Field Spaniel Breed Profile

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KC Group Gundog

Size Medium

Good with children? Unknown

Good guard dogs? No

Moulting level Medium

Grooming Moderate

Exercise requirement Lots

Jogging partner Short runs

Field Spaniel Breed Profile

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A docile, friendly chap, perhaps more suited to country than town. Provided he is well exercised, he'll make a good, obedient companion.

 

Field Spaniel Fact File

Life expectancy: 10 – 14 years.

Price: £900 to £1,200.

Height (at withers): 46cm.

Weight: 18 – 25kg, although some are heavier.

Coat care: Regular brushing and combing to keep tidy. Needs to be stripped and trimmed for the show
ring. Grooming regularly gives you an opportunity to check your dog for any lumps, bumps, or health problems. Check eyes, ears, and feet
for grass seeds.

Health: The Field Spaniel is generally a hardy breed. Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding  is important.

Character: Lovable, loyal, and jolly; can be sensitive, so early socialisation is key. These dogs are happy to curl up on a sofa or join you on long walks. The Field Spaniel was developed as an active, working gundog, so a Field needs plenty to occupy his mind if he is not to develop bad habits. Above all, Fields are sensitive and affectionate creatures, who love the company of humans, and get very lonely if left alone for too long, 

Trainability: Varies, but in the main very trainable with patience.

Exercise requirements: Will take an hour off-lead, but will work happily all day.

● With thanks to Jill Holgate, secretary of the Field Spaniel Society, for her help with this feature.

The Field Spaniel

These spaniels may be low in number, but they have won many fans with their appealing personalities. Julie Hill reports.

Described as one of the most handsome and noble of all the spaniel varieties, the Field Spaniel evolved around 150 years ago, and has experienced a chequered history ever since.

In the past, the breed has benefited from an infusion of Sussex Spaniel blood, and outcrossing with Springer Spaniels and even Basset Hounds, but at several times, this loving, sensitive dog has been very low numerically. Just before the Second World War, there were only four Field Spaniels left in the UK, and all the modern dogs’ pedigrees go back to these four. In the 1940s, the average annual registration was fewer than 10. In the 1960s, there was a revival of the breed, and in the past 10 years numbers have increased, with the breed’s popularity growing as these dogs become better known.

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“What he really loves is his role as a therapy dog...”

When Janet Griffiths, from Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, fell in love with a black Field Spaniel puppy, who she called Ianto, she could not have foreseen that he would grow up to win Best of Breed at the World Dog Show 2018, and Crufts 2020. 

Best of Breed winner at Crufts 2020, Ianto, with Janet (left) and handler Abi Stone.

“I’d not done much showing at all, but I’d retired, and I wanted a show dog, but there were other qualities he had to have besides,” she explained. “The size and temperament of the dog were important because I’ve got grandchildren. He ticks all of the boxes for personality and temperament.

“Ianto didn’t take to agility, although he did well at obedience eventually. What he really loves is the beach and the woods — and his role as a therapy dog.” 

Janet and Ianto joined Cariad Pet Therapy. “Being ex-NHS, I thought it might be nice to go back into a hospital. I had an enquiry from the dementia unit at my local hospital. I went along and didn’t know how he’d be, but Ianto was brilliant. He sat quietly; if somebody got upset he went and put his head on their lap or arm. He’s so sensitive to the needs of the patients. Some of them now remember his name and are waiting for him when we visit.”

They also visit a medical ward. “It’s much busier, but he’s so funny. Nobody is allowed to pass him; they must stop and say hello. They all stop and make a fuss of him. If we go into a five-bedded ward, he makes sure he goes to every bed; he doesn’t miss anybody out.”

As far as Janet knows, Ianto and his son, Merlin, are the only Field Spaniels in Pembrokeshire. “Lots of people mistake them for Flat Coated Retrievers or say: ‘That’s a very big Cocker Spaniel you’ve got there!’”

Q&A's

Owner: Wendy Bebb-Sutton, Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan.

Tell us about your dog. 
“Teisen is an eight-year-old black Field Spaniel. She is primarily a family pet, however we do participate in a few activities. At just one-year-old, Teisen was asked to try out a very special job. Our beautiful Labrador, Cruiser, had suddenly passed away. Cruiser was a therapy dog, encouraging children to read and to be more confident. Rather than let all these children down, we quickly registered Teisen and took her to school. She hasn’t looked back. Everyone loves her and she is now considered an important part of the school. It’s a privilege to own a Field Spaniel as they’re classified as a UK & Irish Vulnerable Native Breed due to being very low in numbers.” 

Why did you pick this breed?
“Field Spaniels have been in my family  for 34 years and I can’t imagine life without them.” 

Where did your dog come from?
“She came from a fellow breed enthusiast on the south coast. Her official name is Sh Ch Sonnetend Gentle Touch Cochen.”

What have been your biggest challenges with your dog? 
“We can’t really think of any big challenges.” 

Teisen has helped children to gain confidence in their reading.

What have been your happiest times together?
“Making her up to show champion was a moment never to be forgotten! We were so very proud of her. Then, watching children blossom through the confidence Teisen instils with her gentle nature; seeing the once shy child open up and chat away to Teisen and to us.” 

Has your dog turned out to be as you expected?
“She has exceeded all expectations!” 

Any ongoing issues?
“None whatsoever.” 

Any advice to other potential owners of this breed?
“Find a reputable breeder, who will give a lifetime of support, not just support at the point of sale. The Field Spaniel Society website has a wealth of information on the correct way to rear your puppy/dog, which is available for anyone to read. Field Spaniel enthusiasts are usually willing to offer tips and encouragement to other owners. Read and find out all you can about the breed before having one. Also, be prepared to wait — they are worth that wait.” 

Sum up your dog in one sentence.
“Teisen is far more than what you see — a very caring and gentle soul.” 

How easy is she to care for?
“She is fairly easy to care for with her daily exercise and brushing. But since spaying, her coat requires grooming a little more often.” 

Would you have another dog of this breed? 
“Yes. We now have four generations.”  

How have you found training your dog? 
“We enjoy training our Fields and found The Good Citizen Dog Scheme suits them — and us — very well.” 

What activity do you and your dog most like to share?
“We enjoy showing our Field Spaniels and are very successful, but seeing the effect Teisen has with the children in school probably tops everything else.”

INFO: For more information about Field Spaniels, visit the Field Spaniel Society website:
www.fieldspanielsociety.co.uk or check out the Kennel Club website: www.thekennelclub.org.uk