Sussex Spaniel

The Sussex Spaniel is a beautiful breed of dog developed in England, which was one of the first breeds to be admitted to the Stud Book and to be recognized by the American Kennel Club at the time in which the club was formed in 1884. The Sussex Spaniel however, was a very distinct breed long before the establishment of the American Kennel Club. The Sussex Spaniel received its name for the county in which it was developed, Sussex, England.

This Spaniel is known for being a medium sized dog, which is heavyset, long and low to the ground with a beautiful brown silky type coat. He has a serious expression and is for the most part calmer than most spaniels. He can be quite calm indoors but does enjoy playing outdoors where he will of course take the show. He can be a good watchdog at least a bit more so than most spaniels, on the other hand, he is friendly to strangers. he usually gets along well with everyone not fearing a hand stretched hand.

The Sussex Spaniel is not the type of dog you leave home alone. he thrives on his family’s companionship. If left alone for long period of time he can develop separation anxiety, which can bring on a very unhappy dog that can become destructive. At times, he may be on the stubborn side but can be trained very well with a sturdy hand and voice. You have to let them know that you are in control.


While the standards for the Sussex Spaniel vary by country and kennel club it is normally around 13 to 15 inches in height and weighs between 35 and 45 pounds for both males and females. He has a long body, which is muscular, and a bit heavy set. The Sussex Spaniel’s head is broader than that of the English Cocker Spaniel with a wrinkled brow that many believe give him a sad expression. The muzzle should be around three inches long and square. The lips are pendulous and he should have a scissor bit.

His neck is short, slightly arched and strong. He should carry his head just a tad above the level of his back. The topline should be level with a round chest, which is deep and wide. the tail should be docked at around 5 to 7 inches and set low. He does not carry his tail any higher than the level of his back.

The feet are large and round and have short between the toes on both forelegs and hindquarters. The forelegs are short, heavily boned, and strong whereas the hind legs should be similar.

The Sussex Spaniel has a coat this is full, flat, and can be a bit wavy without any curl. The only color accepted for shows is a rich golden liver. Dark liver or puce is considered to be a major fault and even a tad of white on the chest is a minor fault with white on any other part of the body as a major fault.

The ears are long, lobe shaped, but close to the head which are covered with wavy soft hair. Their eyes are hazel, large, and have a loving expression.


The Sussex Spaniel seems to be a very calm and quiet dog in the home, they show a very outgoing nature with everyone that walks in the door. However, out in the field they tend to be very enthusiastic almost barking constantly where it excels in wooded areas hunting and retrieving small game. This is the only spaniel that may bay which is only heard while hunting.

They do get along very well with children and even cats, but may be a bit aggressive with other dogs that he is meeting for the first time. He does have a low energy level and may tire quickly when playing with younger children. He may snap if he is pestered for too long of a period.

He does learn quickly but can be stubborn at times. He does enjoy voicing his opinion, so teaching him not to bark at a young age is very necessary.


The Sussex Spaniel can live in an apartment, but he will need adequate exercise to stay healthy, even though just a run in a small yard will do well. Without enough exercise, he can become overweight as he is already on the heavyset side. He adapts well to all temperatures but will need a warm place to lie during cold weather.

When it comes to grooming, the Sussex Spaniel will need to be brushed or combed on a regular basis. The ears will need to be cleaned and excess hair trimmed along with the bottom of his feet and between his toes.


The Sussex Spaniel comes from us from Sussex, England where Mr. Fuller of Rosehill Park, Hastings in East Sussex had the desire to develop a gun dog to work in terrain that was rough with lots of overgrowth. He also had the desire to have a gun dog that would alert the hunter while hunting. Since most spaniels around England in 1795, did not possess the barking ability Mr. Fuller began to cross breed such breeds as the white and liver Norfolk that is now extinct, the Field Spaniel, and it is believed a few spring spaniels. The dog of course was developed for hunting, retrieving small game, and to be a companion to the hunter.

During World War II, the Sussex Spaniel was barely saved by an English breeder by the name of Joy Freer. Today, all of the Sussex Spaniels in extinction can be traced back to the eight dogs Joy saved and feed throughout the time of the war.

As stated previously, the Sussex Spaniel was one of the first breed admitted in the American Kennel Clubs stud book in 1884.

The popularity of the Sussex Spaniel declined in the 1940’s with only 10 being registered by 1947 in the English Kennel Club. He is registered in the Gun Dog group, and the AKC Sporting Group. The Sussex Spaniel is more popular today in the United States than any other country and is recognized in the Continental Kennel Club, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, American Kennel Club, Kennel Club of Great Britain, Canadian Kennel Club, National Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club, and the American Canine Registry.


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