The Sussex Spaniel is a British sporting dog that was originally used to hunt partridge. This breed most likely was developed by crossing the Bloodhound with the Clumber Spaniel. It is a smaller dog that only stands between 15 and 16 inches tall and weighs between 40 and 50 pounds. They have a typical long wavy spaniel coat that comes in shades of gold, liver, and puce. They are a very friendly dog that makes a great companion and a great family dog, especially if they are properly trained and socialized.
History and Origin of the Sussex Spaniel
The breed’s appearance has remained virtually unchanged even though it is an ancient breed. Once popular with farmers, Sussex Spaniels have been known in the county of Sussex in southern England for about two centuries.
The breed originated in England and has a long history. Reputedly, the breed was created by Augustus Fuller of Rosehill Park in Sussex in the early 19th century. Mr. Fuller decided to cross various dogs like the now extinct liver and white norfolk, the Field Spaniel and possibly some early springer spaniels.
This breed survived World War II through the efforts of an English breeder named Joy Freer. Most of today’s Sussex Spaniels are descended from the eight dogs she saved and fed during the war. Sussex Spaniels are one of the oldest recognized AKC Breeds, and one of the rarest. They are now getting more popularity with pet owners and hunters because they are low-maintenance and a lot of fun.
Appearance and Abilities
The Sussex spaniel is a strong, medium sized dog, that has a long, square set body with a sturdy build. In fact, the Sussex spaniel can be considered the stockiest of all spaniels. It is built long and low to the ground, with a brown silky coat. The breed is short and should be no taller than 13 to 15 inches at the withers. The acceptable weight range is between 35 and 45 pounds.
It has a well-balanced stance and a head which is broad and somewhat heavy. Some Sussex Spaniels have a hound look about them.
It may not be as fast as other Spaniel breeds, but the Sussex has a very keen nose and is well suited for working through dense underbrush on the hunt.
Temperament and Tendencies of the Sussex Spaniel
The Sussex Spaniels sport a very serious and sometime worrisome expression, yet they carry themselves with dignity. They are calmer and steadier than most spaniels and rather lazy indoors, but come alive outdoors and romps with enthusiasm. On the hunting field, they barks continuously, moving with a characteristic swinging gait.
Despite the seemingly serious demeanor of the Sussex Spaniel, it is a dog that is quite friendly and is best suited for those residing in the countryside. It tends to attach itself to one person, and is loyal and easy to train. The breed makes a good gun dog, a show dog, or a pet and is very adaptable.
These are very sociable dogs, which usually get along well with cats and are excellent with children.
Sussex Spaniel Training and Care
The Sussex Spaniel is a quick learner, but it is important to be consistent with them. They need firm leadership and patient training.
An apartment is a suitable place for them to live because their activity level is low. Owners should sufficiently exercise this breed with walks and chances to swim. A natural retrieving ability is something else they enjoy using for exercise.
The grooming needs for the Sussex Spaniel are moderate. They may require a daily brush and comb; trim hairs from the pads of his feet and from around the bottom. And as with all spaniels, care must be taken that mud does not become caked in their ears and feet.