerful, Alert
Like the Springer Spaniel, the English Cocker Spaniel has similar roots. Not only were they also developed in England, but served a similar purpose. That is, tracking down and flushing out bird game for their hunters to capture.
For most of their early years, both English Cocker and Springer Spaniels were classified as just “land spaniels.” It took many generations of breeding for the distinction to be recognized. Even so, few people could confidently differentiate the two.
Aside from being an incredible gun-dog, Cocker Spaniels have an upbeat personality that few people can resist. The biggest personality difference between the Springer and Cocker is that the latter is can be being left alone with little anxiety.
You’re going to get an active, yet durable dog with the Cocker Spaniel. They love to play and will happily go on runs, walks or the parks with their owners. And because of their responsive nature, obedience training should be a breeze.
3. American Cocker Spaniel
Highlights: Intelligent, Docile, Loving
While the Cocker Spaniel did originate from England, the spaniel breed split into two varieties once they reached America. Both the American and English Cocker Spaniel have very similar temperaments, though there are key physical differences.
For example, the American Cocker is slightly shorter and smaller, with a shorter head than the English counterpart. In addition, the American breed typically has a fluffier coat. Despite these minor differences, the two became separate breeds in 1940.
The American Cocker Spaniel is a highly sociable and outgoing dog breed. They love people and are happiest when they’re the center of attention. These dogs may not be for you if you’re a busy person, as they need lots of human interaction.
What makes them such popular dogs is their even-tempered personalities. They have a lot of patience and don’t easily get annoyed or frustrated. American Cockers provide the fun without the drama – they’re truly some of the best spaniel dogs!
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Highlights: Loving, Gentle, Elegant
Not only is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel one of the most popular toy dog breeds, but also the most popular spaniel breed. As one of the top 20 dogs in America, the Cavalier King Charles is known for his gentle and friendly ways.
These spaniel dogs have a royal history that can be traced back to the Renaissance era. They got their names from King Charles I, who was especially obsessed with a black and tan variety of these toy spaniels (ancestors of the CKC spaniel).
It’s easy to see why the Cavalier King Charles is so popular. For centuries, they were bred to be the ultimate lapdog. And to this day, they still are. They’re kind, gentle, affectionate, loyal and good-natured dogs. Plus, they’re charming in their own right.
Because of his spaniel genetics, the Cavalier King Charles can be energetic and lively too. As much as they love lounging around, they’re up for active play. It’s this adaptability that makes them highly sought after spaniel breeds today.
5. English Toy Spaniel
Highlights: Fun-loving, Gentle, Smart
The English Toy Spaniel is also known as the King Charles Spaniel – not to be confused with the Cavalier King Charles. Although the two are different spaniel breeds, they do have a similar history and origins. After all, the similar names can’t be coincidence.
English Toy Spaniels were made famous by Britain’s King Charles I and his son. However, they have a much longer history than the Cavalier King Charles. In fact, these spaniels have been around since the 15th century, while gaining AKC recognition in 1886.
The original English Toy (King Charles) was named after King Charles II. While they had long muzzles in the past, they were eventually bred with a short snout, as seen in today’s variation. English Toys were also compact, stocky and square-ish dogs.
When it comes to temperament, the English Toy has one of the best among spaniel breeds. Not only are they affectionate, but also fun-loving and a little bit clownish. These petite spaniels have a silly side that most owners can appreciate.
6. Clumber Spaniel
Highlights: Humorous, Courteous, Calm
Among all the flushing spaniel breeds, the Clumber Spaniel is the largest. They stand 17 to 20 inches tall, but can weigh up to 90 pounds depending on the gender. But just because they’re big dogs doesn’t mean they aggressive in any way.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Clumber Spaniels are known for their mellow and calm nature. They know when to turn up their energy on the field, and when to relax in the home. As such, there are few spaniels as balanced as the Clumber.
Their origins can be traced back to the late 1700s in Nottinghamshire, England. They were first bred by the Duke of Newcastle (along with his gamekeeper), who named the spaniel after his estate, called Clumber Park.
Clumber Spaniels were some of the top bird hunters during their hay day. And because they were bred for royalty, they maintained popularity within the royal circle for many generations. In fact, Edward VII and George V were key breeders for this spaniel.
7. Irish Water Spaniel
Highlights: Lively, Diligent, Brave
The Irish Water Spaniel has had a long history as a top-tier water spaniel. Several generations before, there were just two varieties of spaniel breeds: land and water spaniels. Though in the mid 19th century, Ireland eventually developed two breeds.
These Irish spaniels were the South Country Water Spaniel and North Country Water Spaniel. Both of which, were crucial in the development of the modern Irish Water Spaniel. Even so, the Irish Water Spaniel resembles more of the South Country dog.
A huge reason for their longstanding success in hunting is the incredible work ethic. Make no mistake, the Irish Water Spaniel is one hard-working dog breed. When hunting, they’re zoned in and highly obedient yet responsive.
However, that’s not to say they aren’t affectionate and loving in the home. They truly are! The Irish Water Spaniel is naturally inquisitive, but also has a clownish side. They enjoy their work life, though they much rather spend time with their owners.
8. American Water Spaniel
Highlights: Eager, Cheerful, Delightful
Much like his Irish cousin, the American Water Spaniel is a liver-colored spaniel bred to flush out game from the marshy banks of America’s Great Lakes. And as you may have guessed, the American variation is a direct descendant of the Irish spaniel.
When European immigrants moved to the Great Lakes of America, they took full advantage of the waterfowl surrounding the area. Through many generations of breeding, the water spaniels were tailored to work in this unique region of lakes.
Although the two water spaniels look very similar, American Water Spaniels are much smaller than the Irish versions. The most apparent difference, at least physically, may be the extra tuft of hair on the Irish spaniel’s head.
All in all, the two share many similar personality qualities. American Water Spaniels are highly affectionate and are always happy. Their eagerness makes them ideal for training, but they can be stubborn at times. Though, they’re good watchdogs.
9. Field Spaniel
Highlights: Kind, Light-hearted, Sensitive
During the early years of hunting in England, spaniel dog breeds were grouped together for the sake of simplicity. When breeders began showing their dogs in competitions, the distinctions of the spaniels were finally documented.
And, one of the spaniel breeds born during this time was the Field Spaniel. This breed was bred from a combination of the English Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel and Sussex. Not only did these dogs have the good looks, but also the skills of a great hunter.
But just as fast as they grew in popularity, they fell to near extinction. Breeders began to breed them with appearance in mind. Eventually, this led to bad health and eliminated their ability to be great hunters. Though, by the 1960’s, they were revived.
Today, the modern Field Spaniel is an excellent companion and pet. They’re bred with a docile demeanor with a bit of sensitivity. And given their close relations to the Cocker and Springer, a Field Spaniel will have a lively temperament.
10. Welsh Springer Spaniel
Highlights: Bright, Cheerful, Reserved
Along with the English Springer, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is one of the most ancient spaniel dogs currently in existence. In fact, they’re the direct descendants of the original spaniels found on the Iberian Peninsula of the European continent.
Currently, there is no clear history of how these dogs were developed. Plus, historians aren’t even sure how these spaniels migrated from the peninsula to Wales. Even so, ancient art and literature suggest these dogs existed over 250 years ago.
Today, the Welsh Springer Spaniel is still a highly capable hunter. What makes them special is their ability to “turn it on and off” when it comes to hunting. They will be fierce and focused dogs on the field, but have an upbeat vibe at home.
However, these spaniels are notorious for their stubborn streaks. This does not meant they don’t love their owners. Welsh Springer Spaniels are extremely loyal dogs and will have your backs when things get serious.
11. Boykin Spaniel
Highlights: Enthusiastic, Loving, Outgoing
Always sporting its signature brown coat, the Boykin Spaniel is both a tenacious and trainable spaniel breed with great enthusiasm. The origins of the Boykin Spaniel, and how the dog got its name, is an unusual one.
Boykin is actually a small community in South Carolina, named after the community founder, Whit Boykin. A man named Alexander White found a small brown spaniel outside his church. He took him in and saw the dog had great instincts for retrieving.
White later sent the dog for training with his hunting partner, Whit Boykin. He was so impressed by the enthusiasm of the dog, Boykin started a breeding program for the mysterious spaniel. He bred the dog with several spaniels to ultimately create the Boykin Spaniel.
Today, the same enthusiasm and instincts are found in the modern Boykin Spaniel. They’re very eager and avid learners, thus obedience training can be easy. However, in the home, they are just as merry and friendly as any other spaniel.
12. Sussex Spaniel
Highlights: Friendly, Cheerful, Easy-going
I like to call the Sussex Spaniel, the Corgis of spaniel breeds. Unique for his short and stubby legs, the Sussex Spaniel is a more formidable hunter than he looks. They may be slower than other spaniels, but they’re intelligent and consistent hunters.
Sussex Spaniels were developed sometime in the 1700s. As their name suggests, they were bred by avid hunters in the Sussex county of England. These spaniels were built to be durable and low to the ground, making them suited for the region’s game.
But what really makes them special hunters is their “language of barks.” When they want to tell their hunters a location, they would vocalize distinct barking sounds. For this reason, Sussex Spaniels are some of the most vocal spaniel dogs today.
Just like their hunting style, the Sussex Spaniel is calm and mellow at home. They make great dogs for kids because they’re even-tempered and patient. Always happy and optimistic, there’s very few things that can annoy a Sussex.
13. French Spaniel
Highlights: Smart, Docile, Outgoing
French Spaniels were developed in, well, France. Being large spaniels with a solid frame, the French Spaniel is not surprisingly athletic with a good work ethic. And although they were bred in France, their instincts have caught international attention.
Many historians believe the spaniels were descendants of French hunting dogs from the 14th century. During that time, they were reserved for hunting with royalty, giving them prestige and respect within the hunting community.
Unfortunately, the ancestors of the French Spaniel nearly went extinct by the 1900s. A French priest, named Father Fournier, was an enthusiast that spent much time reviving the breed. He was very successful, needless to say.
Modern French Spaniels are highly sociable creatures. They get along with humans, dogs and other pets. They’re so calm, gentle and sweet, that it’s hard to resist their charm. Though when on the field, they’re a high-energy breed.
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14. German Spaniel
Highlights: Versatile, Loving, Strong-willed
The German Spaniel, also known as the Deutscher Wachtelhund, is a spaniel that specializes in hunting quail birds. It’s why they’re commonly referred to as German Quail Dogs too. When on the field, they’re just as versatile as any spaniel.
These dogs are no ordinary spaniels. Despite being a spaniel, this breed is said to have scent-tracking abilities comparable to a Bloodhound’s. In fact, they were purposely bred with this in mind – thanks to a group of German hunters in the 1880s.
The hunters brought back an old hunting dog, called the Stober. They had incredible noses and an impressive ability to track. Eventually, the Stober was crossed with various spaniels to create the German Spaniel that we know today.
When off the field, the German Spaniel is just as passionate. It’s hard to ignore their lively and bright personalities in the home. However, they are quite active dogs and require plenty of good physical activities to keep them happy and sane.
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15. Russian Spaniel
Highlights: Energetic, Alert, Free-spirited
The Russian Spaniel is a spaniel-type dog developed in 1951 by the Soviet Union. They were bred right after the WWII, by crossbreeding English Cocker Spaniels with the Springer Spaniels and other various breeds.
As such, the Russian Spaniels share many physical qualities as their ancestors. Though the main difference is that Russian Spaniels have a slightly elongated body with a shorter coat. Other than that, few can tell them apart.
The main reason for developing this breed was to find a hunting dog with fewer health issues than the typical spaniel. While they were successful, it’s worth noting Russian Spaniels tend to develop food allergies. But, nothing really serious.
Russian Spaniels are carefree and laid-back dogs, especially when they’re with the people they love. But they also enjoy participating in family activities and are best for those who can provide an active lifestyle to these dogs.
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Highlights: Loving, Agile, Alert
The Kooikerhondje, pronounced coy-ker-hond-tsje, is a spaniel dog breed that originates from the Netherlands. Believe it or not, they’re one of the oldest spaniel breeds still in existence, as evident of paintings dating back to the late Middle Ages.
And like many spaniels, the Kooikerhondje has ties with the royal elites. For example, it’s well known that Prince William had a Kooikerhondje that saved his life when assassins broke into his home. His dog alerted him, thus letting him escape with his life.
These spaniels were used to lure ducks into the “Eendenkooi,” which were just manmade duck traps. However, as the quality of guns improved, hunters were more accurate in shooting down ducks. The traps weren’t as profitable and the spaniels weren’t of much use.
Eventually, the Kooikerhondje breed was revived into a confident and sweet-natured family dog. They also retained their versatile hunting instincts, though the cheerful vibe made them better dogs to have in the home.
Highlights: Willful, Loving, Independent
The Stabyhoun is a Dutch spaniel closely related to the Drentse Patrijshond. They originated in the Frisian forest region of the Netherlands and have since been highly versatile hunting dogs and companions.
But unlike most spaniel dogs, the Stabyhoun is naturally independent. In other words, they’re able to hunt small game (moles and rabbits) all on their own. This quality is no coincidence. In fact, they were specifically bred with independence in mind.
Stabyhouns are also very curious dogs. Similar to the Beagle, they may get sidetracked and go off tracking by themselves. Without a secured enclosure, they may escape at the slightest sense of prey. So, you’ll want to keep this in check.
One big concern is how vocal the Stabyhoun can be. They were bred to make noise and alert the owners when they spot a prey or when something seems off. It’s why they make really good watchdogs. Otherwise, they’re fairly calm and gentle.
18. Drentse Patrijshond
Highlights: Devoted, Smart, Sensitive
The Drentsche Patrijshond can be a mouthful to pronounce. The correct way to pronounce their name is da’rinse-ah puh’trice-hoon. However, we’ll just call them the “Drent” for short. But while they’re spaniel-type dogs, they were derived from pointers.
Drents are believed to have originated from early the pointing dogs of Spain. When these dogs arrived in the Netherlands, many of them were quickly crossbred with various local breeds. All except for those in the Province of Drenthe (hence, the name).
Today, Drents are excellent hunting dogs known for their work on various terrain. Not only are they highly skilled, but their versatility allows them to hunt on both land and water. They’re also known to be top retrievers, making them all-around hunting dogs.
As great as they are on the field, they’re just as perfect for the home. Famously known to be great playmates with kids, Drents have a soft side that meshes well with people. They’re highly loyal dogs and take training very seriously too.
19. Picardy Spaniel
Highlights: Gentle, Outgoing, Loving
The Picardy Spaniel is a French spaniel breed used primarily as a gun-dog. They’re believed to be one of the oldest French dogs, with strong ties to French aristocrats. Even so, the Picardy Spaniels have since evolved into family dogs for the mass.
They first became popular shortly after the French Revolution, when hunting became a sport for all people (not just nobility). Their water-resistant coats were what made them such favorable dogs for the swampy conditions in north west France.
The Picardy Spaniel’s amazing temperament transitioned well into the home. They’re known to be great with kids and their easy-going demeanor was attractive to non-hunters. The spaniel knows how to get along with people and they love the attention.
They also have great health, often living up to 14 years old. The main concern is infection in the ears, especially if they’re regularly swimming. Other than that, Picardy Spaniels are fairly easy to care handle, which explains their popularity back then.
20. Blue Picardy Spaniel
Highlights: Fun-loving, Energetic, Affectionate
The Blue Picardy Spaniel, as you may have guessed, is closely related to the Picard Spaniel of France. As a matter of fact, they’re descendants of the Picardy Spaniel and English Setters – a combination of two skilled hunters.
What makes them stand out from the rest is the coat color. It’s the main differentiator from the classic Picardy Spaniel. Their coats will be speckled with grey, thus forming a bluish tone. You may also find patches of black on the blue spaniel’s coat.
These blue dogs were bred to be versatile hunters, much like the original Picardy. They will be able to track and retrieve game in various terrains – something only few spaniels are capable of. But because of their skillset, they demand a lot of exercise.
In the home, the Blue Picardy Spaniel thrives on human interactions. They love being around their humans and they love the companionship of kids even more. Because they’re sturdy dogs, they can handle the madness of rough kids.
Highlights: Friendly, Gentle, Playful
Otherwise known as the Dutch Tulip Hound, the Markiesje is a newly revived breed. They have been around since the 1600s, as suggested by old paintings. And despite being called a hound, they do have spaniel heritage in their blood.
The first Markiesje breed club was established by two woman in 1979. For this reason, many believe that the modern Markiesje is a “recreation” of the old breed. Since then, they have only been recognized by the Dutch Kennel Club (1999).
Recognition isn’t everything in the canine kingdom. It’s all about the temperament, which these spaniel-types are known for. Markiesjes are sweet and friendly dogs that loves being with their families. Even with children, they’re known to be playful.
At the same time, they can be independent, though not for long hours at a time. You’re able to leave them alone without them developing separation anxiety, but don’t do it too often. Overall, the Markiesje is a highly dependable dog for all families.
Highlights: Adventurous, Cheerful, Loving
The Papillon, also called the Continental Toy Spaniel, is a toy breed with a heart of gold. They are bred for companionship, as many toy dog breeds are. However, their spaniel instincts made them excellent rat-hunting dogs in the past.
Papillons are great entertainers and love to perform tricks and commands. What makes this so much easier is their ability to learn at a fast pace. We’re not kidding – Papillons are one of the 10 brightest dogs for obedience and work intelligence.
These spaniels may be small, but they’re confident dogs. They won’t always back down to a larger dog, so they’re decent options as watchdogs. With people they know, they’re gentle and kind. However, they tend to be aloof with strangers around.
Thanks to the high-spirited energy of the Papillon, they get along great with older kids. They are, however, small dogs and need careful handling when around rowdy children. Other than that, Papillons may be the perfect spaniel dog for many.
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23. Brittany Spaniel
Highlights: Cheerful, Bright, Alert
Yes, they’re officially called the “Brittany Dog” today. However, did you know they were originally called the Brittany Spaniel? In 1982, the AKC officially dropped the “spaniel” title because they were believed to have the working attributes of a pointer.
Even so, these dogs are still called the l’épagneul Breton, which translates to Brittany Spaniel, in France. The Brittany originated from western France, in a region is surrounded by water. In the past, these versatile dogs were known to hunt anything with feathers.
A big reason for their success is the enthusiasm they bring to hunting. Few dogs possess the zeal of the Brittany on the field. As such, these dogs have a lot of energy that needs to be kept in check, though it’ll be easy getting them to play activities.
We recommend the Brittany for active families that can frequently take them out. They have an insatiable amount of energy, which can be good if you have older kids. With people, they’re just as friendly as any other spaniel breed.
24. Japanese Chin
Highlights: Charming, Proud, Loyal
The Japanese Chin is commonly referred to as the Japanese Spaniel. There’s a lot of debate over the origins of this dog, as some historians don’t believe these dogs are actually spaniels. Rather, they may just look like spaniels.
Still, it’s hard to say for certain. There are those that believe they were first imported from Korea and others, adamant they’re from China. Regardless of how they got to Japan or their exact heritage, one cannot deny their eerie resemblance of spaniel dogs.
Japanese Chins are highly intelligent learners. In fact, they’re known to happily perform tricks to show off. They even have a specialty, called the “chin spin,” where they would balance on their back legs and spin in circles.
These little toy dogs are undeniably great companions. They’re very sensitive dogs but love to have fun. As companions, they’re naturally affectionate and loving. Though, the Japanese Chin tends to be very cat-like at times.
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25. Tibetan Spaniel
Highlights: Confident, Intelligent, Vigilant
Hailing from the secluded regions of Tibet, the Tibetan Spaniel is an ancient spaniel dog, bred to watch over the Tibetan monasteries. Along with the Tibetan Mastiff, this spaniel works in tandem to protect the sacred communities from intruders.
The monks believe that the Tibetan Spaniels are reincarnations of past Buddhist monks. Thus, they’ve become sacred canines and are highly revered in Tibet. Even so, these toy dogs will develop exceptional bonds with the members of the community.
Given their past roles as watchdogs, the Tibetan Spaniel is naturally vigilant and alert. It’s why they still make excellent watchdogs today. While they’re friendly in the home, they can be aloof when faced with an unfamiliar face or situation.
In addition, these spaniels can be independent. As they were bred to keep watch alone, these dogs don’t mind being left for periods at a time. They’re very confident and serious about their jobs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to have fun too.
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Spaniel Dogs of the Past
Spaniel dogs have been around for many centuries. And while many of them are still with us today, not all of them are so fortunate. Sadly, most of them became extinct because of a newer or “better” hunting companion that took their place.
Some of the spaniels still in existence have actually faced extinction at one point, such as the Markiesje. However, they were lucky enough to have enthusiasts to revive the breed. But with the following spaniel breeds, not so much:
Extinct Spaniel Breeds
Alpine Spaniel – Bred in Switzerland, hence the name, the Alpine Spaniel is the extinct breed primarily used for mountain rescues. They would help carry supplies and provide support near the Great Saint Bernard Pass.
English Water Spaniel – As the name suggests, the English Water Spaniel was first bred in England to hunt waterfowl. They sport a similar curly and water-resistant coat as the Poodle, but physically resemble the Springer Spaniel.
Norfolk Spaniel – The Norfolk Spaniel was an old breed from England. They’re known for their live and white coats, with a strong resemblance to the Cocker Spaniel. However, it’s believed the Springer Spaniel was based off this breed.
Toy Trawler Spaniel – These spaniels physically resembled the King Charles Spaniel. In fact, it’s believed to have been bred from the original King Charles (along with a Sussex Spaniel). In the past, they were both show and sporting dogs.
Tweed Water Spaniel – Though extinct, the Tweed Water Spaniel has had a huge influence in the canine kingdom today. It’s believed that they were crucial in the development of the Golden Retriever and Curly Coated Retriever.
So tell us, which is your favorite spaniel dog breed? And do you own a spaniel dog? Leave a comment in the section below.
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