The Dog Scene
The Dog Scene
  RSS Feed

Sussex Spaniel

 Photo of Sussex Spaniel
Photo: courtesy of Sheila Appleby

Sussex Spaniel Books

Group: Gundog - Breed Standard


The Sussex Spaniel is a distinct and old established breed, but it is Mr Fuller of Rosehill, Brightling, Sussex who is usually credited with the early breeding of Sussex Spaniels in the 1800's. He bred them for many years to work on his Estate, as gundogs in the heavy clay soil and dense cover of the area. Throughout the next century the breed had its loyal followers, but at each World War the numbers dwindled. 1914-1918 there were only 5 names in the KC Stud Book. At the time of the 2nd World War, wartime restrictions meant that the breeding and keeping of dogs was frowned upon and numbers dwindled. Fortunately Miss Schofield who became Mrs Freer (Fourclovers), kept the breed going throughout the War Years. After that it was a long haul to get the numbers up again. Mrs Freer devoted her time and energy over a period of 60 years to breeding Sussex Spaniels. Today there are around 80-90 puppies registered each year.


Ideal height at withers: 38-41 cms (15-16 ins). Weight: approximately 23 kgs (50 lbs).

The breed is long-bodied, muscular and heavily built. Its head is broader in the skull than the English Cocker Spaniel and its wrinkled brow gives it a kind, gentle, and sometimes slightly sad expression. The tail is usually docked except in countries where docking is not permitted. Its bones are quite large for a short-legged dog. The only acceptable colour is golden liver with hazel eyes. The coat is thick, either straight or slightly wavy, and does not curl. The nose and eye-rims must be of the same colour as the coat. An active, energetic strong dog, whose characteristic movement is a decided roll.


Full of character. Can be stubborn at times. Sometimes possessive of its owners. Very tactile. Not yappy, but will bark at the door and at strange noises. Settles down quickly when visitors have arrived. Will howl if left alone too long. Sometimes the dogs can be dominant, the bitches bossy, so better suited to an experienced owner. Like many other breeds they are not ideal for people with children under 5 years.

Breed Health

Pretty good and normally long lived. Very occasional heart problems. Make sure the breeder has had puppy heart tested before purchase. There is hip dysplasia in the breed. Ears in all spaniels can become a problem if not cleaned regularly once a month and a daily check should be carried out. Teeth brushed at least once a week is a good idea.

Breed Care

Daily grooming with a comb to take out any tangles is recommended. Trim the fur around the pads and between the toes. The feathering can become matted especially under the ears, if grooming is neglected, so a few minutes each day is wisely spent.


Regard the breed as "large" and purchase food without too high a protein content. Keep the exercise down until the puppy is 6 months old. Playing on grass and short walks is fine. No long hard road walking. They are not suitable to accompany a horse rider. They are gundogs, used to stop-start exercise in the field.


As with all breeds of dogs they need training. Take them to obedience classes from an early age and they respond well to clicker training. They will enjoy doing things for you. When over a year old, for a change you can try agility though they are not fast! They need to have their brain exercised, so hide and seek games they love. Teach them to retrieve. Teach them recall before they learn to hunt. Remember they are gundogs, though are quite adaptable to most situations. Fine with cats etc. if introduced when they are still a puppy. See our books on training

submit Actions
submit Category Stats
Links: 2
Breed Club: 1
Affiliate: 1
Last link added: 07 Dec, 2006