Although the Sussex Spaniel is not a very common dog today, they have been in existence for well over a hundred years. When the American Kennel Club first formed in 1884, the Sussex Spaniel was one of the first breeds to be recognized.The Sussex Spaniel is a hunting dog above all else. Unfortunately, the rich golden-liver color of their coat can blend in quite well with their surrounding, making accidental shooting of the dogs common.
They are very hardworking and are best adapted to hunting and retrieving in forested regions. They bark throughout the hunt and are the only Spaniel that sometimes bays while hunting. They enjoy barking and need to be patiently trained at a young age that it is not necessary to bark non-stop when confronted with an unfamiliar occurrence. Unlike some hunting dogs, Sussex Spaniels make good pets and are usually quite adaptable. While they prefer a rural or suburban upbringing where they have plenty of opportunity to run and play, they can be happy in the city if given enough exercise.
They are loyal, affectionate dogs towards their family and friends, yet can be rather aloof towards strangers. While one may assume their affectionate nature causes them to be excitable, that is not the case. Rather, the Sussex Spaniel is a calm, easy-going dog. A Sussex Spaniel is a good dog for families with children, provided it is socialized to the children at a young age. It gets along well with cats but may, as mentioned above, be aggressive towards other dogs.
The Sussex Spaniel is a less playful breed than other Spaniels, although it is quite intelligent and very friendly. Its intellect makes it possible to obedience train, if the one doing the training is quite patient, but it should be noted that this breed is amazingly stubborn. Patience is essential, as the dog tends to get irritable when annoyed. The owner of a Sussex Spaniel must show the dog who is in charge. If the dog is in doubt as to its owner’s dominance, it can be near impossible to train.
The Sussex Spaniel can reach up to 15 inches in height and usually weighs between 35 and 45 pounds. Sussex Spaniels resemble a Basset Hound in that they have fairly loose skin and long ears. They have a thick coat, which can be either flat or somewhat wavy. They also have a frill around the neck and feathered legs. Their coats are nearly always a rich, golden hue. Eyes are usually hazel in color, with a serious expression that belies their affectionate nature. Average life span is 13 years.
The Sussex Spaniel originated in Sussex, England where it gets its name. While it is unknown when Sussex Spaniels were first bred, it is known that they have been competing in Britain since about 1862.Because of the Sussex Spaniel’s rather thick coat, it should be brushed at least every other day. The coat should also be trimmed about four times a year.
The Sussex Spaniel is an athletic dog that is used to exercise and so should be walked several times daily.The owner of a Sussex Spaniel should clean its ears regularly as ear infections can be a problem for the breed. Sussex Spaniels often have a problem with obesity and so its diet should be carefully monitored. Some other health problems that may exist in Sussex Spaniels include otitis exerna, intervertebral disc syndrome and heart problems, including heart murmur and enlarged heart.