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Dog World - Springer Special

   DOG WORLD - SPRINGER SPECIAL
  Printed in Dog World sept.10 and oct.8 2004.
  Reproduced by kind premission from Dog World, UK

 

Questions to breeders
    Ann Corbett (Trimere)
    Ellen Dobson (Teesview)
    June Froggatt (Leonine)
    Bob & Frances Jackson (Mompesson)
    Don Miller (Feorlig)
    Jenny Miller (Feorlig)
    Colin & Carolyn Muirhead (Shipden)
    Kay Woodward (Wadeson)
    Gareth Lawler (Roqfolly)

  Questions to breeders:

    1. Which English Springer Spaniel not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?
     
    2. Which English Springer Spaniel which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?
     
    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between English Springer Spaniel and Welsh Springer Spaniel?
     
    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?
     
    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the Welsh Springer Spaniel seem to be more successful in that respect?
     
    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

Ch Mompesson Remember Me
 Ann Corbett (Trimere)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    I choose two bitches bred at the same kennel. The first is the current breed CC record holder Ch  Mompesson Remember Me, who had every thing I strive for a both type and conformation. She had a classic Springer head and when moving she covered the ground effortlessly.

    The second is Sh Ch Mompesson Mixed Emotions, so ultra feminine bitch who had the most exquisite shape and oozed quality and style. My perfect Springer would be a combination of these two.

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    I would like to have seen Ch Moorcliff Dougal of Truelindale as he had a lot of influence in my pedigrees and sired the famous Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught who was also very influential.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    I can only comment on the dogs I have owned in both breeds and I speak only of the show bred English Springer. The English seem to be more laid-back and guieter than the Welsh. When you walk with English they stay closer to you whereas the Welsh want to go off hunting regardless of where you are. I also feel that the Welsh are more aloof and do things only on their terms.

    The main difference in looks is the head and ears. The Welsh is shorter in flew and ear with a less defined stop. In body the make and shape are similar although the English is larger.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?
    A docking ban will impair working dogs as full tail can be torn when working in cover. There are those in the breed who are strongly against the undocked Springer and may in fact give up the breed. I have judged abroad several times and then the tail carriage on the undocked dog has not been a problem.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    The time has gone when all English Springers could be classed as dual-purpose. Only a small number of exhibitors train and work their show dogs and no dogs bred from working stock are shown.

    The divide between the show and working Springer is vast. Many show-bred English could be trained to work as most retain some degree of natural ability but unfortunately the working English Springers could not be shown, as they simply do not fit the Standard laid down by the Kennel Club, many being hardly recognisable as the breed they are registered as.


    This makes the mixing of the working and show very difficult. I know only one kennel which has done this with any success.

    Welsh Springers don't have this massive divide which makes it easier for them to mix brains and beauty.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    The breed has changed since I bought my first Springer in 1976. As in all breeds there have been peaks and troughs. Standards are either improved or compromised by the influence of fashion of top winning dogs. I decline from stating that they are better or worse, but they have changed.

  Ellen Dobson (Teesview)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    This is a very difficult question to answer. Over the many years that I have been involved in the breed, I can think of several who came very near to the ideal in conformation.

    Those who stand out include Mrs Howard's Ch Chastleton Wing a grand dog; Mrs Gwen Broadley's Ch Sandyland's Susanna, a lovely type of bitch, a real true Springer in every way; Mr W Dixon's Sh Ch Carwinley Conifer, another lovely typical bitch, super size, not overdone in any ways and Mrs Hancock and Mr Cudworth's Sh Ch Slayleigh Paulina.

    If I was truly pushed I would give my vote to Paulina. She was born in December 1963, bred by Major A W G Scott by Sh Ch Whaddon Chase Drake ex Quaker Girl of Stubham. She was a gorgeous, most typical bitch, correct in every way, of such quality and she won lots of CC's. I remember awarding her the CC and BOB at WELKS in 1967.

    Not only a great show bitch, she turned out to be a great brood bitch too, producing Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught, still the top sire in the breed and former breed record holder. She was also the dam of the Sh Ch Hawkhill Derby Daydream who proved such a wonderful beginning for Mrs Jackson's Mompesson and therefore lies behind so many of the top winners even today.

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    An early dog, who produced many significant winners in the breed who also bred on, was a male named simply Dry Toast, I have a Beswick model in my living room, bought for me by my son, of this dog and he definitely looks a true, real Springer in every way. I would have loved too see him in the flesh.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    I really love both breeds, and have owned both over a long time. As regards characted I would say that a Welsh tends to be slightly more highly strung and sensitive as well as being highly intelligent. The English will tend to do everything to please its master even when it may suffer itself.

    In looks, the English is the largest land Spaniel; the head type differs from the Welsh which is more refined and has slightly different planes with smaller ears. The overall balance differs too with the Welsh being lower to the ground and slightly longer in body.

    4 What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

     I am a great advocate of docking and see nothing whatsoever wrong with it. From the working aspect, I feel it is a necessity to dock for the dog's wellbeing and having seen the damage that can be done to an undocked tail in shooting field I am convinced of this opinion.

    If docking is banned, it will definitely be more difficult to breed acceptable tail carriage. Having said all this, I have seen many admirable specimens of the breed shown undocked in Scandinavian countries, so it is certainly not impossible.

    5 . Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    Over the years both my late husband and I have worked our Springers, indeed several have gained their full champion status. First and foremost I think it is the keenness of the people who own the breed which determines the fact that seemingly more Welsh are dual-purpose these days than English Springers.

    Without a doubt, the type of the working English Springer is quite different to that of the show Springer, while there is less of a difference between working and showing Welsh. In the Welsh Springer breed there is a small band of people who are keen to promote the dual-purpose nature of the breed which is a good thing.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    It is hardly surprising that the breed had changed since I began in English Springers as it is such a long time ago! However, I do feel that there are still English Springers of the correct type in the ring, but overall the type has altered and many are too big and rangy.

    Attention should be paid to eye colour and less attention to lots of coat which some newer exhibitors may think is beautiful.

Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught


  June Froggatt (Leonine)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught because of his combination of excellent conformation, superb quality and delightful temperament. He also had a great influence on the breed as a stud dog.

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    Dry Toast. From his paintings and ceramic models he appears to be good enough to compete and win today.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    Never having owned a Welsh Springer. I do not think I am qualified to pass an opinion.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    Lovers of the breed would still have on ESS even if it had a long tail. It should be easy enough to breed an acceptable tail carriage but not easy to prevent the inevitable problems of tail damage, particularly in the working dog.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    The only way to keep the breed dual-purpose would be for the working breeders to take into consideration conformation and soundness as well as the ability to work.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    In my opinion the English Springer has gone into a sharp decline over the last two decades, there are very few creditable specimens of the breed nowadays.

  Bob & Frances Jackson (Mompesson)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    We would both nominate the one and only Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught, owned and bred by Judith Hancock and the late Jimmy Cudworth, by Sh Ch Moorcliff Douglas of Truelindale ex Sh Ch Slayleigh Paulina. He fits the Standard so well and the impact he made on English Springers is truly unsurpassed during the 35 years of our involvement in the breed.

    "Conn" was a great show dog winning numberous CC's, gundog groups and many BIS awards. He also won the first Top Dog award held in 1973.
    Many great show dog has not had as lasting an impact on the breed as Connaught: he sired 26 UK champions and many more abroad, leaving his stamp on the offspring from many different bitches and many different lines. He truly represents a milestone for the English Springer Spaniel and has left his imprint so many dogs in the ring to this very day.

    ”Mompessons” were founded on “Conn's” full sister from a previous litter, Sh Ch Hawkhill Derby Daydream.

    Another Conn's descendants from more recent years, the Australian import Clanach Crown Destiny, bred by Phil and Marie Merchant of the world famous Clanach kennels, has made his impact on the breed as a sire in the UK, Europe and Scandinavia. He has sired 17 champions including a Crufts BOB and is grandsire of a Crufts BOB.

    With Connaught, "what you saw was what you got". He did not have a great amount of coat to hide under, he stood four square at all times, taking Jimmy only seconds to stand him, not ten minutes of manipulating him to a stance like some do today.

    He had a super head and expression, sound conformation and a great style with a level topline held on the move. His strong hindquarters were used to produce the most powerful driving movement, and he went true front and rear. His great forward extension reached right out in front, with his hind action in complete co-ordination. His movement looked almost lazy with his great ground-covering stride, compared with the short strides of others making them look busy. What a great ambassador for the breed!

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    We have greatly admired Boxer of Bramhope, born in 1945 and owned by Mary Scott, because he has been such a major influence on the breed, giving in the region of 18 champions and show champions. When mated to Susan of Stubham they produced Ch Dinah of Stubham, Sh Ch Sheila of Stubham, Ch Duchess of Stubham and Ch Alexander of Stubham in different litters.

    Mrs F Oughtred Till owned Alexander, propably the greatest of Boxer's progeny, winning 22 CC's and 18 BOBs. He was also an exceptional sire producing 16 UK titleholders and Connaught carries many lines back to him. Boxer himself disliked the show ring, winning just one CC.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    The English and Welsh Springers are not as closely related as one may be led to believe considering the breed names. The English Springer's evolution is more closely linked to that of the Cocker and Field Spaniel than to the Welsh.

    Both breeds should have genuine, typical temperament being merry, active, biddable and cager to please. We believe the Welsh Springer is slightly more "independent" than the English meaning they have a stronger will. Some also say that the Welsh can be more sensitive and perhaps also more active. However we think the difference in character varies more between individuals within the breed, than between the two breeeds themselves.

    The Welsh is a shade smaller than the English and a little lighter in build: still they should have enough bone to give an impression of strength. The English Springer is more up on his legs, being the tallest of the land spaniels. The head shape differs between all spaniel breeds, head and expression represents an important part of breed type. The typical Welsh head is more tapered, cleaner, ears set higher with less feathering and they should have a different shape.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    Scandinavian countries are already coping with a ban and we are sure that we would eventually got used to undocked tails. We don't anticipate any problems with breeding a Springer with a suitable tail carriage. A new tail description to allow for an undocked tail was written into the English Springer Standard July 2001.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    We don't think so. The breed clubs does terrifie amount of work to encourage breeders/exhibitors to work their dogs. And while the Enlish Springer has split into separate lines, such as "working" and "show" English Springers, this is not the case with Welsh, he is truly an all-purpose Springer.
    Ninety per cent of all English Springers are bred from working lines counting for large numbers registered every year. Working ESS and Cockers totally dominate the Spaniel field trials: competing successfullly with the show type has virtually become impossible.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    Like most breeds the English Springer has changed over the years. New breeders tend to use the big winner of the day without any thought or study of their own pedigrees, to see if he will be beneficial to their stock, resulting in the many different types we have today.

    The big kennels of years ago, where breeders kept 20-40 Springers, are long gone. Today many breeders are able to keep only a handfull of bitches at the most, and we have some outstanding bitches at the moment, but it is becoming extremely difficult to find stud dogs of the calibre of Connaught, his sire Ch Moorcliff Dougal of Truelindale, Sh Ch Hawkhill Starsky, Sh Ch Graftonbury Gengis Khan and Ch Teesview Tarmac to mate them to. This surely accounts for the lack of indepth quality throughout the breed.   Ch Swallowtail of Shipden
 The '70s and '80s were regarded by many as the best years as the top breeders turned out one good dog after another. We had some very typical and outstanding Springers then: Connaught, Sh Ch Teesview Pandora of Truelindale, Ch Swallowtail of Shipden, Sh Ch Hildarry Roast Chestnut, Sh Ch Moorcliff Sunnymaid and Ch Mompesson Remember Me to name just a few.

    If we had to express a little concern it would be the about the typical Springer movement. The great forward extension reaching right in front with solid well-muscled hindquarters moving with real drive and power are sadly becoming something of a rarity. We now see lots of Springers with a short choppy type action and sloping toplines..

    Springers today have far more coat and presentation has improved tremendously with it. However we do not want to see the English Springer becoming an overdone "coat-breed" that the average owner can hardly cope with.

    Sadly, some of today's exhibitors do not want a judge's opinion, they just want to win. Winning for them is all about self-promotion and they are very clever at selling others how good their dog is.

  Don Miller (Feorlig)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    Over the years I have been privileged to see or judge many of the all time 'greats'. It would be wrong in my quest for the best not to take into consideration Ch Moorcliff Dougal of Truelindale, Sh Ch Teesview Pandora of Truelindale, Sh Ch Wadeson Miss Marple, Ch Mompesson Remember Me and up to present day Sh Ch Wadeson Inspector Wexford.

    My choice would be Jim Cudworth and Judith Hancock's unforgettable Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught. He epitomized everything I looked for in the breed and was so ably piloted by Jim. His superb movement proved to be a lasting memory.

    Although I never judged him, I used him at stud to give me several champions and be part of his impressive record of siring 25 champions.
    With the quality of the breed improving globally, I must include two outstanding dogs whom I have judged in my travels. Tarja Hovila's Multi Ch Adamant's Superman, I judged him as a youngster and he went on to greater heights. In Australia, it was the Kinsheran Kennels, Grand Ch Kinsheran Rich Pickings, one I could have quite easily brought home!

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    My choice would have to be Am Ch Salilyn's Condor. In photographs he looked magnificent and I even managed to see his outstanding movement on satellic TV when he won BIS in Westminster, the judge rated him as "near to perfection" - I would have loved to endorse his opinion.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    This is difficult as the English Springer is very divided, ie a working type and show type but, as Ian Hampton kept telling me, "they are all ESS"!

    To keep it simple, let's keep to the show type and breed Standards which have many similarities. First, the English is the highest on the leg and raciest build of all British land Spaniels. Stands to reason that the Welsh is smaller all round but still retaining a compact and balanced picture. Both have faultless temperaments. Headwise, the WSS seems to have a more refined look with small vine-shaped ears in comparison to the lobular ear of the ESS.

    Another distinction is the slight arching of the loin in the Welsh compared to the straight topline in the English. The most striking difference is in movement where the English Springer's gait is strictly his own. An easy, swinging effortless action with the back feet following exactly the line of the front ones. No matter the difference, they are still two wonderful breeds.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    More undocked dogs are being shown and winning. We have recently had our first undocked show champion so there can be no bias on the part of judges. Most owners are resigned to the fact that a docking ban may be imposed on the breed and are accepting this fact. I feel it will make little difference to lovers of the breed.

    The Standard is nearly set up for the acceptance of a tail carriage. It states it shoud be "set low, never carried above level of back. Well feathered (have you seen a docked tail well feathered?) with lively action". All it needs is the definition regarding length and - hey presto?

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    Dual-purpose? You have more chance of winning the Lottery than seeing a dual-purpose champion again! I presume this is meant to be, keeping the working abilities of the breed ongoing.

    I would dispute that the Welsh seems to be more successful in this respect. Both breeds have their embusiasis who run training classes etc. The Show Spaniels Field Day is proving very popular with many show champion gaining their full title.

    I must stress that in field trial competition non can compare to the FT English Springer. Today, the dogs whose energies cannot be channeled into working in the field are making their mark as sniffer dogs etc.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    During my time in the breed, it is my perception that the breed has gone from strength to strength. Due to the influence of Connaught we now have many top winning kennels. To say that I have seen four breed record holders can only speak volumes for the breed's progress.Sh Ch Wadeson Inspector Wexford


  Jenny Miller (Feorlig)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    The best dog I have ever met in his home and saw in the show ring must be Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught. He had faults but they were few - he had a superb head and chiselling, his temperament was of a true "gent", his movement and soundness were so true. He was a great sire and helped our small kennel to the successes we have had in our breeding.

    Today I have met another "gent" in Sh Ch Wadeson Inspector Wexford. I do not know how he will improve or not improve the breed as it is early days but for shape, balance, lovely temperament and his outstanding drive and soundness. He must be, along with Connaught, one of the exciting ones I have met.

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    I put a lot of thoughts to this question. I remember Jack Bolton's (Pencloe) telling me how wonderful the bitch Ch Tillan Toddy was for style, feminity and movement and how the dog Ch Pencloe Driftwood was outstanding for showmanship and soundness with quality of type. As these two are in the background of my pedigrees and I feel our kennel has some of these qualities I would love to have seen them both.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    I have owned many good English Springers but only ever one Welsh, a dog. Today a lovely balanced animal, he has a much more dominant character, not nasty or pushy, wants to be the centre of attention and loves a cuddle.
    The English is not as 'mad' as the Welsh who are much more active. I think as workers the Welsh are more easily trained than the show English, I believe that the breeders have done more to keep the Welsh as a working/show animal than the English who have separated the breed into show and working types.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    I will hate it if a docking ban is brought to this country. I feel passionately about keeping docking. Although when judging abroad I try to put this tail out of my mind. I am so happy to return home and find a kennel of docked animals before me.

    I believe an undocked tail spoils the whole outline and balance of the dog, and the injuries received to the undocked tail are horrific after years and years of docked breeding.

    It is not easy to breed the correct tail carriage now (this in my opinion is in each kennel's lines) so certainly it will be no easier to get the undocked tail carried properly in the future.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    As already mentioned, the English Springer is divided into two camps, show and working, with a few dedicated stalwarts trying hard to get good dual-purpose dogs, but if the field triallers stopped breeding the tiny English that would make a difference.

    Pictures show that in the old days the English was one single breed. The Welsh breeders seem to have wanted and tried to keep their breed as one. The popularity of the English over the Welsh in days gone by may be something to do with types changes, and the pet market wanting smaller dogs.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    When I first came into English Springers we had some wonderful dogs - no coarse skulls, balanced dogs, great extension of movement which was very sound (our Standard).

    There we went through a patch of everyone jumping in on "breeding". Our breed was very badly affected - we lost type and quality, took on a lot of very bad characteristics, lost kennel and breed type and certainly the sound typical movement of our breed. Owners and breeders could not see what they were doing and judges could certainly not see that the dogs they were judging, placing and awarding CC's to were the ones making the breed.
    Lately, I think that some kennels are breeding on their past success, not remembering the quality they had or not able to regain it. However, I do believe that the dedicated breeders within the English Springer breed are trying hard to regain what we once had, and we have now several outstanding dogs and bitches from several kennels.

    We just need to unite for the good of the breed and not for ourselves, be positive about our breeding, and when judging, judge as near as possible to the Standard so we as breeders keep the true breed type. It is such a lovely breed, we need to be committed and positive to keep it as such.

  Colin & Carolyn Muirhead (Shipden)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    Colin: An almost impossible question to answer having given CC's to both the current record holder and his predecessor, which makes them both possibilities. However, I think, Sh Ch Hawkhill Royal Palace was propably as good as anything, and had he not taken a back nest to his younger brother, Connaught, would have done a lot more winning.

    Carolyn: Ch Mompesson Remember Me because she was such a lovely type, so well made, and even qualified in the field, which in my book is always a bonus.

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    Colin: I could have so many choices here, but will finally settle on Dual Ch Horsford Hetman.

    Carolyn: Multi Ch Strathnaver Barley Wine, from photograph we have he looks just my sort of dog.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    Colin: A part from size being a couple of inches smaller, the Welsh is more streamlined in build and has an athlete look about him. Another difference is in the head: the ears on a Welsh are definitely more suited for work, being smaller with little feathering. The skull shows brain room.

    In character the Welsh seems calm and sensible, but never having lived with them, I do not know what they are like as companions.

    Carolyn: Heads are a different shape, especially the depth of muzzle, stop and skull shape. Welsh have much smaller vine-shaped ears without the feathering.

    The English is slightly taller and racier in build and in character perhaps more exuberant.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    Colin: The tail length is an irrelevance. Being undocked does not makea good dog bad. However, it can make the faults on a bad dog stand out. I have found this particularly so in Cockers.

    Judging by what has happened abroad, if a ban did come (heaven forbid) I think it would soon produce good tail carriage in a short while.

    Carolyn: If the tailset is correct docked, it should be correct undocked. If a ban come into force, maybe the variety judges will have to accept dogs with long tails, which at present many find impossible.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    Colin: Yes, get rid of the show champion title, bring in bench qualification before a FT champion can use the title!

    But seriously, I think it is already too late to close the gap. Those on the working side are uninterested in having dogs to fit the Standard physically, and most show people do not have the facilities to work their dogs. A hunting Bill will propably make this question superfluous anyway before long.

    Carolyn: The superior working ability of the Welsh as a whole is because the gene pool has never been split. If people buy a Welsh, they buy a Welsh with brains and looks.

    An English is usually bought for brain or looks. There are only a few English owners even interested in both show and work, and no working people appear to know a breed Standard even exists. To keep English dual-purpose sometimes means foregoing "show fashion".

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    Colin: In some ways: better presentation and handling, fronts have improved, not so many bad backends, bad mouths have disappeared, feet generally have improved.

    On the debit side, light eyes still appear, ears generally are becoming too long and low set, Cocker-fashion, and I feel some exhibits are becoming too leggy and a full tail could make them appear 'settery'.

    Carolyn: No, the difference between show and working is now wider than ever, caused entirely by exaggeration on both sides.

  Kay Woodward (Wadeson)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    It would be very difficult to name just one English Springer as over the years I have admired many, and if we are honest we all know that the perfect dog (of my breed) has yet to be born.
Sh Ch Cleavehill Corn Dolly
    Of the ones I have judged I would choose two bitches, Sh Ch Berkenbar Duette and Sh Ch Calvdale Queens Evidence; both were of lovely breed type and worthy show champions and neither had any major faults. They had beautiful heads with that melting expression, were of correct size with no exaggerations.

    Three whom I did not have the pleasure to judge who stick in my mind are Sh Ch Woodgill Shadowfax of Bowswood, Sh Ch Cleavehill Ginger Fudge and Sh Ch Trimere Time To Remember from Mompesson.

    The first two bitches were always favourites of mine of exactly the type I like, always looking immaculate, of correct size and just oozed quality. The third was of a different type but could not be ignored. In her prime she was quite outstanding and her show record speaks for itself with at least 21 CC's and group wins at Ch shows.

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    Sh Ch Cleavehill Corn Dolly, a black and white bitch sired by Andrew of Etton ex Cleavehill Bumble Bee. Born in 1967, she was on of the early Cleavehill show champions and won 16 CC's which I believe is still record number of CC's won by a B/W bitch (I stand corrected if I am wrong).

    From photographs she really appealed to me as an overall quality bitch and now, nearly 40 years later, I am sure she could still win. It was interesting to see her grandsire was the import Am Ch Doctor Primrose of Wakefield who still features in many of the pedigrees of our dogs today; however I see no sign of the American type in Dolly or other Cleavehills.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    Not having any really close association with the Welsh Springer I feel the character would be best described by the owners. However, I do think that the English appear to be more laid-back in their outlook on life and seem to take things more in their stride.

    My first impressions of a Welsh is that it is a smaller dog although there is actually not so much difference (or shouldn't be) in height. They are a finer breed all through, but still have the substance, are quite different in topline with the rise over the loin, also the head and vine-shaped ears are completely different from the English.

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    I personally would not like to see a docking ban in our breed and feel this would have a great impact in particular from the working point of view - tails are damaged so easily when dogs are out in the field.

    From show point of view I would not like to see a docking ban in force, but if it happen I would judge them as I do abroad - by looking mainly at only the part of the tail that would be there were it docked. I think that in most cases the tail will raise up at the end but as long as it goes not curl over the back it would be acceptable.

    If a dog has the correct tail carriage when it is docked then it should be fine if left undocked, so hopefully it would not be too much of a problem. I would not like the ban to come into force, but if it did it would not stop me from carrying on with breeding.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    As secretary of the Midland ESS Club for the past 13 years, I have been involved with the Show Spaniels Field Day and looking at the statistics can't see how the Welsh can be looked on as a more dual-purpose breed.
    Of course we have the field trial English who will never be dual purpose, but of the show ones, in the 38 years since the Field Day started 104 English Springers have gained the show gundog working certificate as opposed to 59 Welsh so I believe the English can still be dual-purpose.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    My involvement in English Springers started in 1974, and we made up our first show champion in 1979. Over the years I think we have had a steady flow of quality dogs and as in all breeds you get the ones who will never make it. At times you worry as these seem to be no really outstanding youngsters but things seem to turn around and they get better again.

    Overall the quality has improved over the years; at present eye colour and expression are two of main worries but with careful breeding this will hopefully be corrected in the not too distant future.

  Gareth Lawler (Roqfolly)

    1. Which ESS not owned or bred by you is the best you have seen and why?

    Since I came into the breed, there is quite a number of ESS who, for various reasons, have made a lasting impression on me. Some of these I have had the pleasure of judging, while others have only been observed from the ringside, or in more informal surroundings. I feel that for me to be most objective I will only discuss those that I have been fortunate enough to have had my hands on in the ring.

    The first two I will mention are the two cousins who fought it out through the early 80's right throughout Puppy and Junior - and even up to CC level - and although I only judged them when they were in their dotage, they were still absolutely outstanding examples of the breed. They were, of course, Sh Ch Wenark Justin Step and Sh Ch Feorlig Van der Valk - who even as very senior veterans still retained their super heads and expressions, balance and substance - yet neither ever coarsened. They were both excellent movers - and had tremendous reach and drive - and could still show the younger dogs a thing or two.

    A bitch I have particularly fond memories of is the ever-smiling Sh Ch Wadeson Miss Marple - so unexaggerated, and so correct - with a super feminine head and melting expression - she always gave of her best. Beautifully made - everything in its place, lovely size with great substance, yet retaining her femininity. I had the pleasure of judging her at the ESSC Open show in April 1993, and made her BIS - shortly after this she went on to win 2 groups in a fortnight!

    The first time I awarded CCs in the breed was at SWKA - in 1997 - and I was delighted to watch my BOB winner go on to take the group. He was Sh Ch Mompesson Just The Ticket - so aptly named - and to my mind a wonderful example of the breed. He had such style and balance, and a lovely head, masculine, with lovely chiseling - and a super expression. His movement was a joy to watch - forelegs swinging straight out from the shoulder, as only an ESS can do, and powerful hindquarters - he never let his handler down, and I was privileged to use him on Roqfolly Bobbin Lace to produce my Sh Ch Roqfolly Domino Dancer.

    Now to my final two! In dogs, I must say my favourite has to be the evergreen Sh Ch Wadeson Inspector Wexford, to whom I had the pleasure of awarding CC and BOB as recently as Bournemouth this year. What a laster! Over the years I have had the pleasure of seeing several "golden oldies" winning top honours, but to my mind none of them in the tip-top condition of this wonderful gent. He has a super head -again masculine, yet with plenty of work in it, and a lovely eye with melting expression. He is completely without exaggeration, and is so well balanced - so absolutely "Springer" whichever way you look at him. A dog who has conjured up such mixed feelings from people, they either love or hate him, but be that as it may, no-one can deny his super body and coat condition - which speaks volumes for the hard work and countless hours his owners have lavished on him. A top Springer all through, an object lesson in balance, substance without any hint of coarseness, and on his day - a superb mover. Yes I have seen him have "off" days -I can't think of a dog who hasn't - but these are far outnumbered by his "on" days. A wonderful example of our breed!

    For my top bitch I have chosen the one and only Sh Ch Mompesson Mixed Emotions. Such a beautiful bitch from any angle. She was a super size, had great substance, yet was so feminine. Such a beautiful head and expression - and was so absolutely correct in her construction. Wonderful neck and shoulders, great depth, lovely quarters. On her day, in my mind was unbeatable - for type, style and movement. To see that fabulous outline brought shivers down my spine. She was the representative used for the ESSC video on the Breed Standard - and what a fitting tribute to such a wonderful bitch. When the mood took her, she would just dig her heels in - but what a classic ESS. I was pleased to be able to buy her son - Mompesson Classic Master from Bob and Frances - and he has produced some lovely bitches for me and other people. Whether I will ever produce one of her absolutely star quality remains to be seen, but we can all dream!
    So for top spot, and if they were both on top form, I would choose Mixed Emotions as my Number 1 - with Wexford a very close runner up!!

    2. Which ESS which you have never seen in the flesh would you most like to have seen and why?

    I think the answer to this would have to be the one and only Sh Ch Hawkhill Connaught, bred by Judith Hancock and the late Jimmy Cudworth. His wins are legendary - as is his prowess as a top stud dog. He has had such an obvious influence on the breed - with 25 champion offspring in the UK alone, and I have been told on numerous occasions of his showmanship and fabulous movement. A truly wonderful ambassador of the breed, winning Dog of the Year, many groups - and a number of general championship show BIS, he must have been a joy to watch.

    3. What main differences are there in both character and looks (except colour) between ESS and WSS?

    What a question!! At the risk of putting the cat amongst the pigeons, I will limit my comparison to the WSS and Show bred ESS, as I honestly feel there are less differences between these two than there are between a show bred and a working bred ESS - in both character and looks (excepting colour)!!

    The first difference one notices in the overall appearance, the ESS being slightly higher on the leg, giving a more racy outline.

    The head is also quite different, with fluting between the eyes in an ESS, the muzzle in an ESS being slightly broader than its Welsh cousin, and although the WSS breed standards call for the muzzle to be "fairly square", the ESS is deeper in flew.

    The eye colour should be essentially the same in both breeds, although it is interesting to see that there is far less prevalence of light eyes in WSS, tending to be lighter moreso in the presence of the flesh coloured nose. The ears are different, the ESS having a more lobular ear, compared to the "vine leaf" shaped ears called for in the WSS. To enhance this appearance, the feathering on the WSS is far less evident than in the ESS.

    The topline in both standards is essentially the same, the word "strong" in the ESS is the only difference if we take the breed standard to the letter, both calling for the loin to be slightly arched and well coupled. It is generally accepted however, that the "arch" in a WSS is more noticeable.

    The movement of the two breeds should be somewhat different, however. The ESS standard calls for the forelegs to "swing straight forward from the shoulder, throwing the feet well forward" , and although the construction of the forequarters for both breeds is the same, the WSS does not have this front movement, and seems to have more "flexion" in front when moving.

    Essentially, the temperament of both breeds should be very similar - but there are in actuality, some differences. I would say that generally speaking (and I am fully aware that there will be many exceptions to this), the ESS is more laid back, and isn't as sensitive as the WSS. I have known many WSS that are more hyperactive than I am used to with the ESS, on the other hand, I have known many that are not! I honestly feel that we become " in-tune" with what we keep ourselves, and as such it is very difficult to comment on this. Even those exhibitors who have kept both breeds have started in the one breed prior to introducing the other, and they too would find it difficult to pinpoint the exact differences. They have become accustomed to what they had first - and the newcomer (whichever breed it is) is always going to be "different" to what they are used to. There does seem to be a tendency for many WSS to go through a strange teenage phase of "hunger strikes" for no apparent reason - whereas if an ESS refuses its food it is usually a cause for concern as they are very often like walking dustbins!!

    4. What effect do you think a docking ban will have on the breed? Judging by the dogs abroad do you think it will be easy to breed an acceptable tail carriage?

    The million dollar question, I think, is not "Will there be a docking ban?", but rather "When will the docking ban be?". I think the main effect of a docking ban will be in the attitudes of the breeders, more than the dogs themselves, some people saying they would prefer not to breed Springers than have Springers with tails. Living with two Swedish imports, who have full tails, I think the main effect it has had on me is the constant hammering my legs take from the lashing of a full tail! As far as appearance goes, most of the time I do not even notice them - its just something else to wash and trim! As long as you have a balanced dog - the tail does not affect the overall outline to my mind - and most people who have judged the breeds in Scandinavia would agree that after a while, they don't even notice the tails. What I think it will accentuate is those dogs who have incorrect tail sets and rather steep croups, as these will become instantly more noticeable.

    As far as breeding an acceptable tail carriage - I think we will be in the same position as we are now - as not all tail carriage is as it should be - its just that when its so short its easier not to notice or to turn a blind eye.

    5. Could more be done to keep your breed dual purpose? How come the WSS seem to be more successful in that respect?

    The simple answer is "no". As a breed, the ESS is split into two quite distinct types - the working type and show type. It never ceases to amaze me why the "workers" seem to have been bred smaller and smaller - yet the working Cockers seem to have been bred larger - or at least taller and longer, some of them resembling under-nourished Fields!

    I think that today's lifestyle does not lend itself to a great number of people being able to work and show their dogs. It is not so much a question of the dogs' ability, but moreso of the constraints on the owner of time, facilities and finances.

    Is the WSS more successful in this respect? This is a matter of opinion, as statistics from the Show Spaniels Field day will show almost twice as many show bred ESS have gained their qualifier as WSS. The number of WSS registered per year is only a tiny percentage of ESS. Having said that, until someone sits down to ascertain how many of those ESS were show bred - which I suspect is more in the region of the WSS figures, then we cannot accurately obtain success rates as a percentage of registrations.

    6. Has the breed improved or not since you came into English Springer Spaniels?

    This again is a very difficult question to answer, as when anyone starts showing dogs, they have very limited knowledge of what to look for to ascertain the current status of the breed in terms of quality. "The quality of dogs isn't nearly what it used to be!" is an oft heard phrase - but how true is it? There may be a few dogs that stick in one's mind that were, at the time, outstanding examples of the breed. How would they match up to today's opposition? The truth is no-one really knows, as the mind does wonderful things when it comes to remembering we want to remember!! A look at photographs of dogs from 20 or 30 years ago is one way to compare dogs from the past - but again, some outstanding dogs do not photograph well- so the answer still has to be "I don't know". All I can say is that throughout the time I have been showing English Springers, there have always been some really top class dogs, some good ones that weren't quite in the same league, and some that we would rather not have to judge at all. In my opinion, styles alter, and as a result breeds alter too - but the overall quality is much the same now and I feel will remain relatively constant. We all breed to improve, but are we trying to improve the same points that our predecessors were in the past? We are but guardians of our breed, preserving them for future generations, so as long as we leave them in a similar state to that in which we found them, then I feel we, as breeders, have achieved our goals.

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