Sussex Spaniel (Sporting Group)

Sussex Spaniel (Sporting Group)

The Sussex Spaniel is one of the more easy-going members of the spaniel family, so long as they receive plenty of affection. A bit aloof and laid back, yet always ready for the chance to go bird hunting, this breed can live quite comfortably in both large properties or small city apartments.

When hunting, the Sussex Spaniel can be very noisy, which is one of the biggest reasons they are less popular among hunters than other spaniels or members of the sporting group. They also need a lot of attention. Without it the Sussex Spaniel tends to bark and howl.

A Brief History Of The Sussex Spaniel

You can find the first mention of these dogs back in 1820 in an article about “The Spaniels of Sussex” was written for a sporting editorial. Their name was also adopted from Sussex, England, which is known as the home of the first largest kennel in 1795. 

In time the breed became widely popular among many of the estates in Sussex County. The dogs were outstanding hunting dogs, although slow-working, but had a great sense of smell when on the trail. Some Sussex Spaniels would get a bit noisy when a scent was picked up, which although works well for the hunter, hurt the breed’s score during field trials in the early 1900s.

Sussex Spaniels did not become as popular among American hunters. The main reason being is that the Americans preferred a dog that had more speed. And although these spaniels were one of the earliest breeds to be recognized by the AKC, as well as to compete in dog shows, they became close to extinction throughout the 20th century.

A cross of the dog was made with a Cumber Spaniel in 1954 to “help expand the breed’s gene pool” as one breeder put it. However, the Sussex Spaniel gene pool remains in low numbers because it is, and probably always will be, one of the rarest members of the American Kennel Club.

Upkeep Requirements For The Sussex Spaniel

Like all sporting dogs the Sussex Spaniel must have plenty of daily exercise. However, being a slow-moving spaniel, this breed can get its exercise requirements with a few laps around the yard or several brisk walks on the leash each day.

Sussex Spaniels can live outside, but does best when allowed to play in the yard all day then sleeping inside the house at night. They are very affectionate canines, both towards people and other pets, which means they enjoy lots of interaction with the family. Grooming the Sussex Spaniel calls for thorough brushings several times each week.

Health Concerns

Sussex Spaniel dogs have an average life span of between eleven and thirteen years. Major Health Concerns that run common in the breed are intervertebral disk disease and CHD. Minor problems that are seen are heart murmurs, otitis externa, and enlarged heart. And there are no suggested health tests that need to be done for the Sussex Spaniel.

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