Can you imagine going a quarter of a century without one single dog being registered of an AKC recognized breed? It happened.
From 1942 until 1967, there was no Field Spaniel in the AKC’s registry even though it was one of the first breeds to be shown and registered in America, their presence in a show ring predating the founding of the AKC in 1884, and even before the American Spaniel Club was founded in 1881. Happily, a revival of the breed begin in the late 60s, something that couldn’t have happened had a few dedicated breeders in England not kept the breed from vanishing altogether.
We sometimes think the Field Spaniel is one of dogdom’s best kept secrets. Hunters shooting over the dogs are the beneficiaries of fabulous noses and dogs that hunt at a speed comfortable to walk behind. They are typically slower, methodical, and more deliberate workers in the field than some other breeds, but it’s said that a Field Spaniel will find birds that other dogs have missed. They can hunt all day with enthusiasm, but have an on/off switch making them easy companions with which to live.
There’s an additional benefit to families with split interests. Because Field Spaniels haven’t split into “field” and “show” types, the hunter in the family has a working dog, while the family fancier can go to dog shows and be competitive. In fact, the vast majority of Field Spaniels running in spaniel hunt tests are also conformation champions.
Image of Vintage Dog Illustration of Field Spaniels by Walter Weber from a 1958 book on dogs is available for purchase here