HISTORY OF THE WELSH SPRINGER SPANIEL BREED
Spaniels appear to have been in existence in Europe for centuries, some would say even back to the Stone Age and there is speculation that they may have originated in Spain. There is a suggestion that red and white spaniels were in Wales in the 6th century and Chaucer wrote in the 14th century about a spaniel leaping up on him. Shakespeare and Edmund Spencer mentioned spaniels in the 16th century; red and white dogs of spaniel type can be seen on many old paintings and are referred to in literature over many centuries.
Drury in British Dogs (1903) states that “No Welshman would deny that, in former days, breeds of red and white Spaniels were existent in several parts of England as well as Wales…but the English red-and-white breeds have died out long ago; and South Wales seems to be the only region that has cherished and preserved them to the present day, which fact goes far to justify the claim of their fellow countrymen that these Spaniels should in the future be called Welsh”.
Welsh Springers were first introduced in the show ring as Welsh Cockers and were entered into the Kennel Club stud book under different names, first as Cockers and later as Welsh Springers and finally recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1902. This photo shows an example of an early Welsh Springer show champion - Ch Longmynd Megan.
In 1938 in Edward Ash’s The New Book of the Dog, Colonel Downes Powell expressed his opinion on the Welsh Springer Spaniels of the time including Champion Mair O’R Cwm (photo on left) which he considered to be excellent in substance, type and colouring.
If you want to find out more about the History of this lovely breed then please either email me or ask questions through the Cormallen Gundogs blog.