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This dog's furrowed brow gives him the appearance of being lost in serious thought, but he is really a joyful, content hunting dog with a substantial physique.
Sussex Spaniels make unique, hardy pets who enjoy participating in family activities and amusing their owners with their comically serious carriage. They are determined hunters who are often more relaxed and laid-back than other larger spaniels.
Sussex Spaniels are long, low dogs with sturdy, massive bodies for their small size. These dogs are only about 13 to 15 inches tall, but they can weigh up to 45 pounds. These Spaniels are always docile, but they have some hound-like traits. They are prone to howling or barking, especially when in pursuit of their prey. They are also lower-energy than most other Spaniels. They are not as bouncy or eager for activity. Sussex Spaniels make thorough, diligent hunters and often enjoy following a scent around the yard. These little guys can be extremely protective of their owners and defensive of their owners' affections, so early socialization with other dogs and people will help break them of some anti-social tendencies.
These spaniels enjoy company, and tend to follow their owners or the other dogs in their home around during the day. Although they are not always incredibly jumpy or quick-moving, they like to feel as if they are part of the action. Sussex Spaniels have a pleasant temperament, but they require firm, consistent training to overcome their stubborn, independent instincts.
Sussex Spaniels love to swim. Because of their long, powerful bodies and short little legs, they are much more adept at swimming and exploring in the water than on land.
The Sussex Spaniel has an abundant coat that covers its whole body. The coat is flat and slightly wavy, but never curly or straight. The soft, dense undercoat is water resistant. This breed's gold-liver colored coat is its trademark. Dogs always display this shade and it is rarely found among other dogs.
The long, soft hair around the Spaniel's ears should be brushed and cleaned frequently to prevent infection. Sussex Spaniels will also appreciate a daily brushing to prevent painful mats from forming, especially around their long ears and feathered feet and legs.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but it's generally best to bathe dogs with silky coats more often. The coat should end up fresh smelling, light and shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.
The Sussex Spaniel does not need to be trimmed, other than to feather around the feet and trim the feathering between the foot pads.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
The long, soft hair around the Spaniel's ears should be brushed and cleaned frequently to prevent infection.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.