Sussex Spaniel

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rich golden liver and hair shading to golden at tip
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Pros Cons

  • great hunter

  • even-tempered

  • tender with children

  • cheerful

  • prone to ear infections

  • prone to bark a lot

  • stubborn


The Sussex Spaniel is a sturdily built, medium-sized, joyous and vigorous dog. The dog can live both in city conditions and in countryside. The breed is a magnificent hunting dog. If you like the fowling, the Sussex Spaniel will be a loyal and indispensable companion for you. This fascinating dog will be also a devoted family pet. Thanks to its cheerfulness the breed can be a perfect therapy dog for sick people.


The history of the Sussex Spaniel begins in the XVII century. The motherland of the breed is the county Sussex in Great Britain. Creators of the modern breed are believed to be two Englishmen Moses Woolland and Campbell Newington who saved the ancestor of the dog from disappearance and ameliorated its hunting qualities. Moses Woolland acquired its first specimen in 1882 and soon embarked on breeding both show and working varieties.

The second dog lover, Cambell Newington, first came across this dog in 1887 and quickly became its faithful admirer. These two breeders made a great contribution into popularization of the Sussex Spaniel. Once Woolland passed away, the survival of the breed was in doubt but fortunately in 1909 J. E. Kerr showed a lively interest in its fate and started its own breeding program.

It’s believed that the Sussex Spaniel was developed by crossing different types of Spaniels, including the Springer Spaniel, with hounds. This dog owes to its forebears its incredibly strong hunting drive and robustness. At the dawn of the XX century English hunters used it to flush and retrieve game from thick vegetation and other barely passable terrains. Thanks to its low-slung constitution the breed coped with this task with flying colours. It was also highly successful in a show ring. Thus, in 1862 Sussex Spaniels appeared in the dog show in the Crystal Palace in London Hyde Park. At the end of 1880s the first breed standard was written.

The World War II adversely affected the breeding of the Sussex Spaniel. It was Englishwoman Mrs Joy Freer who rescued the breed from full die-off. Majority of present Sussex Spaniels are direct offsprings from her kennel.

The first members of the breed were imported to the United Stated a few years before the eruption of the Second World War. Nonetheless they failed to attract the attention of ordinary people. In 1969 more dogs crossed the border of this country so in the following years the breed underwent some kind of rebirth. The Sussex Spaniel was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1884.

The breed remains rare, nevertheless it is no longer under the threat of extinction. Its complaisant and slightly laid-back personality makes it a wonderful companion animal although presently it hasn’t earned much recognition in this role.


The Sussex Spaniel is a tender, loving and very faithful dog. It’s well-known for its calm and balanced demeanour, which makes it an excellent family pet. Be aware though that this dog hates being separated from its masters for long periods of times and can ill-behave if you don’t dedicate it enough attention. Sussex Spaniel is excellently kind with children. However like all breeds the dog is better suited for older kids, because little ones cannot treat dogs properly.

Usually the Sussex Spaniel is friendly with unknown people, but sometimes it can be suspicious. When the breed meets a new person it tends to act warily and somewhat coldly but it usually warms up really quickly. This breed uses its deep booming bark to interact with hunters, and propensity to be very noisy also spreads to its home life. This characteristic in combination with its vigilant nature allows it to become a very reliable watchdog. It also has essential willingness to defend its masters and its home In order to make an outstanding guardian.

In general these dogs treat other dogs friendly. But if the Sussex Spaniel is not early and well socialized, it can be a little aggressive towards other dogs, which it does not know. But it would certainly prefer to share its life with one or several of other canines. Moreover as the breed has a strong prey drive, it may be dangerous for your pet birds. The Sussex Spaniel is patient with non-canine domestic animals only if it has been introduced to their existence at an early age.

Health Problems

The Sussex Spaniel is prone to such diseases as:

· ear infections;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· pulmonic stenosis;

· patent ductus arteriosis;

· intervertebral disc osteochondrosis.


The Sussex Spaniel requires moderate amount of grooming. It is necessary to brush your pet regularly two or three times a week to keep its coat neat without mats. Since the dog is prone to ear infection, you should check and clean gently its floppy ears. Bathing is occasionally needed. The Sussex Spaniel sheds moderately.

It is important to watch over the dog’s teeth. You need brush them daily or at least three times a week in order to prevent dental and gum infections. Also it is essential to trim your pet’s nails once or twice a month.


The Sussex Spaniel is very clever, it learns pretty fast. But at the same time it can be intractable. A firm, but patient approach is required for successful training of this breed. You should start the dog’s training when it is a puppy yet.

This dog has faculties of a true leader so the handler should become an unshakeable authority for it if he wants the pets’ complete obedience. This breed is very vocal. It is important to teach your Sussex Spaniel not to manifest excessively its vocal abilities to avoid conflicts with your neighbours.


The Sussex Spaniel is energetic and cheerful, but is less frolicsome than other spaniels. It is necessary to give your pet 20 or 30 minutes a day of walks to insure it will be in fit and good spirit. These dogs like hiking and to retrieving.

Walk with your pet in nature where it can chase birds and different insects in order not to lose its hunting instincts. When the Sussex Spaniel gets enough amount of daily exercises, it is quiet and steady.