This medium-sized spaniel dog is distinguished by its dark colored coat. Even though they are one of the rarer breeds, they deserve more attention since they make excellent house dogs. They are friendly and playful, yet quieter in temperament, and have moderate exercise needs, compared to other Spaniel breeds.
The Field Spaniel dog breed is closely related to other popular spaniel breeds such as the English Cocker Spaniels and other land and water spaniels of England. In fact the dam from which came the original dogs that started the English Cocker Spaniel and American Cocker Spaniel breeds was a Field Spaniel.
Even though they came from a hunting stock, selective breeding for black color coat, short legs, and elongated and stocky body for show purposes made them redundant for hunting use. As they became less preferred hunters, their number declined. Deliberate breeding for these traits made them prone to several disorders too, and they almost came to the point of extinction.
This led to their crossing with English Springer Spaniels to reverse the trend, and to bring back the original breed characteristics. Eventually, the breed became taller and good at hunting as before. However, they did not become as popular as Cocker Spaniels. Their numbers still remain low even in their native country, causing them to be entered into the endangered dog breed list.
These dogs were introduced to the United States as early as the latter part of the 19th century, but they did not shine much in the show circles, and there are not many records of them until the 1960s. Their popularity did increase afterwards, but even today they remain few in numbers.
The Field Spaniel dog breed stands in between the English Springer Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel in size. They generally measure around 18 inches at the withers, and weigh up to 55 pounds. The body is longer than it is tall, but not as low rung as it used to be earlier. The ears are hairy and pendulous, and the long, plumy tail is often docked where it is not illegal to do so.
Field Spaniels have a medium long coat of silky hair but, unlike Cocker Spaniels, they do not have an undercoat. Extra long hair occurs on the long floppy ears, the chest, the abdomen, and the feet. The coat mostly comes in solid colors, black and liver being the most common. Red and tans also occur, often with roan pattern and small marking of white on the chest, or with tan points.
The Field Spaniel dog breed is an active breed extremely friendly to children and other pets in the family, which makes it a great choice as a family dog. They are easy to train, and needs early socialization to have an amiable character. They love having some particular job to do; otherwise they may try to find jobs on their own, which may turn out to be disastrous.
These dogs are highly people-oriented and love spending time with the family and playing with children. Since they are less excitable than Cocker spaniels, these dogs are ideal pets for those who enjoy a peaceful home. They can be good watch dogs too.
Grooming and exercise
The Field Spaniel dog breed with its long shaggy coat needs regular grooming. The coat has to be thoroughly brushed at least two times a week with special attention given to the ears. The long hair on the ears and the tuft of hair on the feet may have to be trimmed once every 3-4 months to keep it short and manageable.
Field Spaniels love to roam around; a fenced in yard would be ideal for its day time activity. These dogs have plenty of energy reserves, but its moderate exercise needs can be met by a few brisk walks on the leash once or twice a day with some free play or activity in the yard. These well mannered dogs need to spend the nights indoors with the family, however.
Common health issues of Field Spaniel dog breed
The Field Spaniel dog breed generally enjoys good health and longevity. In fact, it is one of the dogs having the longest median life span, most dogs of this breed living up to 12-15 years.
They do get affected by common canine health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasias, hypothyroidism, and eye problems such as retinal dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts. Their long, floppy ears make them prone to otitis externa. Cardiac problems are also occasionally encountered in this breed.