Let's talk Field Spaniels

As the name suggests, the Field Spaniel breed was originally developed for … the field. These hardy dogs were prized for their tracking, scenting and retrieving abilities, not to mention their stamina, while their eye-catching wavy coats also repel water. Thanks to their gentle and affectionate nature, Field Spaniels now make excellent companions for humans – sporty, outdoors-loving humans that is. Field Spaniels are not the kind of dog to content themselves with just a lazy stroll around the block. Consider yourself warned!

Official name: Field Spaniel

Other names: 

Origins: United Kingdom

Black and white portrait of a Field Spaniel
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather?
 Shedding level
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Physical activity needs (high, low, medium): Moderate Kid-friendly? 
Very high
 Compatibility with other pets
Can stay alone?* Very low

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour.
Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.
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Illustration of a Field Spaniel
Male
46 - 47 cm Height
18 - 25 kg Weight
Female
43 - 44 cm Height
18 - 25 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  10 years onwards

Brown Field Spaniel bounding across grass

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Get to know the Field Spaniel

All you need to know about the breed

Gorgeous canine athletes in glossy shades of chestnut and tan, with eye-catchingly outsize ears, Field Spaniels are in their element in the great outdoors. Tracking, chasing, swimming all come naturally to this active breed. That’s not to say they don’t make good pets – on the contrary, Field Spaniels are also loyal, affectionate and playful companions.

When it comes to exercise, the breed’s name should be a clue – these dogs are most definitely not couch potatoes and need their exercise, whether that means off-the-lead runs, games of fetch or regular long walks on the lead.

Field Spaniels are definitely not the best choice for apartment dwellers. However, aside from their need to burn off some energy (did we mention they need a lot of exercise?!), Field Spaniels are not a high-maintenance breed. They do shed, it’s true - though brushing is a good excuse for cuddles.

Brown Field Spaniel standing in a yellowing field

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2 facts about Field Spaniels

1. Size categories

Field Spaniels are closely related to other spaniel breeds and in the early days of the breed, until 1901, weight was used to categorise the dogs. A puppy growing beyond 25 lbs (11 kg) was defined as a Field Spaniel, and one staying under that limit a Cocker Spaniel.

2. Brush with extinction

In the early days of the breed, the Field Spaniel was popular, but a series of cross-breedings resulted in a large-headed dog too long for their height and with too much in the way of coat. While that iteration of the Field Spaniel breed was undoubtedly still adorable, it was not fit for purpose. Thankfully Mortimer Smith, a Field Spaniel enthusiast, set the stock back on the right course, saving the breed.

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History of the breed

The Field Spaniel breed is thought to be descended from Cocker Spaniels, Sussex Spaniels and English Water Spaniels. Confusingly, back in the day in the United Kingdom, where Field Spaniels originated in the 1800s, all sporting spaniels were in fact known as Field Spaniels. It was only late on in the 19th century that the Field Spaniel was recognised as a separate breed, larger than its Cocker cousin but sharing the same liveliness and affectionate nature. And, of course, those wonderful floppy ears.

It was around the same time that the Field Spaniel breed started to become known in the United States, where it first received recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1894.

Black and white portrait of a Field Spaniel

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Field Spaniels

1. Coat

Glossy, wavy weatherproof coat in shades of tan, liver or black.

2. Ears

Long, low-set well-feathered ears.

3. Tail

Sturdy muscular build, feathered tail carried low.

Close-up of a brown Field Spaniel with tongue wagging

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Field Spaniel
Brown Field Spaniel sat in a yellowing field

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Caring for your Field Spaniel

Grooming, training and exercise tips

If you thought Field Spaniels were starting to sound suspiciously perfect, they do have one (minor) fault: they shed quite a bit. Weekly brushing will help keep things under control and ensure their lovely coats stay shiny and clean. The fur around their head and feet may need an occasional trim too, while their nails should be clipped frequently. Make sure you also brush your dog’s teeth regularly (daily if possible) to keep them in good condition. Exercise can come in the form of long walks, off-the-lead runs (in a safely enclosed space) or even swims. The important thing is that there’s plenty of it. Training-wise, while you will need to adopt a patient and consistent approach, with plenty of treats (taken out of their daily rations of course!), the results should be rewarding: Field Spaniels are intelligent, eager to please and food-driven – when it comes to training, that’s a winning combination. They even take well to activities such as canine obedience competitions and field trials, should some of their competitive nature have rubbed off on their humans. Once trained, they get on well with children, even if like any breed they should not be left alone with them. They can be a little wary of strangers at first – early socialisation should help with this.

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All about Field Spaniels

Absolutely! These affectionate and good natured dogs form close bonds with their humans, even if they can be a little wary with strangers. Once trained, they get on well with children, although like any other breed they should not be left unsupervised with them.

Yes – if your heart is set on a Field Spaniel it may take a while to track (pun intended) one down. But it will be worth it! If you buy from a breeder, make sure you do your research and find a responsible one.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/