Sussex Spaniel



The Sussex Spaniel is a breed of dog developed in Sussex in southern England. It is a low, compact spaniel and is similar in appearance to the Clumber Spaniel.(1)

In 1795, Mr. Fuller of Rosehill Park, Hastings in East Sussex, England began breeding gun dogs to work in districts where the terrain was rough and the undergrowth very dense which meant that a spaniel was needed which could give tongue or to alert the hunter on his quarry. Fuller crossed various breeds such as the liver and white Norfolk Spaniel (now extinct), the Field Spaniel, and possibly some early English Springer Spaniels. The Sussex was bred specifically to inherit the barking ability that was not common in most Spaniel breeds during this era.(2)


Strongly built. Active, energetic dog, whose characteristic movement is a decided roll, and unlike that of any other Spaniel.(3)

One of the noticeable features is their golden liver-coloured coat which is unique to the breed. (4)

Historically however, there have also been examples of both black and sandy coloured Sussex Spaniels. (5) The coat is thick (sometimes with a slight wave to it), feathering on the chest, legs and ears (6) and consists of a weather-resistant undercoat with a silky outer coat. The eyes are hazel in colour. The silky ears are lobe-shaped typical of the Spaniel, and set moderately low. The Sussex is a short, stocky kind of dog.


The Sussex Spaniel is a slow-paced, calm breed with somewhat clownish behaviour that normally keeps his energy and enthusiasm in check. He is always eager to be around people, is excellent around children, and can be quite protective of the family. They make excellent candidates for therapy dog work. Most Sussex Spaniels are primarily family pets, but they are competent enough to aid a hunter though quite stubborn to train. They tend to have a natural ability to quarter in the field, have excellent noses, and can be used to retrieve, given training. The breed is the only spaniel to howl once a game's scent is picked up.[6]


Ideal Height: 38-41 cms (15-16 ins) at withers

Ideal Weight approx. 50 lbs (3)

In Conclusion

Now you know a little about the Sussex Spaniel, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Sussex Spaniel and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.


  2. "Sussex Spaniel Information". Sarah's Dogs.
  3. DOGS
  4. "Sussex Spaniel: AKC Breed Standard"
  5. Lee, Rawdon B. (2008). A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs (Sporting Division) Of Great Britain And Ireland.
  6. Smith, Steve (2002). The Encyclopedia of North American Sporting Dogs: Written by Sportsmen for Sportsmen.

    Image: worlddogshow2018