Field Spaniel

Posted in Gundog Group

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.  Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

UTILIZATION: Flushing and retrieving dog. Ideal for rough shooting or companion for the country dweller. Not suitable for city.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY: Gundogs that are trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that has been shot and wounded is a very old tradition, not the least in Great Britain. The Field Spaniel belongs to the category of Flushing Spaniels that earlier was called “Land Spaniels”. -Although Spaniels are capable of doing the same work as Retrievers. The Field Spaniel is a product of crossing the one-time Sussex Springer and the Cocker Spaniel in the late nineteenth century. Twice, the breed nearly disappeared, firstly when fashion fads all but ruined the breed in the early 1900s and, secondly, when in the 1950s breed numbers were so small that the Kennel Club withdrew championship status, this being restored in 1969 only after determined efforts by breeders to maintain the breed. Still not a popular breed by modern standards, but nevertheless makes a good companion for the country dweller.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Well balanced, noble, upstanding sporting Spaniel, built for activity and endurance.

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT: Unusually docile, active, sensitive, independent.

HEAD: Conveys the impression of high breeding, character and nobility.


Skull: Well chiselled, occiput well defined, lean beneath eyes. A thickness here gives coarseness to whole head. Slightly raised eyebrows.

Stop: Moderate.


Nose: Well developed with good open nostrils.

Muzzle: Long and lean, neither snipy nor squarely cut. In profile curving gradually from nose to throat.

Jaws/Teeth: Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Eyes: Wide open but almond-shaped with tight lids showing no haw. Grave and gentle expression. Dark hazel in colour.

Ears: Moderately long and wide, set low and well feathered.

NECK: Long, strong and muscular enabling dog to retrieve his game without undue fatigue.


Back: Strong, level and muscular.

Loin: Strong, level and muscular.

Chest: Deep and well developed. Ribs moderately well sprung. Length of rib cage is two-thirds of the body length.

TAIL: Set on low. Never carried above level of back. Nicely feathered, with lively action. Previously customarily docked. Docked: Docked by one third. Undocked: Reaches approximately to the hocks. Tail of moderate length in balance with the rest of the dog.

[*refer note below]



General appearance: Legs of moderate length. Straight, flat bone.

Shoulder: Long and sloping and well laid back.

Forefeet: Tight, round with strong pads and not too small.


General appearance: Strong, muscular.

Stifle (Knee): Moderately bent.

Hock joint: Well let down.

Hind feet: Tight, round with strong pads and not too small.

GAIT/MOVEMENT: Long, unhurried stride with great drive from the rear. Short, stumping action undesirable.


Hair: Long, flat, glossy and silky in texture. Never curly, short or wiry. Dense and weatherproof. Abundant feathering on chest, under body and behind legs, but clean from hock to ground.

Colour: Black, black and tan, blue roan, blue roan and tan, liver brown, liver and tan, liver roan, liver roan and tan. In selfcoloured dogs, white or roan on chest is permissible. Clear black and white, liver brown and white, orange, red or golden is unacceptable.


Height at the withers: Males and females: Approximately 46cm at the withers.

Weight: Males and females: Between 18–25 kg.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.


  • Aggressive or overly shy dogs.
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified. 


  • Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
  • Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation, should be used for breeding.

*Regardless of the provisions of the current KUSA-adopted standard, docked or formerly docked breeds may be shown at all FCI- and KUSA-licensed shows in South Africa, whether their tails are docked, or natural. Under no circumstances are judges permitted to discriminate against exhibits on the grounds of docked, or natural tails and equal consideration for awards must be given to either.