The Field Spaniel is a noble medium size Spaniel type dog which was originally developed a century and a half ago as a show dog. It is one of the larger Spaniel breeds typically between the size of the Cocker Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel. It has an average height of 43-46 cm at the withers and weighs around 18-25kg. The head suggests the notion of high breeding, quality, and nobility. It has a well-defined occiput, a well-chiselled head, slightly raised eyebrows with a moderate stop and long and lean muzzle. The almond-shaped eyes are wide open and dark hazel in colour which gives a gentle expression. It has pendant and well-feathered ears, long and muscular neck with an equally muscular body supported by strong fore and rear quarters. The equally feathered tail is set low and is never carried above the level of the back. The dense single coat of the Field Spaniel is flat, shiny, and silky in texture, never curly or wiry. Abundant feathering appears on the chest, belly, and behind the legs. Coat colours are black, black and tan, blue roan, blue roan and tan, liver, liver and tan, liver roan, and liver roan and tan with some dogs having white markings on the throat and the chest.
The spaniel breed has been documented in the UK for many centuries and the modern breed that we know today evolved from earlier distinctions of Spaniels. The smallest Spaniels evolve to become the toy Spaniels of today while the larger ones were classified according to their working type – land or water. The smaller land Spaniels became the “cocker spaniels” which were very adept in flushing out woodcock birds, while the larger land Spaniels were eventually known as “field spaniels” or “springer spaniels”. The Field Spaniel developed into a breed of its own primarily from a combination of larger black cocker spaniels interbread with other strains from Sussex and nearby regions. It is also said that the early Field Spaniels were interbred with Irish Water Spaniels, the English Springer Spaniels and the Basset Hound. The resulting litter was classified based on weight and colour with the larger pups with generally black, liver or roan coat colours falling under the Field Spaniel breed.
The Field Spaniel is curious, docile, lively, and social. It is an active dog with tireless energy, tends to bark a lot and has a destructive behaviour if bored of left alone. It is not a suitable pet for someone who lives in the city or in a condominium or apartment. It is also not recommended for someone who is out at work all day because leaving the Field Spaniel for hours on end will surely make him annoy the neighbours with his loud bark. The dog tends to suffer from separation anxiety and can also channel its boredom and frustration through destructive behaviours such as chewing and digging. The Field Spaniel is a sensitive breed and thrives on human companionship. It loves being with its family and enjoys travelling. This makes the Field Spaniel highly recommended for an active family who likes the great outdoors where the dog can join in hiking activities and camping in the wilderness. Although the Field Spaniel is not an easy to train dog, it makes up for its highly developed sense of humour. This dog loves to please its owner and love to be praised as well. It has a naughty streak with a loving affectionate personality. It is an ideal rough shooting dog and a countryside companion.
Training the Field Spaniel falls under the moderate side of the scale. This breed is not naturally obedient nor it is a quick learner like other breeds. It requires a trainer with a firm but gentle hand to handle it from an early age in order to raise a well-balanced breed. Positive reinforcement training will yield the best result. Any form of harsh training such as shouting will never benefit the Field Spaniel. Training needs to be consistent so that the dog can memorize and obey all commands taught. Do not expect the dog to obey one day and expect him to do so the next. It needs continuous training to know his lessons very well. The Field Spaniel is a working dog trainable for dog agility and hunting.
Owing to the breed’s good coat, the Field Spaniel is easy to groom and requires little attention to keep it clean and the coat healthy. Although the coat is not as heavy as that of the Cocker Spaniel, it still needs daily grooming to prevent mats from forming in the fur.
The Field Spaniel has a large appetite, especially as a puppy who needs a great deal of the right amount and quality of food given at correct intervals. It is a hardy dog that loves the outdoor life and the fresh air, but is also prone to a few health predisposition. There are Field Spaniels who have been diagnosed to suffer from certain eye conditions such as cataracts, retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia. Hip dysplasia has been known to affect some breeds, particularly those from the UK lines. Cancer is the most common form of death for the Field Spaniel, as surveyed by the Kennel Club, with old age ranking second as the cause of mortality. The median lifespan of the breed is 11 years and 8 months but it tends to live longer with proper care and the right diet.
This dog loves the natural outdoor life and enjoys going out on a trip with the family. As a working dog, it requires regular opportunities to channel its energy and do mentally-stimulating activities. Inadequate physical and mental exercise can cause the dog to become uncontrollably exuberant or boisterous and will express its boredom through barking and other destructive behaviour. A great deal of daily exercise is required for this hunting dog. It will suit him best if he has a chance to run and explore in an open field or in a well-secured yard as his nose will take him where the scent is. The Field Spaniel loves water and it will sometimes use his water bowl as a swimming hole which can make a mess inside the house. This dog enjoys swimming so much which is also a great way to get his daily exercise requirements.
It is generally patient with children and loves attention and human companionship. It often stays close to its master and other members of the family. When properly socialised, it is good with other dogs as well. It is generally docile and independent but is not a suitable pet for someone who lives in the city.