This is one of the most popular varieties of the Sporting Spaniel, and to all intents and purposes is, in its present form, a modern creation, dating from somewhere about the advent of dog shows. The Field Spaniel is lower on leg and longer in body in proportion than any other Spaniel. This anatomical formation in the first place had its origin in the production of a Spaniel better adapted for getting under gorse and brushwood than was the Springer and a dog that was less active than the Cocker. It is from these two older varieties, with an admixture of the Sussex, that the beautiful Field Spaniels of today, in all their pretty colors, were first evolved. The colors are black-and-tan, black, liver, liver-and-tan, black-and-white, black tan-and-white, liver-roan, blue-roan, etc. The blacks at one time were the most popular, but the craze for great length of body and lowness on leg was carried to such extremes that the breed at once degenerated into little less than elongated monstrosities. It lost the beautiful chiseling of head, at least in many of the specimens exhibited, and straightness of forelegs, and the activity which all sporting Spaniels should possess more or less. A reaction among sporting men set in, and, owing to their efforts and those of the Sporting Spaniel Club, happily the heavy-headed, crooked-fronted, and sluggish crocodile-like pattern are now happily almost obsolete.
We have today, too, a more rational type of dog, one that possesses all the features of an animal well fitted to perform the work originally prescribed for him, and yet free from the abnormalities which so disfigured the dog at one stage of his career.
The chief points to look for in the selection of puppies at from two to four months old and after of all the varieties of Field Spaniels, black and colored, are practically identical, and are: A long head, narrow skull, distinct stop; square muzzle, long body, flat back, short legs, the forelegs being straight and showing great bone, with a flat coat and down-carried tail.
The following description standard and scale of points has been adopted by the Spaniel Club:
GENERAL APPEARANCE.-Considerably larger, heavier, and stronger in build than the “Cocker,” the modern “Field Spaniel,” is more active and animated than the “Clumber,” and has little of the sober sedateness characteristic of the latter. He should exhibit courage and determination in his carriage and action as well as liveliness of temperament, though not in this respect to the same restless degree generally possessed by the “Cocker.” His conformation should be long and low, more so than the “Cocker.”
Intelligence, obedience, and good nature should be strongly evident. The colors most preferred are solid black or liver, but liver-and-white, black-andwhite, black-and-tan, orange, and orange-and-white are all legitimate Spaniel colors.
HEAD (value 15.)-Long and not too wide, elegant and shapely, and carried gracefully; skull showing clearly-cut brows, but without a very pronounced “stop;” occiput distinct and rising considerably above the set-on of the ears; muzzle long with welldeveloped nose, not too thick immediately in front of the eye, and maintaining nearly the same breadth to the point; sufficient flew to give a certain squareness to the muzzle and avoid snipiness or wedginess of face; teeth sound and regular; eyes intelligent in expression and dark, not showing the haw, nor so large as to be prominent or goggle-eyed.
EARS (10) should be long and hung low on the skull, lobe-shaped and covered with straight or slightly wavy silky feather.
NECK (5) long, graceful, and free from throatiness, tapering toward the head; not too thick, but strongly set into shoulders and brisket.
SHOULDERS AND ARMS (10).-The shoulder blades should lie obliquely and with sufficient looseness of attachment to give freedom to the forearms, which should be well let down.
LEGS AND FEET (15).-The forelegs should be straight, very strong and short; hindlegs should be well bent at the stifle joint, with plenty of muscular power. Feet should be of good size, with thick, well-developed pads, not flat or spreading.
BODY AND QUARTERS (20) long, with well-sprung ribs; strong, slightly arching loins, well coupled to the quarters, which may droop slightly toward the stern.
COAT AND FEATHER (15).-The coat should be as straight and flat as possible, silky in texture, of sufficient denseness to afford good protection to the skin in thorny coverts, and moderately long. The feather should be long and ample, straight or very slightly wavy, heavily fringing the ears, back or fore legs, between the toes, and on back quarters.
TAIL (10) should be strong and carried not higher than the level of the back.