There could possibly never be another dog breed that has experienced the same rise and fall that the Field Spaniel went through. The dramatic events that accompanied the Field Spaniel's early existence have made many people marvel at how the breed has survived up to this day. There may also never be another dog breed that went through so many exaggerated versions of its type before it came to be the breed that it is today. Judging from what it is now, one could say that what it went through in the past may have been necessary for it to become the dog of beauty and stature that we all now know and love.
The Field Spaniel of today is the result of careful breeding and outcrossing of the English Cocker Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel. Originally from England, the breed was introduced in America in the 1800s. It was not until the 20th century that it was recognized as a separate breed from the Cocker Spaniel. At that time, it was decreed that those weighing above 25 pounds are to be classified as Field Spaniels and those weighing less than 25 pounds are the Cocker Spaniels.
However, it was also in the late 1880s that the breed of Field Spaniel almost met extinction. This was due to the desire of several breeders to come up with a type of Field Spaniel with a longer and lower body. The selective breeding that took place resulted in a Field Spaniel that was considered beautiful, but it lacked the ability to perform its tasks as a work dog. The public turned away from this new breed, which resulted in the decline of the breed. Ironically, this came about at the time when the Field Spaniel was just established as a breed of its own.
Fortunately, there were some breeders who saw it fit to develop the original Field Spaniel breed that was envisioned by its early developers. Instead of the outcrossing with the Sussex Spaniel the way the wayward breeders had done, these breeders outcrossed it with the Springer Spaniel instead. The result of their efforts is the fine Field Spaniel that we know of today.
Because of the selective breeding that led to dismal results, the Field Spaniel had its championship status withdrawn at the end of the World War II. But, like a prize-fighter, the breed bounced back and regained its championship status in 1969. The rise and fall of the Field Spaniel might have been dramatic but it surely paved the way for the standing that the breed now enjoys in the dog society, a standing of nobility and grace that could make any owner proud.
Now that the Field Spaniel is back on track, it will definitely be here to stay. While it may still be known as the breed that almost became extinct, it certainly goes down in history as the dog that has overcome great misfortune and fought valiantly to regain its status as a champion dog breed.