FB: In my opinion, breeders have done a good job in the last 10-15 years of producing a more balanced dog without exaggeration. Prior to that there was too much emphasis on only a beautiful head and not enough attention to the rest of the dog. RL: Yes, the breed is currently going through some whelp- ing box issues and some man-made issues. Breeders need to aim for shorter backs and perhaps a bit more length of leg. Long-backed, short-legged dogs are frequently seen but are incorrect and do not create the impression of a square dog. Concerning man-made issues, exhibitors need to refrain from over-trimming on all parts. I especially dislike over trimming, clipping on the skull and ears, poodle-edged (straight cut) ears and do not want to see the top of the ears exposed where they meet the head. Over trimming anywhere ruins the soft, natural appearance of the dog and should be penalized, as per the breed standard. Of course, the dead coat must be carefully removed from the backs, but Springer-and- Cocker style. Precision scissor work around all the edges is neither traditional nor appealing to see on the English Toy Spaniel. The dogs should appear natural. Soft heads and soft edges, please! JR: I have no objections to tidying up the exhibit, however, in some cases the grooming can be a bit extreme. I some- times see what I feel are awards based on grooming and not the actual merits of the dog. Becoming more evident are longer backs and racy streamline bodies. 4. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are better now than they were when you first started judging? FB: I do think that the overall quality is better now. RL: I will say that for the most part, exhibitors have been savvy enough to know I am a traditionalist and so they have not shown dogs with any glaring faults to me. I have not had to cringe in public at the sight of white bibs or toes on Rubys or King Charles (the whole-colored) exhibits. But I have to say that I have recently witnessed from ringside these unacceptable mismarks being shown.
“i do think thAt the overAll quAlity is better now.”
They should be compact, off-square in outline and have a level topline in order to make the correct overall picture. RL: As in every breed, Charlies can have a full range of distinctive and individual personalities, ranging from placid to energetic; but on the whole, the breed is best described as reserved, sensitive and devoted. JR: Proverbial pillow dog. 2. What are your must have traits in this breed? FB: My must haves are the face, as I described previously, adequate bone and substance to balance with the head and enough coat to complete the picture. RL: Above all, the breed must have a pleasing balance to all of the individual components of the head and its facial details, giving it a very soft and unique expression. Large round and very dark eyes with proper layback of the nose and enough skull on top, which should be obviously round and rather broad in circumference, are very important aspects of the head. When you have the proper head and face on a square-shaped dog with sturdy legs, a short, level back and soft, profuse coat, you have a good Charlie. JR: The opening paragraph of our breed standard states that the most important characteristics of this breed are exemplified by the head, without this feature it is not an English Toy Spaniel. It must be compact, cobby and essentially square. Prior to this current revision to the standard, a more visual description was given, it stated: “Shape: in compactness the shape of these Spaniels almost rival the Pug.”
3. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated?
“Above All, the breed must hAve A PLEASING BALANCE to All of the individuAl components of the heAd And its fAciAl detAils, giving it A very soft And unique expression.”
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