Breed Family: Spaniel
Country of Origin: England
Size: Medium, height 38-40cm, weight 18-20kg
Also Known as: Sussex
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Care Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: Medium
General information and Appearance
The Sussex Spaniel is a dog with a large build, set low. Bred for hunting, these dogs follow the scent with determination until the prey is chased out of even the densest underbrush. The dogs are strong and resolute, but also happy and friendly.
This breed is slightly longer in the body than it is tall. The body is quite large and well muscled. The neck is short and head does not sit much above the body. Most dogs of this breed have hazel eyes that appear serious and eyebrows tend to produce a frowning effect. This dog is built more for strength than speed. The muscled body is also very heavy. This breed moves with a rolling gait and has a great deal of determined endurance.
This breed has a full coat of medium-length shiny hair. The undercoat is downy and weather-resistant while the outer coat is elegant and feathered at the chest, legs and ears. This breed is known for the its beautiful gold-tinged liver colour. While there have been instances of black or sandy coats in this breed, the most favoured and popular colour is the liver shade.
Sussex Spaniels are calm yet friendly dogs. While they are not very exuberant or overwhelming, they are very loving companions. These dogs are especially good for families with children or other animals, even cats because of their gentle nature. These dogs are loving with mostly everyone, especially when they have a clear alpha. All dogs have an innate desire to understand pack order. If an owner does not make this clear with firm, yet gentle leadership, behavioural issues will arise.
These dogs are intelligent and tend to learn quickly. Hunting dogs by nature, they have a tendency to bark quite a bit. While it is unlikely that this breed would quit barking altogether, it is possible to limit the barking.
This particular breed is a great companion for hunters. They are generally best for small game and excel at flushing out prey as well as retrieving. They may not be very high energy in a home situation, but on the hunt they have ceaseless energy.
Hip dysplasia is an ailment that commonly affects Sussex Spaniels. Because their bodies are rather low to the ground and compact, many dogs with this disease are able to live and thrive despite the problem. Another common problem with this breed is ear infections. Frequent cleaning of the ears can help prevent these and usually treatment is simple.
There are also a few heart problems that may affect dogs of this breed, especially heart murmur. Some of these dogs also suffer from spinal disc herniation. These conditions are fairly rare, and in general the Sussex Spaniel is a healthy breed. Speaking with breeders about the history of the breed, parentage, etc. will help determine the future health of the pups. Many Australian breeders are very knowledgeable on this subject and continue only the healthiest bloodlines.
Grooming and Care
This dog has a shiny and beautiful coat that requires a little maintenance, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The coat should be combed and brushed regularly, but certainly not daily. Cleaning the ears is important to prevent infections, and trimming the hair near the ears can also help. The pads of the feet have hair between them, which should be trimmed on the bottom but not on the top if the dog is to be shown.
Suitability as Pet In Australia
As a dog bred for small game hunting, the Sussex Spaniel is determined and even-tempered. They make an excellent family pet as well, which is where they can be most often found these days. The key to their good behaviour is sufficient exercise and consistent, positive training. They will usually be very calm and gentle indoors, assuming they are not laying around with too much pent-up energy. A long, daily walk is necessary for this, as well as other opportunities to run or even swim. As a born retriever, this breed does enjoy retrieving things from the water for fun.
This dog is also a good fit for families with children or other animals. They can be socialised from a young age to get along with others, and that gentleness will carry over. These dogs are affectionate and loving, but not always quite as outwardly as other spaniel breeds. They do remain, however, loving and loyal to their families.
Sussex Spaniel Organisations in Australia
No club information listed
Sussex Spaniel Organisations in the UK
Mid-Sussex Working Spaniel Club
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