Taking the spotlight as the Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2009, Sussex Spaniels earn their new fans. Despite being a guard breed, Sussex makes a good show dog, or a pet, adaptable and is good with children. Considered as bird dogs, they have a rectangular body, sporting its trademark, an abundant feathery rich golden/liver coat. Sussex has its own association solely supporting the breed. However, they are considered as a vulnerable native breed having a very few registered pedigree puppies with The Kennel Club every year. The Sussex with its frowny-looking faces contradicts its cheerful and energetic nature.
Sussex Spaniels are one of the 18th century origins in the UK. Mr. Augustus Elliott Fuller, a rich British landowner, is recognised as the Sussex founder. For 50 years, they were kept as working dogs on his large estate. Its breeding was limited mainly to Sussex county; the spaniels were occasionally inbred to Field Spaniels.
There were other Sussex Spaniel breeders; however, their numbers dropped during World War II. Since breeding was discouraged during wartime, their numbers dwindled and only about 5-7 known Sussex Spaniels were left. Gratefully, with the hard work of breeder enthusiasts, Mrs. Joy Freer in particular, were successful in saving the lovely breed.
For the protection of the breed, Sussex Spaniel Association was formed in 1924. The breed was soon identified by the Kennel Club in 2004 as a vulnerable British breed with only about 50 registered dogs in 2016.
Considered as bird dogs, Sussex Spaniels have long, rectangular body, and sporting its trademark, an abundant feathery rich golden/liver coat. In comparison with the rest of the Spaniel breeds, Sussex yields a very unique look. Their heads are wider having a defining curve between their ears. They are strongly built and they move with a distinctive roll.
They have hazel eye colour showing off a soft and a gentle expression. They have thick, fairly large ears, set moderately low. One of the noticeable features is visible around their necks, full of long slightly wavy ruffles.
Round in shape, their feet are well built with feathering in between. Tails are pleasantly feathered and are also set low and moderately long and couldn’t be carried way above their back.
Sussex Spaniels are distinctive with their abundant coat. Ears are covered with soft, wavy hair. Their bodies are moderately well feathered with golden liver as the only accepted breed colour. Gold is predominating.
This well feathered breed needs regular grooming to keep its coat untangled and flea-free. Trim the hair of the bottoms of the feet to avoid slipping.
In contrast to their sombre and frowning expression, they are actually a friendly, cheerful dog. They make such a good companion because they love being around people, hence, joining into any activity with their tails wagging with enthusiasm. They don’t like to be left alone. They are very communicative through barking when they find something unusual or exciting. They can be a good choice for first-time owners as they have laid-back natures and are always willing and eager to please the owner. Further, bear in mind that as a gun dog this breed needs exercise routine or regular walks. Though compared to the other hunting dogs, Sussex moves at a slower pace.
Sussex Spaniels are known to be intelligent and are easy to train. Owners are encouraged to train their dog as early as 8 weeks old. With late trainings, they tend to do things their own way and could develop some unwanted behavioural issues.
As this canine is intelligent and trainable, they are also sensitive particularly on “voice” commands. Therefore, using the technique of raised voice doesn’t always end up with a desired positive result for this breed. The best choice is to use positive reinforcement during training.
It is important to have a feeding schedule, and provide the same food your Sussex is used to in order to avoid stomach upsets. However, if you need to shift to another type of high-quality food, do so gradually. This helps your canine to adjust accordingly without complications.
Their nutritional requirement will largely depend on its age and size. However, as they are a very slow-growing breed, it is best to feed them a high-quality dog food. You can add some extra meat source such as hamburger, beef liver, or chicken. It’s also essential for dogs to have the right amount of exercise to avoid obesity.
The average Sussex lifespan is 10 to 12 years. This breed is known to be affected by the following health conditions:
As a very energetic dog, the Sussex Spaniel should be exercised for at least 2 hours every day. However, the more tired this pooch is, the happier it will be, so going beyond the minimum time is a welcome treat.
The average rate for a well-bred Sussex pup is between £500 and £600. Insurance may cost about £22 (basic) to £42 (lifetime) monthly. The food cost is estimated at £30-£40 monthly. For vaccinations, boosters, annual checks and other veterinary costs, pet care expenses may add up to more than £1,000 annually.
On average, a Sussex Spaniel owner will spend about £60-£90 per month. The insurance costs can also affect these cost estimates. For its lifetime (10-12 years), the costs can range from £7,200 to £12,960 overall. This estimate does not include the costs incurred in buying a puppy yet.