Showsight Presents the Sussex Spaniel

JUDGING THE SUSSEX SPANIEL By Sam Folsom

T he Sussex Spaniel is still a rare breed in the US, having originated in Sus- sex County, England, but its numbers have increased dramatically in this country since the 1990s. It was first registered with the AKC in 1884. Virtu- ally extinct after World War II, the breed now can trace it’s ancestry to six Sussex that survived in England. Th ere were no registered Sussex in the U.S. at that time, nor anywhere else for which we have a reg- istration record. Th ey were bred extensive- ly in the 1700s and 1800s in England as “an old gentlemen’s hunting dog” because they were not considered to be particu- larly fast and tended to stay closer to the

hunters than other breeds. Th ey were bred specifically to hunt in deep underbrush such as the hedgerows in England and they are excellent with the upland game birds such as the Pheasant. Th ey are flushers and retrievers. Hunters in the US did not like the fact they “give tongue” (bark) when they are hunting. Th ey are short legged and rectangular, with large bone and a very muscular build, standing between 13" and 15" at the withers and weighing in the range of 35 to 45 pounds. Heights over or under the above are not penalized so long as the proportions are good. Th ere are no disqualifications in the standard except the normal AKC required disquali- fications. Th ey are generally friendly and outgoing, but tend to be slightly reserved

with strangers. In being judged, they pre- fer gentleness over heavy handedness. Th is breed should be shown on a ramp or on the ground, never on a table. When judging the Sussex, it is impor- tant to stand back about fifteen feet from your entries and look for the overall cor- rect balance and proportion. We have a neumonic device in judging the Sussex called the “Six L’s”. Th ese are LONG, LOW, LEVEL, LARGE BONE, LIVER COLOR, LIVELY TAIL. Th ey must be obviously longer than tall (rectangular), with a level topline from withers to tail. Sussex are heavy boned, but it mustfit the overall size and build of the dog. Th e liver color is a slightly redish medium brown. Blond or golden highlights may or may not

“When judging the Sussex, IT IS IMPORTANT TO STAND BACK ABOUT FIFTEEN FEET FROM YOUR ENTRIES AND LOOK FOR THE OVERALL CORRECT BALANCE AND PROPORTION.”

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