AskDefine | Define spaniel

Dictionary Definition

spaniel n : any of several breeds of small to medium-sized gun dogs with a long silky coat and long frilled ears

User Contributed Dictionary

see Spaniel



From Old French espaigneul (modern épagneul), from Latin Hispaniolus ‘Spanish’, from Hispania ‘Spain’.


  • /ˈspænjəl/


  1. Any of various small breeds of gun dog having a broad muzzle, long, wavy fur and long ears than hang at the side of the head, bred for flushing and retrieving game.



Extensive Definition

A Spaniel is a type of gun dog. Spaniels are generally small dogs with long coats and drop ears. Spaniels assist in bird hunting.
It is desirable that Spaniels work within gun range, are steady to shot, are able to mark the fall and retrieve shot game to hand with a soft mouth. A good nose is highly valued, as it is in most gun dog breeds. They are versatile hunters traditionally being used for upland game birds, but are equally adept at hunting rabbit and waterfowl. Whether hunting in open fields, woodlands, farm lands - in briars, along fencerows or marshlands, a spaniel can get the job done.
On the basis of function and hunting style, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) draws a distinction between continental and Anglo-American spaniels. FCI places continental dogs of the spaniel type in the pointing group (Group 7, sect. 1.2) because they function more like setters which "freeze" and point to game. Breeds in this group include the Blue Picardy Spaniel, the French Spaniel, the Brittany, the Pont-Audemer Spaniel, and the Small Münsterländer. FCI classifies most other dogs of the spaniel type as flushing or water dogs (Group 8, sections 2 and 3).
Not much has changed about spaniels in general over the years, as can be seen in this 1921 entry in Collier's New Encyclopedia:
Their distinguishing characteristics are a rather broad muzzle, remarkably long and full ears, hair plentiful and beautifully waved, particularly that of the ears, tail, and hinder parts of the thighs and legs. The prevailing color is liver and white, sometimes red and white or black and white, and sometimes deep brown, or black on the face and breast, with a tan spot over each eye. The English spaniel is a superior and very pure breed. The King Charles is a small variety of the spaniel used as a lapdog. The water spaniels, large and small, differ from the common spaniel only in the roughness of their coats, and in uniting the aquatic propensities of the Newfoundland dog with the fine hunting qualities of their own race. Spaniels possess a great share of intelligence, affection, and obedience, which qualities, combined with much beauty, make them highly prized as companions.
|align=center| |- |American Water Spaniel |align=centre||- |Blue Picardy Spaniel |align=center| |- |Boykin Spaniel |align=center| |- |Cavalier King Charles Spaniel |align=center| |- |Clumber Spaniel |align=center| |- |English Cocker Spaniel |align=center| |- |English Springer Spaniel |align=center| |- |Field Spaniel |align=center| |- |French Spaniel |align=center| |- |German Spaniel |align=center| |- |Irish Water Spaniel |align=center| |- |Japanese Chin |align=center| |- |King Charles Spaniel |align=center| |- |Pont-Audemer Spaniel |align=center||- |Russian Spaniel |align=center||- |Sussex Spaniel |align=center||- |Welsh Springer Spaniel |align=center||- |}

Extinct breeds


See also

spaniel in German: Spaniel
spaniel in Spanish: Spaniel
spaniel in Dutch: Spaniël
spaniel in Japanese: スパニエル
spaniel in Norwegian: Spaniel
spaniel in Portuguese: Spaniel
spaniel in Slovenian: Španjel
spaniel in Serbian: Шпанијел
spaniel in Swedish: Spaniel
spaniel in Thai: สเปเนียล
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