Sussex Spaniel

Looking a bit like a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a torpedo, Sussex Spaniels are long, low-built bird dogs of great strength and endurance. Topping out at just 15 inches tall at the shoulder, Sussex Spaniels are nonetheless described as “massive,” with a deep chest and heavy bone. Their trademark is an abundant, feathery coat of rich golden-liver. The classic spaniel head, with its wavy-coated ears and big hazel eyes, projects a somber, frowning expression delightfully at odds with the Sussex Spaniel's innate cheerfulness.

The Sussex derives his name from Sussex, England, where the first and most important kennel of these dogs belonged to a Mr. Fuller. Fuller is credited with developing the rich, golden liver color that has long distinguished the breed.

Breed Profile

Placid, affectionate, even-tempered, true-blue loyal: All are words used to describe this slow-but-steady hunter and congenial housedog. Patient with children and agreeable with other pets, Sussex are quick learners and eager to please—but they can be assertive, and adorable pups will quickly grow into powerful leash-pullers, so early socialization and training are essential. They enjoy walks with their families and are good with children and other dogs. A Sussex needs positive training. Obedience classes are wonderful, but an owner (or trainer) should never get rough with a Sussex. Puppies need to be socialized and introduced to whatever they will encourage in their lives, such as children, other dogs, cats and more. Sussex remember both good and bad things, and if they are hurt, they will never forget or truly forgive. Praise, practice, and perseverance are key. The breed’s numbers have always been small, but Sussex owners cherish their dogs’ unique look and kindly demeanor.