The Sussex spaniel tends to be less playful and demonstrative than other spaniels, with a lower energy level. This makes her better suited for city life, but she still appreciates the chance to take to the wilds and hunt up birds. She tends to bark when hunting, which has made her less popular with hunters than other breeds; some also bark or howl when not hunting. At home she is calm, steady and easygoing. Her somber expression is misleading because she is quite cheerful.
Sussex Spaniel Dog Care
The Sussex needs daily exercise, but her needs can be met with a good walk on lead or a short romp in the yard. Given the chance, she will appreciate a longer foray into the field. She generally does best as a house dog that also has access to a yard. The coat needs brushing and combing two to three times a week, plus scissoring every few months.
Sussex Spaniel Dog Health
Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: intervertebral disc syndrome, otitis exerna, heart murmur and enlarged heart
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: cardiac
Life span: 12-14 years
Interested in the history of the Sussex Spaniel dog breed?
The "spaniels of Sussex" are mentioned in a sporting publication of 1820 as good working dogs. The name was adopted from Sussex, England, the home of the first important kennel (established in 1795) of these small land spaniels. The breed soon became popular among the estates around Sussex County. They were adept as upland shooting dogs, slow working but with a good nose and apt to give tongue when on scent. This latter trait hurt the breed at field trials in the early 1900s, when quiet hunters were preferred. In addition, American hunters usually preferred a faster hunter. Although one of the first 10 AKC-recognized breeds and among the earliest breeds to compete at dog shows, the Sussex has never been a particularly popular or competitive show dog. Perhaps because of these reasons, the Sussex spaniel has been perilously close to extinction throughout most of the 20th century. At times the breed has had so few individuals that inbreeding had to be practiced to a greater extent than otherwise desirable. In 1954, a successful cross was made with the clumber spaniel in an effort to expand the gene pool. The Sussex gene pool remains limited because the breed is still among the rarest of AKC breeds.