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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Field Spaniels Breed-FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:38 GMT
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 21 Mar 2002
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
The Field Spaniel Society of America. Arrangements and permissions for
electronic distribution handled by Jay Ryan, Ryan_J@bls.gov.
Copyright 1995 by The Field Spaniel Society of America.
Table of Contents
* General Appearance
* Hunting and Hunting Trials
* Breed Shows
* Obedience Trials
* Choosing a Puppy
* Further Information
* AKC Breed Standard
The Field Spaniel was developed in England during the latter half of
the 19th century to fulfill the demand for an all black, medium-sized,
well-boned dog adept either at working in dense cover or in retrieving
from land and water. For a time there was considerable interbreeding
among all varieties of spaniel, and the progeny that resulted were
usually registered under the variety they most resembled. Eventually,
with the advent of more formalized dog shows, spaniels under 25 pounds
were recognized as Cocker Spaniels, large liver and white or black and
white dogs became known as English Springer Spaniels, and the solid
color dogs over 25 pounds retained the name Field Spaniel.
The first Field Spaniels in the United States were listed with the
American Spaniel Club in the 1880's and registered with the American
Kennel Club (AKC) in 1894; by the end of the 1920's the breed had
disappeared from the AKC registration books. Field Spaniels were
returned to the United States in 1968 when R. Squire and C. Tuttle
imported three from England. These three Fields and subsequent imports
form the basis for the majority of Field Spaniels presently in the
United States. The Field Spaniel Society of America was formed in
1978, and is recognized by the AKC as the parent Club for the Breed.
The modern Field Spaniel is a sturdy, medium-sized spaniel averaging
18 inches in height, and weighing from 40 to 55 pounds. Well balanced
in bone and substance, the Field is larger than the English Cocker,
yet smaller than the English Springer. Hair coat is long, flat,
glossy, and silky in texture, with good feathering on the chest, body,
and legs. Colors are Black, Liver, or Roan, or any one of these with
An active, friendly dog, the Field is loving and eager to please. They
are excellent with children and other animals, but can be somewhat
reserved with strangers. Alert and able to bark an alarm, Fields are
not guard dogs, nor are they dogs for those with "House Beautiful"
aspirations. Though seasonal shedding is only moderate, their large,
heavily webbed feet testify to the breed's fondness for water, and
their drinking habits often leave the floor around their bowls
swamped. True to their retrieving nature, Fields love to carry objects
around in their mouths. They also like to travel, tend to snore, and
can have a very diverse vocal range. To be at their best, young Fields
should be trained and allowed to experience as many non-threatening
situations as possible, including meeting a variety of people and
Hunting and Hunting Trials
Although in recent years there has been virtually no selective
breeding for hunting ability, the Field remains a fine working
spaniel. When trained, the Field will quarter in dense cover to flush
birds, such as pheasants, quail, and chukars, with ease and will
retrieve them with a soft mouth. The excellent nose and independent
spirit of the Field make them a joy as hunting companions. Fields
currently compete in field and water tests, and tracking.
Most Field Spaniels enjoy showing and are excellent for someone who
wants an attractive medium-sized dog without a lot of grooming. The
Field is also an excellent choice for owners who want to handle their
dog themselves, since it is possible, if there are enough dogs in
their region of the country, for an owner-handler to finish a Field to
a championship. A number of Fields have placed in the Group Ring.
Training a puppy for showing may begin as early as 8-12 weeks. As with
any puppy training, care must be taken not to over-train or over-show.
Like many spaniels, Fields are very bright and active dogs and if not
trained may well become bored and get into mischief. However, the same
independent spirit that makes the Field a good hunting dog can make
obedience training an interesting challenge. If trained with positive
methods at the correct age, a Field can be a happy, high-scoring
worker. The natural reserve and placidity of Fields also makes them
excellent for therapy dog work.
Fields are less coated than the majority of spaniels, and one kept as
a pet requires little grooming. Besides being cleaned and brushed, all
Field Spaniels need their toenails, the hair between the pads of their
feet, and the hair inside their ears clipped. The pad and ear clipping
is not only more attractive, but the shorter hair dries more quickly,
which helps prevent the development of eczema.
Field Spaniels that are shown require more grooming. When presented to
the dog show judge, a well-groomed Field should look natural. Clippers
are used only on the head and the front of the neck, and any other
grooming is done with thinning shears and stripping knives.
Overall, Field Spaniels enjoy very good health. When health problems
do occur the two most common health problems encountered are hip
dysplasia and thyroid disease.
Of course, all dogs should be checked regularly by a veterinarian,
kept up-to-date on all shots, including parvovirus, and kept on a
Hip dysplasia, the most common skeletal defect in dogs of all breeds,
is an inherited condition that results from a poor fit between the
ball and socket apparatus of the hip joints. Symptoms range from none
to severely crippling and there is no cure. All Field Spaniels, but
especially those used for breeding, should have their hips x-rayed.
Thyroid disease is not a life threatening condition, nor does it
necessarily result in loss of quality of life. Symptoms can include
weight gain, lethargy, poor coat, and/or scaly skin. Confirmation is
made via a blood test and treatment requires daily medication.
Other conditions that occur occasionally in Fields are Progressive
Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Sub-Aortic Stenosis (SAS). PRA is an
incurable disorder that leads to blindness. Once again all Fields, but
especially those used for breeding, should have a yearly eye exam by a
canine ophthalmologist. SAS is a hereditary condition that causes the
sudden death of a puppy or young dog; any Fields used for breeding
should be examined and declared clear by a competent veterinarian.
Ectropion, or loose eyelids, and the much less common entropion, in
which the eyelid is turned in towards the eyeball, may also occur. If
severe either condition might require surgery.
Choosing a Puppy
Ask the breeder as many questions as needed to help you make an
informed decision as to whether the Field Spaniel is the breed for you
and your family. At the very least request information about
temperament, hips, eyes, and thyroid of both parents and any siblings
of the puppy or dog you are purchasing. The absence of problems in the
parents and siblings significantly increases your chances of
purchasing a sound, normal dog.
Look for a puppy that is outgoing and friendly, with an overall
appearance of good health. If possible, try to visit the litter before
making your decision. Always have a new animal examined by a vet
within 24 to 48 hours to ensure its health.
For the most current information, see the Field Spaniel Society of
America: http://www.akc.org/clubs/fssa/. Another source of information
on Field Spaniels is An International Association of Field Spaniel
AKC Breed Standard
Please see the official (U.S.) standard at the AKC site:
Field Spaniel FAQ
Jay Ryan, Ryan_J@bls.gov