Sussex spaniel, breed of short, stocky sporting dog developed in England in the late 18th and early 19th cent. It stands about 15 in. (38 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 35 and 45 lb (15.9–20.4 kg). Its medium-length coat, which is golden liver in color, is flat or slightly wavy and forms fringes, or feathers, on the ears, chest, underside, and stern. The tail is docked to approximately 6 in. (15 cm). Originally used to hunt in areas of abundant upland game, it could not compete with the faster field dogs when introduced into areas where game was less dense. It has therefore become more popular as a bench competitor and pet. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.