As a cross between the Springer and the Cocker Spaniel, the modern-day Field Spaniel did not come into distinction as a separate breed without any difficulty. In fact, it met with a tragedy that almost resulted in its near extinction. This happened in the 19th century almost right after it was first recognized as a separate breed from the Cocker Spaniel. Its selective breeding met with dismal results because the new type of Field Spaniel was unable to work in the field as well as it used to. At the end of World War II, Field Spaniels became very rare and had their championship status withdrawn.
The said disastrous results that led to the decline of the Field Spaniel came when the breeding resulted in a dog that was too long and too low. It was deemed as useless since it could not perform the tasks of a gundog or a work dog, which it was primarily bred for. This new breed development gave out an image of the Field Spaniel that was very far from what early developers had anticipated.
What came out was quite an extreme version of a type of Field Spaniel, which was very long in body with short legs that were crooked. While it had a beautiful head, it was also seen as very heavy. Its feathering was also seen as excessive. These physical features were said to have been one of the very great reasons why the Field Spaniel nearly became extinct. These traits were said to be direct results of outcrosses done by breeders. The most notable breed introduced into the lineage was the Sussex Spaniel. Evidence also points toward the introduction of the Basset Hound into the breeding some time in the 1880s, which resulted in a dog that had shorter legs and a longer body.
Even if this new breed was utilitarian and lovely, it did not impress the public, prompting canine enthusiasts to turn away from it. The extreme appearance of this type of Field Spaniel was the primary reason for its decline.
It was said though that this type of breed was developed because of a belief that the show ring could be won by a lower and longer type of Field Spaniel. There were also other contentions that it was the desire of some sportsmen that such breed be developed since they believed that a Field Spaniel with shorter legs would be more effective in working under thick cover, than those with longer legs. It was also said that the sportsmen believed that if the Field Spaniel had shorter legs, it would have slower pace, and this would make the Field Spaniel work more closely with the hunter.
Despite the efforts of breeders to increase the population of Field Spaniels, these dogs are still very hard to come by. Today, those who wish to adopt a Field Spaniel will be placed on a waiting list and they have to wait quite a long time for a pup to be available.