Welcome to Calico Field Spaniels - Celebrating 32 years improving the breed - 1984 - 2017

History of Field Spaniel

The Development of the Field Spaniel

The Field Spaniel was envisioned by the earliest developers as a solid black spaniel. This was at a time when solid black spaniels were not preferred by sportsmen. For strictly working purposes, spaniels with patches of white in the coat were easier to identify when working the field. Thus, the question must be posed, "if there were already plenty of spaniels to work for hunters, why was there a need for a new spaniel breed?" One explanation theorizes that the emergence of the dog show may have been a compelling reason behind the initial effort to develop the Field Spaniel as a separate and distinct spaniel breed. History shows that the more or less formal version of the dog show came into being at about the same time as the emergence of the Field Spaniel as a breed.

Champion Buckle, 1893

A large, solid black spaniel may well have been thought to be a way to win the approval of judges.

 

Foundations

 

The modern Field Spaniel owes his foundations to dogs of unremarkable lineage who were intertwined with the foundations of other spaniel breeds. Spaniels were classified as either "Land" or "Water" spaniels. Those spaniels classified as Land Spaniels were equally as often called Field Spaniels. Following the initial development as a separate breed of spaniel, the Field Spaniel as a breed met with near disaster as the breed evolved into a dog so long and so low as to be virtually useless in performing the tasks of a gundog. The general public was not impressed and turned away from this lovely breed. The Field Spaniel has never again regained its' original popularity. The extreme version of the breed which contributed heavily to near extinction of the Field Spaniel was of a type that was very long with crooked, short legs, a beautiful yet heavy head, and excessive feather.

Luckily, the Field Spaniel was rescued by fanciers who had the good sense to reflect upon the original type envisioned by the developers of the breed. All modern Field Spaniels descent directly from two dogs and two bitches remaining in the breed in the 1960s. All but one of these trace directly to an outcross made in the 1950s to the English Springer Spaniel.

 

The Field Spaniel in the United States

 

In the late 1800s, Field Spaniels were known in the United States. However, the initial introduction of the Field Spaniel in the U.S. was not long lived. The breed went into a decline following that paralleled the decline of the breed in its’ British homeland. It is noteworthy that none of the dogs in the United States in the initial introduction of the breed has any bearing on pedigrees of today’s Field Spaniels.

 

The modern re-birth of the Field Spaniel in the U.S. began in the homeland of the breed in December 1966. Three of this litter were imported to America in 1967 to form the base of the breed in America.

 

 

 

These Fields were: "Mac" (CH Pilgrim of Mittina) and "Twiggy" (CH Flowering May of Mittina), owned by Richard and Doris Squier (Squier's Kennels) of Randolph, Ohio; and "Brig" (CH Brigadier of Mittina) owned by P. Carl Tuttle (Gunhill Kennels) of Rectorville, Virginia. All were bred by Mrs. A.M. Jones, MBE of England (Mittina Kennels) and were liver in color. You may see the names of these original imports in extended pedigrees of Field Spaniels in the U.S.

Today, the Field Spaniel enjoys a permanent place in the United States and many other countries around the world. Though rarely seen at dog shows in general, “pockets” of fanciers exist in many regions. The Field Spaniel has proven to be a fine companion and competitor, equally adept as a household pet, a show dog, a hunting partner or in agility, tracking and obedience competition. The overall intelligence of the breed, the sense of humor, the love for human companionship, medium size, and relatively easy-care coat endears the Field Spaniel to his owners.

To read the AKC Standard of the Field Spaniel click here