Once called the Welsh Starter, the breed we know today as the Welsh Springer Spaniel was considered a type of Cocker Spaniel in the 19th century, and was listed as such in the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club studbook. This marvelous breed was tops at startling – or “springing” – ground birds out of a bush or tall weeds to fly towards a net for a falcon or hunter to dispatch for the dinner table. The breed didn’t get its “props,” however, until the team stake was won by Mr. A. T. Williams’ Springer in 1900 at the Sporting Spaniel Club Trials, and the dog had defeated eight highly regarded teams to do it. Since the trials had been held on Williams’ estate, there was grumbling that the dog had won simply because of “home field advantage.” It had to feel rather good for Mr. Williams when other Springers from his kennel won in successive years around the United Kingdom.
Mr. Williams would enjoy another bit of fame when his conformation show champion, “Corrin,” became the first Welsh Springer Spaniel to be photographed. Corrin became a key stud dog in the breed, but interestingly, he was first registered as a Cocker. When the Kennel Club recognized the Welsh Springer Spaniel as a separate and unique breed, Corrin was reregistered as a Welshie, and his name changed to “Corrin” (it had been “Flint”).
Corrin was described as the best looking sporting spaniel in England, and at the turn of the century, he had won several major shows, from the Crystal Palace to Birmingham. Not just a pretty face, Williams described Corrin as “magnificent worker, a devoted companion, with the best of tempers. He will push through any covert that the smallest cocker can get through… I have never owned a better-looking spaniel and have never seen a better worker.”
Larger image is of Corrin in two different poses. Taken in 1903, the image appeared in “British Dogs, Their Points, Selection, And Show Preparation” by W. D. Drury, and is now in the public domain in the United States.