The Field Spaniel is a medium sized dog that has been used as a hunting dog, show dog or family pet. They are large than the cocker spaniel, but with a similar personality. They can be jolly and happy or serious depending on the circumstances. Most of the time they are loving and very well-mannered.
Their large almond shaped eyes are dark brown or hazel and have a very happy expression. Their ears are long and carried close to their head, which they carry high in a proud manner. They always seem to have their mouths open as though they are smiling.
The Field Spaniels can be either show type or field type. Show types require more grooming of their long wavy hair. Field types require hunting training, which this dog loves. The Field Spaniel is very intelligent and a joy to train, regardless of their purpose.
The Field Spaniel has a long silky coat that may be plain or spotted. The coat is very weather resistant and therefore is not bothered by cold weather as much as some dogs.
The Field Spaniel comes in a few different colors. The most common are liver and black. They often can be seen as roan, which is a combination of dark and light hairs together without one or the other being more dominant.
The origin of the Field Spaniel started around the same time as showing dogs was being started, with the Field Spaniel being the first spaniel developed for that specific reason. Most of the spaniels at that time were a background color with white splashes but breeders wanted to develop a solid black spaniel. The bred every black spaniel they could find at that time including Irish Water Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels until they created a Field Spaniel that instantly was a hit. They instantly became very popular in the show ring, however, this lea to a rapid decrease in the breed. Breeders began breeding theme with Basset Hounds and Sussex Spaniels to get dogs with low legs and long backs, which eventually led to health problems in the dog. With the high increase of sudden health problems in the Field Spaniels, their popularity rapidly decreased.
When the Field Spaniel became almost extinct, responsible breeders began to restore the breed to their original excellence. They crossed the dog with the English Springer Spaniels with the help of the English Kennel Club and eventually restored the breed. It is now back to normal, but they are still considered as somewhat rare with Field Spaniels being seen in the show ring or in the field as hunting companions.
The Field Spaniel is a very friendly and sociable dog. It's said that they can adapt to almost any circumstance or lifestyle. They get along well with other dogs, but because of their being bred for hunting, they will often have a difficult time with small animals like rabbits, mice, etc. Their instinct makes them want to chase and retrieve.
The Field Spaniel is considered a great dog for the family and enjoy being around all the family members. They are an affectionate dog and won't hesitate to show affection to their family. They are somewhat guarded and cautious when strangers come, which makes them an excellent watchdog.
They have a very calm disposition which makes them great around children. When they are raised with children in the home, they develop a wonderful bond. They do tend to develop a "one man dog" quality. This is not to say that they are not wonderful with all family members, just that they often prefer one family member over the rest.
Field Spaniels are normally a fairly healthy breed without too many health concerns. They are prone to developing certain health problems including recurrent ear infections, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye problems and low thyroid.
Hip dysplasia is an inherited problem that affects the hips and joints of the dog and may cause from painful arthritis to crippling lameness. A special X-ray of the dog's hips can determine if the spaniel has hip dysplasia. If the parents of the spaniel have had this X-ray, the results will appear on their pedigree. Responsible breeders of the Field Spaniel should have their dogs checked for this serious problem.
A lot of the ear infections that the Field Spaniel incurs are a result of moisture developing in their ear canal. Always make sure the dog's ears are kept clean and dry.
The most common eye problems with this dog are folding of the retina and sagging or rolling in eyelids, both of which are inherited. Symptoms of this problem usually occur within the first year of life.
Low thyroid problems can usually be cared for with medication. Failure to take care of this problem can lead to a lot of health problems.
As with all the spaniels, the Field Spaniel is going to require some grooming. They have a long coat of glossy hair that is going to require brushing to maintain its appearance. Many owners of this spaniel take their dog to a professional groomer trained in trimming spaniels. Usually the face, head, throat ears and feet are regularly trimmed. Because of the hair on the long ears, it's important to keep the ears trimmed to avoid ear infection. Because their ears are so long, they tend to restrict air circulation in the ear canal, which can cause excess moisture to develop followed by an ear infection. The same is true with their webbed feet, which need to have the bottom trimmed. Field Spaniels will often have the feathering on the undercarriage and legs trimmed. Brushing their coat once or twice a week will do a lot towards the overall appearance of the Field Spaniels.
The nails should be trimmed once a week as well to prevent the nails from breaking. A Field Spaniel that is active will usually wear their nails down, but if they're kept in the house a lot, especially with carpeting, they'll need to be trimmed.
The Field Spaniel is an active dog that loves to run around and play. Because they've originally been bred as a hunting dog, they will need a lot of exercise. This is why they do well in a large fenced in yard. They're free to run around, play ball or just have fun as they seem to enjoy doing. They love taking walks and should be entitled this privilege often.
Although they'll get plenty of exercise in the yard, a walk on a leash with their owner is a type of structured exercise that they'll benefit from with their training. They must be on a leash, though, to prevent them from running off after the first scent they smell.
The Field Spaniels require training whether they are being used as show dogs or field dogs. They are very independent as well as intelligent, which makes them easy to train. They are very adaptable to learning new things. Their loving personalities make them enjoyable to work with, but require positive reinforcement. They don't respond well to harsh treatment.
They have a tendency to bark at slight noises and circumstances so it's important to socialize them at an early age. Training should be started on the spaniel at a young age as well. Many owners that use the spaniels as field dogs underestimate the importance of obedience training. Obedience training is very important for hunting or show dogs.
The Field Spaniels will also enjoy the training as it gives them the opportunity to bond with their owners.