The Field Spaniel is a medium-sized Spaniel with a steady temper and a lot of energy that was originally bred as a gundog and later for competition in the 19th century. The breed is derived from land Spaniels, which split off as Field Spaniels from the Cocker Spaniel, English Water Spaniel, and Sussex Spaniel. However, Field Spaniels underwent early trials during breeding to produce exaggerated features, which led to its near extinction in the 20th century. Field Spaniels do not require special grooming, but they do need weekly coat brushing to remove dead and loose hair. Spaniels tend to develop bad breath, but this can also be avoided with weekly teeth brushing with mouth cleaning products specifically designed for dogs.
The Field Spaniel is a rare breed, with only 117 registered dogs. The rarity of the breed is mostly due to its history. The Field Spaniel comes from the Spaniel family, which is separated into two groups as the land and water dogs. In the 1800’s, all land Spaniels were referred to as Field Spaniels, but the smaller English Cocker Spaniel was distinguished as a separate breed in 1892. Breeders of the slightly larger Field Spaniel then wished to develop the black Field Spaniel and outcrossed the lines with Welsh Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and Sussex Spaniels. Unfortunately, the breeding program created many issues, including a line of Field Spaniels whose bodies were too long, legs too short, and bones too heavy. The exaggerated features in the Field Spaniel took away the usefulness of the dog and Field Spaniel was not able to compete in the field or in show. By the end of World War II, the Field Spaniel fell out of favor and was on the brink of extinction, but thankfully, selective breeding practices helped restore the Field Spaniel to its former condition. The restoration of the breed is attributed to outcrossing the Field Spaniel to the Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel. The resulting lines that came out of the breeding program were smaller than English Springer Spaniels but taller than their predecessors. All modern-day Field Spaniels can trace their lineage to four Field Spaniels who lived during the 1950’s; Ronayne Regal, Gormac Teal, Colombina of Teffont and Elmbury Morwena of Rhiwlas. Thanks to these dogs and their breeders, the Field Spaniel continues to live, compete, and hunt today.
The Field Spaniel is a well-balanced medium size hunter companion dog built for high activity in both water and heavy cover. The Field Spaniel is slightly longer than it is tall, but its legs can clear thick brush and terrain. The Field Spaniel’s expression appears gentle and grave with almond-shaped eyes of dark brown to hazel. This breed’s ears are long and wide, set below the eye level, and moderately feathered. The muzzle is long and lean with a large nose and close-fitting lips. The Field Spaniel’s bite can be either scissor or level. The Field Spaniel has a long, muscular body and a long rib cage. The tail sits just below the level of the back and is angled slightly downward. The forelegs of the breed are well-boned and straight while the hindquarters are broad and muscular. The feet are webbed and rounded with thick pads and well arched toes. The Field Spaniel has a single coat of moderate length, which can be either flat or slightly wavy. The coat is silky, glossy, thick, and water-repellent.
Unlike many of its Spaniel cousins, the Field Spaniel’s coat is much easier to maintain and does not require any special groom considerations. Weekly brushing will help remove any loose or dead hair as well as keep the adorning feather features looking well. Like most dogs, the Field Spaniel only requires bathing and shampooing when needed and should be avoided if unnecessary. It is a good practice to brush your Field Spaniel’s teeth and mouth with cleaning tools approved by your veterinarian at least once a week. Teeth cleaning will significantly help reduce the potential for bad breath and mouth disease. Your Field Spaniel also requires a lot of exercise and needs room to run. A fenced in yard is ideal, so urban living without much space is not recommended. If your Field Spaniel becomes bored, he might chew or bark excessively. Depending on your dog’s activity level, Field Spaniels should eat 1,5 to 2 cups of dry food twice daily. The Field Spaniel does not have any breed specific allergies or food sensitivities, but it is always good practice to watch for changes in dietary habits and diet-related health conditions.