The Clumber Spaniel is the heaviest of the Spaniels, and is a slow, quiet hunting dog able to work in both packs or alone. They have good stamina, fine noses and do very well in dense underbrush. They have been used to hunt partridge and pheasant and can be trained to retrieve.
Believed to have developed from Basset Hound, St. Bernard and early Alpine Spaniel crosses, breeds which have influenced the long, low body and heavy head of the Clumber.
The Clumber is believed to be one of the earliest spaniels developed for special uses and is especially useful for his adaptability for use in heavy cover; he generally hunts mute and is able to come up very close to the game.
The Clumber is a rather slow worker but works with a very distinctive "rolling" gait that is fully described in the standard; such movement allows the dog to "maintain a steady trot for a day of work in the fields without exhaustion."
The Clumber's early history is not well documented and there is no proof, but some say it originated in 18th century France around 1768 by one of the Dukes of Noailles. Threatened by the Revolution, they transferred their dogs to England, close to a family member ~ the Duke of Newcastle.
Some say it is here that the Clumber was perfected for special uses and is especially useful for his adaptability for use in heavy cover; he generally hunts mute and is able to come up very close to the game.
It is said that several British monarchs have favored the Clumber, including Prince Albert (Queen Victoria's consort), King Edward VII and his son, King George V. The name Clumber derives from the Duke of Newcastle's 3,800-acre estate, Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, England.
The name Clumber itself most likely derives from the ancient name "Clun" of a local river. Examples of vintage paintings depict white and orange dogs which look like Clumbers with sometimes a little less bone and smaller heads being used for hunting expeditions. Early standards and actual written descriptions mention a preference for the color lemon.
Clumber Spaniels were first shown in England in 1859.
The breed was said to have arrived in Canada in 1848 and made its way into the United States.
The Clumber Spaniel was first recognized by the AKC in 1884 and was one of the first 9 breeds recognized by the club.
Clumbers are pretty rare and hard to find.
Legend also states that the Clumber Spaniel ancestors were beaters and retrievers, owned by the French Duc de Noailles, who during the French Revolution sent quite a number of his dogs to the Duke of Newcastle in England to ensure their safety. This may be the reason the history of the dog is split between the two countries, both laying claim to its early development.
Where today this avuncular dog methodically tracks and retrieves fallen leaves and hidden insects, at one time it worked as a team to very carefully, step by step, beat game toward the hunters waiting at the end of the field.
But regardless, the development of the Clumber Spaniel is wide and varied with its parent stock disappearing into thin air, with the only written words going back to the last half of the 18th century. The Clumber Spaniel in theory to come from a blend of the Basset Hound with an early European spaniel, the now extinct Alpine Spaniel.
England states their name comes form Clumber Park in Nottinghanshire. Unequaled to any dog other than the Bloodhound, this aristocratic breed has been kept pure from any outside sources of plebian blood for several generations. With a noble and ancient lineage that goes back such a long way, they popularity of the Clumbers around the early 1900s was due to the excellent record these dogs had at field trials. In the United States by 1995, over 500 Clumbers have placed with either an AKC Championship title before their name, or AKC Obedience, Tracking, and Hunting titles after their name.
Regardless which country, Britain or France, laid claim to the original development of the Clumber, their breed was totally confined to the nobleman, not being allowed into any outside hands until the mid-nineteenth century. But during WWI, any breeding operation of this breed was stopped entirely, which caused their numbers to sink to a record low with only a few breeding stock remaining.
In 1925, King George V re-developed the Sandringham Clumbers, with the Royal Kennel producing a line of Clumbers that were working dogs in the field, with durable and outstanding quality showmanship in the dog rings. Rated highly, the King's Clumbers were used in a pack to work the vast rhododendron field around the Sandringham Estate.
After the war, breeding stopped entirely until a period in time when many prominent English kennels appeared--Snowholme, Cuerden, Mason, Mason, Anchorfield, Fatpastures, Oldholbans, Alansmere, Sefton, and Raycroft.
The breed was brought over to the United States as early as 1844 by Lt. Venables of the British regiment, stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, introducing the dog to his fellow officers. Recognized as one of the oldest breeds in America, one of the first ten breeds recognized by the AKC when their organization began in 1884, it really did not enter into the mainstream till almost ten years or so.
The devoted Clumber Spaniel is a very heavy dog that refuses to acknowledge that it is not a small lap dog, and cannot just lightly jump into anyone's lap. Desiring to lie as close to its owner as possible to touch, it will lie on your feet or lap (if it can!), and if desperate enough, will lean against the legs--anything that will bring it in close physical proximity to its owner.
To develop this close relationship, it is a good idea to exercise the family Clumber by walking or playing fetch in order to keep the weight down, which is a really problem with this breed in addition to constant shedding. Enough exercise and regular daily to weekly brushing and combing will work wonders with this small gentle giant with the big heart.
Known as a stubborn breed, usually it refers to the fact the Clumber Spaniel is not getting enough physical or mental stimulation. Not an easy dog to work with, they become bored very easy.
It is said by Clumber trainers that the owner needs to show them with firm consistency, they mean what they say--the owner is "alpha" and not the dog.
Respect training is a mandatory requirement for individuals who are in the process of getting a Clumber. The need to learn to respect their owner, and know the rules of the home for visitors and other pets. Otherwise if allowed to reign free--like most breeds, but especially this breed, will believe they are higher in the "pack order" of the home.
The pack order is a ladder of hierarchy regarding "who is boss." Dogs are very sociable animals who enjoy having other sociable animals or humans around them in a group (family) or pack of animals.
As a hunting dog, this breed is by tendency to have the keenest of noses with the most remarkable massive build, and powers of endurance. With an ancient lineage proudly behind them, they are very deserving of the hunting reputation as a very capable hunting assistant to their owner. Easily controlled with the proper training, the Clumber Spaniel takes naturally to the water for retrieving and "fetching," and are good at retrieving anywhere in the field.
The two major Health issues for the Clumber Spaniel is:
CHD ( Canine hip dysplasia )
intervertebral disc problems
Lamb and rice diets are usually the prime food for this dog as it gains weight easily, and is prone to flea and skin Allergies. Not health issues--but they do drool, wheeze, and snore--which is easily overlooked by their owners as they are so sweet, loyal, and lovable.
Clumber Spaniels require slightly more than a moderate amount of grooming as they are a spaniel, so daily grooming is good for both the dog and owner as it allows time to check for ticks, cuts, and skin situations. Combing through the Clumber's hair is best on a daily basis or at least two to three times a week, paying special attention to the area behind the ears--this is "knot haven" for this family of dog.
Many owners want to keep the longer-haired look of the Clumber Spaniel, but want to remove the dead hair which is shedding all over the house.
A de-felting tool called the "Mars Coat King" is a good tool to use, which removed dead undercoat and loose hairs without hurting the dog. Metal combs with large and wide teeth are also perfect for this grooming job, with the stripping knife used for fine hair on the legs.
If the Clumber Spaniel is purchased as a hunting dog, and is hunted regularly through swimming or retrieving in the field, this is enough exercise for all ages of the breed.
The Clumber loves to swim, as it was trained for hunting, in order to go after birds in the water; walking is also an excellent exercise as the breed was originally trained for hunting in the field, which sometimes lasted for long periods of time. But this dog's favorite past-time is playing ball and fetching, which can be done in the back yard or in the park.
The Clumber Spaniel has a reputation for "silence in the field" due to the fact it worked in a pack beating the brush silently to quietly force the birds toward the hunter, not causing or forcing the birds to fly. This same personality is seen today, even though the Clumber is a rare breed and hard to come by.
Not used in the field as much as it is a family pet or companion today, this breed needs proper training to ensure its quality within the home. This breed is not good for kennel life, preferring human companionship at all times.
Any untrained dog in the world today, with the pace of the lives we now live ~ at high speed, is a liability to ensure the dog's own safety.
No dog should be left untrained, accomplished either professionally or by the owner.
Training a Clumber is not as difficult as rumor has it, due to the fact it is loyal and has a strong desire to please, with a very sweet and gentle temperament. As this breed thrives on attention, the respond well to training methods that use positive reinforcement and lots of praise. But an important requirement of the Clumber Spaniel to achieve successful training results is consistency and patience, beginning early training. At this time, the young puppies when first brought home should be taught to walk on a loose lead, to come when called, and to say when commanded, using lots of praise and encouragement when "they do good."
A historical breed with a high-quality aristocratic line, the Clumber does not deserve anything other than love, kindness, decency, and respect for what it was bred for.