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rec.pets.dogs: Field Spaniels Breed-FAQ


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                               Field Spaniels
                                      
Author

   The Field Spaniel Society of America. Arrangements and permissions for
   electronic distribution handled by Jay Ryan, Ryan_J@bls.gov.
   
   Copyright 1995 by The Field Spaniel Society of America.
   
Table of Contents

     * History
     * General Appearance
     * Personality
     * Hunting and Hunting Trials
     * Breed Shows
     * Obedience Trials
     * Grooming
     * Health
     * Choosing a Puppy
     * Further Information
     * AKC Breed Standard
     _________________________________________________________________
   
History

   The Field Spaniel was developed in England during the latter half of
   the 19th century to fulfill the demand for an all black, medium-sized,
   well-boned dog adept either at working in dense cover or in retrieving
   from land and water. For a time there was considerable interbreeding
   among all varieties of spaniel, and the progeny that resulted were
   usually registered under the variety they most resembled. Eventually,
   with the advent of more formalized dog shows, spaniels under 25 pounds
   were recognized as Cocker Spaniels, large liver and white or black and
   white dogs became known as English Springer Spaniels, and the solid
   color dogs over 25 pounds retained the name Field Spaniel.
   
   The first Field Spaniels in the United States were listed with the
   American Spaniel Club in the 1880's and registered with the American
   Kennel Club (AKC) in 1894; by the end of the 1920's the breed had
   disappeared from the AKC registration books. Field Spaniels were
   returned to the United States in 1968 when R. Squire and C. Tuttle
   imported three from England. These three Fields and subsequent imports
   form the basis for the majority of Field Spaniels presently in the
   United States. The Field Spaniel Society of America was formed in
   1978, and is recognized by the AKC as the parent Club for the Breed.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
General Appearance

   The modern Field Spaniel is a sturdy, medium-sized spaniel averaging
   18 inches in height, and weighing from 40 to 55 pounds. Well balanced
   in bone and substance, the Field is larger than the English Cocker,
   yet smaller than the English Springer. Hair coat is long, flat,
   glossy, and silky in texture, with good feathering on the chest, body,
   and legs. Colors are Black, Liver, or Roan, or any one of these with
   tan markings.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Personality

   An active, friendly dog, the Field is loving and eager to please. They
   are excellent with children and other animals, but can be somewhat
   reserved with strangers. Alert and able to bark an alarm, Fields are
   not guard dogs, nor are they dogs for those with "House Beautiful"
   aspirations. Though seasonal shedding is only moderate, their large,
   heavily webbed feet testify to the breed's fondness for water, and
   their drinking habits often leave the floor around their bowls
   swamped. True to their retrieving nature, Fields love to carry objects
   around in their mouths. They also like to travel, tend to snore, and
   can have a very diverse vocal range. To be at their best, young Fields
   should be trained and allowed to experience as many non-threatening
   situations as possible, including meeting a variety of people and
   animals.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Hunting and Hunting Trials

   Although in recent years there has been virtually no selective
   breeding for hunting ability, the Field remains a fine working
   spaniel. When trained, the Field will quarter in dense cover to flush
   birds, such as pheasants, quail, and chukars, with ease and will
   retrieve them with a soft mouth. The excellent nose and independent
   spirit of the Field make them a joy as hunting companions. Fields
   currently compete in field and water tests, and tracking.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Breed Shows

   Most Field Spaniels enjoy showing and are excellent for someone who
   wants an attractive medium-sized dog without a lot of grooming. The
   Field is also an excellent choice for owners who want to handle their
   dog themselves, since it is possible, if there are enough dogs in
   their region of the country, for an owner-handler to finish a Field to
   a championship. A number of Fields have placed in the Group Ring.
   Training a puppy for showing may begin as early as 8-12 weeks. As with
   any puppy training, care must be taken not to over-train or over-show.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Obedience Trials

   Like many spaniels, Fields are very bright and active dogs and if not
   trained may well become bored and get into mischief. However, the same
   independent spirit that makes the Field a good hunting dog can make
   obedience training an interesting challenge. If trained with positive
   methods at the correct age, a Field can be a happy, high-scoring
   worker. The natural reserve and placidity of Fields also makes them
   excellent for therapy dog work.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Grooming

   Fields are less coated than the majority of spaniels, and one kept as
   a pet requires little grooming. Besides being cleaned and brushed, all
   Field Spaniels need their toenails, the hair between the pads of their
   feet, and the hair inside their ears clipped. The pad and ear clipping
   is not only more attractive, but the shorter hair dries more quickly,
   which helps prevent the development of eczema.
   
   Field Spaniels that are shown require more grooming. When presented to
   the dog show judge, a well-groomed Field should look natural. Clippers
   are used only on the head and the front of the neck, and any other
   grooming is done with thinning shears and stripping knives.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Health

   Overall, Field Spaniels enjoy very good health. When health problems
   do occur the two most common health problems encountered are hip
   dysplasia and thyroid disease.
   
   Of course, all dogs should be checked regularly by a veterinarian,
   kept up-to-date on all shots, including parvovirus, and kept on a
   heartworm preventative.
   
  Hip Dysplasia
  
   Hip dysplasia, the most common skeletal defect in dogs of all breeds,
   is an inherited condition that results from a poor fit between the
   ball and socket apparatus of the hip joints. Symptoms range from none
   to severely crippling and there is no cure. All Field Spaniels, but
   especially those used for breeding, should have their hips x-rayed.
   
  Thyroid disease
  
   Thyroid disease is not a life threatening condition, nor does it
   necessarily result in loss of quality of life. Symptoms can include
   weight gain, lethargy, poor coat, and/or scaly skin. Confirmation is
   made via a blood test and treatment requires daily medication.
   
  Other conditions
  
   Other conditions that occur occasionally in Fields are Progressive
   Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Sub-Aortic Stenosis (SAS). PRA is an
   incurable disorder that leads to blindness. Once again all Fields, but
   especially those used for breeding, should have a yearly eye exam by a
   canine ophthalmologist. SAS is a hereditary condition that causes the
   sudden death of a puppy or young dog; any Fields used for breeding
   should be examined and declared clear by a competent veterinarian.
   
   Ectropion, or loose eyelids, and the much less common entropion, in
   which the eyelid is turned in towards the eyeball, may also occur. If
   severe either condition might require surgery.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Choosing a Puppy

   Ask the breeder as many questions as needed to help you make an
   informed decision as to whether the Field Spaniel is the breed for you
   and your family. At the very least request information about
   temperament, hips, eyes, and thyroid of both parents and any siblings
   of the puppy or dog you are purchasing. The absence of problems in the
   parents and siblings significantly increases your chances of
   purchasing a sound, normal dog.
   
   Look for a puppy that is outgoing and friendly, with an overall
   appearance of good health. If possible, try to visit the litter before
   making your decision. Always have a new animal examined by a vet
   within 24 to 48 hours to ensure its health.
     _________________________________________________________________
   
Further Information

   For the most current information, see the Field Spaniel Society of
   America: http://www.akc.org/clubs/fssa/. Another source of information
   on Field Spaniels is An International Association of Field Spaniel
   Enthusiasts: http://www.epick9.com/iffs/.
   
   Rescue
   http://clubs.akc.org/fssa/rescue.htm
   
   Breeder referral
   http://clubs.akc.org/fssa/breeder.htm
     _________________________________________________________________
   
AKC Breed Standard

   Please see the official (U.S.) standard at the AKC site:
   http://www.akc.org/breeds/recbreeds/fieldspa.cfm
     _________________________________________________________________
   
   
    Field Spaniel FAQ
    Jay Ryan, Ryan_J@bls.gov
    
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