Sussex Spaniel Description
Sussex spaniel is a strong, medium sized dog. In fact, the Sussex spaniel can be classified as the stockiest of all spaniels. It has a long muscular body with a wide skull. The shape of its head is rather broad and long, with a deep recess in the middle.
The eyes of the Sussex spaniel are hazel in color and they bear a serene expression, probably because they are somewhat droopy. Its ears are quite large, and they hang down to the level of the jaw. A standard ear of a Sussex spaniel should stick closely to its body and not too wavy. The overall structure of the face should have a strong and yet gentle expression. Some people even remarked that they see some kind of sadness on the face of a Sussex spaniel.
The tail never goes above the body level and it is usually parallel to the ground when the dog is excited. And it is well-known that the Sussex spaniel moves its tail a lot. The body is proportionately long, and the ideal height is no more than 16 inches. Sussex spaniels have short fore legs and long hind legs, with rather large bones in the feet and short feathery hair between the toes. The ideal color of the coat should be golden liver with the tips of the fur swaying to a more golden persuasion.
The Sussex Spaniel is a friendly and placid dog, with a steady disposition and a certain charm about him. Suited to both experienced and inexperienced dog owners, the Sussex Spaniel makes for a delightful companion and family pet. He can be a stubborn and willful dog at times, and because of this owners need to be confident, assertive, yet positive in their approach. It is advisable that you provide your Sussex Spaniel with early socialization to promote a stable and confident temperament. His protective nature and tendency to bark to raise an alarm makes the Sussex Spaniel an effective watchdog. These dogs and intelligent and fairly quick to learn, but training can still prove a challenge because of the stubbornness of some of these dogs. Housebreaking can also be difficult with some Sussex Spaniels.
The Sussex Spaniel does thrive on the love and affection of his owner, and likes to get involved in activities both indoors and outdoors. These are not dogs that like to be neglected, and this could lead to barking and howling. You will also need to be watchful with regards to his eating habits, as many Sussex Spaniels can be extremely fussy eaters. The Sussex Spaniel does not like to be handled roughly and is best suited around older, gentler children. He will usually be cautious around strangers at first, but this should later turn into polite acceptance. He tends to be friendly with other animals, but can be bossy, particularly with strange dogs. The Sussex Spaniel has moderate energy levels, and will require a fair amount of exercise, preferably with plenty of interactive play.
The grooming needs for the Sussex Spaniel are moderate. You will need to brush his coat twice weekly, and trim hairs from the pads of his feet and from around the bottom. The ears should be checked regularly to ensure that they are clean and dry to reduce the chances of infection. You may also need to keep the nails trimmed. The Sussex Spaniel is a medium shedder, and therefore may not prove ideal for those with allergies.
Sussex spaniels got their name from their place of origin, which is Sussex of England. They were developed as a separate breed during the 1880's by Mr. Fuller of Rosehill. He used these dogs as work dogs and kept the same line for 50 years. However, this breed of dogs was almost extinct during the World War II. Breeding was discouraged during that time, and only one person in America was able to continue the Sussex spaniel line.
Since 1945, Joy Freer successfully kept the line alive, and all her Sussex spaniels were kept for the sole purpose of saving the pedigree. However, she also experienced breeding problems around the 1950's, and the attention shifted back to the UK where original lines could still be found, though very few in numbers. Currently, the Sussex spaniels are considered a very vulnerable breed.
Sussex Spaniels are very active dogs, and they love all kinds of activities. Training is practically a breeze because these dogs are known for their physical prowess and stamina. Their intelligence and willingness to explore new concepts make them very easy to train. The ideal training ground for Sussex spaniels is a fun environment with lots of interesting activities. If you manage to make the training session exciting, these dogs can typically pick up any notion or skill you wish to impart to them. Spaniels are generally very playful, and they are open to learning anything that appeals to their interest. On the other hand, if you frustrate or make them anxious, they will be impatient to any kind of training or activity. When they are in a good mood, they are so easy to train that you will not even need the service of a professional trainer.
You can train them to adopt simple manners and obey simple commands, such as sitting, staying, rolling or retrieving. While they are rather well-behaved under normal circumstances, there are other areas where a Sussex spaniel needs some discipline. Due to their curiosity and impulsiveness, there are times when they can be quite difficult to control. However, if you are patient enough, you can train Sussex spaniels to do quite extraordinary things. For example, you can train them to bark once when someone is at the door and twice when they need to go outside and so on, though these habits require great patience to instill. Yet for simple manners, Sussex spaniels will always perform to expectations, and they will remember all the commands easily. Their intelligence and alertness, coupled with good training and exercise, make them a good breed to have, and they are perfect for joining dog shows and sporting events.
There are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed. This includes heart problems, thyroid problems, HD, and autoimmune disease. The parents of the Sussex Spaniel puppy should have OFA certificates.