The Field Spaniel evolved about 150 years ago but throughout has had a rather chequered history sinking very low in numbers at several times over the years. Thankfully, this handsome breed has increased considerably during the last ten years or so.
The Field Spaniel ,comparing him to other gundogs, is somewhat small to medium in size. His back-skull is moderately wide,muzzle strong moderately long and lean with a well defined stop between. His eyes are of medium size and almond in shape, dark brown to dark hazel. Coat colours come in black or various shades of liver, with or without a small white marking on his chest.
The Field Spaniel, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, may be prone to minor health issues such as hypothyroidism and otitis externa, as well as seizures, heart murmurs, canine hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation.
Hip Dysplasia is the degeneration of the hip joint causing discomfort and lameness. All breeds of dogs can be affected. Smaller breeds compensate sufficiently for the problem in that the condition causes only minimally (generally unnoticed) effects. Larger breeds can be impaired by the defect. It is generally recommended that breeders of larger breeds of dogs test their breeding stock by X-rays to assure that there is no problem. Under this system, a vet takes X-rays (generally under sedation) of the dog when it is over two years of age. The X-ray films score the hips as excellent, good, fair, borderline, mildly dysplastic, moderately dysplastic, or severely dysplastic. Any of the first three scores are acceptable without significant bias.
Also known as “slipped stifles,” this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts — the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not properly lined up. This causes lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop. It is a condition that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of patellar luxation, ranging from grade I, an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, where the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may need surgical repair.