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March 29, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Field Spaniel

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Overview:

  • Height: 17"- 18” tall at the withers
  • Weight: 40-55 pounds
  • Historical function: Tracking, hunting, retrieving
  • Modern function: Companion, hunting
  • AKC classification: Sporting

Physical Characteristics:

The Field Spaniel is a medium-sized dog, roughly between the size of a Cocker Spaniel and  English Springer Spaniel. He is a combination of beauty and utility. He can be black or come in various shades of liver. Some white may appear on the chest. The ears are moderately long, pendulous, and heavily feathered. The single coat is dense and water repellent with lots of feathering. The eyes are brown or hazel. 

Liver-colored Field Spaniel photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

History of the Breed:

The Field Spaniel was developed in England in the mid 1800s as a hunting dog for flushing birds out from the brush. This was a variety singled out and bred to be distinct from the English Cocker Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel. When it became popular to develop show dogs for the ring, Field Spaniel fanciers began to develop a shorter, low to the ground breed, possibly mixing them with Basset Hounds. These Spaniels fell out of favor as they weren't well suited to hunting and taller versions of the dog were redeveloped, though they never gained much popularity. They further declined with the world wars and were nearly extinct. They had small gains through the 1960s but the breed is still quite rare. 

Temperament:

The Field Spaniel is a playful, charming, active companion that is well suited to hunting or home life. This dog is an independent thinker, yet friendly, loyal and docile. Likes to roam following an interesting scent. Will become neurotic if not properly exercised.

  • Best suited for: Active, sporty families or hunters. This does does well with plenty of exercise and a job like hunting or agility training.
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog prefers at least a moderate-sized yard and is not well suited to apartment living.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easier than most spaniels to groom. Regular brushing and clipping of the nails, the hair inside the ears and the hair between the foot pads will keep this dog looking good and healthy.
  • Exercise needs: Daily long walk or jog with active play.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to hip dysplasia and ear infections.

Breed Club Links: Field Spaniel Society of America

BaxterBoo.com Perfect Pairings:  Dog Agility Starter Kit, Ear Wash

Have any stories about a Field Spaniel? Please share!

Featured photo courtesy of psmithy.

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