THE KING CHARLES SPANIELS 279
the early voyagers to the East, and thence imported into England. The English Toy Spaniels of to-day, especially the Blenheim variety, are also said by some to be related to some sporting Spaniels which belonged to Queen Mary about the year 1555, and might have been brought over from Germany. Mary kept a pack of Spaniels for hunting purposes.
There is another theory advanced, and with some reason that the English Toy Spaniel of the present day derived its origin from the Cocker Spaniel, as these larger dogs have the same colours and markings, black and tan, tricolour, and red and white. The Cocker also occasionally has the spot on the forehead which is a characteristic of the Blenheim.
Be the origin of the King Charles Spaniel, and its advent in this country, what it may, King Charles
II. so much indulged and loved these little friends that they followed him hither and thither as they pleased, and seem to have been seldom separated from him. By him they were loved and cherished, and brought into great popularity ; in his company they adorn canvas and ancient tapestries, and are reputed to have been allowed free access at all times to Whitehall, Hampton Court, and other royal palaces.
There are now four recognised varieties of the English Toy Spaniel, or, more properly speaking, five, as the Marlborough Blenheims are considered a distinct type. The latter are said by some to be the oldest of the Toy Spaniels ; by others to have been first brought over from Spain during the reign of Charles
II. by John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, from whose home, Blenheim Palace, the name was derived, and has ever since been retained.
If we may take the evidence of Vandyck, Watteau, Francois Boucher, and Greuze, in whose pictures they are so frequently introduced, all the toy Spaniels of bygone days had much longer noses and smaller, flatter heads than those of the present time, and they had much longer ears, these in many instances dragging on the ground.
The Marlborough Blenheim has retained several of the