Field Spaniel

  • Overview

    The Field Spaniel is a medium-sized land spaniel who stands taller than a Cocker Spaniel. They weigh more than 25 pounds and less than 45 pounds, and they stand about 1 foot, 5 inches tall. Although Field Spaniels have many of the same instincts in the field that all spaniels possess, they were originally bred as all-black dogs in England, with the intention of making a perfect conformation show dog rather than a skilled fielding dog. Their black coats, with the absence of any white markings, made them unfavorable hunting dogs because they were hard to notice in the field.

    Field Spaniels are unique spaniels of medium size who are characterized by their gentle, loving personalities. They don't require as much grooming as their other spaniel relatives, but their silky coats do need to be brushed and trimmed occasionally to stay tidy.

  • Personality

    Because they were bred as companions, Field Spaniels are easy-going and pleasant around people. They are affectionate, gentle dogs who enjoy spending time with their owners. They are also athletic, so they appreciate the opportunity to jog or fetch with their owners each day. As retrievers, they hunt by zig-zagging back and forth through the underbrush to drive out birds and small game, so they have a surprising amount of endurance and are quick, adept runners.

    Field Spaniels are sensitive dogs who respond best to gentle, patient training. Still, they are quite trainable because they have a genuine desire to please and obey. Although they are mild-mannered and friendly, they should never be submissive or timid, especially around other dogs. They should enjoy the company of both dogs and people and make friends somewhat easily.

  • Coat Care

    Field Spaniels have a lighter coat than other spaniels because they have no under coat. Their silky, glossy hair is either flat or wavy. Field Spaniels have long, feathered hair along the backs of their legs and underbellies and have feathering on their ears. They have short, soft hair around their feet and between their paws. The coat comes in black, liver, roan and golden tan colors. Although the hair can be long, they don't have the copious amount of hair that Cocker Spaniels or Springer Spaniels have. If you love the finer points of the Spaniel's personality but you don't want to spend the time grooming, brushing and tending to their long, thick coats, the Field Spaniel is the answer to your prayers.

    Make sure to check your Field Spaniel's ears for infection weekly, and trim away excess hair around the face, ears and paws, especially if your dog seems uncomfortable. Even though you do not need to spend too much time brushing and grooming your dog, you do need to brush his teeth at least twice a week and trim his nails every two weeks.

Brushing

The single-coated Field Spaniel does not require much maintenance to keep their coats looking sharp. In fact, if you just brush your Field Spaniel when you notice that his coat is dirty or tangled, or after he's eaten a particularly messy meal, you'll probably be in good shape.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but it's generally best to bathe dogs with silky coats more often. The coat should end up fresh smelling, light and shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.

Hair Clipping

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with silky coats generally require routine hair clipping. Even though the breed standard is a long, natural coat, it is generally considered to be an easy, low-maintenance trim. Clipping lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of clippers and trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use clippers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Always leave at least a half-inch of fur to protect the dog from the elements. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Clip with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Silky coated breeds often have hanging pendant ears covered in feathered hair, which means their ears need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.