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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Field Spaniel
Average Cost to keep/care for a Field Spaniel
Breed Specific Buying Advice
The Field Spaniel has to be one of the lesser known of the spaniel type dogs although at one time they were often seen in the show ring having been specifically bred to be exhibited rather than to work as gundogs. Today, Field Spaniels have been classed as a vulnerable native breed by The Kennel Club even though they are a great choice not only as show dogs, but as companions and family pets too.
With this said, they are better suited to people who live in the country and who enjoy spending as much of their free time in the great outdoors with an energetic, active canine companion at their side. Field Spaniels are larger than many other spaniel breeds, they are intelligent, personable and boast lovely glossy coats that really helps these dogs stand out in a crowd making them one of the more attractive native spaniels around and why they are so popular in the showring.
Field Spaniels are a relatively new breed having first been developed around a 150 years ago and there breed numbers have risen and then dropped dangerously low several times over the ensuing years. However, thanks to the efforts of breed enthusiasts, their numbers have slowly started to rise again. With this said, the Field Spaniel was developed by crossing Sussex Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels during the 19th century with the end goal being to produce show dogs rather than working dogs. Because they were not bred to work, they were too slow and cumbersome when compared to other working dogs in the gundog group and as such breeders began developing the breed with even more disastrous results.
As previously mentioned, the breed virtually disappeared several times since they were first created more especially in the 1860's when enthusiastic and dedicated breeders managed to save Field Spaniels from dissappearing altogether. The result of their endeavours was the Field Spaniel that we know today and their success meant the breed was once again recognised by the Kennel Club in 1969 after their championship status had been withdrawn due to very low numbers breed numbers. Today, Field Spaniels are considered one of the vulnerable native breeds with only 46 dogs having been registered with The Kennel Club in 2015.
Although not the most popular of the spaniel breeds, the Field Spaniel remains one of the native breeds that may soon make a comeback thanks to their charming looks and their kind, endearing and personable natures which are perfect for anyone who lives in the country and enjoys having an energetic, inquisitive and tireless caninen companion at their side.
Height at the withers: Males 43 - 46 cm, Females 43 - 46 cm
Average weight: Males 18 - 25 kg, Females 18 - 25 kg
Field Spaniels are extremely handsome and noble looking dogs that boast extremely glossy coats. They are well-balanced spaniels and their breeding really does shine through when seen working. Their heads are nicely chiselled with the back of a dog's head being well defined. Their eyebrows are slightly raised with a moderate stop with these spaniels have well developed noses with wide open nostrils. Their muzzle is lean and long adding to a dog's balance.
Their eyes are almond-shaped, a dark hazel in colour and large in size with dogs always showing a gentle albeit serious expression. Ears are moderately long and set low being wide and nicely feathered. The Field Spaniel has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are long, well-muscled and strong which allows these spaniels to easily retrieve game.
Shoulders are sloping and long being well laid back. Front legs are moderately long, straight showing nice flat bone. Their chests are deep and nicely developed with their ribs being moderately well sprung. Their backs and loins are level, muscular and strong. Hindquarters like their forequarters are well muscled with dogs boasting moderately bent stifles. Their feet are round and tight with strong, hard pads. Tails are set low and nicely feathered which dogs carry gaily when they are alert.
When it comes to their coat, the Field Spaniel boasts having a long, extremely glossy flat coat that's silky to the touch. Their coats are extremely weatherproof and dogs have a profuse amount of feathering on their chests, under their bodies as well as the back of their legs, but no feathering from their hocks to the ground. The accepted breed colours for Kennel Club registration are as follows:
It is worth noting that breed colours which are acceptable for Kennel Club registration are not always the same as those given in the Kennel Club breed standard.
When a Field Spaniel moves, they do so with an easy, unhurried and long stride covering a lot of ground when they move and showing lots of drive from behind.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is only given as a guideline.
Field Spaniels are sensitive, affectionate and they thrive in a home environment. They love being involved in everything that goes on around them which includes accompanying an owner on car journeys. They are not the "fastest" learners nor are they known to be the most obedient of dogs, but with patience and perseverence, Field Spaniels can be taught new things providing this is done firmly yet gently from a young age.
Being such an active and inquisitive character, they need to be kept busy to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They do boast a bit of a stubborn streak in them which is one of the reasons why they are not the best choice for first time owners and why they are better suited to people who are familiar with the needs of such an energetic dog. These spaniels need to spend as much time in the great outdoors as possible and are definitely not suited to apartment living. They tend to form strong bonds with one person in a family although they are friendly and affectionate towards everyone in the household.
They are known to like the sound of their own voices which is a behaviour that needs to be curbed when dogs are still young. With this in mind, a Field Spaniel must be well socialised from a young age as soon as they are fully vaccinated and their training and education must start early for them to mature into more obedient and well behaved dogs.
Field Spaniels are sensitive by nature and as such, they do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or training methods. They do, however, answer well to positive reinforcement and once they know their place in the "pack" and understand they can look up to their owners for direction and guidance, Field Spaniels grow up to be joy to be around whether in the field or in a home environment.
With this said, they are also known to be good working dogs in the field too and providing their education starts when a dog is still young and they are trained and handled correctly, Field Spaniels enjoy working and make very very good rough shooter's dogs thanks to their keen noses and their eagerness to dive into the most challenging terrains. However, they are not the best "retrievers"although they do have soft mouths and if trained early enough, will retrieve a wounded bird for their handlers.
Field Spaniels are not the best choice for first time dog owners because they need to be handled and trained by people who are familiar with the needs of an active, energetic and tireless dog and one that needs to be given lots of things to do to be a truly well-rounded character.
What about prey drive?
Field Spaniels are very social by nature and tend to get on with everyone and everything although this is not to say that a dog would not give chase to a smaller animal when the mood takes them and this includes squirrels and the cat from next door. With this said, care should always be taken as to where and when a Field Spaniel can run off the lead more especially if there is wildlife and livestock around bearing in mind that like all spaniels, they have a keen sense of smell and will happily follow their noses to wherever it takes them.
Field Spaniels have a very playful, fun-loving side to their natures and enjoy being entertained. They are known to be a little mischievous when the mood takes them and being clever, they quickly learn what pleases an owner and how to get their own way. With this said, Field Spaniels are not the fastest learners, but once they learn something, they never forget.
Field Spaniels are better suited to people who enjoy active outdoor lives and who have secure, well fenced back gardens a dog can roam in whenever possible so they can really let of steam in a safe environment. They are not the best choice for people who live in apartments because being so active and energetic, Field Spaniels like to be kept busy and outdoors as often as possible to be truly happy well-rounded dogs.
Field Spaniels form very strong ties with their families and dogs are never very happy when they find themselves left on their own for longer periods of time. They are better suited to people who either work from home or in households where one person stays at home when everyone else is out so they are never alone for any length of time which could see a dog suffering from separation anxiety. This can lead to them being destructive around the home which is a dog's way of relieving any stress they are feeling and a way to keep themselves entertained which includes barking incessantly to get attention.
Field Spaniels like the sound of their own voices a little too much which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when a dog is still young being careful not to frighten them, bearing in mind that like many spaniel breeds, they are ultra-sensitive by nature. Others will only bark when there are strangers about or when something they don't like is going on in their surroundings.
Most Field Spaniels love swimming and will take to the water whenever they can more especially when the weather is hot and having such large, webbed feet they are strong swimmers. However, if anyone who owns a dog that does not like water should never force them to go in because it would just end up scaring them. With this said, care should always be taken when walking a Field Spaniel off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case a dog decides to leap in and then needs rescuing because they cannot get out of the water on their own.
Field Spaniels are not natural watchdogs because they are too friendly and social by nature although this is not to say a dog would not be quick off the mark to let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively, preferring to keep their distance and bark before settling down again.
Field Spaniels are intelligent dogs, but they are not the fastest learners. Their training must start early, it must be consistent and always fair in order to get a dog to focus and achieve the best results. They are incredibly sensitive to "voice" and this should be taken into account during their training which is why they are really only a good choice for people who are familiar with the breed or this type of spaniel. With this said, just because a Field Spaniel gets something right and obeys a command one day, they are quite likely to forget what they have been taught and do something completely different the next which can be very endearing.
Like all puppies, Field Spaniel puppies are incredibly cute and it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, owners must start out as they mean to go on which means that once a puppy is nicely settled, ground rules should be laid out so that puppies understand what is expected of them. It also helps establish a "pecking order" and who is the alpha dog in a household. The first commands a puppy should be taught are as follows:
Field Spaniels are known to be good around children especially if they have grown up together. They are level-headed and gentle characters by nature, however, any interaction between children and dogs should be supervised by an adult to make sure things don't get too boisterous.
Care needs to be taken when a Field Spaniel is around any smaller animals and pets because they may just perceive them as fair game. They are generally good around other dogs thanks to their breeding, but unless they have grown up with a cat in a household, they would think nothing of chasing any cats they encounter.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Field Spaniel is between 10 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Field Spaniel is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
Field Spaniel puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. Wtih this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Like other breeds, Field Spaniels can gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Some Field Spaniels are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Field Spaniel breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the stardard breeding restrictions for all recognised Kennel Club breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions in place for the Field Spaniel.
It is mandatory for all Kennel Club Assured breeders to use the following scheme on their dogs and all other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club also strongly recommends that all breeders use the following scheme on their stud dogs:
As with any other breed, Field Spaniels need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Field Spaniel puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Field Spaniel puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out which could end up making them timid and shy, bearing in mind that like many spaniel breeds, they tend to be sensitive by nature.
As previously mentioned, Field Spaniel puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be fully up to date.
Older Field Spaniels need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Field Spaniel in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Field Spaniels need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older dogs don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
The Field Spaniel is quite high maintenance when it comes to keeping their coats tidy and their skin in good condition. Their coats and more especially their soft and silky featherings tend to grow very long and as such, they need to be brushed on a daily basis to prevent any matts and tangles from forming. Their coats also need to be hand stripped several times a year which is best left up to a professional groomer. Much like other dogs, Field Spaniels shed more during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to keep on top of things.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary paying particular attention to the tips which often pick up tiny thorns and other things as Field Spaniels run along with their noses to the ground. If too much wax builds up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
These spaniels are extremely high energy dogs and as such they need to be given a minimum of 2 hour's exercise on a daily basis. On top of this and because they are so intelligent, it's essential for them to be given a tremendous amount of mental stimulation because if they get bored, they are known to develop a lot of unwanted and destructive behaviours.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing must be extremely secure to keep these energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, young Field Spaniel puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.
If you get a Field Spaniel puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Field Spaniel puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
When a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult food.
Once fully mature, an adult Field Spaniel must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Field Spaniel can be fed the following amounts every day:
If you are looking to buy a Field Spaniel, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Field Spaniel in northern England would be £28.32 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £65.43 a month (quote as of February 2018). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £50 a month. On top of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Field Spaniel and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Field Spaniel would be between £65 to £120 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred, healthy Kennel Club registered pedigree Field Spaniel puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Although Field Spaniels are not as popular as other spaniel breeds,they do have a large fanbase in the UK which means that well-bred puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Field Spaniels there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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