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Sussex Spaniel Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Sussex Spaniel is a pretty pup, that’s for sure. With that shiny, long coat, and pointy nose, he looks like a stoic beauty. But he’s not as sad as he looks, that’s for sure. The Sussex spaniel dog breed is more talkative but somehow less friendly than other spaniels.

Now don’t get us wrong…

We here at IndulgeYourPet love the Sussex Spaniel dog breed but remember, not all purebreds are the right pet for everyone. So, before you get into a long-term pet-owner relationship with a Sussex Spaniel, you want to be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, which is why we decided to write this article so that if you’re ever allowed to make one of these incredible dogs your own, you’ll know for sure if it’s going to be a good idea or not.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Sussex Spaniel Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: England

Original Purpose: Small game tracking and hunting

Height: 13 to 17 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 30 to 45 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Sporting Group

Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

Origin of the Sussex Spaniel

The Sussex Spaniel dog breed is a somewhat old dog breed that dates back to the late 17th century, when these guys became quite popular in and around Sussex County, England.  Here, they were mainly bred by Moses Woolland and Campbell Newington.  And while these two gentlemen didn’t work together, they were both quite successful in creating a wildly popular dog breed that was very much appreciated for his hunting abilities.


What made the Sussex Spaniel good at what he does which is the slow and systematic approach to the hunt along with his ability to alert his owner that he was on a scent, ultimately proved his undoing in that, over time, hunters began to prefer quicker more “stealthy” dog breeds.


But this time, these guys also became appreciated for their personality. They ultimately transitioned into the role of companion animals, which is probably why the breed still exists today.  Like most European dogs (yes, we know that the UK is no longer in the EU!), the Sussex Spaniel faced a significant decline during and after WWI. However, somehow the dog sustained, thanks to Joy Freer, and eventually made their way to the USA right before the Great Depression, but honestly, nobody seemed to care.


Despite how much their owners love them, the Sussex Spaniel is still one of the rarest breeds in America. The American Kennel Club (AKC) ranks the popularity of their breeds. Out of 157 species & varieties they rank, the Sussex Spaniel is 154 in favor (or should we say, pup-clarity).

Physical Characteristics

This dog was bred by breeders primarily for their look, though they were occasionally used for hunting. But their short legs and long fur coat make them more of a pretty dog than a working dog. They have brown silky skin and are usually a bit heavyset for their overall size.

Sussex Spaniels also…

Have long, majestic ears and a sad look on their face. But looks can be deceiving; these pups are mellow but not depressed.  Now just because they have longer hair, you will need to brush it more than some short-haired dogs. Cutting their hair super short or shaving may be tempting, but this isn’t a good idea.  And we should also point out that this dog looks very similar to the Clumber. However, their coloring has a pretty distinct difference (Clumbers are white, Sussex spaniels are golden-brown).

Personality and Temperament

They may seem like they don’t have any energy, but get this dog outside, and you’ll see them come alive! He’ll be playing and having a great time. This is when you’ll see it is a field spaniel. This is also important because of his chunky shape; he needs to exercise to keep healthy.

One thing to note is…

This is a somewhat stubborn breed of dog, but some can be controlled if you get them when they are puppies and start the training early. But, of course, some of their natural disposition can’t be eradicated. No matter how young of a puppy, you will not be able to weed out their strong will totally, so expect a bit of pushback sometimes. This doesn’t have to be something serious – it can be as simple as not wanting to finish a walk or resisting going to a room when you tell them to do so.

Despite this, we should remind folks that “usually” the Sussex Spaniel are great family pets since they are calm and okay indoors.

Potential Health Concerns

If you get any breed of dog from reputable breeders, your chances of facing severe genetic health problems are much, much less. A responsible breeder will ensure to get healthy dogs for each litter, wiping out some genetic problems any particular breed might be prone to.

The best way to…

To increase the chances of a healthy dog, ensure they come from parents with certifications from health organizations. For example, the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. These two things will help.

Despite this…

Your dog could still have a genetic problem that results in sickness. Some examples are:

Patent Ductus arteriosis (PDA): a heart disease. Your vet will recommend surgery to fix this.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): back problems. Your dog may need anti-inflammatory medications if the situation isn’t too bad. However, if it is pretty bad, then he’ll need surgery.

Pulmonic Stenosis: another type of heart disease. Your dog will need medication or surgery (or both!).

Ear Infections: This is a common problem and not too serious. However, it would be best to get him treated because it’s painful for your pup. This recurring problem can get expensive – every trip to the vet will cost $100-200. If your dog has an ear infection once a year, that’s a lot of money throughout his life!

To Get a Sussex Spaniel or Not?

This is a personal choice. Do you think he’ll fit in and jive with your family? Like finding a mate, you must see if your personality matches up. It’s true. What do you expect from your dog, and what will this breed offer? Do you have lifestyles that match up? For example, if you want a dog that will run for 5 miles a day with you, it’s probably not a Sussex Spaniel. However, this is one to consider if you want a chilled dog that may like 15 minutes of fetch.

One thing’s for sure…

No matter what breed of dog you decide to get, be sure to get them insured. Even if you think your dog runs zero risk of getting a genetic disease, they may have an accident or get an unexpected infection. They might also get general sicknesses associated with age. If your dog gets sick, you will want to give them the best healthcare possible.

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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