Showsight Presents the Field Spaniel

SPANIEL FIELD

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JUDGING THE FIELD SPANIEL By Nicole Dooley

J udges have the unique oppor- tunity to make an impact to a breed’s progress by being diligent in learning and applying the standard to dogs they reward. What is most challenging in a rarer breed, such as the Field Spaniel, is applying “type” to this equation, as well. Considering that Field Spaniels have always been on AKC’s “low entry breed” list, it is within reason to assume that many judges have not had the privilege of viewing a large entry for the breed, or have had that opportunity on multiple occasions. Th at said, it is of the utmost importance for you to know and understand what makes a Field Spaniel unique regardless of the limited opportu- nity that prospective and current judges may have to evaluate the breed in person. History While the Field Spaniel was one of the earliest registered breeds in the United States, dating back to the 1880’s, it is in reality a breed with a young history from a conformational standpoint. Due to a decline in both the US and the home country of England, and near extinction, the breed had to be reintroduced to the US in the late 1960’s by way of three litter- mates imported from the UK. Th e breed has come a long way since that time due to the commitment of diligent breeders. While this lovely breed continues to grow and improve, breeders have also proved and maintained the breed’s natural work- ing ability. It is very important that the breed remain one that can stand up to the requirements of a day in the Field. Beauty, Balance & Type What three things should you as a judge keep in mind when evaluating a Field Spaniel? Th e answer is easy: Beauty. Bal- ance. Type. But how are these reflected in individual dogs? How would you go about judging the breed? How do you define

recognize in the breed? What about move- ment? What makes the Field Spaniel head distinctive? Are there any hallmarks of the breed? Th e most significant line from the Field Spaniel standard is, “Symmetry, gait, attitude and purpose are more impor- tant than any one part”. You will want to remember this as you continue reading. Th e Field Spaniel is described in the standard as a combination of beauty and utility, a well balanced, substantial hunter- companion of medium size, built for activ- ity and endurance in a heavy cover and water. It has a noble carriage; a proud but docile attitude; it is sound and free mov- ing. Symmetry, gait, attitude and purpose are more important than any one part. Th e Field Spaniel is a breed in which there is no division between bench and working dogs. Considering that they are bred with this in mind, it is imperative they be judged with this in mind as well. Your judging begins the moment the dogs walk in the ring. Watch them as they enter. Th ere are many owner handlers in this breed, and they are usually handling inexperienced dogs. Keep this in mind as you move through your assignment. Th is is a breed that can be reserved at first meet- ings and may be unsure of the goings on. Th is is especially true if the dog is young and the handler is inexperienced. How- ever, this is by not an excuse for an overly shy or timid dog, particularly in the open or bred-by class. As the standard says, “ Th ey may be somewhat reserved in initial meetings. Any display of shyness, fear, or aggression is to be severely penalized.” Proportion “A well-balanced dog, somewhat longer than tall. Th e ratio of length to height is approximately 7:6.” Look at your entry of exhibits in line and take a moment to assess the overall outline of the dogs. Th e front of the dog should be in balance with, and not heavier than the rear. Front and rear angles should

be both moderate and balanced, as well. Th e initial appearance should be neither coarse nor weedy, but have adequate bone and substance. Th ere should be no extreme exaggerations in any direction. Th e Field should be longer than it is tall in a ratio of 7 to 6, with the length being measured from the forward most point of the shoul- der to the rear and the height from the withers to the ground. Th e depth of chest should be roughly equal to the length of the front leg from elbow to ground. Th e rib cage should be long and extending into a short loin with little to no tuck up in mature dogs. Th e upper thigh should be broad and powerful; the second thigh well muscled. A key point to remember when viewing the outline of a Field Spaniel is that it is incorrect for this breed to have a sloping topline. Th e neck should smooth- ly slope into the shoulders, followed by a strong level topline. Over extended or, worse, over angulated rears are also not desirable. Overall balance is of the utmost importance. Th e front must be in balance with the rear with a deep loin connecting to the two! And it is essential that that there is balance between size, proportions, and substance. Head Look down the line and view the head and expression. Per the standard, expression should be “grave, gentle and intelligent.” Th e head should convey the impression of high breeding, character and nobility, and must be in proportion to the size of the dog. Eyes should be almond shape and a dark hazel to dark brown col- or. A round eye and/or light eye is incor- rect is likely to express a harsh or hard expression, instead of the grave and gentle expression the standard requires. Adding to the distinctive head and expression is an ear set slightly lower than the level of the eye, a moderate stop, a strong long muzzle neither snipey nor squarely cut, flews cov- ering but not extending beyond the lower

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typically adorns the chest, underbody, backs of the legs, buttocks, and may also be present on the second thigh and underside of the tail. Overabundance of coat, or cottony texture, impractical for field work should be penalized. Colors are black, liver, and golden liver. Golden liver is generally considered the color of a Sus- sex Spaniel. Tan-points acceptable on any of the aforementioned colors and are the same as any tan-pointed breed (Gordon Setters, Dobermans, etc.). Th e breed is either a self-colored or bi- colored dog. Bi-colored dogs MUST be roaned and/or ticked in white areas. White is allowed on the throat, chest, and/or bris- ket, and may be clear, ticked, or roaned on a self-color dog. Always remember that this is a sturdy hunting companion. Symmetry, gait, atti- tude and purpose are more important than any of the parts. Look at the whole dog in this light. Fault judging does a disservice to the breed. Applying personal preference above all else to one area of the dog is also not in the breed’s interests. Look at the whole dog and then weigh each dog’s faults and attributes from there in order to make your selections. Type and purpose should go hand in hand. Th ere are no disqaulifications in the Field Spaniel standard. Remember that the breed has had only a few decades of to hone conformation here in the United States, and your selections can either help or inhibit a breeds’ path in the future. Th e search for breed type and proper structure, one that can stand up to the requirements of a day in the field should always be at the forefront of your judging process.

“...‘SOLIDLY BUILT, with moderate bone, and firm smooth muscles.’”

jaw. Th e nasal bone should be straight and slightly divergent from parallel with the plane of the top skull. While the breed should have a distinctive head we are NOT A HEAD BREED. Please do not judge the head first and foremost and put primary importance on the head. Movement & Gaiting When moving your entry together or individually it is important to ensure they are gaited at the proper speed for the breed. Th e breed standard reads, “ Th e Field Span- iel should be show at its own natural speed in an endurance trot, preferably on a loose lead, in order to evaluate its movement.” A natural speed in an endurance trot is appropriate for the breed. Th ey should not be shown charging out and pulling at the end of the lead or zipping around the ring at top speeds. While there is good forward reach from the shoulder, coupled with strong drive, proper Field Spaniel move- ment should remain e ff ortless in a long and low majestic stride. Fast, tight, and strict movement is incorrect. A loose lead is best to appropriately evaluate movement. While the standard allows for some con- vergence in front at higher speeds, there should not be extreme toeing in. When gaiting a dog to assess front and rear movement, elbows and hocks should move parallel, just as they should be when standing still. Pay attention to this. You will be hard pressed to find a specimen that moves in parallel that does not stand in parallel, especially the rear. Dogs that are cow-hocked but move straight may- be reflective of weakness in the second thigh. Th e legs move straight, with slight convergence at increased speed, however single tracking is incorrect. Please watch for toeing on frontward movement this may reflect lack of forechest or depth of chest. Lifting from the pastern is common in younger dogs; however mature dogs should be reaching beginning at the shoul- der if moving correctly. Energy wasting movement is incorrect. Specimens should

not be throwing out elbows or hocks and the down and back exercise is the best opportunity to judge this. Movement in this breed should be very clean and fluid. Substance “Substance—Solidly built, with mod- erate bone, and firm smooth muscles.” Upon examination, the bite is to be scis- sors or level, with scissors preferred. While a good dog should not be totally over- looked for an incorrect bite, correct bite is not insignificant to type. Th e forelegs are straight and well-boned to the feet. As you move along this is your opportunity to let your hands be your eyes. Th e neck should be well set into the shoulder. Th e proster- num should be prominent and well fleshed. Elbows are closed-set directly below the withers and turned neither in nor out. Th e ribcage should be long and extending into a short loin. ( Th e 7:6 length in this breed is to be picked up in the rib, not the loin.) Ribs should oval and well-sprung, but not overly round or barrel chested. Th ese dogs should not be narrow from any angle. Th e loin should be deep with little to no tuck up. Th e croup should be short and gently rounded. Hocks should be well let down and should be parallel when viewed from the rear. Tail should be set on low, in line with the croup, just below the level of the back with a natural downward inclination. Docked tails are preferred, but natural tails are allowed.

Coat

Th e coat should be single and moderately long, flat or slightly wavy and silky. It should be dense and water- repellent. “Amount of coat or absence of coat should not be faulted as much as structural faults” according to the breed standard. Moder- ate setter-like feathering

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THE ACTIVE, INQUISITIVE SPANIEL By Nichole Dooley & Daphne Stover

I really thought the little black ball of fur I had just met was a long bodied cocker mix. I had been involved with Setters and Cocker Spaniels in performance events for over 10 years, but had never heard of a Field Spaniel. My first experience with the breed was amazing. Th e little Field bitch was confident and energetic, with a mind of her own. She was active, smart, and needed a “Job!” Doggie daycare was perfect for her. It was an outlet for her energy and taught her social skills. We also started obedience and agil- ity training. She learned quickly and was easy to motivate. Food, toys, she loved it all! I was her other mother, trainer, mentor, playmate, and her best friend. Although, together we challenged each other in the many venues in agility, rally and obedi- ence. I learned how a Field Spaniel learns and thinks, and that they had their way of doing things. A true crowd pleaser, she also taught me that Field Spaniels can really do it all. I now live with three wonderful Field Spaniels each with their own unique per- sonalities. From room to room, I find a Field following me wondering what we will do next. Some of their favorite activi- ties are fetching, running, wrestling with each other, going for a walk, chasing the birds, rabbits, and squirrels, burrowing through the snow, car rides, or just laying in the sun. Th ey are funny, cuddly Spaniels that want to be my lap dogs. Not realiz- ing that they are nearly too big for my lap! Th ey are very much creatures of habit and love to predict their day, helping me with my daily duties. As long as they are with the family, they are happy. Th ey are a versatile spaniel that love the outdoors. Th ey are eager to please their humans, and are happy doing agility, rally, obedience, hunting, tracking, lure cours- ing, dock diving, working as a therapy dog, or just being faithful companions. Being a sporting companion dog they must be

“THEY ARE VERY MUCH CREATURES OF HABIT and love to predict their day, helping me with my daily duties.”

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“A BEAUTIFUL, COMICAL SIGHT is a photo of a Field flying over a jump with their ears flying like wings.”

employed or can become bored and destructive, they are best suited for an active lifestyle spending time with their owners. A Field responds well to positive and motivational training techniques that include toys, food, and drive. Th ey quickly learn right or wrong. Minimal corrections are su ffi cient. Exposure to harsh train methods can cause a Field Spaniel to totally shut down. Th eir intelligence can fool them into thinking they know what you want, before you ask for it, o ff ering behaviors you may not want. Th ey admire and need a confident leader who is fun! Th ey will challenge every moment to live life to the fullest, so you must be one step ahead of them in the thinking process. Th e bond you create with your Field Spaniel through play, training, exercise, disci- pline, and trust will follow through in any performance arena. Obedience with a Field can be rewarding for both dog and trainer. Baseline training before 6 months old is so crucial, it imprints on them for life. Reserved by nature, they need to be socialized with many people and dogs during this time. Most can learn and pass the CGC, Canine Good Citizen test, as a puppy and are very capable of competing at all levels of rally and obedience. Fields prefer rally obedience because of the versatility of exercises and the ability to praise, and interact with them while working. Although their ability to scent retrieve, jump, and focus for long periods of time, have allowed them to be great working util-

ity dogs. One must always remember that they are spaniels with a working nose. Th is can lead to occasional sni ffi ng in obedience or rally, tracking the dog before them or hunting the area to free it from critters. Field Spaniels love all aspects of agil- ity and the constant course changes make them want more. Add a few extra tunnels and it increases their excitement. Th e tun- nels draw them in full speed ahead, and they come out smiling. Th e quickness of the sport is highly contagious for handler and dog. A beautiful, comical sight is a photo of a Field flying over a jump with their ears flying like wings. Th eir sense of fun and desire to make you laugh will sure- ly entertain in agility and make you think they forgot everything they have learned.

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BIO Daphne Sto-

ver owns Hadley Acres Obedience & Care, a dog training, groom- ing, and kennel in Metamora,

MI. When she is not helping her clients enjoy an easier life with their dogs, Daph- ne enjoys competing with her WyldKatz Field Spaniels in agility, obedience, and conformation. Daphne has earned hun- dreds of titles on her dogs in the past 15 years in many venues. She also volunteers her time helping the Field Spaniel Society of America with their performance activi- ties as the current FSSA Performance Chairperson. Her latest accomplishment was certifying her field Sabre to be a USA Th erapy dog. Daphne is USA Th erapy Dog’s lead Trainer.

Th e tracking Field Spaniel is simply amazing and beautiful to watch. Th ey can follow an invisible trail of scent through various covers and weather conditions. A Field Spaniel’s “Nose, Knows!” Tracking is in their blood. Th ey have been very success- ful in both search and rescue and tracking tests. Most Fields can pass a TD level track- ing dog test with minimal training and patience. Learning how to read your Field’s tracking style, is your challenge. Of course, we can’t forget what Field Spaniels were originally bred to do! A Field Spaniel doing what it was intended is truly a sight to behold. Th ey are eager and will- ing to find, flush, and retrieve game from both land and water and they give mean- ing to saying “form follows function”. Built for activity and endurance they can accommodate most terrains. Th e Field Spaniels willingness to please and natural ability to problem solve make them perfect candidates for field work. While their curiosity level may get the best of them in their youth and when early in training and exposure to the field, con- sistency, patience and building a good

foundation of good habits is essential. In the end, this can make any seasoned hunter jealous of your Field Spaniel as an all-around hunt test competitor or tire- less in-season companion. Over the years, since the breed was re-established in the second half of the 20th century, we have to be thankful for the longtime breeders that have helped move this breed forward whom have also committed to working their dogs in the Field. For a small breed, and to be able to boast Master Hunter titles from a several di ff erent kennels and many more running at the senior levels is proof that this breed remains a working dog at the core. It is always an adventure training and exhibiting with a Field Spaniel. Many experiences with the Fields Spaniel breed have taught me that the Field will continue to learn as long as you continue to motivate and train them. Th eir active, inquisitive personality enables them to perform well into their retirement years in conformation and performance venues worldwide. Best of all, their impish nature will always keep you on your toes!

BIO N i c h o l e

Dooley Bunch is a longtime breeder, owner and handler. Having either owner/handled or breeder/own-

er/handled several di ff erent Field Spaniels (both dogs and bitches) to multiple sport- ing group wins, top breed & all-breed rankings, and earned winners at multiple National Specialties, among other top awards nationwide, she is one of the most accomplished handlers in the breed on a national scale. Most recently, her dog Hudson was the #1 Field Spaniel All-systems for 2012 and was the first Field Spaniel to earn the Reserve BIS award; and her bitch Ginger was the #1 Field Spaniel bitch in 2012, both being the only two Field Spaniels ranked in the top 5 breed and all-breed. In 2013, Ginger went on to become the 1st FS Bitch to win Best of Breed at Westminster KC in 15 years. She and her mother, Corinne Dooley, breed under the SandsCape prefix.

“For a small breed, and to be able to boast Master Hunter titles from a several different kennels and many more running at the senior levels is PROOF THAT THIS BREED REMAINS A WORKING DOG AT THE CORE.” t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& . "3$) 

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