The Sussex Spaniels development started at the end of 18th century in the county of Sussex, giving the breed its name. Already in the 19th century, the Sussex Spaniel was highly valued for its great hunting skills all over the UK and even in some foreign countries. And the Sussex Spaniel is a really good hunter with extraordinary sense of smell.
The Sussex Spaniel has a long and low body, and there is a good reason for it. The rough terrain and dense undergrowth in the Sussex county required a short, stocky dog that could navigate the undergrowth while flushing out game.
3) Family companions
The Sussex Spaniel is not just a hunter, but also a great family companions. It is true, that they have, i would say a sad expression in their face, this is actually a cheerful, affectionate and easy going companion dog. This friendly dog loves people and enjoys children, faring well with other animals too, as long as it is trained and socialized with them from the puppyhood.
One of the distinct features of the Sussex Spaniel is definitely its beautiful coat. The coat color is described as rich golden liver, with hair shading more to golden at the tip. The doublecoat is very thick and weather resistant, with feathering on the ears, legs and chest.
This is definitely a smart dog that learns new commands fairly quickly. On the other hand, they know how to be stubborn, which is why they are not total pushovers to train. They definitely need an experienced firm and patient trainer to become completely obedient.
6) Vocal dogs
When the Sussex Spaniels are hunting in the dense undergrowth, it is very hard to actually see them. That is a reason, why they were bred to bark and to be vocal while following the scent, so the hunters could easily keep track of the dog’s position. Today, even when you are not using the dog for hunting, you can expect them to bark quite a lot and you should be prepared for it when buying or adopting a Sussex Spaniel.
Back in the 19th century the Sussex Spaniel was quite popular dog breed in the UK and USA and it was actually among the first registered breeds by the AKC in 1884. But the breed was gradually loosing its popularity and it almost went extinct after the second world war. In 1947 only ten Sussex Spaniels were registered in the English Kennel Club and even today they are considered as vulnerable native breed of Great Britain. BTW, the person who saved the breed in 1940s was Joy Freer.
The Sussex Spaniel is a low, compact and quite heavy dog with average height between 13-16 inch, which is 33-41 cm and weight is typically between 35-50 pounds which is 15-22 kg. Females are naturally little bit smaller than males.
If you want to keep the beautiful Sussex Spaniels coat in top condition, regular grooming is a must. Daily brushing is needed to reduce the risk of tangles. This is an average shedder, so regular brushing will also remove the dead hair and minimize the shedding. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes and nails and clip them or clean them if needed.
The Sussex Spaniels lifespan is between 12-15 years. This is pretty hardy breed, but they do suffer a lot from hip dysplasia. Other common diseases are intervertebral disc disease and pulmonic stenosis.