The toy trawler spaniel was an English toy spaniel that evolved from crossing the type Sussex spaniel (which often had curly hair and long legs) with the original King Charles spaniel.
Lady Wentworth considered this breed to be a throwback to the original King Charles breed and describes the different crossings she would do with toy trawlers to revive the old fashioned English toy spaniel:
The unregistered breed known as the Miniature Toy Trawler appears to be a throw back to the original King Charles. Nothing is known of its origin. In order to test my theories, I have tried many experiments in breeding, the results of which I am about to give. It must be understood that these experiments were made for scientific purposes only.
At the time when I was making experiments I received a letter from a gentleman who told me that he had produced exactly the type of dog I was studying by crossing the King Charles with the small, old-fashioned curly Sussex Spaniel, now extinct. I persistently advertised for a bitch, hoping to verify this statement, but could not procure one, but I was informed from another source that the same experiment had produced similar results. Another person told me he had crossed with Blenheim, and I bought a very pretty dog said to be of this cross; but this is at variance with my own experiments, as I have never succeeded in producing a red-and-white specimen from the black parents, even from the one said to be half Blenheim. Even when I crossed one of these dogs with a Blenheim bitch, the progeny were almost all black or red, and I Have only once succeeded in producing black-and-white progeny, but, as I said before, never red-and-white. The black-and-whites were, I may add, decidedly off type (the reds and blacks only, in my experience, breed true to type), and I got exactly similar results from crossing with Cocker, the colour and coat of the Toy Trawler asserting itself to the exclusion of all others.
The old-fashioned curly “Sussex Spaniel” was the “Sussex” kept by the Duke of Norfolk, and referred to by several authors as the King Charles, and mentioned in the Bazaar correspondence of 1908. This was a cross between the King Charles and English Pyrame. Please compare the illustrations of the curly King Charles with the Toy Trawler.
It would not be very difficult to get back the pointed-nosed Blenheim and tricolour types from the Papillon, and in the pointed-nosed King Charles we still have enough material to save it from extinction, and I am working hard to do so.
The curly black and the orange-red breed absolutely true to type so that it is impossible for a stranger to distinguish one dog from another.
In order to trace the origin and test the accuracy of the statements made to me, I have tried the following crosses:
1. Black Cocker with Miniature Toy Trawler sire. Black-and-white progeny.
2. Black Cocker with Marlborough Blenheim sire. Very poor type, chiefly yellow-and-white. No resemblance to Miniature Toy Trawler, but very like the old Marlboroughs.
3. Water Spaniel with Miniature Toy Trawler sire. Large heavy puppies, two only taking after the sire in size, but bearing a considerable resemblance to the smaller breed.
4. Blenheim with Miniature Toy Trawler sire. Very bad mongrel type, no uniform type.
5. Field Spaniel with Miniature Toy Trawler sire. Ugly heavy type of nondescript puppies.
6. Field Spaniel with Blenheim sire. Ordinary looking cross-bred puppies; no type.
7. Old-fashioned Sussex with Miniature Toy Trawler sire. Puppies handsome and uniform in type, mostly all black, but larger than Miniature Toy Trawler, except two which weighed five pounds and seven pounds full grown.
8. Black Miniature Toy Trawler with Black Miniature Toy Trawler. Always uniform in type, whole black or whole red with or without white breasts. (Compare with experiment No. 1.)
9. Long-nosed King Charles Black-and-tan with Miniature Toy Trawler. Pure Miniature Toy Trawler type except for the colour, which had tan above the eyes.
I find that with all breeds the puppies follow the Miniature Toy Trawler sire in size more than the dam.
1 [Cocker and Trawler cr0ss]–The nearest thing to the old type which I could procure.
The puppies are generally smaller than either sire or dam.
As I have already said, in breeding black to black, I never once got a red-and-white or black-and-white. Mated to Blenheims they still produce about an equal number of blacks in the litters, which they certainly would not do unless black was the foundation colour. Two blacks will sometimes produce red, but seldom any other colour, and in my own experience I have never been able to produce a red-and-white specimen at all, though whole reds with white breasts sometimes appear.
These experiments have convinced me that the influence of Blenheim blood, if present, is very small. King Charles, on the other hand, appears to blend well, and this agrees with my theories.
I found one dog exactly like my own in Wales, but the owner would not sell on any account I also found two in Middlesex, but the owner could not, or would not, tell me anything of their breeding, except that they were “very valuable.” I was also informed that they existed in Italy and Holland, but can find no trace of them in the latter country. In Italy and Spain there were the Truffle Dogs, and this would fit in with the importation to England in the seventeenth century.
In no book can I find any reference to the old-fashioned Sussex Spaniel as a Sussex Spaniel, but Symonds, in his “Field Diversions,” 1824, speaks of it as the King Charles Cocker or Gun Spaniel of true and perfect breed. That his description did not refer to the Pet Spaniel is obvious.
–Lady Wentworth. Toy Dogs and Their Ancestors (1911) pg. 80-82
These little toy spaniels were derived from two breeds that no longer exist in their current form: the long-legged and smaller Sussex spaniel with curly hair and English toy spaniel with a longer muzzle.
A taxidermied specimen of one of Lady Wentworth’s toy trawlers is on display at the Rothchild Zoological Museum at Tring, England. It is black and white:
It is a shame that toy trawlers went extinct. They would have been an ideal type to breed a less exaggerated form of English toy spaniel and probably would have been of hardier stock than those dogs that founded the Cavalier King Charles breed.