Sussex Spaniel

Posted in Gundog Group

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

UTILIZATION: Flushing dog.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Strongly built. Active, energetic dog, whose characteristic movement is a decided roll, and unlike that of any other Spaniel.

BEHAVIOUR AND TEMPERAMENT: Natural working ability, gives tongue at work in thick cover. Kindly disposition.

HEAD Well balanced.


Skull: Wide, showing moderate curve from ear to ear, neither flat nor apple headed, with centre indentation. Brows frowning; occiput decided, but not pointed.

Stop: Pronounced.


Nose: Nostrils well developed and liver in colour.

Jaws / Teeth: Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

Eyes: Hazel colour, fairly large, not full, but soft expression and showing little, if any, haw.

Ears: Thick, fairly large and lobular, set moderately low, just above eye level. Lying close to skull.

NECK: Long, strong and slightly arched, not carrying head much above level of back. Slight throatiness, but well marked frill.

BODY: Whole body strong and level with no sign of waistiness from withers to hips. Back: Well developed and muscular in both width and depth.

Loin: Well developed and muscular in both width and depth.

Chest: Deep and well developed; not too round and wide. The back ribs must be deep.

TAIL: Previously customarily docked to 13-18 cm.     

Docked: Set low and never carried above level of back. Tail thickly covered with hair but not feathered.

Undocked: Set low, of medium length, and not carried above the level of the back. It should taper gradually to a point and be moderately feathered. Lively tail action is typical of the breed.

[*refer note below]



Shoulder: Sloping and free.

Forearm: Legs rather short and strong. Well boned and muscular.

Carpus (Wrist): Large and strong.

Metacarpus (Pastern): Short and well boned.

Forefeet: Round, well padded, well feathered between toes.


General appearance:Legs short and strong with good bone. Hindlegs not appearing shorter than forelegs or over angulated. Thigh: Strongly boned and muscular.

Metatarsus (Rear pastern): Hocks large and strong.

Hind feet: Round, well padded, well feathered between toes.

GAIT / MOVEMENT: True fore and aft with distinctive roll.


Hair: Abundant and flat with no tendency to curl and with ample undercoat for weather resistance. Ears covered with soft, wavy hair, but not too profuse. Forequarters and hindquarters moderately well feathered.

Colour: Rich golden liver and hair shading to golden at tip; gold is predominating. Dark liver or puce undesirable.


Ideal height at the withers: 38 -41cm.

Weight: Approximately 23kg.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on its ability to perform its traditional work.


  • Aggressive or overly shy.
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.


  • Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
  • Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

*Regardless of the provisions of the current KUSA-adopted standard, docked or formerly docked breeds may be shown at all FCI- and KUSA-licensed shows in South Africa, whether their tails are docked, or natural. Under no circumstances are judges permitted to discriminate against exhibits on the grounds of docked, or natural tails and equal consideration for awards must be given to either.