Physical characteristicsThe Sussex Spaniel is a medium size dog with a strong well-boned build, long broad head, and thick coat. This is probably the stockiest of all spaniels. The body is low, long, with a level topline. The chest is round, deep, and wide. The muzzle should be approximately three inches long, broad, and square in profile. The nose is brown, with well-developed nostrils. The hazel eyes are rather large, soft and languishing. The heavy long ears are somewhat reminiscent of the Basset Hound. A scissor bite is preferred. The overall structure of the face should have a strong yet gentle expression. The tail is docked to be 5 to 7 inches long. Note: docking tails is illegal in most parts of Europe. The tail never goes above the body level and it is usually parallel to the ground when the dog is excited.
Sussex Spaniels weigh 35 to 50 pounds. Their height is 13 to 15 inches.
TemperamentSussex Spaniels are known to be a very friendly breed with both humans and other animals. It can easily get along with children (as long as the kids are not too annoying and disrespectful), other dogs and even cats. Although some individuals can be aggressive with unfamiliar dogs, this should not be a problem if the dog is properly socialized and if the owner is recognized as the pack leader. These dogs are very smart and may be pretty wilful - firm and patient training is necessary. Novice dog owners should be willing and able to assert their dominance. The Sussex Spaniel is known as the best watchdog among all spaniels. These dogs also adapt well to different environments, and they seem to know how to behave in different locations. When over excited and anxious, they can be quite rowdy, howling, barking and even breaking things. A well-balanced Sussex Spaniel is obedient, sweet, gentle and devoted.
Coat and groomingThe abundant thick coat can be flat or slightly wavy. The ears, legs, belly and tail are well-furnished with soft hair. The neck has a well-marked frill in the coat. Sussex Spaniels come in rich golden-liver colour. The tips of the hair tend to be more golden compared to the rest of the body. Regular grooming is necessary to keep the coat in good condition.
HealthProne to ear infections, so the ears should be cleaned regularly. Do not overfeed as this breed tends to gain weight easily. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.
Other interesting factsThe breed originated in the 18th century in the county of Sussex, England, where it was used as a field dog. In 1884, the Sussex Spaniel was one of the original nine breeds recognized by the AKC.
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