12×19 graphite and white charcoal on tinted Canson pastel paper. Original available.
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The Field Spaniel is a medium-sized breed of dog. It is one of several spaniel breeds which can serve as gundogs.
Appearance The Field Spaniel is 17-19 inches (43-48 cm) tall at the withers. Its long, silky coat comes in solid colours of liver and black. Tan points are allowed as is Roan, which is defined as a blend of both dark and white hairs without large patches of either colour. The Field Spaniel is somewhat longer than taller to a ratio of 7:8. Field Spaniels weigh on average 37-45 lb (23-30 kg).
History The Field Spaniel was the first spaniel developed specifically for conformation showing. The breed developed at the time when dog showing was first coming into vogue. With most spaniels being a base colour with white splashes, breeders wanted to create a solid black dog. They bred every black spaniel of that time including Cocker Spaniels and the Irish Water Spaniel. Upon introduction, the Field Spaniel was an instant hit. The Field Spaniel enjoyed a burst of success quite early and quickly became a popular breed. The intense focus of show breeders on this breed led to a rapid demise of the original Field Spaniel. The dogs were crossed with Sussex Spaniels and Basset Hounds to produce low legged, long backed versions leading to tremendous health problems. Just as quickly as the Field Spaniels star rose in the show world, it fell once the myriad of genetic problems emerged.
On the brink of extinction, breeders worked to restore the Field Spaniel to its former glory. Crosses with English Springer Spaniels, under the watchful eyes of the English Kennel Club were made to increase the gene pool. Even though The Field Spaniel is now restored to normal, it has never achieved the same level of popularity and remains a rare breed. The Field is now seen more often in the show rings and in the field as a hunting companion.
Temperament The Field Spaniel is a very social breed that can adapt to almost any lifestyle. Whilst they will coexist peacefully with dogs and cats, as a hunting dog, their instincts make them difficult around rabbits, mice, rats and similar animals. They can sometimes be difficult around birds but should adjust if socialised as a puppy. Fields Spaniels are a family breed and will show affection to all household members. However, they are naturally cautious of strangers making them an excellent watchdog. The Field Spaniel will not handle abusive situations and should never be treated as a guard dog.
Grooming Being a spaniel, the breed requires some grooming to keep a neat appearance and to prevent ear infections. Normally the head, face, ears, throat and feet are trimmed. Ear trimming is important in all spaniel breeds as the long ears prevent air circulation in the ear canal causing excessive moisture and infection. Fields Spaniels have webbed feet and excessive hair can also lead to excessive moisture and infection. Fields that are shown have more extensive grooming to present their conformation in the ring. In addition Field Spaniels for show may also have their feathering on the legs and undercarriage trimmed. Nails should never be allowed too grow long. An active Field Spaniel will naturally wear down nails however carpeting can sometimes prevent this (info from Wikipedia).