Field Spaniel

An Extremely Affectionate Family Pet with Energy to Spare

This independent, charming, affectionate dog is good for just about any human "family," whether single owner or large rambunctious tribe – as long as that family is active and loves to get plenty of exercise. That's what you'll need to do if you decide to adopt a Field Spaniel as your pet.

This breed is a close relation to the English Springer Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel, with both of these originally distinguished only by size. Weighing 35 to 50 pounds, the Field Spaniel is smaller than the Springer Spaniel, but larger than the Cocker Spaniel.

This is an all-around good family pet with a gentle temperament and easy-going nature. However, be careful not to be too harsh with this sensitive pet at any time; its feelings will be extremely damaged and it could cause lasting emotional harm. Socialized properly, however, the Field Spaniel is fun-loving and a joy to be around.


The breed got its start in England in the 1800s, and was first considered to be the same breed as the English Cocker Spaniel. Until 1901, the size was the determining factor. If puppies grew to be less than 25 pounds, they were considered Cocker Spaniels; if they grew to be more than 25 pounds, they were called Field Spaniels. Coat colors then were usually red and white; liver and white; red; liver; black and white; or yellow.

While the dogs were originally just field dogs, with no thought given to appearance, when dog shows made their first appearances in the mid-1800s, some people started to think about appearance, not just function. Out of this came the attempts to breed the Black Spaniel, but breeds like the Sussex Spaniel were favored in the show ring at that time because they were long and low. Because of that, breeders began to cross the Sussex Spaniel with the Field Spaniel. With the sizes of the two breeds so vastly different, the resulting offspring was "unattractive" by show standards. It was also heavy and had difficulty moving. Even so, dogs with these "heavy" looks managed to win in the show ring on occasion.

Ultimately, people began to ascertain that the heavier dogs were a detriment to the breed, and these so-called "Field Spaniels" ceased to be bred. The breed may have died out entirely, but careful breeding with English Springer Spaniels that were more appropriate to the then-current Field Spaniel's size meant that ultimately, the breed became the medium size it is today. With that trait finally solved, this gifted hunting dog (as well as family companion) has the ability to crash through brush that the smaller Springer has difficulty with, but maintains speed that the Sussex can't – in effect, the best of both worlds.

After World War II, the Field Spaniel faced extinction once again as a result of the war’s depleting effects, leaving only a few dogs suitable to be used in breeding. No Field Spaniels existed in the United States until the 1960s. In 1978, the Field Spaniel Society of America was formed, and while this still remains a rare breed, it's no longer near extinction.

Today, it is ranked in the AKC’s upper third in popularity among registered breeds and is part of the Sporting Group.


Medium in size, the Field Spaniel stands between 17 and 18 inches at the shoulder and weighs approximately 40 to 55 pounds. The Field Spaniel's coat colors are usually roan, black, liver, golden liver, or anything with tan points. There can also be ticking on the points that is the same color as the rest of the coat. There are often white "blazes" on the chest and throat. The ears are set just below the eyes and are wide; they hang close to the head and have feathering. The tail is low and can be docked in the United States but this practice is illegal in most of Europe. The dewclaws can be removed.

The coat is dense and water-repellent, with no undercoat. The fur can be flat or slightly wavy, and moderately long. The underbody and chest, as well as the backs of the legs and rear end, have moderate feathering, but much less than that of a Cocker Spaniel.


Cheerful, active but relaxed in demeanor, the Field Spaniel is independent like most hunting dogs, but very affectionate and playful. As a true working dog, the Field Spaniel wants to work – so be sure to give it a job to do. Intelligent and receptive to training, it is important to discipline with firm, kind consistency, never violence, anger, or even harsh words. The Field Spaniel is an extremely sensitive dog and even harsh words can truly damage this dog’s trust in you. This is a dog that desperately needs your companionship, so don't get a Field Spaniel if you plan to be away a lot or want a dog that is happy being left outside for long periods of time. This dog will become truly neurotic if you do so. Instead, keep it with you as much as you can and make it a beloved part of the family.

You will have the added responsibility to provide this dog with a lot of vigorous exercise in addition to a lot of human or other family pet contact. A daily walk is a necessity, but these dogs also have a great love for jogging as well as hunting as your happy companion.

Proper Environment

This is not a pet for an apartment. A house that will accommodate a moderately active pet indoors is a must, as is a good yard with a secure fence surrounding it – although, again, isolating your pet outside is not a good idea which can lead to dire emotional repercussions. Cool climates are best for this breed.


The Field Spaniel lives an average of 10 to 12 years. This breed can be prone to common health problems such as hip dysplasia, ear infections, hypothyroidism and epilepsy.

A very serious condition the Field Spaniel can develop is called autoimmune hemolytic anemia where the dog’s body attacks its own red blood cells. If your dog faints, has pale gums, or dark tea-colored urine, take it to a vet immediately. The disorder can be treated with prednisone and in some cases blood transfusion, but it must be done immediately and recovery takes a long time. The Field Spaniel is also prone to allergies and an eye condition called ectropion, where the eyelid droops or “rolls out,” making the eye vulnerable to corneal disease. Surgery is sometimes recommended, but mild cases should need no treatment.


Because the Field Spaniel has no undercoat, grooming is easy. Simply brush weekly and comb the feathering out a couple of times a week. Trim hair between the footpads and clean inside the ears. Bathe only when necessary, but trim nails as needed. Brush teeth several times a week for good dental hygiene and fresh breath, considered an important practice in protecting the dog’s lifelong overall health.


Field Spaniel.

Retrieved October 13, 2015.

Field Spaniel.

Retrieved October 13, 2015.

The Field Spaniel.

Retrieved October 13, 2015.

Field Spaniel.

Retrieved October 13, 2015.

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