The Field Spaniel, a medium-sized breed of spaniel type, boasts a rich history and an elegant presence. Originating in England, these dogs were initially developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as all-black show dogs. However, their role evolved over time, and by the mid-20th century, they had been redeveloped into longer-legged dogs more suitable for fieldwork. Today, the Field Spaniel is a rare breed and is registered as a Vulnerable Native Breed by The Kennel Club in the UK
In terms of appearance, the Field Spaniel possesses a darker coat than other spaniels and lacks an undercoat, which is common among other field-type spaniels. Their coats are mostly solid colors with some occasional markings on the chest. A standard Field Spaniel stands 16–19 inches tall at the withers and weighs between 35–60 pounds, placing it size-wise between the English Cocker Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel. The breed’s coat can be black, liver, or roan, with tan points and white markings on the throat and chest. The coat is moderately long and single, with feathering on the chest, belly, ears, and back of the legs. Despite not being as heavy as that of a Cocker Spaniel, the coat requires regular grooming to prevent mats
The Field Spaniel is an active and inquisitive breed, known for being a good companion. They are suitable for dog agility exercises and hunting, owing to their patient nature and tendency to stay close to their family. Socialized Field Spaniels are generally good with other dogs. They are docile and independent, not as excitable as Cocker Spaniels, and are regarded as being above average in working intelligence. However, when left alone and unoccupied for extended periods, they can become bored and potentially destructive
Health-wise, Field Spaniels are predisposed to a few ocular conditions, including cataracts, retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia. Hip dysplasia has also appeared in British lines of the breed. Breeders are encouraged to conduct eye testing and hip scoring to ensure the health of the breed. A health survey conducted by The Kennel Club (UK) found that the primary cause of death in Field Spaniels was cancer, with the second most frequent cause being old age. The median lifespan for the breed is around 11 years and 8 months
In conclusion, the Field Spaniel is a breed that combines the grace and agility of a sporting dog with the affectionate nature of a family companion. While they require some form of purpose, such as hunting or agility work, to stay engaged, their intelligence and docile nature make them well-suited for families and individuals alike. The Field Spaniel’s rare status and distinctive appearance continue to endear it to dog enthusiasts around the world.