Let's talk Sussex Spaniels

With big brown eyes and abundant wavy, rich brown coats, Sussex Spaniels are undoubtedly a beautiful breed – but they have much more to offer than their glossy good looks. These energetic, good-natured and compact canines were bred for the outdoors but nowadays fit in well with their human families, provided they get enough exercise. The one drawback to the breed is its rarity. If you’ve set your heart on a Sussex Spaniel you may be in for a long wait.

Official name: Sussex Spaniel

Other names: Sussex

Origins: United Kingdom

Close-up of Sussex Spaniel in black and white
Drooling tendencies Medium Warm weather? Very high
Shedding level Medium Suited to apartment living? Medium
*Energy Level moderate *Friendly pet? Medium
Compatibility with other pets Medium *Can stay alone? Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of Sussex Spaniel
38 - 41 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
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38 - 41 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
translations.feature.breeds.upto 23 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Side view of Sussex Spaniel standing in front of pink flowers


Get to know the Sussex Spaniel

All you need to know about the breed

Energy, beauty and a steady, affectionate nature – and all in a compact package: that’s the Sussex Spaniel. This rare breed won’t be topping any “most popular” lists – they date back at least two hundred years, but have never been among the best known – but, like many well-kept secrets – have plenty to offer all the same.

Size-wise, Sussexes are similar to Clumber Spaniels, although their distinctive colouring, described as golden-liver (much nicer than it sounds) sets them apart. Although they were originally bred for hunting, Sussex Spaniels now make great pets – they’re affectionate and gentle and once trained, get on well with children (although like any other breed they should never be left alone with them).

Sussex Spaniels’ legs may be little but they still need plenty of exercise: we’re talking proper long walks and chances to run around, not sedate strolls around the block.

Every dog breed has its little quirks, and Sussex Spaniels can be wary of strangers, and protective of their own humans. They are also known for being one of the most vocal of the spaniel breeds and they are particularly prone to barking and howling if left alone for too long – but you won’t want to be apart from them anyway.

Side view of Sussex Spaniel standing in front of pink flowers


2 facts about Sussex Spaniels

1. Rolling gait

The Sussex Spaniel’s low-slung build and natural energy combine to give the breed a distinctive rolling gait – add to that their gloriously burnished brunette coats and, while these dogs might be rare, they should be easily recognisable.

2. Barking breed

Sussex Spaniel’s solid builds and short legs are perfectly adapted to their original environment of thick hedges and undergrowth – but so are their barks: the dogs developed a language of barks and babbles to allow their human companions to locate them in the heavy cover, and they’re still known as vocal dogs today.


History of the breed

Sturdy and eager-to-please Sussex Spaniels have been bred in earnest since the early 19th century, although they are thought to date back even further. They originate, unsurprisingly, in Sussex, on the southeast coast of England, where they were developed as “flushing dogs” – or hunters’ companions trained to flush birds out from the dense undergrowth of the local landscape.

Today’s Sussex Spaniels owe their many good qualities – and their existence – at least in part to one man, Augustus Fuller, a landowner who dedicated himself to selecting the best examples to breed from over more than half a century, leading to the sturdy and enthusiastic little dogs we know and love today.

The Sussex Spaniel is, sadly, now classified as a vulnerable native breed, meaning fewer than 300 are registered each year. In 2020, the last year for which data is available, only 44 Sussex Spaniels were registered, according to the UK’s Kennel Club.

Close-up of Sussex Spaniel in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Sussex Spaniels

1. Coat

Thick, wavy chestnut coloured coat, golden at tips.

2. Head

Broad, strong head with large floppy ears.

3. Body

Compact but solid, low-slung build with tapered tail.

Close-up side view of Sussex Spaniel


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Sussex Spaniel
Side view of Sussex Spaniel standing on concrete ledge


Caring for your Sussex Spaniel

Grooming, training and exercise tips

It’s hardly surprisingly that luxuriant-locked Sussex Spaniels do require a fair amount of grooming, although it should be a pleasure. Regular brushing will keep their beautiful coats free of matting and tangles, while also handily providing a chance for cuddles. Regular nail clipping is important and you may also need to trim the hair on the bottoms of their paws to stop them slipping. Scheduling in visits to a professional groomer can also help. Frequent tooth brushing (daily if possible) is important for good dental hygiene. Adult Sussex Spaniels need plenty of exercise, but before they are a year old, this slow-growing breed needs to avoid strenuous exercise to protect their bones. Sussex Spaniels are intelligent – good news for training – but they can sometimes display a stubborn streak. You’ll need to start them early and adopt a patient, calm and consistent approach. Early socialisation, as with any other breed, is a good idea to get your Sussex Spaniel used to other dogs, people and everyday situations.


All about Sussex Spaniels

Erm… how can we put this … yes. The Sussex Spaniel is known for being one of the most vocal of the spaniel breeds. In particular, they don’t take well to being left alone for extended periods, and won’t hesitate to let you (and your neighbours) know about this.

Indeed – for energetic, outdoorsy owners! The breed needs plenty of exercise. These lovely dogs make affectionate companions and once trained get on well with children, although like other breeds shouldn’t be left alone with them.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/