by Doris Donnerman
(last updated April 3, 2009)
Particularly distinctive in appearance from its rich, golden, liver-coated coat, the Sussex Spaniel is inclined to give tongue on scent, a characteristic not generally found in other Spaniels. The Sussex Spaniel is a rather slow dog, somewhat massive in appearance. His lack of speed has been the main factor in keeping him from being popular with American sportsmen.
In England the Sussex Spaniel have long been used in rough shooting. When the Sussex Spaniel is properly trained they make good retrievers. Speed is not one of their finest points, the conformation of this dog mitigates against speed. Still this dog is a hard and lively worker. The Sussex Spaniel possesses an excellent disposition.
In appearance the Sussex Spaniel appears to be rather massive and muscular. With the free movements and the tail action it shows a very cheerful and tractable disposition. The Sussex Spaniel weighs somewhere between 35 to 45 pounds. The arms and thighs are bony yet muscular. The legs are very short and strong. The back is long and muscular both in width and depth.
The rich golden liver color is a certain sign of the purity of this breed. The dark liver or puce color denotes an unmistakable recent cross with the black or other variety of Field Spaniel. The coat is abundant and is usually flat or slightly waved. The Sussex Spaniel's eyes are a hazel color and are usually large and soft. The muzzle is about three inches long and square. The nostrils are well developed and have a liver color. The lips are somewhat pendulous. The ears are thick, fairly large and lobe shaped. They are set moderately low, but relatively not as low as one sees in the black Field Spaniel. They are carried close to the head and are furnished with soft, wavy hair. While the neck is rather short, it is strong and will be slightly arched, still not carrying the head above the level of the back.
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