Affectionate, cheeky and good with other animals, field spaniels are of instant appeal. Also notable for their elegant looks, they are memorable dogs which are sadly rather rare. Prospective owners should be aware that field spaniels need a lot of exercise, tend to be very excitable and can bark excessively.
Which breed group is the field spaniel in?
Breed group: Gundog
Field spaniel breed history
Developed some 150 years ago, field spaniels are the result of crossing Sussex spaniels with cocker spaniels. They were evolved primarily to be show dogs. The breed virtually disappeared after it was crossed with other gundogs in in the 19th century with terrible results. This move had been prompted by the fact that field spaniels were comparatively slow and cumbersome. Happily, enthusiasts managed to save the breed. Their numbers fell again in the 20th century to the extent that they lost their championship status. However, numbers recovered, and field spaniels were once again recognised by the Kennel Club in 1969. The breed remains rare and puppies can be hard to find.
Field spaniel breed characteristics
With their noble looks and glossy coats, field spaniels are certainly handsome. Their appearance is enhanced by their chiseled heads and lean muzzles. Their eyes are almond-shaped, are dark hazel in colour and relatively large. Their ears are moderately long and nicely feathered. Shoulders are sloping and chests are deep. Field spaniels have level backs, round feet and hard pads. Tails are carried gaily when the dogs are alert. These dogs boast flat coats with feathering to their chests. The accepted colours are black, black & tan, blue roan, blue roan & tan, liver, liver & tan, liver roan and liver roan & tan.
Affectionate and loyal, field spaniels enjoy family life and like to be involved in everything that is going on. They are not the most obedient of dogs and can require a firm approach to training. They are easily bored and need huge amounts of exercise. Some field spaniels bark excessively, and this issue should be addressed when they are puppies. They can be good working dogs in the field if trained correctly but they are not the best retrievers.
- Lifespan: 10-13 years
- Height: up to 46cm
- Weight: up to 25kg
- Noble appearance
- Chiselled heads
- Lean muzzles
- Moderately long, feathered ears
- Tails carried gaily
- Good with other animals
- Can be disobedient
- Tend to bark
- Need plenty of exercise
Health issues with the field spaniel
Field spaniels are healthy dogs and are prone only to the following issues:
- Hip dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Heart disorders
What is the field spaniel bred for?
These dogs were bred primarily as show dogs but can also work in the field.
What sort of owners does the field spaniel suit?
While field spaniels are loyal and affectionate dogs, they are not the best choice for everyone. They can be stubborn and are not the easiest pooches to train and so may present a challenge to first time owners. However, they are good with other animals and enjoy the home environment. These dogs are best suited to life in the country with active owners who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. At least one person in the family should be at home with the dog all day as they need constant company. Field spaniels are not suited to apartment life due to their exercise needs and tendency to be noisy.