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The Field Spaniel
The Field Spaniel - A Gentle, Friendly, Sensitive and Affectionate Show and Working Dog
The Field Spaniel is a medium-sized breed originating in England, where it was developed in the late 19th century in an attempt to create an all-black, Spaniel-type show dog; the breed was created by crossbreeding the Sussex Spaniel, the English Water Spaniel and the English Springer Spaniel.
Nowadays, this breed is quite rare and the Kennel Club registers it as a vulnerable native breed even in the UK. They are the ancestors of the modern English and American Cocker Spaniels, but much bigger in size. Though still a hunting breed, it was not popular among hunters due to its black colored coat, and it was originally intended for show purposes only. However, this eclectic breed is appreciated nowadays for its hunting, tracking and retrieving abilities as a working field dog, as well as for being an excellent watchdog and loyal family companion. In a study conducted on working intelligence, this breed came above average.
The standard weight of the Field Spaniel is 37 to 50 pounds and its standard height is 17 to 18 inches at the withers. Its long-haired, silky coat, flat or wavy, ranges from black, golden liver (brown) and blue roan to bi-colored, like liver and tan, black and tan, with or without white markings on the chest. The tail can be docked or left as it is. Its body is solidly built, athletic, well-muscled and well-proportioned, being as long as it is tall. Its keen sense of smell is used for scenting trail when hunting birds.
This energetic and agile dog needs a large space where it can run freely on a daily basis. It should not be confined to a small apartment, nor left in a kennel, as it would not feel at ease, it would become stressed and refuse to eat. A fenced backyard is more appropriate for it, so as to avoid picking up a scent and running off. Thus, plenty of regular exercise will keep it in shape and prevent it from getting overweight, which would put pressure on its joints. They prefer living indoors, close to their family, but enjoy playing and running outdoors for hours. They love the company of other dogs and other small animals. They are sociable, playful and faithful to their family, with a mild disposition and well-balanced temperament.
Despite its long, beautiful coat, it requires little maintenance, no professional grooming and it is an average shedder. Brushing it once or twice a week will keep its coat clean and will get rid of the mats. Its ears, however, require special care to keep them clean at all times, because, being quite long and furry, they can pick up bacteria and get infected. In terms of health, they are usually predisposed to eye disorders (atrophy of the retina, cataract) and also to hip dysplasia; therefore to prevent the latter, an optimum body weight should be maintained.
The Field Spaniel loves water, so, if you have a pond nearby, take it for a swim. Obedience training is done quite easily, but remember that they are extremely sensitive and commands should be given in a gentle and calm tone, or they can become withdrawn and suffer a great deal. They also get very bored with repetitive commands, which they understand from the start anyway, being highly intelligent.
This breed of noble descent is very docile, friendly and gentle and loves the company of children. Equally loving, attached and devoted to all family members, they are pretty weary of strangers, unlike the Cocker Spaniels. Constant attention from the family is not necessary, because they are quite independent dogs. They are also used as therapy dogs and agility dogs. They can adapt very well to any climate and familial environment.
By adopting a rare Field Spaniel, in addition to its remarkably elegant appearance, you can discover a gentle, sensitive, intelligent, loving and playful furry friend.
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