Sussex Spaniel Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
The Sussex Spaniel is very much a dog bred for a purpose; the breed was developed by Mr Fuller of Brightling in Sussex to work the heavy clay soil and dense cover on his Rosehill Estate. He worked on developing his ideal for fifty years. The Breed Standard describes him as ”Massive, strongly built. Active, energetic dog …” and he certainly is a highly distinctive dog. Close to the ground, measuring 41cm and weighing 50lbs he is built to plough through any cover. Unlike most gundogs the Sussex Spaniel gives tongue when working.
The Sussex Spaniel has had some low points during the last hundred years. The two wars in Europe caused problems in most breeds as maintaining a kennel was considered frivolous and unpatriotic. However, it was fortunate enough to have a strong champion in Mrs Joy Freer of the Fourclovers affix; she devoted six decades to the Sussex, and though it reached a real low after the 1939-45 war with only 5 known dogs, with the help of an outcross organised by the Sussex Spaniel Association in the 1950s the fortunes of the breed revived.
He is a well-natured breed who would make a good addition to a country family who can offer him the exercise he needs; don’t be misled into thinking that his heavy build indicates a lazy dog. The Breed Association is keen to help owners retain their dogs working abilities, and it must be borne in mind that these qualities that have been worked at and bred for cannot just be turned off.
The Sussex Spaniel has an unusual coat; the colour is described as “rich golden liver” which makes a lovely picture on a sunny day; there is quite a lot of it with good feathering, which means that he is likely to bring a fair bit of the outside back into the house with him. Not a dog for the excessively houseproud. His heavy bone does mean that careful rearing is vital, but the Sussex Spaniel Association would certainly give all the guidance you need, as would any breeder.
Rescue and Rehoming
If you are having problems with your dog first contact your breeder for support. If you are looking to adopt a Sussex contact the Breed Clubs for help.