Though small in size, the Sussex is one of the most dignified of spaniels. He has a serious but soft and contented expression. He moves slowly and deliberately, with a gently rolling gait, his head held low. Like all spaniels, he enjoys the close companionship of his family. He loves them dearly, and is especially fond of children.
The Sussex gets his name from his place of origin, the county of Sussex in southern England. There he was bred as a hunting dog, to drive out game from underbrush into the hunters' view, and then to retrieve it for them. His keen nose makes up for his pace, which is slower than the Cocker's and Springer's.
The Sussex has the long, low, and heavy look of the Clumber Spaniel, though the Sussex is smaller. He has short legs and a thick body. His head is also heavy, with an overhanging brow and long feathery ears that are covered with soft, wavy hair. His lustrous coat is one of his most beautiful features--thick and wavy, in a rich golden liver color. The tail is docked.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: Long and low, rectangular and muscular in appearance, but freely moving and serious.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Height--13 to 15 inches. Weight--35 to 45 pounds. Longer in body than tall.
The Sussex was one of the first 10 breeds registered by the AKC, but now he is the rarest of the spaniels. Today's hunters prefer a faster-working dog in the field, and for a while the Sussex almost became extinct. However, a dedicated group of breeders continues the tradition.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.