The Sussex Spaniel is a rather rare breed and was developed in the English county of Sussex in the early part of the 19th century. This breed is a hunter of small game and also serves as a companion dog. It is believed that the Sussex Spaniel was developed from crosses of hounds with spaniels and the breed was originally used as a field hunting dog. The Sussex Spaniel has an excellent sense of smell combined with good strength and stamina, which makes this an excellent hunting dog. Although numbers of the Sussex Spaniel dropped dramatically during World War II, English breeder Joy Freer worked hard to help save the breed. The Sussex Spaniel was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1884 and was actually one of the first breeds to be recognised by the AKC.
This strong and very large dog has a low body and a wide skull that is moderately long and often heavy with a full stop. The muzzle appears to be square when the dog is in profile and is approximately seven centimetres long. The breed has a liver coloured nose and large hazel eyes, while the eats are low set, long and hanging, while they are also covered with soft, wavy fur. The well developed chest is deep and the legs are rather short compared to the size of the body. The coat is either slightly wavy or flat and features feathering on the legs, feet, tail and leg, while it is usually a rich golden brown colour.
The Sussex Spaniel is not as outgoing as many other types of spaniels, although it is loyal and affectionate with its family. The breed needs a lot of reassurance and affection to prevent it from becoming withdrawn. It can learn quickly as long as it is trained consistently and a firm hand is needed to prevent the breed from becoming snappish and disobedient. With proper care, this breed makes a faithful friend and is a great animal to have around. However, the Sussex Spaniel needs to have plenty of contact with its owners to thrive.
Associated Health Problems
The Sussex Spaniel is prone to ear infections, so it is important to make sure that the ears are cleaned regularly. Intervertebral disc syndrome, enlarged heart and heart murmur are all minor concerns, while it is important to remember that the breed gains weight easily and should not be overfed.
As long as this breed receives sufficient exercise it can adapt to apartment life and it is moderately active indoors. Although the Sussex Spaniel can live outside if it has a warm shelter, it tends to do much better as a house dog, although it also needs easy access to a garden.
Exercise and Care
A daily walk is essential in order to satisfy the Sussex Spaniel’s natural migration instinct and help to prevent it from gaining weight too easily. In addition to walking and running, the Sussex Spaniel enjoys swimming and retrieving, especially in wooded areas, and will vocalise its distress by howling if it does to receive enough exercise and is left alone. This breed has a medium length coat that needs to be combed and brushed regularly. The fur between the pads on the feet and between the toes should be trimmed, while excessive ear hair needs to be plucked to help prevent ear infections.
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Group: Terrier, Gun Dog, AKC Sporting Group
Recognition: APRI, CKC, AKC, KCGB, FCI, CKC, NKC, ACR, DRA, NZKC, NAPR, ACA.