Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sussex Spaniels: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about Sussex Spaniel temperament, personality, and behavior.

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Sussex Spaniel dog breed

Sussex Spaniel Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2016

Matching his somber, almost frowning expression, the Sussex Spaniel is calmer and steadier than most other spaniels, though he does conceal a dry sense of humor.

This long, low, heavyset dog is rather phlegmatic indoors, but loves the outdoors and will bound through the fields in search of lurking creatures.

The Sussex Spaniel is aloof with strangers and sometimes even protective (very unusual for a spaniel). But once guests are accepted, he becomes polite, even charming -- as long as he has been well-socialized.

Sussex Spaniels can also be pushy with strange dogs (again, unusual for a spaniel). His tendencies toward dominance and stubbornness require a consistent owner who knows how to lead and who will use positive, upbeat training methods. This proud dog will stand up for himself if handled sharply or teased.

Finally, the Sussex Spaniel is noted for being one of the most vocal of the spaniels, tending to bark and howl, especially if left alone too much. And he can be slow to housebreak.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium-sized and heavset, built long and low to the ground, with a brown silky coat
  • Matching his somber expression, is calmer and steadier than most spaniels
  • Is rather phlegmatic indoors, but comes alive outdoors and romps with enthusiasm
  • Is polite with strangers, yet makes a better watchdog than other spaniels

A Sussex Spaniel may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Providing enough exercise to keep his chunky body in shape
  • Destructiveness and baying/howling when left alone too much
  • Stubbornness
  • Regular brushing and combing
  • Shedding
  • Slobbering
  • Waiting lists (very hard to find)

A Sussex Spaniel may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

More traits and characteristics of the Sussex Spaniel

If I was considering a Sussex Spaniel, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise. Sussex Spaniels were developed to run through the fields seeking game birds, so an occasional walk around the block isn't enough for this hunting breed. Provide them with enough space to vent their energy with a vigorous daily romp. Otherwise they will become bored -- which they usually express by barking and howling and becoming destructive.

  2. Stubbornness. Despite their easygoing nature, Sussex Spaniels are stubborn and can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.

    To teach your Sussex to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Sussex Spaniel Training Page discusses the program you need.

  3. Grooming and shedding. To keep their silky coat free of mats, Sussex Spaniels require regular brushing and combing, and occasional trimming. And like most spaniels, Sussex Spaniels shed a lot.

  4. Slobbering. Some Sussex Spaniels with heavy jowls tend to slobber their water, and some drool.

  5. Finding one. The Sussex Spaniel is one of the rarest breeds in the United States. Fewer than 70 new Sussex Spaniel puppies are registered each year. (Compare that to over 60,000 new Golden Retriever puppies!)

book cover To learn more about training Sussex Spaniels to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Sussex Spaniel the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Sussex Spaniel. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.

If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Sussex Spaniel might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.

book cover Once you have your Sussex Spaniel home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.

Please consider adopting an ADULT Sussex Spaniel...

When you're acquiring a Sussex Spaniel PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Sussex Spaniels who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter