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  • Temperament: Sweet, Fun-Loving, Sensitive
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 147 of 192
  • Height: 18 inches (male), 17 inches (female)
  • Weight: 35-50 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-13 years
  • Group: Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Field Spaniel standing in three-quarter view
Field Spaniel head and shoulders facing left
Field Spaniel sitting in three-quarter view
Field Spaniel coat detail

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Field Spaniel is a combination of beauty and utility. It is a well balanced, substantial hunter-companion of medium size, built for activity and endurance in a heavy cover and water. It has a noble carriage; a proud but docile attitude; is sound and free moving. Symmetry, gait, attitude and purpose are more important than any one part.

HEAD

Conveys the impression of high breeding, character and nobility, and must be in proportion to the size of the dog. Expression-Grave, gentle and intelligent. Eyes-Almond in shape, open and of medium size; set moderately wide and deep. Color: dark hazel to dark brown. The lids are tight and show no haw; rims comparable to nose in color. Ears-Moderately long (reaching the end of the muzzle) and wide. Set on slightly below eye level: pendulous, hanging close to the head; rolled and well feathered. Leather is moderately heavy, supple, and rounded at the tip.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck-Long, strong, muscular, slightly arched, clean, and well set into shoulders. Topline-The neck slopes smoothly into the withers; the back is level, well muscled, firm and strong; the croup is short and gently rounded. Body-The prosternum is prominent and well fleshed. The depth of chest is roughly equal to the length of the front leg from elbow to ground. The rib cage is long and extending into a short loin. Ribs are oval, well sprung and curve gently into a firm loin.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders blades are oblique and sloping. The upper arm is closed-set; elbows are directly below the withers, and turn neither in nor out. Bone is flat. Forelegs are straight and well boned to the feet. Pasterns are moderately sloping but strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet face forward and are large, rounded, and webbed, with strong, well arched relatively tight toes and thick pads.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and driving; stifles and hocks only moderately bent. Hocks well let down; pasterns relatively short, strong and parallel when viewed from the rear. Hips moderately broad and muscular; upper thigh broad and powerful; second thigh well muscled. Bone corresponds to that of the forelegs. No dewclaws.

COAT

Single; moderately long; flat or slightly wavy; silky; and glossy; dense and water-repellent. Moderate setter-like feathering adorns the chest, underbody, backs of the legs, buttocks, and may also be present on the second thigh and underside of the tail. Pasterns have clean outlines to the ground. There is short, soft hair between the toes. Overabundance of coat, or cottony texture, impractical for field work should be penalized.

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About the Field Spaniel

Field Spaniels bear a family resemblance to Cocker, Springer, and Sussex spaniels. The distinctive glossy coat is either black, some shade of liver, or combinations of the two. They stand 17 or 18 inches at the shoulder and should present the picture of well-balanced, moderately proportioned hunting companions. The long, feathery ears frame a facial expression conveying a grave, gentle intelligence.

Field Spaniels are sweet, sensitive souls with just enough independence to make life interesting. They are trustworthy with kids, tolerant of their fellow mammals, and responsive to training. The U.S. breed standard calls these tranquil house dogs “unusually docile,” but they are nonetheless playful and enjoy a good backyard romp.

Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Field Spaniel

Find a Puppy: Field Spaniel

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Field Spaniel Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

Field Spaniels adore their meals and treats. “Owners often joke that we have Food Spaniels,” says one breed devotee. Fields can be quite motivated in training by their drive for food. It is generally agreed that the breed will thrive on a good-quality, balanced diet that is nutritionally bioavailable. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not.

GROOMING

The lovely single coat is one of the breed’s most attractive features but requires regular care and maintenance. Weekly brushing and combing will keep the coat shiny and help to reduce shedding. Fields may need minimal trimming about the head and feet. The breed is not to be body clipped as some other spaniels. Their ears should be checked regularly for any signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Regularly

EXERCISE

An active sporting breed, the Field possesses an energetic spirit that does best with regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are suitable for many canine sports and activities and enjoy brisk activity, as well as downtime at home with their families. Fields are found in a wide variety of lifestyles, from city to country, but do best when given challenges for both the mind and body.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

The Field Spaniel is an intelligent problem-solver who is trainable and can excel at any game when properly motivated. These “thinking dogs” thrive best on clear communication and reward, with minimal correction. They require early socialization and a family sensitive to their needs. Fields love their people and range from serious to clownish in attitude. Once they understand expectations, they are solid in training, and the breed excels in multiple canine sports and activities. Fields are an amazing, soft breed that are not for everyone, but owners feel their sometimes-oafish habits such as snoring, sloppy drinking, and perpetually shedding coats are well worth their companionship.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

A generally healthy breed, Field Spaniels have seen some issues that also affect other breeds. Responsible breeders screen for genetic disease and select for health-cleared stock. Breeders are urged to adhere to recommended testing and consider orthopedics, thyroid, eyes, cardiac, and late-onset seizures when planning matings.

Temperament, structure, and health are all very important in making up this breed that is a “combination of beauty and utility” in an enthusiastic canine companion.

 

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Ophthalmologic Exam
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Field Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Field Spaniel

History

Well into the 1800s, the several British spaniels used by hunters for flushing gamebirds were not classified by breed, as they are today. Rather, they were organized by size and job description. This changed late in the century, with the advent of dog shows in England. Suddenly, setting definite types and breeds became important, and a particular type of spaniel, born of Cocker, English Springer, and Sussex crosses, was designated as the Field Spaniel. These early Fields were an immediate hit in the show ring but also capable hunters.

The breed’s success in the ring encouraged breeders to produce a showy Field Spaniel, exaggerating its long, low shape to extremes—a “grotesque caricature of a spaniel,” as one commentator put it. Such short-sighted breeding practices negated the Field’s worth as a gundog and introduced health problems to the breed. The Field’s decline in popularity was as rapid as its rise, and the breed soon teetered on the brink of extinction.

Still, the Field’s endearing qualities made it too good to dismiss. Dedicated fanciers of the 20th century worked to rehabilitate the Field. By the late 1960s, enthusiasts got back to basics and, with the re-introduction of Cocker and Springer blood, rebuilt the dog along its original lines. In the decades since, the Field Spaniel’s rise and fall and rise-again has served as a cautionary tale for dog breeders.

Did You Know?

In the early 1880's when Cocker Spaniels were introduced into America and until 1901 the sole distinction between the Cockers and the Field Spaniels for show purposes was one of size.
The Field Spaniel is known for his level-headedness and perseverance.↵
Although the standard acknowledges initial reserve in the temperament of the Field Spaniel upon initially meeting someone for the first time, any display of shyness, aggression, or fear is considered extremely undesirable.
Considerable difficulty was encountered in establishing the Field Spaniel in the United States due to the necessity for introducing Springer and Cocker crosses in order to eliminate the exaggerations. This rendered many dogs ineligible for registration with the AKC.
Phineas Bullock of England is credited with perpetuating a dog of tremendous body length and lowness to the ground, together with phenomenal bone, which culminated for a time in a grotesque caricature of a spaniel instead of the Field Spaniel we know today.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Field Spaniel is a combination of beauty and utility. It is a well balanced, substantial hunter-companion of medium size, built for activity and endurance in a heavy cover and water. It has a noble carriage; a proud but docile attitude; is sound and free moving. Symmetry, gait, attitude and purpose are more important than any one part.

HEAD

Conveys the impression of high breeding, character and nobility, and must be in proportion to the size of the dog. Expression-Grave, gentle and intelligent. Eyes-Almond in shape, open and of medium size; set moderately wide and deep. Color: dark hazel to dark brown. The lids are tight and show no haw; rims comparable to nose in color. Ears-Moderately long (reaching the end of the muzzle) and wide. Set on slightly below eye level: pendulous, hanging close to the head; rolled and well feathered. Leather is moderately heavy, supple, and rounded at the tip.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY

Neck-Long, strong, muscular, slightly arched, clean, and well set into shoulders. Topline-The neck slopes smoothly into the withers; the back is level, well muscled, firm and strong; the croup is short and gently rounded. Body-The prosternum is prominent and well fleshed. The depth of chest is roughly equal to the length of the front leg from elbow to ground. The rib cage is long and extending into a short loin. Ribs are oval, well sprung and curve gently into a firm loin.

FOREQUARTERS

Shoulders blades are oblique and sloping. The upper arm is closed-set; elbows are directly below the withers, and turn neither in nor out. Bone is flat. Forelegs are straight and well boned to the feet. Pasterns are moderately sloping but strong. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet face forward and are large, rounded, and webbed, with strong, well arched relatively tight toes and thick pads.

HINDQUARTERS

Strong and driving; stifles and hocks only moderately bent. Hocks well let down; pasterns relatively short, strong and parallel when viewed from the rear. Hips moderately broad and muscular; upper thigh broad and powerful; second thigh well muscled. Bone corresponds to that of the forelegs. No dewclaws.

COAT

Single; moderately long; flat or slightly wavy; silky; and glossy; dense and water-repellent. Moderate setter-like feathering adorns the chest, underbody, backs of the legs, buttocks, and may also be present on the second thigh and underside of the tail. Pasterns have clean outlines to the ground. There is short, soft hair between the toes. Overabundance of coat, or cottony texture, impractical for field work should be penalized.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
BLACK Check Mark For Standard Color 007
BLUE ROAN Check Mark For Standard Color 053
GOLDEN LIVER Check Mark For Standard Color 097
GOLDEN LIVER ROAN Check Mark For Standard Color 121
LIVER Check Mark For Standard Color 123
LIVER ROAN Check Mark For Standard Color 126
BLACK & TAN 018
BLACK & WHITE 019
BLUE ROAN & TAN 054
LIVER & TAN 124
LIVER & WHITE 125

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
TAN MARKINGS Check Mark For Standard Mark 012