Sussex Spaniel Dog Breed Guide | Gundog Journal
Sussex Spaniel

Sussex Spaniel

Main sporting role:
Retrieving, Hunting, Flushing
Over 10 years
More than 2 hours a day
Coat length:
Vulnerable status:

The Sussex Spaniel is a rare working dog breed with a rich history and great depth of character. Founded by Augustus Fuller in the early 19th century to hunt and flush game in the heavy cover of his estate near Hastings, this spaniel breed is powerfully built, compact, and low to the ground. 

Sussex Spaniel: Key Characteristics

The Sussex Spaniel has a multi-faceted personality, which can range from comic to defiant. This dog breed is happiest spending time outdoors, and it also adapts well to kennel life. Faithful and protective of its owner, this spaniel breed may not tolerate young children. However, it can be socialised with other pets if they are not especially dominant.

These spaniels are mainly used for rough shooting and in the beating line, but they can be trained for any spaniel job. Historically, this gundog breed was expected to ‘give tongue’ at work, but this trait has been bred out of modern lines.

Although slower paced than other springer or cocker spaniels, the Sussex breed has great stamina and hunts methodically close to the gun.

What Does A Sussex Spaniel Look Like?

The Sussex Spaniel shares many similarities in appearance with the Clumber Spaniel; where the Clumber Spaniel is white, its Sussex cousin is darker, with a thick, feathery, golden liver coat.

Owning A Sussex Spaniel: Pros And Cons

Pros Of Owning This Breed

  • A naturally strong dog
  • High endurance levels, making this a good working dog breed
  • A good breed for those new to gundogs
  • Affectionate nature, making it a good family dog that reacts well to children, other dogs, and strangers
  • Highly intelligent
  • Lives for 11-14 years on average
  • Naturally playful nature

Cons Of Owning This Breed

  • Can be prone to weight gain, so requires regular exercise
  • Feathery nature of coat requires a lot of grooming
  • Needs company - prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time
  • Can have a tendency to bark and howl, so requires firm training to help prevent this

Grooming Advice

This breed can be quite a high-maintenance dog in terms of grooming due to the feathery nature of its coat. As a result, it should be brushed or combed every few days to reduce the risk of tangling and matting. You should also keep the hair around your dog’s pads neatly trimmed to prevent any tangling in their claws.

When it comes to ear care, it’s important to keep your spaniel’s ears clean to prevent any foreign bodies causing problems. 

Visit our gundog breed hub for more information on other types of working dog.


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