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The Field Spaniel is a medium-sized, all-black dog that was developed in the latter half of the 19th century as a show dog but was later redeveloped to be more suitable for fieldwork. It is similar in looks to the Cocker Spaniel but is longer and slightly larger. It weighs 37 to 45 pounds and stands 43 to 46 centimetres at the withers. Field Spaniels are sweet and affectionate dogs that love to be around people. However, they often exhibit a stubborn streak which is one reason they are not ideal for first-time owners.
Are you curious about this beautiful utility dog breed? Find out more about the Field Spaniel in the brief background below.
The Field Spaniel was originally bred to be an all-black show dog. It is a product of crossing Sussex Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels in the 19th century. However, the breed was unpopular due to its breeding methods that were severely criticised. It did not help that outside the show ring the Field Spaniel was not a favourite sporting dog because of its dark colours and its short shape, which are deemed impractical for moving easily through cover during a hunt.
The show dog Field Spaniels were so unpopular that they were virtually close to being extinct. They were saved by a few breed enthusiasts who worked on redeveloping the breed to be longer-legged and more suitable for fieldwork. The Field Spaniels today are a result of several attempts at recreating the breed by mixing the Basset Hound and the English Springer Spaniel into its bloodline to introduce healthier elements into the breed.
In 1969, the Field Spaniel was once again recognised by the United Kennel Club. However, until today, the breed remains the most unpopular among the spaniel breeds. Field Spaniels are rare with only limited numbers of puppies registered per year. The breed has been registered under the Vulnerable Native Breed due to its low numbers.
The Field Spaniel is a medium size, well-balanced beauty and utility combined. It has a noble appearance and boasts of a handsome glossy coat. Its almond-shaped eyes, dark and hazel in colour and set moderately wide reveal its intelligence and gentle albeit grave expression. It has pendulous ears that are set low, well feathered and hang close to its head. The Field Spaniel has a lean muzzle and a strong jaw. Neck is long, strong, muscular and is slightly arched and well set into the shoulders, sloping smoothly into the withers. It has a well-muscled back that is firm and strong. Field Spaniels also have well-sprung ribs that curve gently into a firm loin.
The breed sports a moderately long silky single coat, meaning there is no undercoat. Because of its glossy characteristic, its coat is extremely weatherproof. Feathering appears on the chest, belly, ears, and on the back of the legs but never from their hocks to the ground. Although not as dense as that of the Cocker Spaniel, the Field Spaniel's coat will need regular brushing and occasional trimming.
The coat comes in various colours such as black, liver or roan or any of these colours with tan points. Their nails should be regularly trimmed to avoid cracking. Ears must be cleaned on a regular basis, paying particular attention to any debris or excessive wax build-up that can lead to infection. As well, oral care is important to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
The Field Spaniel is a cheerful breed that is devoted to its owners. It is sensitive, fun-loving, smart and a real people-pleaser. However, it exhibits an opposite personality when it comes to strangers. It tends to be aloof around people they don't know and will take time to warm up to them. Field Spaniels are alert watchdogs and will bark when necessary but they are not guard dogs, so don't count on it for protection.
Their desire to please their owners makes training easy. But then again, Field Spaniels do not respond well to harsh correction, instead will do well with positive reinforcements. The Field Spaniel is docile and independent but not as edgy and excitable as the Cocker Spaniel. This temperament makes it a perfect companion dog for families with younger children. As always, it is always best to make sure interactive play is supervised to avoid accidents. It also pays to know that Field Spaniels are not fond of rough and loud play, preferring a quieter activity.
When it comes to smaller animals, care should be taken. The Field Spaniel's hunting instinct can kick in anytime, and it won't hesitate to give chase when the opportunity presents itself. Like humans, a lot of factors can shape any dog breed's temperament. It will depend on its early socialisation and the kind of environment it was raised.
A typical serving for an adult Field Spaniel is 1.5 to 2 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Just as each human is unique, dogs are individually different as well. Their nutritional requirement will largely depend on its age, size, build, metabolism and activity level. Don't worry, you can always consult a veterinarian or your breeder for the recommended diet if you're in doubt.
As a rough guide, here is a typical calorie guide an adult Field Spaniel will need per day:
Since Field Spaniels are medium in size, it is best to feed it with a diet that is high in animal protein. One of the common health issues of this breed is Hip Dysplasia, which means it must never be overweight to avoid such health risk. Thus, free-feeding is out of the question.
The Field Spaniel, which has a lifespan of 10 to 13 years if cared for properly, may still suffer from health issues common to its breed. These health issues include Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hypothyroidism, Otitis Externa, seizures and heart murmurs. To help you identify these health conditions, always consult with a veterinarian.
As for its exercise needs, a minimum of two hours of daily exercise will suffice to keep it happy and healthy. On top of this, it is essential that it is given enough mental stimulation, so it doesn't develop bad habits out of boredom. Field Spaniels love the water and like nothing more than to frolic in a pond, lake or stream for hours. They also enjoy playing fetch and chasing balls.
There is considerable cost accompanying dog ownership. In the case of a Field Spaniel, the price of a well-bred pedigree puppy will set you back somewhere around £300 to £600. Aside from its initial purchase, pet insurance is another cost you will have to shoulder on a monthly basis, ranging from £25 to £60, depending on the level of coverage you select.
Food is, of course, a no-brainer, but be prepared to spend about £30 to £50 for a high-quality dog food. Keeping your Field Spaniel happy and healthy is your top priority. Other than making sure it is fed well, it should also be provided veterinary attention. Veterinary consultations and other necessary procedures (e.g. vaccinations, boosters, spaying) will quickly cost you around £1,000 a year. To give you a rough idea of how much you'll likely spend month on month, set aside somewhere around £65 to £120 a month.
Are you sure the Field Spaniel is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Are you ready to buy a Field Spaniel? If you have not decided yet, the Pet Finder can help you find more options for breeds that match your lifestyle.
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