The Sussex Spaniel is a hefty, short-legged, heavy-bodied, strong golden-liver-colored spaniel with a flat or slightly wavy, thick coat. The legs, undersides, and tail are feathered. The expression is somber. The eyes are hazel and fairly large, and the nose is brown. The head is broad and somewhat heavy. Lips are somewhat pendulous. The thick ears are fairly long, pendant, and hair-covered. The tail is docked to 5 to 7 in., and is usually wagging.
The Sussex Spaniel is a small-game hunter and companion dog, developed in Sussex County, England. The breed was probably developed from crosses of spaniels with hounds. The Sussex is very rare, and only survived World War II through the efforts of English breeder Joy Freer. Most of today's Sussex Spaniels are descended from the eight dogs she saved and fed during the war. The Sussex hunts slowly, but has a fine nose, and very good strength and stamina in the field. Best at flushing game for hunters on foot, the Sussex Spaniel can also be taught to retrieve.
Steady and calm around the house, but not very outgoing or demonstrative compared to other spaniels. Sweet, gentle, and devoted. Might be willful: needs firm, patient training. Novice owners should be willing and able to assert their dominance. Can be snappish if annoyed. Tends to be aggressive with unfamiliar dogs.