The Versatility of a Sussex - Not Just a Hunting Dog



This following description of the hunting characteristics of the Sussex Spaniel was approved by the Sussex Spaniel Club of America to assist hunt test judges in understanding the Sussex Spaniel hunting style. 

Sussex Spaniels were developed with a unique hunting style designed to allow them to efficiently hunt in thick, difficult to penetrate undergrowth. Hunting in such undergrowth requires that a dog have drive and determination to fight through any obstruction once a bird is scented. Thus the Sussex was developed to work as a methodical, determined, thorough hunter, with a moderate pace, excellent endurance and an overall toughness.

A Sussex does not tend to cover every square inch of ground with his feet in hopes of locating birds he does not scent. Rather, he moves logically with head down in order to catch the faintest of scents. Once the bird's scent is detected, Sussex often slow down when working a bird, pausing or hesitating briefly before performing an “English” style flush. Additionally, when a bird is located a Sussex may give tongue; in thick undergrowth this characteristic is considered quite useful, alerting the hunter to imminent flushes.

Sussex easily master the skills needed to retrieve from both land and water, delivering to hand. Their water entry is deliberate and their speed is moderate, but they retrieve capably from water. 



Agility - Obedience - Rally - Read - Search & Rescue- Therapy

and Tracking


While Sussex were first and foremost bred to find, flush, and retrieve upland birds, Sussex have proven themselves efficient in the modern canine pursuits of Agility, Obedience, Rally, Search and Rescue and Tracking, as well as just being to cute. Owners are encouraged to pursue one of these venues as a way to have fun with their dog, to encourage good behavior, and most importantly, to strengthen the bond with their Sussex. Give it a try!





Also, you may find these books helpful in training your Sussex:

HUP! Training Flushing Spaniels the American Way, James B. Spencer, Alpine Publications, 2002 (2nd Edition)

Retriever Training for Spaniels (working with soft-tempered, hard-headed, intelligent dogs), Pamela Owen Kadlec, Just Ducky Publishing, 2002

Training Retrievers and Spaniels to Hunt ’em Up!, Joe Arnette & George Hickox, Silver Quill Press, 2000

Urban Gun Dogs: Training Flushing Dogs for Home and Field, Tony Roettger and Chip Schleider, 2004

Spaniel Journal. An great on-line journal dedicated to the flushing spaniels.

Don’t Shoot the Dog-the New art of Teaching and Training, Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999 (Revised Edition)

Building Blocks for Performance, Bobbie Anderson with Tracy Libby, Alpine Books, 2002


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