The Field Spaniel is a combination of beauty and utility. Their stride is long and low, with head held proudly and alertly and the tail wagging but not carried high. The Field Spaniel is built for both activity and stamina. They have a single coat, which is flat or slightly wavy and moderately long, giving it protection from thorns and water. The expression is grave and gentle.
The Field Spaniel shares their early history with the English Cocker Spaniel, the only difference between the two breeds initially being one of size. The Field Spaniel was composed of those land spaniels weighing over 25 pounds. These larger Field Spaniels were derived from the Cocker, Sussex, and English Water Spaniels and were initially required to be black. After becoming recognized as a separate breed in the late 1800s, the Field Spaniel succumbed to breeding for exaggeration, and the repeated infusion of Sussex Spaniel blood resulted in dogs of excessive length, overly heavy bones, and short legs. The breed lost its usefulness as a hunter, and although it enjoyed a short vogue in the early 1900s, it ultimately teetered on the brink of extinction.
Crosses to English Springer Spaniels were made in an effort to recreate the original Field Spaniel. The crosses were successful, and the modern Field Spaniel is not only a handsome replica of its former self but also an able hunter. All modern Field Spaniels can be traced back to four Field Spaniels from the 1950s: Ronayne Regal, Gormac Teal, Colombina of Teffont, and Elmbury Morwena of Rhiwlas. Despite the fact that Field Spaniels were being shown in America in the late 1800s, no champions were made up between 1916 and 1966; in fact, the breed was essentially extinct in America for much of that time. The breed was reintroduced into America in the late 1960s. The Field Spaniel remains among the rarest of breeds in America.
The Field Spaniel is happiest when he has a job to do. Although independent in nature, he is devoted, sensitive, and willing to please. Generally cheerful and affectionate, he is an excellent family companion as long as he is given regular exercise. The Field Spaniel is especially known for his docile nature. It is typical for a Field Spaniel to be somewhat reserved with strangers.
The Field Spaniel needs daily exercise, and even though he is happiest when given the chance to run and explore, his needs can be met with a long walk on leash. His coat needs brushing and combing once or twice weekly. The hair inside the ears and between the foot pads should be clipped. The ears should be checked and cleaned regularly. Some can be somewhat sloppy, and some snore.