Breed Group: Sporting
Color: Gray, red-yellow, red-brown and gray-brown
Height: 15-16 inches
Weight: 40-44 lbs
Description: The Sussex Spaniel is a strong, massive dog. Its stand demands a well-balanced head which is broad and somewhat heavy.
The chest is deep and well developed. It has a liver-colored nose, scissors bite, and a well-marked frontal stop. The dog has a golden-liver colored coat that is flat or slightly wavy without being curled.
The legs, undersides, and tail are feathered. The loose skin and heavy long ears are somewhat reminiscent of a Basset Hound.
The eyes are hazel and fairly large with a sweet expression. The tail is docked to 5-7 inches (12½-17½ cm). The ears are rather large, tight to the head, covered with soft, wavy hair.
The neck is slightly arched. The golden-liver color of its coat, especially at sunset, blends with the color of the trees and game, so hunters using Sussex Spaniels need to be very careful not to shoot their dog accidentally. This may be why the breed is not widespread.
Temperament: The Sussex Spaniel is steady and calm around the house. They are not very outgoing or demonstrative compared to other spaniels.
It reaches the enthusiasm of a warrior in its work. On the hunt-field it barks continuously, moving with a characteristic swinging gait.
It is adapted to hunting and retrieving small game, especially in wooded areas. This dog sometimes bays when it is hunting. The Sussex Spaniel is the only Spaniel that does this.
They may also howl a lot when they are left alone. It is also a good companion dog. This breed loves everyone and they are sweet, gentle and devoted.
These are very sociable dogs, which usually get along well with cats and are excellent with children. Most get along with other dogs, but some can be aggressive with unfamiliar dogs.
It tends to be less playful and demonstrative than other Spaniels, with a low energy level. The Sussex Spaniel is a quick learner but has a mind of its own.
It is therefore important to be consistent with them. It needs firm and patient training. This breed likes to bark. You may want to teach them when they are young that one bark, for instance when the doorbell rings, is sufficient. Novice owners should be willing and able to assert their dominance. It can be snappish if annoyed.
Health problems: Prone to ear infections; the ears should be cleaned regularly. Do not overfeed this breed, as it tends to gain weight easily. Some minor concerns are intervertebral disc syndrome, otitis external, heart murmur, an enlarged heart.
Living conditions: The Sussex Spaniel will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is moderately active indoors and a small yard will be sufficient.
This breed can live outdoors in temperate climates as long as it has warm shelter, but it generally does better as a house dog that also has access to a yard.
Exercise: The Sussex Spaniel needs to be exercised regularly. It will quickly put on weight if it gets too little exercise. It enjoys retrieving and swimming and being outdoors in the woods and fields, but bear in mind it has a tendency to follow its nose.
Life expectancy: About 12-15 years.
Grooming: The soft medium-length, golden-red coat of the Sussex Spaniel should be brushed and combed regularly. Keep the ears clean and trim excessive hair between the pads on the bottom of the feet, but leave the tuft growing between the toes on the upper part of the feet.
If necessary, have the older and lighter hair removed by plucking. Too much hair beneath the ears should be trimmed at regular intervals. The teeth should be checked in a puppy when new teeth emerge to make sure they do not push existing teeth aside, resulting in crooked teeth. This breed is an average shedder.
Origin: The Sussex Spaniel is a fairly rare breed. The breed was developed in the 1800s in Sussex, England. It is a small game hunter and companion dog.
The breed was probably developed from crosses of spaniels with hounds. This breed survived World War II through the efforts of an English breeder named Joy Freer. Most of today’s Sussex Spaniels are descended from the eight dogs she saved and fed during the war.
The Sussex hunts slowly but has a fine nose, and very good strength and stamina in the field. It is best at flushing game for hunters on foot, the Sussex Spaniel can also be taught to retrieve. Official recognition came in 1885. Some of the Sussex Spaniel’s talents include tracking, hunting, retrieving and watchdogging.