Gussow worked in Italy and Weimar. In the early 1870s, he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe, from 1876 to 1881 at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, and from 1883 in Munich.
Among his students were Max Klinger, Hermann Prell, Carl von Marr, Adolf Rettelbusch, Ottilie Roederstein and Anna Gerresheim.
In style, he was a Realist. Anton von Werner, the Director of the Berlin Academy, said that "the exact reproduction of nature" was Gussow's ideal. He used specially designed brushes that enabled him to create more complex glazes. That type of brush is now known as the "Gussow-Pinsel".