Field spaniels are a rare breed of spaniel that are stockier and more docile than typical breeds. It took a while for them to catch on, but devoted field spaniel breeders made sure that this breed stuck around.
Characteristics of Field Spaniels
Field spaniel size and shape. Male field spaniels are around 18 inches tall. Females are a little bit shorter at 17 inches tall.
Regardless of sex, field spaniels weigh 35 to 50 pounds. They're slightly stockier than other spaniels.
Coat characteristics. Field spaniels have a luxurious coat like many other spaniels. Their medium-length coat is smooth and wavy.
Field spaniel colors. Field spaniels can be many colors. If they have markings, they're likely tan-colored markings.
Field spaniel coat colors include:
- Black or black with tan or white
- Blue roan, or blue roan with tan
- Golden liver or golden liver roan
- Liver, liver roan, or liver with tan or white
Unique build. They're built similarly to other spaniels but to an exaggerated degree. Field spaniels have a larger head, slightly shorter legs, and signature floppy ears.
Breeding field spaniels to create their squat silhouette almost led to their extinction. Improper breeding practices introduced health problems that made them less popular as a breed.
Field spaniel life expectancy. Field spaniels are a healthy breed that tends to live around 12 to 13 years.
Personality traits. Field spaniels are friendly. They make friends with almost everyone they meet, but they'll always love their family more.
Field spaniel temperament. Many spaniel breeds were hunting dogs in the 1800s. Certain traits remained as field spaniels were bred.
For example, field spaniels are intelligent, easily trainable, and protective. Since field spaniels have primarily been show dogs since their breeding, you may find that they're more suitable for being a companion instead of a working dog.
Field spaniels have a moderate amount of energy. They enjoy playing and being mentally stimulated, but their needs aren't unending.
They're easily adaptable to your lifestyle. If you'd rather cuddle with your pup instead of competing in agility courses, a field spaniel wouldn't mind.
Caring for Field Spaniels
Field spaniel grooming. A field spaniel's coat needs regular care to keep it beautiful. The field spaniel has a single coat, and it's a moderate shedder.
You need to brush and comb your field spaniel's coat weekly. This will help reduce shedding.
Field spaniels need baths every 4 to 6 weeks. If they spend a lot of time playing outside, they may need a bath more frequently.
Field spaniels don't need their hair trimmed much. Their head and feet may need trimming to prevent irritation, but their body won't need trimming.
Tooth and nail care. Your field spaniel likely needs their nails trimmed monthly. Long nails cause discomfort and can hurt you during playtime.
The dog's nails may wear down naturally by running on rough surfaces. You can trim your pup's nails yourself or have your groomer trim them.
Your field spaniel needs their teeth cleaned to prevent bad breath and periodontal disease. You can:
- Brush their teeth daily
- Give them dental treats and chews
- Ask your vet to clean their teeth professionally
Feeding and nutrition. You should feed your field spaniel twice a day. The amount of food depends on your dog's size, age, and health conditions.
Commercially available wet and dry foods provide enough nutrients for most dogs.
You can give your dog an all-natural diet. These need thorough planning, though, so talk to your vet to make sure your spaniel gets their necessary nutrients.
You may need to change your field spaniel's diet as they age. Check with your vet before changing your dog's eating habits.
Activity needs. Field spaniels have moderate energy. Regular physical and mental activities are enough for them.
Though they enjoy activities, field spaniels are content to lounge around with you. With enough physical and mental stimulation, they can adjust to almost any lifestyle.
Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. All dogs need parasite prevention their entire life, regardless of their lifestyle. Parasites can introduce deadly diseases that don't have vaccines, so prevention is the only way to keep your dog safe.
There are many medications available. You and your vet can determine which is best for your lifestyle and field spaniel.
Your field spaniel needs protection from heartworms. Infected mosquitoes transfer heartworm larvae by biting your dog.
Even if your area has few mosquitoes, your dog still needs protection. There are reports of infected mosquitoes and cases of heartworms in all 50 states in the United States.
Many heartworm preventions are affordable and easy to use. You and your vet can determine which treatment option is best.
Your vet will test for heartworms at your dog's annual vet visit. Heartworms can be deadly, so there's no harm in taking extra preventive steps.
Vet visits. Field spaniel puppies need regular vet visits to monitor their development and get vaccines. Your vet will tell you how often your puppy needs a checkup.
Field spaniels need an annual checkup once they reach 1 year of age. Your vet will check their weight, examine any changes in their health, and update their records.
Senior field spaniels need a vet visit every few months to monitor their mobility, sight, and other symptoms of age. These vet visits are crucial to catch health problems early.
Health Problems to Watch for with Field Spaniels
Field spaniels are healthy dogs and don't have many health problems. Most health issues are hereditary and can only be prevented through responsible breeding practices.
Hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is a common condition that affects the dog's hip joints. The ball-and-socket joint of the hip doesn't develop correctly, leading to the deterioration of the joint.
Some dogs are genetically predisposed to getting hip dysplasia. Intense exercise, insufficient nutrition, or being overweight can increase the chances of hip dysplasia in your field spaniel.
If your field spaniel has hip dysplasia, you may notice:
- Difficulty moving, running, and jumping
- A slight hop or limp when they walk
- Decreased muscle mass in the rear
- Stiffness and pain
Lifestyle changes can treat minor hip dysplasia. These include physical therapy, weight loss, and anti-inflammatory medications.
You can treat severe hip dysplasia with surgery. There are different options available if your field spaniel is a good candidate.
Hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a vital gland that regulates your dog's metabolism. An underactive thyroid causes their metabolism to slow down.
Underactive thyroid and slow metabolism commonly cause:
- Weight gain
- Dull, dry, and thin coat
- Cold sensitivity
- Sensitivity to skin or ear infections
Hypothyroidism can be caused by lymphocytic thyroiditis or idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy. These two diseases make up 95% of hypothyroidism cases.
You can treat hypothyroidism with a thyroid replacement hormone. There's no cure for hypothyroidism.
Eye problems. Field spaniels are susceptible to some eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and primary lens luxation (PLL). Eye problems are hard to prevent since they're genetic or naturally happen with age.
The following symptoms can help you catch eye conditions early:
- Teary eyes
- Cloudiness in the eyes
- Redness in the whites of their eyes
Eye problems can advance to blindness in severe cases, so early treatment is necessary.
Special Considerations for Field Spaniels
Are they good with other pets? Field spaniels are great with other pets. Socialization will make sure they get along with others.
Are they good with children? Field spaniels are a family dog. They're wonderful with kids.
Are they allergenic? Field spaniels do shed, and they may be bothersome for people with dog allergies.
Do they bark? Field spaniels can be protective, which means they tend to bark at things they're uncertain about.
Do they drool? Field spaniels aren't likely to drool.
History of the Field Spaniel
Many spaniels were bred to be hunting dogs — but not field spaniels. They were bred in the 19th century to be show dogs instead of hunters.
Breeders started breeding spaniels to create a dark or all-black spaniel. The darker coat and short stature made them unpopular hunting companions.
People adored the look of field spaniels, but inappropriate breeding practices caused problems. Field spaniels had many health issues that led to a steep decline in popularity.
Their unpopularity almost led to their extinction. Communities of breeds loved the field spaniel and worked hard to restart the breed. They started from scratch by breeding cocker spaniels and springer spaniels. It took until the 1960s for breeders to perfect the field spaniel's form and function.
Field spaniels are still considered a rare breed. But it's impossible to ignore the loving, docile nature of field spaniels.