The Sussex Spaniel is a native British breed with a wonderfully cheerful, relaxed and gentle temperament. Originally used as a slow-but-steady gundog, the golden- liver-coated breed eventually gained popularity as a good-natured companion dog. Good with children, relaxed within the home and a lover of family life, the Sussex Spaniel is a great choice of dog for an active family household.
Key facts about the Sussex Spaniel
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Affectionate Hunter
Origins and history
The Sussex Spaniel originates from, you guessed it, Sussex in the UK in the early 1800’s and is actually one of the oldest native British breeds around. A famous Sussex Spaniel enthusiast called Mr. Fuller bred the Sussex Spaniel for 50 years, allowing the breed to flourish. However, breed population dropped significantly after WWII, with only 7 Sussex Spaniels left in known existence. Thankfully, breed enthusiasts got their game on and managed to save the breed from extinction - however, numbers are still relatively low to this day.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 2 : Flushing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Sussex Spaniel
Female : Between 15 and 16 in
Male : Between 15 and 16 in
Female : Between 44 and 55 lb
Male : Between 44 and 55 lb
The coat is an intense golden brown.
Type of coat
The coat is abundant, feathery, thick, and weather-resistant.
The eyes are hazel or brown.
The Sussex Spaniel is a medium-sized dog which, although similar to other Spaniel breeds in appearance, is distinguishable by its larger head. This is a low-built yet robust and sturdy breed with muscular limbs, deep chest and well-muscled back. In fact, just by glancing at the Sussex Spaniel’s frame, it’s easy to see that the breed is built for strength and endurance. In terms of the head, the Sussex boasts adorable wavy-haired floppy ears, large brown eyes and a signature ‘frowny’ expression that belies this breed’s very cheerful nature.
Good to know
The stunning golden-liver colour of this breed’s coat is completely unique to the Sussex Spaniel. Yep, it’s truly one of a kind!
The Sussex Spaniel is loving, loyal and affectionate towards its family and loves being within their company. This is a true friend for life!
This cheerful breed is often described as ‘clownish’ and enjoys playing with family and goofing around with kids.
Providing the Sussex Spaniel's exercise needs are met, it’s a very placid, gentle and calm dog to have in the house.
Like most Spaniel breeds, the Sussex Spaniel is highly intelligent and therefore, very trainable. However, this intelligence does mean the breed gets bored easily and will require plenty of mental stimulation.
As a working gundog breed, the Sussex Spaniel is a hunter by nature. However, since this dog is highly trainable, a strong recall and heel command usually prevents any problems. Until this breed is well trained, keep it on a close lead in areas with livestock or wildlife.
Fearful / wary of strangers
Because of the Sussex Spaniel’s naturally protective nature, it can be fairly wary of unfamiliar faces. It’s essential to socialize this breed thoroughly as a puppy to help it become calm and relaxed around strangers. However, you’ll be pleased to learn that, despite this breed’s slight suspicion of strangers, it’s never aggressive.
The Sussex can be rather independent and needs an owner who knows how to firmly but fairly establish themselves as a leader.
Behaviour of the Sussex Spaniel
This sociable breed thrives on company and is highly likely to become depressed if left alone all day, every day. Absences must be short and well-prepared, with exercise catered to and plenty of diverting toys.
Easy to train / obedience
The Sussex Spaniel is highly trainable and capable of becoming an extremely obedient pooch with patient and consistent training to set firm boundaries. This breed, like many Spaniels, is rather sensitive in nature and won’t react well to negative or harsh training methods. Kind, gentle and positive training sessions are the way forward.
The Sussex Spaniel was bred to let its master know when it had discovered game. Barking is embedded in their working temperament, meaning it’s a rather vocal breed.
Tendency to run away
With a high prey-drive, the Sussex Spaniel may be tempted to run after any potential prey in its sights. However, if you train this dog well, a strong recall should be all you need to prevent problems.