In the last century all spaniels were one of two types. They were either water spaniels or land or "field" spaniels. The land spaniels were frequently interbred and registered as the spaniel it most closely resembled. The only difference between the cocker and the field spaniel was that of size. Those that were under 25 lbs were registered as cockers and those over 25 lbs were registered as field spaniels.
The field spaniel of the early 1900's bears little resemblence of the field today. The early fields were very long and low to the ground with a beautiful (although heavy) head and excessive feathering. As the longer lower dogs experienced success in the show ring, breeders of the day strived for an even lower longer dog. This exaggeration left the breed virtually useless to the hunter. The popularity of the breed decreased and has not been regained since.
The breed was at a low during WWI. This was due to both the war and the breed's poor reputation. In an attempt to increase popularity, breeders of the time strived to produce a dog more up on leg and shorter backed. The registration numbers began to rise and the breeds popularity was on the upswing. The numbers started to decline in the 1930's and the breeds numbers remained low until the 1960's
It was in 1967 that Richard and Doris Squier imported CH Pilgrim of Mittina (Mac) and CH Flowering May of Mittina (Twiggy) and P. Carl Tuttle imported CH Brigadier of Mittina (Brig). Brig, Mac and Twiggy are liver littermates imported from Mrs. A.M. Jones of England (Mittina Kennels). These two breeders and 3 dogs are responsible for re-establishing the breed in the US
Due to the breeds medium size and easy to care for coat, it is an attractive breed for many. The field excels in the show ring and performance venues. Although the breed numbers are small, the accomplishments of these dogs are many. They excel in obedience, tracking, agility, hunting, therapy and basically whatever you may ask of him.
All in all, the field spaniel is a great family pet. They may be reserved or aloof in their inital greetings. This should not be mistaken for shyness and never should agression be shown. Once they meet you, they will never forget you. Fields are very intelligent and learn very quickly. This is great for training, but can also work against you if you are not careful! Never let them do something just this once! Fields must be a part of the family. They want to be included in the daily aspects of their owners lives. They do not do well in a kennel situation or with minimal human contact. Socialization from an early age is a must. If a constantly neat home is something you desire, the field is not the right breed for you. The water bowl is a "swimming pool" and you will have water throughout your home. With the proper socialization and training, the field spaniel can be the greatest companion you will ever have!
The field spaniel is a rare breed. In 2000, there were only 102 fields registered and there are an estimated 1500 fields living in the US. If you are searching for a field spaniel, patience is a must. It may take a year or longer to find the perfect puppy and breeder for you. The breed is well worth the wait!!
This page was last updated on: April 19, 2009