This medium-sized dog who was previously bred for field hunting is the beautiful Sussex Spaniel. These stunning dogs came from the UK and started showing up around the late 18th century. They would charge into thick growth in the fields and flush out any game birds that were hiding.
13 – 15 inches
35 – 45 pounds
11 – 13 years
Fairly active families who are willing to keep up with their grooming needs
Cheerful, friendly, sociable, devoted
Sussex Spaniel Characteristics
Sussex Spaniel Puppies
These dogs may need a little motivation when it comes to getting kickstarted for the day. The Sussex Spaniel isn’t the most energetic. However, most of their health issues come from obesity, and it is something that you’ll have to keep a very close eye on throughout the years.
Sussex Spaniels are brilliant. So much so that training usually results in a few battles from their stubbornness. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Sussex Spaniels is that they are incredibly social. It doesn’t matter if it’s towards children, dogs, cats, or family friends; this breed simply enjoys making friends with anyone who comes around. Keep reading this care guide to know what type of food, exercise, and grooming they need to grow into happy and healthy dogs.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Sussex Spaniel
The Sussex Spaniel may not be for you if you hate the sound of barking, but this is just their way of alerting you whenever something strange is going on. It is perfect for anyone who is looking for a good companion and a guard dog in one.
It takes some time and commitment to adjust to this breed. They are very sensitive and prone to some separation anxiety. Still, they are overall happy and friendly dogs who are calm whenever inside the house. They can also be playful and funny once they feel comfortable in their new home.
Sussex Spaniels are highly intelligent dogs. It won’t take them long to catch on to new commands, yet they’re going to test you a time or two during the process. Whenever working with them, make sure you use a lot of positive reinforcement. Refrain from shouting or intimidating them because you could set the entire training process back and make them afraid to continue.
These dogs quickly become well-loved members of the family. They love affection and lazing around on the couch all day. You will have to be mindful not to let them veg out too much, though, or else they could start to have some weight problems.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Overall, the Sussex Spaniel is calm, polite, and social. They are ideal family pets for several reasons. First, they are affectionate to kids, adults, and other pets in the house and, while socializing them from a young age is still recommended, they seem to be reasonably laidback. Second, they aren’t afraid to alert you when a stranger is on the property. The barking is annoying to some, but others are grateful for it. Finally, they are down to do whatever you want. These Spaniels devote their days to pleasing their masters. You might not want to leave this breed alone for long periods. Instead, try to bring them with you whenever possible.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
Sussex Spaniels are some of the least reactive dogs when introduced to other pets. We wouldn’t force them to get close with another dog until they’re both comfortable, but we’re still willing to bet that it won’t take long for the two to buddy up. This breed is incredibly friendly, and it only gets better when you socialize them regularly.
Things to Know When Owning a Sussex Spaniel:
As with all breeds, each one is unique and has its own set of needs to live the healthiest and most fulfilling lives.
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
Sussex Spaniels grow relatively slowly. They do best when given high-quality dog food that is appropriate for the dogs’ age and size. Most portion sizes are listed on the food packaging to provide you with a good idea of how much they need to eat per day. In general, most adults do fine off two cups of dog food per day.
Despite their active backgrounds, Sussex Spaniels should not get overexercised during their first year of life. As mentioned before, these dogs are slow-growing, and too much activity from a young age could damage their growth plates. Instead, allow puppies to exercise themselves through play. Adults do better with more low-energy activities such as swimming or long walks. Don’t expect them to be jumping and running through agility courses right away.
Trust us when we say that a Sussex Spaniel can be stubborn and will not forget the way that you treat or handle them during training. As the one training them, strive to show the dog clearly what you want. When they perform well, give them lots of praise to encourage them to keep up the good work. Training might take a good amount of time. Try to remain patient even when they are testing you.
General grooming for these dogs is the same for other long-haired breeds. Bathing, brushing, and combing them regularly should be enough to keep their coats looking healthy. However, there is more grooming involved in other ways. The bottoms of their feet should be kept trimmed so that they don’t slip and hurt themselves. Neutered spaniels also tend to have fuzzier coats that are more challenging to deal with. Whatever you do, do not shave their coats unless it is necessary. Their fur takes a long time to recover from the cut.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Sussex Spaniels are prone to some genetic health conditions that you’ll want to consider before purchasing a new pet. Keep in mind that these dogs are difficult to breed. The females often skip seasons and require C-sections. The puppies are also fragile for about two weeks after they’re born. Those who don’t plan to breed should look out for other particular health concerns.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Sussex Spaniel
1. They were previously hunters.
Sportsmen in Sussex were looking for a dog breed around the 1700s to chase feathered game. The Sussex Spaniel came along, and their short legs and stocky torsos helped them quickly plow through the dense underbrush and clay-like soil.
2. Sussex Spaniels are louder than other Spaniels.
During a hunt, these dogs would start to bark and babble to let their owners know where they were. This behavior continues over time, and now they are one of the chattiest of all other Spaniel breeds.
3. They were one of the first dog breeds to be recognized.
The Spring Spaniel wound up being one of the first ten breeds recognized and admitted to the Stud Book while the American Kennel Club was forming. This took place in 1884.
If you’re searching for a new pet that is loving, calm, and full of personality, then the Sussex Spaniel would make a perfect fit. These dogs have beautiful coats and are going to adapt to most types of lifestyles. You’ll never have to worry about them being too rough with your kids or other pets, either. We’re thankful that these dogs have made their way over from the UK and become great companions for so many people.
Featured Image Credit: rebeccaashworth, Shutterstock