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The field spaniel is a medium-sized, all-black dog that was developed in the latter half of the nineteenth century as a show dog, but it was later redeveloped to be more suitable for fieldwork. It is similar in looks to the cocker spaniel, but it is longer and slightly larger. It weighs 37–45 pounds and stands 43–46 centimetres at the withers. The field spaniel is a sweet and affectionate dog that loves to be around people. However, it often exhibits a stubborn streak, which is one of the reasons why it is 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 nineteenth 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 spaniel was so unpopular that it was virtually close to being extinct. The breed was saved by a few breed enthusiasts who worked on redeveloping the breed to be longer-legged and more suitable for fieldwork. The field spaniel breed today is 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 amongst the spaniel breeds. The field spaniel is rare with only a limited number of puppies registered per year. The breed has been registered under the Vulnerable Native Breed due to its low numbers. The breed is recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK.
The field spaniel is a medium-sized, 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. Its neck is long, strong, muscular, slightly arched, and well set into the shoulders, sloping smoothly into the withers. It has a well-muscled back that is firm and strong. The field spaniel also has 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 its 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, roan, or any of these colours with tan points. Its 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. Oral care is important as well, 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 it doesn't know and will take time to warm up to them. The field spaniel is an alert watchdog and will bark when necessary, but it is not a good guard dog, so don't count on it for protection.
The breed's desire to please its owners makes training easy. But then again, a field spaniel does not respond well to harsh correction, but 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 best to make sure that interactive play is supervised to avoid accidents. It also pays to know that the field spaniel is 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 1.5–2 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. Just as each human is unique, dogs are individually different as well. Its nutritional requirement will largely depend on its age, size, build, metabolism, and activity level. Don't worry as you can always consult a veterinarian or the breeder for the recommended diet if you're in doubt.
As a rough guide, here is a typical calorie guide that an adult field spaniel will need per day:
Since the field spaniel is 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 ten to thirteen 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. The field spaniel loves the water and like nothing more than to frolic in a pond, lake, or stream for hours. It also enjoys playing fetch and chasing balls.
If you are considering keeping a Field Spaniel, you would need to pay about £400 or more for a pedigree puppy. To ensure that it grows healthy, you would need to feed it high quality dog food, which can cost from £40 - £50 a month. You would also need to buy it treats and accessories such as bowls, leads, collars, and bed. The initial cost for these things can set you back £200 depending on the brands you opt for.
Aside from the initial purchase, pet insurance is another cost that you will have to shoulder on a monthly basis, ranging from £25 for a basic cover up to £60 for a lifetime cover. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health and age, and where you live in the UK.
You may also need to set aside £1,000 a year for veterinary consultations and other necessary procedures such as vaccinations, boosters, neutering/spaying as these are not always covered by pet insurance.. To give you a rough idea on how much you will likely spend month on month, it would be within the range of £65 and £120.
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
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