Breeds 101

Sussex Spaniel


The Sussex Spaniel owes its name to the kennel in Sussex, England, that was an important part of the breed's development in the early 1800s.

This small land Spaniel, though not as fast as others of its type, had a good nose and was skilled at working through dense underbrush. Heavy but compact, with a thick skin and low-set ears, the Sussex Spaniel may have evolved from dogs that were bred to work slowly over difficult terrain.

A viable working dog , when it follows a scent trail it generally barks and howls, and the experienced hunter can tell what it is trailing from variations in the tone of its voice.

One of the strong visual attractions of the Sussex Spaniel is its rich, liver-colored coat, but due to the coat’s dark, dense texture, this is not, humid environments. Selective breeding has unfortunately led to drooping lower eyelids and lower lips, conditions that can cause infections.

Its closest relatives were developed to work to the gun in dense undergrowth, but the richly colored Sussex Spaniel was probably developed by a breeder from the country of Sussex for companionship as much as far work.

Unfortunately, the breed’s popularity with hunters was short lived, and the Sussex came close to extinction during the 1900s. With only a few individuals in North America, the breed is rare even in its country England. The Sussex is treasured by people who appreciate its lovely coat and deceptively somber expression.

Size: Small to medium; 13 to 15 inches, 35 to 45 pounds.

Color: Rich golden liver.

Cheerful, and mellower than other spaniels. Calm in the home, but may bark or howl if left out of activities. Fine with animals and children.
They tend to have a natural ability to quarter in the field, have excellent noses, and can be used to retrieve, given training. The breed is the only spaniel to howl once a game’s scent is picked up.

Medium energy level. The Sussex Spaniel is a slow paced, calm breed with somewhat clownish behavior that normally keeps his energy and enthusiasm in check.

Best owner:
Family or owner in a suburban or rural home.
He is always eager to be around people, is excellent around children, and can be quite protective of the family. Most Sussex Spaniels are primarily family pets, but they are competent enough to aid a hunter though quite stubborn to train.

Daily exercise (a walk or backyard romp), fenced yard, human attention, obedience training, early socialization, brushing two to three times a week.

Life expectancy: 11 to 12 years.