So called “working” springer and cocker spaniels are today’s ubiquitous legacy from the former hunting era in England. They seem healthier more lithe and more popular than the pedigree show type spaniels and this depite the recent phenomenon of cockerpoos. Retrievers of all types remain popular here despite the growing labradoodle pheneomenon. Miniature poodles seem to have given way to cockerpoos and bichons, also bichons seem to be getting crossbred quite a lot – and why not..
Although Benson was a New Englander, the scene here resembles something a bit more southerly. Which leads one to think Bay Dog (there were several variations), but of course it could be any number of other possibilities. There were a few (very few) Goldens on the East Coast in 1926, a few more Labradors. Equally likely the dog here is a native-bred ducking dog of no named breed. One guess is as good as the other.
Quite possibly; it fits the description. The Red Winchester is, of course, one of the old variants of the Bay Dog, now known as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Other appellations were Chesapeake Bay Duck Dog, Gunpowder River Dog, Otter Dog, Red Winchester Ducking Dog, Brown Winchester, Red Chester, and no doubt more. Varied as they might have been in appearance or nomenclature, they were all tough, workmanlike dogs who got the job done. And under far more demanding conditions than apparent in Benson’s painting.