Breed History in English
Ch Okimat of Fourclovers - Born 1930
Sh Ch Creswelshaw Hannibal - Born 1976
Sh Ch Quintic Joby - Born 1977
The Sussex Spaniel originates from England and has a long history. In 1803 the ‘Sportman’s Cabinet’ book says of spaniels, “the largest and strongest are common in most parts of Sussex and are called Sussex Spaniels. Reputedly the breed was created by Augustus Fuller of Rosehill Park in Sussex in the early 19th century. He bred them for their working ability as their large feet were ideal to cope with the heavy Sussex clay. The breed was taken up by other Landowners and Sussex numbers fluctuated from the 1870’s to the time of World War 2. Wartime restrictions on keeping dogs meant that by the end of the 2nd World War, we understand there were only about 6 or 7 Sussex Spaniels left. It was Miss Scholefield, later known as Mrs Freer, of the Fourclovers kennel, whose breeding efforts kept the Sussex Spaniel from extinction. Mrs Freer kept her Sussex throughout the War, going without food herself to feed her dogs. Her litters of the 1950’s form the base of today’s Sussex Spaniel. She owned and bred Sussex Spaniels for an impressive 60 years.
It was due to the interest of the Show people that by 1992 there were 123 registrations in the UK - The best numbers ever. Over time the larger kennels closed and by the mid 1990’s in the UK, the ‘take up’ was from younger breeders who would breed perhaps only one litter a year. Annual registrations began dropping and in 2003 the Sussex was identified by the UK Kennel Club as a ‘Vulnerable British Breed’. In 2007 there were only 60 Sussex Spaniel puppies registered in the UK. In Europe inevitably there were far fewer. In 2007 there were 2 puppies registered in Finland, 7 in Denmark, 6 in France, 9 in Belgium and in the US only 45 registrations.
One of the special features of this Breed is its dual-purpose ability, both Show and Working (or Hunting). Many Sussex have retained their instinct to work and in winter they are working with their Owners on the 'beating line' of local 'Shoots'. Of course there is also a strong contingent of show Sussex Spaniels who can be seen competing at Dog Shows. In some European countries it is necessary for the dog to have both wins at a Field Trial and at Shows in order to obtain the full title of 'Champion'.
Their colour is 'golden liver' and is unique to the breed, they should not be described as 'chocolate' or 'liver'. They are usually 20-23 kilos and their height usually 38-40 cms in height. For a complete description: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk
The numbers of Sussex Spaniels throughout the world are very low compared to popular breeds and this Society encourages ownership of this delightful and rare British breed. Sussex Spaniel Owners say they make the most wonderful and charismatic companions. Once you have fallen in love with a Sussex, one is not enough - you have to have another one!
The UK Kennel Club Breed Standard:
Books to read
The Sussex Spaniel by Peggy Grayson - 1984
Sussex Spaniel by Becki Jo Herschy - 2002
Complete Handbook of the Sussex Spaniel by Robert John Lewis
All these are available from www.amazon.co.uk