Sussex Spaniel Dog


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sussex spaniel dog

Breed information guide

Did you know that the Sussex Spaniel, with its distinctive golden liver colour, hails from Sussex County, England? This breed was meticulously developed to flush birds into the air for hunters. While they might seem slow and sedate at first glance, their energy levels spike when they catch the scent of birds. In 2022, the Kennel Club reported 44 Sussex Spaniels registered in the UK. Furthermore, the AKC, which recognized the Sussex Spaniel as a distinct breed as early as 1878, currently ranks it 192 out of 200 breeds.

If you’re considering bringing a Sussex Spaniel into your life or simply curious about this charming breed, you’re in for a treat. Dive in to discover the rich history, unique traits, and other fascinating details about the Sussex Spaniel.

Quick Facts:

  • Size: The Sussex Spaniel is a medium-sized sporting dog.
  • Weight: 16-23kg (approx. 35-51 pounds)
  • Height: 33-41 cm (approx. 13-16 inches)
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years.
  • Types: Sporting dog breed from England with a golden liver colour.
  • Families: Sussex Spaniels generally have a sweet and playful temperament with their family, though they can be moderately wary of strangers.
  • Allergies: Not hypoallergenic.
  • Appearance: Medium-length, slightly wavy coat in the breed’s trademark golden liver colour. Low, long build with short legs, ears are fairly long and hang downward with plenty of wavy fur. Soft hazel eyes and heavy brows contribute to a somewhat frowning expression.
  • Temperament: Affectionate, companionable, even-tempered. They tend to be easy going in the house as long as their exercise needs are met.
  • Other pets: Not specifically aggressive towards other pets.
  • Barking: The breed is more vocal than most spaniels, so the hunters could keep track of it even if it disappeared into thick undergrowth.
  • Training: This breed can be stubborn when it comes to training. Always use positive-reinforcement training methods, as Sussex Spaniels are sensitive to harsh corrections.
  • Exercise required: At least two hours of exercise per day.
  • Owner requirement: Training and socialisation should begin at a young age to help encourage good manners.
  • Grooming: Brush one to two times per week to remove loose fur and prevent tangles and mats. Expect periods of higher shedding, often in the spring and fall.
  • Health: Prone to pregnancy difficulties, heart problems, bloat, cancer, and pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency (a metabolic disorder).
  • Nutrition: Feed a quality canine diet with balanced nutrition, typically via two measured meals per day. They are prone to bloat, so consider feeding smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Accommodation: Can do well with apartment living as long as they receive enough exercise and playtime every day but suit outdoor space to run around.
  • Cost: For a puppy from a reputable breeder, expect to pay around £500 to £600 on average.
  • Kennel Club Group: Gundog.

Breed History & Traits:

Hailing from Sussex County in the 1700’s, England – the Sussex Spaniel has an origin you might find intriguing. Developed with a sole purpose in mind – aiding hunters by launching birds into the air – this breed has certainly made a mark over time. Known for it’s shorter legs and stocky torso than other spaniel breeds.

As years went by, the Sussex Spaniel underwent some changes, tweaking a bit here & there, always evolving to suit the demands of its environment and of the people lucky enough to call them their pets. Dive a bit into their journey, and you’ll stumble upon some milestones:

  • Its initial development in Sussex County was exclusively for the hunters’ aid.
  • The recognition it got for that unique golden liver colour – not something you see every day.
  • Its rise in popularity among dog lovers is all thanks to its distinctive traits & temperament.
  • And of course, grabbing spots in some of the top rankings of esteemed kennel clubs.

Key Traits:

Now, when it comes to standing out, the Sussex Spaniel has got it down to an art. Few breeds boast the combo of characteristics that make them so, well, unique.

Top 5 unique traits that define the Sussex Spaniel:

  • Golden Liver Colour: This hue is rare, and seeing a Sussex Spaniel is kind of like spotting a gold nugget in a riverbed.
  • Hunting Prowess: If you’ve ever seen them in action, their knack for flushing out birds for hunters is something to behold.
  • Adaptable Nature: Contrary to what most think, they adapt quite well to apartment living – making them a good fit even if you’re an urban dweller.
  • Affectionate Disposition: Their cheerful nature and yearning for human affection means they’re more than just pets; they become part of the family.

Temperament and Personality:

The Sussex Spaniel – not just a pretty face. Their temperament makes them a beloved pet for many. You might’ve seen one around and thought how charming they look. Well, they’re known to be cheerful & thrive when showered with attention and affection from their human companions.

Some common behaviours you might’ve observed or heard about the Sussex Spaniel include:

  • Loving Nature: They form deep bonds with their families & are known for that unwavering loyalty. 
  • Sensitivity: These Spaniels are pretty sensitive & crave human interaction. They can become anxious if left alone for too long.
  • Playfulness: Despite their somewhat sedate appearance, they can be pretty lively, especially when they sense birds or are engaged in play. You’ve seen dogs get excited over birds, right? It’s a sight.
  • Attention Seeking: If they are left alone? Well, that can lead to some destructive behaviours like barking, whining, or even chewing.

With their rich history, distinctive traits and lovable nature, the Sussex Spaniel is a breed worth looking into. Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or considering your very first pet, this breed offers a unique mix of history, beauty, & companionship.

Appearance and Colours:

The Sussex Spaniel – is a medium-sized sporting dog, hailing from England. When you lay eyes on this breed, you notice its medium-length & slightly wavy coat, flaunting the breed’s signature golden liver colour. This hunting dog has a unique design – low, long build & short legs. Such a design, you might imagine, enables it to effortlessly navigate dense undergrowth, flushing out the game. Their ears, quite long & adorned with wavy fur, hang gracefully. But, one feature that probably catches your attention the most? Those soft hazel eyes were surrounded by heavy brows. They give it a bit of a frowning look. But if you’ve ever met one, you’d know this look contrasts their typically cheerful demeanour.

Common colours & coat patterns:

Golden Liver: Now, this colour is what sets the Sussex Spaniel apart. If you’ve ever seen this hue on a dog, you remember it. It’s the hallmark colour of the breed & a real point of pride among their owners


Sussex Spaniels are sweet & playful creatures, particularly around their families. But, you might’ve noticed, they can get a tad wary around strangers. Inside your home, they have this easygoing vibe, if, of course, you’ve met their exercise needs. But here’s a little heads-up – they do carry a stubborn streak. Ever experienced that? This trait can sometimes make training a tad bit challenging, but surely not impossible.

Steps for basic obedience training tailored for the Sussex Spaniel:

  • Start Early: If you’ve got a young Sussex Spaniel, best to begin training while they’re still a pup. Helps in setting a strong foundation, you know?
  • Positive Reinforcement: Using positive reinforcement techniques is a must. Considering Sussex Spaniels and their sensitivity, you will realise harsh corrections aren’t their thing. You’d be surprised how praise & treats can get them on board.
  • Consistency is Key: Ensure you keep those training sessions consistent. Reinforcing commands & behaviours, it’s all about that rhythm.
  • Socialisation: Have you tried exposing your Sussex Spaniel to various environments & people, even other dogs? Doing so can make a world of difference, especially given their reserved nature with unfamiliar faces.
  • Address the Stubbornness: Ever had a moment when your Sussex Spaniel turned extra stubborn during training? It might be good to take a break & give it another shot later. Remember, patience is everything to them.


Sussex Spaniels don’t need excessive exercise but they do need a decent amount to keep them all calm & content indoors. You’d probably find activities like walking, hiking, & swimming just perfect for this breed. You might not know – strenuous exercise should be side-stepped until they’re fully avoid y damage to their growth plates.

Recommended activities & their benefits for Sussex Spaniel:

  • Walking: It not only keeps the Sussex Spaniel fit but also lets them explore around a bit.
  • Hiking: This is both about physical exercise & also mental perks. Imagine them tapping into their instincts.
  • Swimming: It’s a bit easy on their joints & muscles, being a low-impact exercise.
  • Fetch: Ever played fetch? If you have, you’d know it’s all about their natural retrieving instincts & it sure is a fun way to get them tired.
  • Hide & Seek: Just a fun game, but hey, it’s also about recall commands.

Now, despite their chilled look, Sussex Spaniels have a high prey drive. So, always ensure they’re on a leash or maybe in a secured fenced area when they’re out. They can get distracted by things they perceive as prey & might just skip on the recall commands.

Ideal Home & Owner:

With that sturdy build & golden liver coat, the Sussex Spaniel thrives in particular settings. Ideally, they’re all about homes with enough outdoor space, think a large garden. Urban areas with tons of stairs? Probably not their jam.

Now, the ideal person for a Sussex Spaniel is someone familiar with gundogs.  If you’ve ever owned one, you know the deal – be ready for walks & a home that’ll see a large, sometimes muddy spaniel. If your place is more rural or maybe semi-rural, without too many kids or maybe with just sensible active ones, then the Sussex Spaniel might be a great fit. They need folks ready for long walks & up for some training time.

Other Animals:

Generally, Sussex Spaniels are pretty cool with other dogs & might even mingle with other pets. Especially if they’ve known them since they were pups. But their hunting side? It can sometimes pop up. So, keeping an eye on when they’re around smaller pets is a good idea.

Introducing a Sussex Spaniel to other animals? It’s best done bit by bit in a controlled space. Positive vibes & treats can make it smoother. And if you’ve ever done socialisation from a young age as a puppy, it might make them a bit more chill with other animals.

Size & Weight:

The Sussex Spaniel, which originated from England, strikes a figure with its medium-sized sporting dog stature. Flaunting that unique golden liver coat, you wouldn’t easily miss spotting one of these. Talking size, they’re usually in the range of 3-41 cm (approx. 13-16 inches) tall. And weight? They’ll make the scale between 16-23kg (approx. 35-51 pounds)

But remember, just like people you might know, individual Sussex Spaniels might not stick strictly to these numbers. Things like their genes, what they eat, & how healthy they are can tweak a dog’s size and weight.

Grooming & Care:

If you’ve ever owned a Sussex Spaniel, you’d know their coat asks for a bit of pampering. That medium-length & wavy charm can get all tangled if left alone for long.

Step-by-step basic grooming routine:

  1. Brushing: A few times a week is all it takes to keep the mats and tangles away.
  2. Ear Care: It’s always good to ensure their ears are clean & free from stuff they shouldn’t have inside.
  3. Trimming: You might want to snip the hair near the pads and always keep an eye for any weird stuff or maybe grass seeds between their claws.
  4. Bathing: If they need a bath, make sure you’re using something meant for dogs. Regular human shampoo might not be the best idea.
  5. Dental Care: Brushing their teeth often, saves a lot of future troubles.

Nutrition & Food:

The Sussex Spaniel, even with its relaxed vibe, needs its nutrients balanced. They might not run marathons, but they do need the right stuff for muscles, coat, & feeling good overall.

Table: Dog Food Types and Their Benefits for Sussex Spaniels

Type of FoodBenefits for Sussex Spaniels
Dry Food (Kibble)– Provides good dental health by reducing tartar build-up.- Convenient to store and serve.- Often more economical than other food types.
Wet Food (Canned)– High moisture content can help with hydration.- Often more palatable, which can be beneficial for picky eaters.- Can be a good source of protein and fats.
Raw Food– Can lead to shinier coats and healthier skin.- May result in smaller stools and increased energy.- Offers a natural diet, free from preservatives.

Now, feeding your Sussex Spaniel, remember this – balance is key. Too much food & they balloon up; too little or the wrong kind, & you’re inviting health problems. Always have fresh water ready for them. If you’ve ever had a dog before, you know the drill – keep an eye on their weight and adjust the food as you go. It’s all about keeping them happy & healthy.


They’re pretty sturdy dogs, lasting long & staying strong. But, just like any breed, they’ve got their own set of health issues. If you’re aware, you can keep an eye out and make sure your dog stays on top of its game.

  • Pregnancy Difficulties: If you’ve ever thought of breeding, know that this breed sometimes faces challenges. Always good to watch closely & get a vet’s opinion.
  • Heart Problems: Those regular vet visits? They help in spotting & managing heart conditions way before they get serious
  • Bloat: This is where the stomach does a nasty twist. If you notice anything off, don’t wait. Get to the vet.
  • Cancer: Regular check-ups & keeping an eye on any weird lumps or changes can catch this early.
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency: Sounds complex, right? It’s a metabolic disorder. Regular screenings help in catching and managing it.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Vet check-ups & making sure they aren’t piling on the pounds can manage  dysplasia.


With these health hiccups that Sussex Spaniels can face, you might want to think about pet insurance. Covers vet care, surgeries, medications, and treatments.

Top Pet Insurance Providers in the UK:

When choosing an insurance plan, look at the details; like how much they cover, deductibles,  what the plan doesn’t cover, & see what other people are saying in reviews. You want a plan that’s light on the pocket & heavy on the care for your Sussex Spaniel.

Buying & Breeders:

Thinking of getting a Sussex Spaniel? Make sure you’re getting your furry friend from someone who knows their breeds & cares about the dogs.

Questions to Ask Breeders:

  1. How long have you been breeding Sussex Spaniels? The longer, the more they probably know about the breed.
  2. Can I see the puppy’s parents? Gives you an idea about how your puppy might turn out.
  3. Have these puppies been checked by a vet? Good breeders will have this done.
  4. What social time do these puppies have? You want a dog that’s been around others & is chill.
  5. Got a contract & health guarantee? Protects you & them if things go south.
  6. How do you deal with breed health issues? You want to know they’re on top of things.
  7. Any references from past buyers? Nothing like hearing from others who’ve been where you’re heading.

So, remember, do your homework. If you want a happy, healthy Sussex Spaniel puppy a good start makes all the difference.

Sussex Spaniel Price in the UK:

Getting your hands on a Sussex Spaniel puppy in the UK? The price tag might make you think twice. Depending on factors like the breeder’s reputation, the puppy’s family tree, & those shiny awards the parents might have, you could be shelling out anywhere from £500 to £600. But remember, when you pick that little furball, the spending doesn’t stop. You’ll be investing in food, grooming, those necessary vet visits, & fingers crossed, no big health issues.

Rescue & Re-homing:

Do you have a heart for the needy ones? There are places for that.

Benefits of Adoption:

Thinking of going down the adoption route? Here’s why that’s a great idea:

  • Giving a Second Chance: Imagine being the reason a dog gets another shot at family love.
  • Cost-Effective: Most of the time, the dogs had their shots & maybe even been neutered.
  • Supporting a Good Cause: Your money? It’s helping the rescue keep doing what they’re great at.
  • Knowing the Dog’s Personality: Lots of rescues have grown-up dogs. So, you sort of know what you’re getting into.
  • Making a Difference: Every dog you take home means another space opens up for another needy pup.

Mixed Breeds:

Sussex Spaniels, with their endearing personalities and distinctive appearance, have been mixed with other breeds to create some delightful combinations. These mixed breeds often combine the best traits of both parent breeds, resulting in unique and often highly sought-after dogs.

Table: Popular Sussex Spaniel Mixed Breeds, Their Characteristics, and Benefits

Mixed BreedCharacteristicsBenefits
Sussex Cocker Spaniel (Sussex Spaniel x Cocker Spaniel)Medium-sized with wavy to curly fur, often in shades of liver or golden.Energetic, affectionate, and great with families. Combines the steadiness of the Sussex with the liveliness of the Cocker.
Stump Sussex Spaniel (Sussex Spaniel x St. Bernard)Larger in size with a sturdy build, often with a mix of liver and white or brown markings.Gentle giants, protective, and great as watchdogs. Ideal for families looking for a larger, yet affectionate companion.
Sussex Beagle (Sussex Spaniel x Beagle)Medium-sized with a sleek coat, often in shades of liver, white, and black.Curious, friendly, and great with kids. Combines the scent-driven nature of both breeds, making them excellent trackers.
Sussex Poodle (Sussex Spaniel x Poodle)Medium-sized with curly fur, available in various colours.Hypoallergenic, intelligent, and easy to train. Ideal for families with allergies or those looking for a low-shedding dog.
Sussex Retriever (Sussex Spaniel x Golden Retriever)Medium to large-sized with a wavy coat, often in golden or liver shades.Friendly, loyal, and great with children. Combines the gentle nature of the Retriever with the sturdiness of the Sussex.

It’s essential to remember that mixed breed dogs can inherit any combination of traits from their parent breeds. Therefore, while the above descriptions provide a general idea, individual dogs might vary. Always meet both parent breeds, if possible, to get a better understanding of potential characteristics.


The Sussex Spaniel – a breed with a rich history & distinctive characteristics. Whether you’re thinking of buying or adopting, doing thorough research is crucial. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes when you dive deep into understanding a breed.  Remember, adopting can be such a heartfelt way to provide a loving home to a dog in need & it comes with its very own set of rewards. Whatever your choice, you’re bound to find the Sussex Spaniel bringing so much joy & companionship to your life.


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