field spaniel dog breed profile treatment

Field Spaniel

The floppy-eared field spaniel is beloved in family homes and in the show ring for her sweet, playful, and athletic nature. Learn more about living with field spaniels.
Field Spaniel
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament
Field Spaniel
height
  • 17–18 inches
weight
  • 35–50 pounds
life span
  • 12–13 years
breed size
  • medium (26-60 lbs.)
good with
  • families
  • children
  • seniors
temperament
  • outgoing
  • gentle
  • playful
  • friendly
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • normal
exercise needs
  • medium
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • when necessary
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • sporting
coat length/texture
  • long
colors
  • black
  • blue
  • brown / chocolate / liver
patterns
  • bicolor
  • black and tan
  • blue and tan
other traits
  • easy to train
  • loves water
  • apartment-friendly
  • strong loyalty tendencies
  • good hiking companion

The docile, affectionate, and loyal field spaniel is the ultimate charmer. These medium-size pups are built to be hunters, but their loving, cheerful dispositions make them beloved family dogs

Fieldies—close relatives of the cocker, Sussex, and springer spaniels—have floppy, feathery ears; wide, expressive eyes; long, lean snouts; and soft, wavy fur. Blessed with an easygoing, versatile personality, the pups are game for both playtime in the great outdoors and cuddling on the couch.

While they are still uncommon sights at the dog park, they're gaining popularity in the United States. If field spaniels are given regular, daily exercise and plenty of attention, they are happy living in homes of all sizes.

Appearance

The field spaniel stands 17–18 inches tall and weighs 35–50 pounds. They are solidly built with firm, smooth muscles and, like a lot of other dog breeds, the males tend to be larger than females. "This breed is sturdy and medium-size," says Claudine Sievert, DVM, a veterinary consultant for Stayyy. "They were initially bred to retrieve game from land and water. Today, while they are still known for their great hunting skills, they are most often used for show dogs and loving family dogs." 

field spaniel sitting in a field with her tongue out
With their history as hunting dogs, field spaniels love the outdoors—and exploring it with their favorite people.
| Credit: Courtesy of bonniethefieldspaniel / Instagram and samanthamirzaee

Similar to their relatives—the cocker, springer, and Sussex spaniel—fieldies have long, feathery ears that hang below their long noses and wide, almond-shaped brown eyes. Their moderately long, dense coats are silky, wavy, and repel water, according to The Field Spaniel Society of America (FSSA).

Field spaniels come in a limited number of colors (varying shades of liver and brown, black, and blue) and can be solid or bi-colored. They are prone to regular shedding, but their coats can be easily maintained by an easy grooming routine, which involves brushing them weekly to keep their fluffy bodies shiny and healthy. 

When you first look at a field spaniel, you might think she's a cocker spaniel. And while the two dogs were once frequently interbred, according to the FSSA, they are now considered two separate breeds. So, what is the difference between a cocker spaniel and a field spaniel? Cockers come in more colors, and field spaniels are 5–20 pounds heavier than their smaller cousins. 

Temperament

Known for their cheerful, sweet, and eager-to-please dispositions, field spaniels are good pets for any dog-lover seeking a loyal best friend. They are versatile pups that relish a romp around the backyard followed by cuddling in the laps of their favorite humans. "They do well with all ages and make excellent, loving companions," Sievert says.

The fieldie's gentle nature makes her an ideal playmate for children and companion for seniors. "They are excellent with children," Sievert says. "They are patient, and while playful, they seem to realize that they need to be gentle." 

field spaniel lying on rug
The gentle field spaniel is an excellent companion for everyone from small kiddos to retired seniors.
| Credit: Courtesy of juniperthefieldspaniel / Instagram

And, as long as your field spaniel is socialized properly at an early age, she can also live happily with cats and other dogs. But don't forget each dog has their own personality, so pup parents should always take the proper steps when introducing a dog to a new family. 

The field spaniel doesn't bark excessively, but centuries of training to be skilled hunters means she has the tendency to speak up in certain situations. For instance, approaching unfamiliar animals and people may inspire the pups to alert their humans.

Thanks to their high intelligence and people-pleasing tendencies, the field spaniel is easy to train, making her a mainstay on the dog show stage. But these are sensitive canines that want to be near their owners at all times, so leaving them home alone all day is not an option (even with crate training).

Living Needs

The field spaniel is happy in almost any home, including apartments in bustling cities, but they do require daily exercise and room to roam. "They need to run, play, and work out on a daily basis to stay healthy and happy," says Aaron Rice, a dog trainer with more than 15 years of experience and co-owner of Stayyy. "Luckily, they are intelligent enough to get their exercise from playing with you or other dogs in your neighborhood."

field spaniel running through grass with her tongue out
Field spaniels are playful and athletic. But once they work out their energy, they make calm and gentle companions at home.
| Credit: Courtesy of bonniethefieldspaniel / Instagram

The field spaniel is an active sporting breed, so they need to keep their bodies (and minds!) well-exercised. Fieldies will fit right into homes that prioritize long walks, running, hiking, and other fresh-air activities. 

Some of the earliest field spaniels—which have origins in the United Kingdom—specialized in seeking and flushing small game including rabbits and birds, according to the breed club. These skills make them excellent hunting dogs, but they also might find quick-moving small creatures to be very enticing and chase-worthy. That means you should always keep your fieldie leashed on trails and other open spaces, particularly in areas where wild things roam.

field spaniel being held
Fieldies love their families, but they can be a little wary around new people at first. Socialize your field spaniel puppy early so she grows into a polite, confident dog.
| Credit: Courtesy of bonniethefieldspaniel / Instagram

While these dogs are friendly with their favorite humans and other four-legged friends, field spaniels can often be shy around new faces or in unfamiliar situations. But proper training and socialization (and an owner who is sensitive to her needs!) can help a fieldie thrive. 

Care

Field spaniels require at least 30 minutes of physical exercise, twice a day. They are energetic dogs that like to swim and run, Sievert says. Because the dogs are skilled problem solvers, they also can excel at canine sports like agility, which lets them exercise their brains and muscles. 

Whether you're teaching them to run through a backyard agility course or just to sit on cue, always use positive reinforcement methods. Owners can also connect with a knowledgeable professional trainer who specializes in spaniels and understands the breed's behavior.

"They are highly intelligent and want to please their family," Sievert says. "The best way to train them is by using treats to encourage them. You should make sure to give them a few short training sessions throughout the day. You don't want to yell or punish them when they make mistakes; instead, correct their behavior and reward them often."

field spaniel jumping hoop
Smart and athletic, field spaniels excel in dog sports such as agility.
| Credit: Courtesy of bonniethefieldspaniel / Instagram and jgzh.photography

Fieldies have beautiful, shiny coats. Weekly grooming at home helps minimize shedding and keep your fluffy-eared BFF looking her best. Unlike other spaniel breeds, the field doesn't require a clipped body hair style. "Since the field spaniel has a single coat, they don't require a lot of grooming like other breeds," Sievert says. "All you need to do is brush, comb, and fluff their coats weekly. If you notice any twigs or debris in their fur, you can just give them a quick brush to remove them."

To live the healthiest life possible, field spaniels need the proper amount of high-quality dog food. Consult a veterinarian on how much to feed a field spaniel; the amount will vary depending on the individual dog's size, weight, age, exercise levels, and other factors. Because the breed has long, floppy ears, you should check them often for signs of infection. And, like other pups, their nails should be trimmed as needed and their teeth should be brushed regularly to keep doggy breath at bay

Health

A typical field spaniel life expectancy ranges between 12–13 years. They are prone to hypothyroidism, which can negatively affect a dog's metabolism in different ways and is particularly common in middle-age to senior canines. While hypothyroidism isn't curable, it doesn't have to affect your dog's quality of life. Visiting your vet when you notice common signs of the condition—such as weight gain, lethargy, and excessive shedding—will ensure your fieldie receives proper diagnosis and treatment.

field spaniel standing on dock
Field spaniels need at least an hour of exercise a day, whether it's running, hiking, or swimming.
| Credit: Courtesy of bonniethefieldspaniel / Instagram

Field spaniels are also susceptible to eye problems such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia. "To help avoid this, ask the breeder to show evidence that the pup's parents are in good health," Sievert says. "If a breeder can't show certification, you need to look for one that can."

The field spaniel's floppy ears also make her susceptible to ear infections, Rice says. Owners can avoid this issue by making sure your pup keeps her ears dry, particularly after bathtime and swims, and by cleaning them regularly

"They also have very sensitive skin and their feet can be prone to developing corns, which can be treated with a corn pad," Rice says.  

field spaniel puppy standing in front of a fireplace
With their big paws and floppy ears, field spaniel puppies are oh-so-adorable. Like all dogs, they need early socialization and training to thrive.
| Credit: Courtesy of bonniethefieldspaniel / Instagram

History

The field spaniel was one of the first dogs to be shown and registered in the U.S. In fact, the breed's show career traces back well before the American Kennel Club was even founded in 1883, according to The Field Spaniel Society of America. 

The pups have been documented for many centuries, particularly in the United Kingdom. The earliest field breeds were developed by breeding larger cocker spaniels with regional English strains, such as the Sussex spaniel. The field spaniel gained its name for the breed's stellar ability to seek and flush out small game in dense landscapes—making the dogs a prized hunting companion.  

After dominating the show ring until the early 20th century, the field spaniel fell out of popularity. Beginning in the late 1960s, however, the canines have been revived from near extinction, thanks to a handful of passionate breeders. While they're still rare in the U.S., they are becoming more coveted here and across the world. 

Fun Facts

  • While a field spaniel is yet to be named Best in Show at the renowned Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, several of the breed's close cousins have earned top honors. For example, a Sussex spaniel named Clussex Three D. Grinchy Glee and an English springer spaniel named Felicity's Diamond Jim won in 2009 and 2007, respectively.
  • According to The Field Spaniel Society of America, all of today's field spaniels in the United States can be traced back in lineage to four show canines that lived in the 1950s and 1960s—when the breed was revived from near extinction. Their names were Elmbury Morwenna of Rhiwlas, Columbina of Teffont, Ronayne Regal, and Gormac Teal.