Breed Group: Sporting
Adoring of their family including children, even if not raised with them, the Clumber Spaniel can be dignified one minute and a clown the next. Bred to accompany a leisurely hunter on foot, they are affable, easy-going dogs. Usually accepting of non-canine pets but, bred to hunt, he may view some as prey. They may be aloof with strangers but may also greet them with two tennis balls in his mouth with his entire hind end wagging. He accepts many other dogs. Some tend to bond strongly with one person. Although they enjoy walking and hiking, their lazy inside nature is only minimally surpassed by their outside activity level. Encouraging their playful nature may be the best way to make sure they get the exercise they need. They enjoy chasing and retrieving sticks or balls. Although they love to bark, their mild-mannered approach to life precludes them from being either a watchdog or guard dog. Many are prone to drooling and flatulence.
Clumber Spaniels are long, low, medium sized but heavyset dogs. They stand 17-20 inches tall. Males weigh 70-85 pounds with females weighing 55-70 pounds. Their coat is soft, dense, straight, flat, lightly feathered and weather-resistant. The coat is primarily white with lemon or orange markings. Grooming consists of trimming around the feet and legs; brushing at least two or three times a week, and regular bathing. But little can be done to reduce their heavy shedding. The breed is most comfortable in cool weather due to its dense coat.
To prevent shyness, the Clumber Spaniel benefits from moderate socialization. Even though they have lackluster intelligence and a stubborn streak, they make reasonable training partners. Best suited to gentle owners, they do not respond to harsh training methods. Consistency in training is important. The Clumber is one of the few sporting breeds that can happily live in a city. They can be comfortable in an apartment and make a good choice for the first-time dog owner.
Clumber Spaniels have several significant health problems. Almost half of all dogs have Hip Dysplasia with another third suffering from luxating patellas. Their eyelids are susceptible to both Ectropion and Entropion which can be repaired with minor surgery. Their long backs can be affected by IVDD. To minimize undue stress on their back, discourage them from jumping (even off furniture) and stair climbing, and prevent them from becoming obese by feeding correctly, and providing the exercise they need. They live an average of 10-12 years.
Ranked 121st in popularity by the American Kennel Club, Clumber Spaniels are a relatively rare breed despite their many good attributes. Fewer than 300 dogs are registered in a typical year. Finding a breeder may be difficult and you will almost certainly be put on a waiting list for a puppy. But their laid-back nature makes them one of the best choices from the Sporting group for a typical family.
The stockiest and one of the oldest Spaniels, The Clumber Spaniel was developed in France around 1768 but was relocated to England during the French Revolution. In England, they became popular hunting dogs, favored by several British monarchs for hunting pheasant and partridge. Clumber Spaniels were originally bred to accompany a hunter on foot, and are one of the most mellow of the sporting breeds. Although not well known to the general public, with their keen nose they make good retrievers and are popular in the field.
King of England, James I was a Clumber Spaniel owner. The National (US) Breed Association is the Clumber Spaniel Club of America.