Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Field Spaniel
Average Cost to keep/care for a Field Spaniel
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, these charming spaniels have been classed as a vulnerable native breed by The Kennel Club even though they are a great choice not only as working dogs, but as companions and family pets for people who live in the country and enjoy spending as much of their free time in the great outdoors. 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.
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 even more with disastrous results.
These charming dogs virtually disappeared until enthusiastic and dedicated breeders managed to save the breed from extinction. 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meant the breed was once again recognised by the Kennel Club in 1969 after the breed's championship status had been withdrawn due to their very low numbers.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.
Today, 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.
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. Accepted breed colours include the following:
The Field Spaniel is a very intelligent character and 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. These spaniels need to spend as much time in the great outdoors as possible and are definitely not suited to apartment living. They form strong bonds with one person although in a family environment 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 has to be well socialised from a young age as soon as they are fully vaccinated and their training and education has to start early for them to mature into more obedient and well behaved dogs.
They are known to be quite sensitive by nature and as such, these spaniels 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.
Field Spaniels are naturally very intelligent dogs and as such they pick things up rather quickly, but this includes the bad as well as the good. Their training has to start early, it has to 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 has to 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.
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:
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.
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 is allowed to build 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 has to 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.
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 £25.57 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £61.72 a month (quote as of March 2016). 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 or not 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 all 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 pedigree puppy.
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