About The Breed.

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About the Breed

The Sussex spaniel is a unique breed and one of the earliest recognised breeds of Spaniels.


Dogs were originally bred for many different

purposes, hence so many different breeds.  Most

country gentlemen bred their own line of gundogs,

many were named after the person who developed

the breed, where they were bred or after their

function.  Mr Augusts Elliot Fuller (1777-1857) of

Rosehill, Sussex, is believed to be the founder of

the breed and kept them for over 50 years, until

the 1850’s.


The Sussex Spaniel is named after the place of its origin. It was bred as a spaniel capable of working in heavy clay soil and dense undergrowth. They were developed to give voice (tongue) to let the owner know where the dog is located.


During World War II the breeding of dogs was discouraged. After the War, there were only 5 known Sussex Spaniels remaining and these belonged to Mrs Joy Freer, who devoted her life to the breed. These 5 dogs form the basis of today’s Sussex Spaniels.


The Sussex Spaniel Association was formed in 1924 for the protection of the Sussex Spaniel. In the 1950’s the breed was suffering from breeding problems, as a result an out cross was undertaken.  Joy Freer died in 1984 just before the celebration of the Sussex Spaniel Diamond Jubilee.


Today the breed is still small, with 56 puppies being registered in 2008. In 2004 the Kennel Club identified the breed as a Vulnerable Breed. The breed is a dual purpose breed that can be worked and/or shown.




Grayson. P., 1989. The Sussex Spaniel. The Boydell Press. UK