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Field Spaniels: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Field Spaniel temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Field Spaniel dog breed

Although level-headed and mild-mannered, the Field Spaniel has more sporting instincts than most other spaniels and appreciates as much running, biking, hiking, or field work as you can provide.

It isn't fair to keep this lively little hunter, bred for activity and endurance, in a small yard with only a walk around the block for exercise.

When socialized early and extensively, the Field Spaniel is accepting of strangers, though he seldom runs right up to people as might a Cocker or Springer.

Field Spaniels do have an independent streak but respond well to light-handed, upbeat training. This sensitive breed cringes or withdraws when treated roughly or jerked around.

Some of these spaniels enjoy hearing the sound of their own voices, i.e. they can be barky.

The fun-loving Field Spaniel also enjoys splashing in puddles and slobbering in water bowls and will track mud around the house with his oversized webbed feet. Not a good breed for the fastidious housekeeper!

If you want a dog who...

  • Is larger than a Cocker Spaniel and smaller than a Springer Spaniel
  • Is steadier in temperament than either a Cocker or a Springer
  • Has a pretty feathered coat in a variety of colors
  • Is usually polite with everyone
  • Is peaceful with other pets

A Field Spaniel may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Providing enough exercise to keep him satisfied
  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
  • Timidity or fearfulness when not socialized enough
  • Regular brushing, combing, and clipping/trimming
  • Shedding
  • Barking
  • Excitable or submissive urination (tendency to dribble urine when excited or nervous)
  • Waiting lists (hard to find)

A Field Spaniel may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Field Spaniels have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
  • Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Field Spaniel to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

More traits and characteristics of the Field Spaniel

If I was considering a Field Spaniel, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Field Spaniels are athletic dogs who love to vent their energy by running through (wait for it....) fields! So if you don't take them out regularly and give them something interesting to do, they will become restless and bored. Dogs usually boredom by barking and destructive chewing.
  2. Potential separation anxiety. Like most of the spaniel breeds, Field Spaniels need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking.
  3. Providing enough socialization. Field Spaniels need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness.
  4. Grooming. To keep their silky coat free of mats, Field Spaniels require regular brushing and combing. Also clipping and trimming every few months.
  5. Shedding. Field Spaniels shed a considerable amount.
  6. Potential barking. Field Spaniels are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. See the Field Spaniel Training Page.
  7. Finding one. This breed is very uncommon. You'll almost certainly need to go on a waiting list for a puppy.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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