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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Sussex Spaniel

Heavily built and sturdy on rather short strong legs, the Sussex Spaniel has a short, abundant coat in a rich golden liver, shading to gold at the hair tips. Their broad head and somewhat serious, quizzical expression make them an attractive companion.

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Some training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking one to two hours a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight:  23kg 
Height:  38-41cm
Colours:  Rich golden liver
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Gundog


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 2/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5

These happy and adaptable dogs can be very laid back, though it is important that they are introduced regularly to children, dogs, cars etc. until mature. They love hunting and are sometimes more interested in this than anything else when outside, so training when they are young is essential. Time invested in this dog is well worth the effort and the result is a happy and loyal companion.

History and Origins

The Sussex Spaniel dog breed was around in the early 1800s as part of a melange of land spaniels. The main interest in the breed began with Mr Fuller, a Sussex landowner, who kept several spaniel breeds, including Sussex Spaniels. He bred them for working and owned the breed for 50 years until the 1850s. By the time of the Second World War there were few Sussex being bred from and it is thought that after the war only 5 Sussex Spaniels remained. Fortunately the breed has had dedicated followers that have kept the breed alive, though it is still numerically small.

Health and Common Issues

The Sussex Spaniel is generally a relatively hardy breed, as with many breeds however, they can suffer from hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems) and spinal disc disease. They are also prone to ear infections. For up-to-date health information visit the Kennel Club website or consult the breed club.

Exercise Needs

When young the Sussex Spaniel should be exercised carefully and not allowed to damage their growing joints. Youngsters and adults should receive plenty of mental stimulation in the form of games, training and scent work. Adults will need around 2 hours or more of daily dog exercise across a variety of routes and terrains, including swimming, to keep them mentally and physically happy. 

Space Requirements

The Sussex Spaniel is a big dog on short legs, so they do need some space and won’t cope well with steep flights of stairs or confined urban living. Plenty of outdoor space in a secure garden, and a home that can accommodate a large, muddy wet spaniel without fear for the furniture or décor is a must. Access to interesting and varied walking routes - and novel and interesting scents to follow - is essential to stave off boredom for both dog and owner.

Nutrition and Feeding

The Sussex Spaniel needs to have a balanced diet including all the main nutrient groups and a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
There have been cases of bloat in this breed. Smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk. 

Grooming Sussex Spaniel

As a rule, a brush or comb through is required several times a week. The ears should be kept clean and checked for foreign bodies regularly. The hair around the pads should be trimmed and check between the claws for grass seeds. You can find out more about dog grooming and daily care with our article. 

Training Sussex Spaniels

As you might imagine, the Sussex is a slower moving spaniel than many and this means they are steadier and less energetic. However, the Sussex is still a spaniel and they have a busy, active brain which must be kept entertained and well trained. Positive dog training methods using food, toys and the opportunity to perform enjoyable tasks such as scent work will keep a Sussex happy and pleasant to live with. Pay attention to training a good recall and teaching a solid retrieve and ‘drop’ early on, as many spaniels easily get themselves into trouble over carrying objects around and ‘stealing’ found items to fulfil that need to hold and carry. 

Best Family Dog Breeds

For the active outdoor family, the Sussex Spaniel can be a great companion, keeping in mind the spaniel traits of collecting, carrying and holding found items. They may be better with older children who can follow rules not to leave precious treasures lying around. With those who enjoy a good long romp in the countryside at a steady pace, the Sussex will be a fine friend. 

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with each other and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them. 

did you know?

Did You Know?

Although one of the first breeds to be registered when the UK Kennel Club was formed in 1875, the Sussex Spaniel has always been rare and is now so rare there are more giant pandas (1864) than there were Sussex Spaniel puppies registered in 2018 (34).

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