The Sussex Spaniel appears to have been evident in the UK in the 1800's. Mr Augustus Elliott Fuller (1777-1857) of Rosehill Sussex, England, is credited with being their founder and kept them for 50 years until the 1850's. They were kept as working dogs on his large estate. Though there were other Sussex Spaniel breeders, by the time of World War II there were still only a few Sussex Spaniels about. However, breeding was discouraged in wartime and resulted in only about 7 known Sussex Spaniels remaining in 1945. Mrs Joy Freer devoted her life to breeding the Sussex Spaniel for posterity and provided a link over six decades. She always worked her dogs in the field. In the 1950's breeding problems had emerged and an outcross was undertaken by the Association.
Today in the UK we still have a small gene pool. The Breed was identified by the Kennel Club in 2004 as a Vulnerable British Breed. Puppy registrations for 2012 are 74 (in 2011 there were 52). The Sussex Spaniel Association was formed in 1924 for the "protection of the Sussex Spaniel" Today we have about 220 members, all devoted to the future of this lovely breed. Our members, particularly our elder ones, are an endless source of information about the breed and very willing to offer advice.
The Sussex Spaniel is a happy healthy dog. He makes a good gun dog, a show dog, or a pet and is very adaptable. They are a
guarding breed and quite possessive of their Owners. They are fine with people and children but they need plenty of
socialisation, puppy classes, obedience classes, time and patience. They live happily with other dogs, though they are
usually top dog! We do not advise that puppies are brought up with very young children, chiefly because Mother has not
the time to care for both her child and a demanding puppy. A Breed advice Booklet can be obtained from the Secretary.
An excellent history "The Sussex Spaniel" by Peggy Grayson is available on our Club Shop page