Sussex Spaniel is a slow paced, calm breed with somewhat clownish behaviour that normally keeps his energy and enthusiasm in check. He is always eager to be around people, is excellent around children, and can be quite protective of the family. They make excellent candidates for therapy dog work. Most Sussex Spaniels are primarily family pets, but they are competent enough to aid a hunter though quite stubborn to train. They tend to have a natural ability to quarter in the field, have excellent noses, and can be used to retrieve, given training. The breed is the only spaniel to howl once a game’s scent is picked up.
The Sussex Spaniel is a low compact spaniel similar in appearance to a small, dark Clumber Spaniel. It is normally no taller than 13–15 in (33–38 cm) at the withers and the usual weight range is between 35–45 lb (16–20 kg) with a roughly rectangular appearance. The Clumber Spaniel meanwhile is normally between 17–20 in (43–51 cm) high at the shoulder, and weighing 55–85 lb (25–39 kg). One of the noticeable features is their golden liver-coloured coat which is unique to the breed.
Historically however, there have also been examples of both black and sandy coloured Sussex Spaniels. The coat is thick (sometimes with a slight wave to it), feathering on the chest, legs and ears and consists of a weather resistant undercoat with a silky outer coat. The eyes are hazel in colour. The silky ears are lobe-shaped typical of the Spaniel, and set moderately low. The Sussex is a short, stocky kind of dog.