Is a Sussex Spaniel Right For You?


NO, if:

1. You want a quiet dog. Sussex bark, they also howl. They are great little watch dogs. If someone is on your doorstep, they will let you know. They always have a reason to bark, but it can be that a leaf fell off a tree, or that someone rang the doorbell on TV (and you may not even have a doorbell).

2. You want a dog who will be content alone all day while you work for 10  hours and commute for 2 more. Sussex are companion dogs. They need to be with you. If you work away from home and your dog would be alone for 8 hours or more every day, a Sussex is not for you. A Sussex needs companionship of people or of other dogs, preferably both.

3. You want a dog that will be housebroken at 10 weeks. Sussex mature slowly and can be slow to housebreak because of this. In this breed, females are harder to housebreak than males.

4. You want a "slow, sedate" dog. Sussex have been misrepresented on this issue. The truth is that they are a slower, more sedate dog only in the hunting field than other spaniel breeds. At home they run and play and swim and chew and sleep on the couch like any other dog.

5. You want a “small” dog. Despite often being referred to as “little brown dogs,” Sussex are powerful, strong dogs. The Sussex is a unique breed that needs early training and direction from its owner to learn its place in the hierarchy of the family unit.

6. You want to make money breeding Sussex. People who breed Sussex know that you NEVER make a profit. With the breeding problems, c-sections, and early puppy deaths, the only person making money is your veterinarian. The good news is that since they are so expensive and difficult to breed they are not attractive to the "puppy mill" industry.


YES, if:

1. You want a good watch dog, a constant companion, a dog that wants to be with you - inside- outside - anywhere you go. Sussex do well with children if they are raised with them. This breed, like many others, needs socialization with children, cats or whatever they will be living with. Children should be well supervised around a dog, especially a puppy.

2. You want to do things with your dog. Every Sussex and owner should attend obedience classes. There are many things you can do with your Sussex - dog shows - obedience trials - hunting - tracking - field work- agility - therapy dog work- playing ball - long walks - and just being together.

3. You want a challenge. The Sussex Spaniel can be a challenge to train as they are very intelligent. Sussex can at times be stubborn with a soft nature.  They do not take well to heavy correction. Owners need patience and persistence when training. If you want to show your dog, you might have to do some traveling as they are not always easy to find an entry. Another important reason to like the Breeder that you get your dog from.

4. You are willing to wait for a puppy. On average, only 75 puppies are born in the U.S. each year.  In England, the numbers are similar. They are, however, well worth waiting for. Sussex breeders and owners are a very dedicated group of people. We all think Sussex are the best dog in the world and we do our best to keep them in the hands of people who feel they same way.

5. You have a sense of humor! Sussex will try to outsmart you, try your patience, embarrass you, love you, and make you laugh.


Rosemary Cushman is the SSCA Breeder Referral contact. If you would like information on Sussex Spaniel breeders who may have puppies or an adult available, please contact Rosemary.

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