The Clumber was first seen in the UK at the end of the 18th century and takes its name from Clumber Park in Nottingham, home of the Dukes of Newcastle, and it is the 2nd Duke who is credited with introducing and developing the breed. It is claimed that he was presented with dogs of this type by his friend the Duke of Noailles around 1770. Certainly, in 1788, the Duke had his portrait painted by Francis Wheatley and the painting “Return from Shooting” depicts the Duke with six of his dogs, three of them unmistakeably of Clumber type.
The breed became popular, particularly with the nobility. His Majesty King George V kept a large team of Clumbers on the Sandringham Estate.
The Clumber is the heaviest of the spaniel family and was used to flush game from heavy cover.
Breed Group - Gundog - Vulnerable
Native Breed - Yes
Size - Large
How much exercise? - Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat - Medium
How much grooming? - More than once a week
Supposedly sheds? Yes, if you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog.
Town or Country - Country
Type of home - Large House
Minimum Garden Size - Small/Medium
Lifespan - Over 10 Years
The Gundog Breed Group
Dogs that were originally trained to find live game and/or to retrieve game that had been shot and wounded. This group is divided into four categories - Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters - although many of the breeds are capable of doing the same work as the other sub-groups. They make good companions, their temperament making them ideal all-round family dogs.
'The Clumber Spaniel' as described by owner Phillip Ware
Having had Cockers, Sussex and Clumbers. I can give you sage and meaningful advice.
If you picture a Cocker as an energetic, hyper, excitable, dedicated dog with limitless energy, who, when shown a slip lead, will immediately transform into a dervish of excitement. A Sussex will bring all that to the party, but turned down by a factor of 10x. A Clumber is a turned down Sussex by another factor of 10x (there is a great deal of Basset Hound in a Clumber).
To bring a slip lead out to a Clumber will elicit a response akin to a human attending a Dentist for a root canal without anaesthetic. A Clumber is the nirvana of dog ownership. It marks your lifelong journey of dog discovery, where you have finally found “the one”. It was said in the days of the landed gentry, that a single Clumber was kennelled with Cockers and Springers to maintain a mellow sense of calm order. A Clumber will not accept harsh treatment, discipline is once and once only, as they have a heightened sense of right and wrong and they have absolutely NO SENSE of personal space, NONE!!
They are perceived as stubborn (they are NOT) they will do whatever you ask of them, with a lag of 7 seconds, at their own pace. If you command, close your eyes and count to seven in your minds eye, it will be carried out. Some wag said if you open your eyes and nothing has happened, then you are counting too fast!!
Now the DOWNSIDE. Your Clumber pup is exceedingly slow to mature (36 months minimum). Unfortunately, when young, they have a terrible proclivity for suicide. They are pica Zen masters. Rocks, bottle tops, poo, sticks, discarded used chewing gum, wire, actually it’s probably safer to say they will eat ANYTHING. We are retired, so our Clumber pup has grown up with two older pack members and is with us literally 24/7/365. Touch wood he has escaped gastric surgery. This is NO skill on our part and has far more to do with our Clumbers remarkable skills at regurgitation (what is more incredible is he can retain his proper food while vomiting the indigestible back up). They need CLOSE observation. Also if they have shown no interest in a particular item before (glasses, cables, handbags, brooms, dustpans, plants and plant pots) it doesn’t mean that they aren’t on the menu at some time in the future.
A Clumber is a lover of toys, in the capacity of a serial killer, or a Linus type character, who has a close and lifelong love for his toys and bowls, carrying them endlessly here and there. They are born comedians, endure strange sleeping positions. They are mouthy, they will always greet you bent double, with their bum and face almost touching and they will offer you whatever is at hand. Shoe, clothing, book, glasses etc if nothing is at hand they will take your hand into their mouths and suck it (painlessly).
Their tail has three speeds metronome wag left right (like a normal dog), metronome up down and the super “propeller” round and round. They talk (seriously they do) their “woowoo’s” are to be cultivated (they are what a Clumber owner lives for). It means (like I am Groot) faster, slower, come on, jump to it, I’m not amused, glad to see you, sod off, whatever they want it to mean. You will be pleased to know that moulting will cease to be an issue over time. May I recommend Prozac, as it helps to take the stress off the white tumble weed, that happens only ONCE (a period that lasts 24/7/365). Clumber Spaniels are heave snorers, if you plum for more than one, the discordant noise will become your very own home entertainment system, it will grow on you, it will become soporific over time, a natural aid to peaceful sleep (it says “its 03.00 and everything is at peace in the world”).
A Clumber is a life out of sorts. A beautiful white dog that likes nothing more than being black. After bath time, the first thing they will do is go out and eat soil (oh I forgot the Clumber eats peat, rich soil, garden variety or plant pot variety). This amazingly, does them absolutely no harm and the pastime is closely linked to prolific hole digging. May I recommend that you buy 100 litre bags of peat and add it as a condiment at mealtimes (it may just help protect your beloved plants and lawn).
The Clumber is an unapologetic hunter, if not directed by a human, a Clumber can, on its own recognisance, hunt free style. Above ground, below ground and flying, be warned this can prove embarrassing, if friends and neighbours have bunnies, rats and mice, for such beautiful innocent faces that says “butter wouldn’t melt here” they really are prodigious hunters and killers.
One last thing, a Clumber is a sensitive dog (very sensitive), they are very “buttoned up” Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie comes to mind, occasionally this facade drops and your Clumber will turn into a puppy, arching its back, so it takes on the form of a Rabbit and “zoom” around your coffee table or garden, healed over at forty five degrees from the vertical, round and round, the circles becoming tighter and tighter and more dangerous. The flip side of this exuberance is even more eye watering. Sometimes, depending on the dog, their self confidence will slip, something will “spook them” and they will express their anal glands, both barrels, outside, is not so serious, a couple of square meters of lawn will brown, wither and die. Indoors, varnish will peel, people will swoon, eyes will water and polite conversation will cease.
You have been warned!! Finally, I hear you say how is this relevant to my future Clumber? The fact is ALL Clumbers are direct clones of each other. Whether you have one or ten, they will have an individual personality, but overall they all behave exactly the same way. That’s what makes them so endearing. Good luck.