Clumber Spaniel

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Breed: Clumber Spaniel
Temperament: eager, loyal and calm
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Maintenance: medium
Recommended for: 
energetic owners, families with older children 
Grooming: brush twice weekly
Child compatibility: playful with children
Temperament: may bond strongly with one member of the family
Activity level: medium to high. Bursts of energy with lapses of laziness
Availability: only a few litters per year. Waiting lists apply.
Trainability: intelligent and thrives on obedience training
Satisfaction rating: high
Aggression: low. Not know to be aggressive
Health & lifespan: prone to hip dysplasia, spinal and eye problems. 10-15 years
Noise: a quiet breed
Indoors potential: best outdoors. White fur will show on furniture
Popularity: one of the least known breeds in Australia
Turn-ons: loyalty and personality
Turn-offs: some health concerns
Interesting facts: named after Clumber Park, near Newcastle, England

 

History

The true origin of the Clumber Spaniel remains a mystery, they may have originated from France or Spain. Regardless of its origins, its breeding likely became more refined in England by the Duke of Newcastle whose estate included Clumber Park, hence the name of this breed. Clumbers were first shown in England in 1859 and became one of the first ten recognised breeds in the USA in 1878. Records suggest that the first Clumbers arrived in Australia in 1883 with a dog and bitch being imported directly from Clumber Park. There are now approximately 40 registered Clumbers in Australia.

Uses

Clumber Spaniels were originally used as hunting dogs on large English estates in the 18th and 19th centuries. The dogs were often used with other breeds, such as Labradors and each breed had its purpose. The Clumber would flush the bird into the air whilst other dogs would then retrieve the bird after it had been shot. Clumbers are, like all spaniels, are happy to retrieve in water. They were prized by the nobility and were often the dog of choice for the Royal Family. Princess Anne is the patron of the working Clumber Spaniel Club in the UK.  

Appearance

The Clumber is a long and low-set heavy dog. Bred primarily for hunting and built for power and endurance. He is bred with massive bone, straight forelegs and powerful hind legs with a forward-rolling gait. Clumbers may not appear much like a spaniel, however the full, front ruff, long feathering on the fore legs and long feathered skirt are all characteristics of a true spaniel. The tail can be docked or left long and is well feathered. A wrinkled brow gives the Clumber a pensive expression. His head is large, square and massive. A wisp of red tissue should show under the eye. This is called the ‘haw’ and the slackness of the lower lid allows dirt and grass seeds to be easily flushed by tears. The coat is always white with lemon and orange markings mainly on the head with freckles on the muzzle. Dogs weigh around 34kg and stand no taller than 50cm. Bitches weigh around 30kg with a height no less than 40cm.

Temperament and trainability

Clumbers, like many hunters’ dogs are people orientated and are very loyal to their family, especially the main provider. Although a great family companion, he tends to devote his affection and obedience to one person. They are very active dogs that can romp for hours at a time although their sleep is also often very deep and accompanied by loud snoring. Hence, they are not particularly good watchdogs. Hunting instincts can shine through when out walking, with a clumber often distracted by a rustling in the bushes. Due to their hunting ability a playful clumber will also often pick up the nearest object or toy and carry it around proudly while furiously wagging their tail. They are excellent at obedience, tracking, fieldwork and agility and are enthusiastic in work or play.

Health and lifespan

The main problem is hip dysplasia, which affects over 50% of Clumbers. Many Clumber breeders are addressing the problem by breeding to x-rayed stock that are passed clear of the problem. Check with breeders before purchasing a pup.

Their heavy frown and furrows makes them susceptible to entropion and ectropion; conditions which affect the eyelids, causing them to turn in or out and irritate the eye.

Due to their long back, spinal problems can sometimes occur, such as slipped discs. Clumbers are heavy boned dogs that require a suitable diet and exercise. Breeders say that strengthening and toning the back muscles through exercise can alleviate spinal problem. Lifespan is 10-12 years.

Maintenance and exercise

They are not the ideal dog to be kept in a small flat or house with a small garden. They need space to romp around. A long walk twice a day usually is sufficient but they love nothing more than playing in the park with a ball or toy. The ideal situation is a house with easy access to a securely fenced garden with adequate shade. Clumbers may drool or slobber in hot weather or after exercise. However, this is mainly seen in the males.

Regular, twice weekly brushing should cut down on the shedding of their white hairs. They do not make the best housedogs due to their tendency to shed. Being a white dog, their feet and feathering are prone to get muddy in the rain and their long hair often collects twigs and burrs. Clumbers require a good balanced diet that should include raw food.

 

Ideal owner

They do not like to be left alone for too long and are best if not kept as an ‘only dog’. Its companion doesn’t have to be a clumber but a companion dog is ideal. Some have a tendency for destructiveness if bored. Due to their size, they must be supervised around small children. They are pretty good with other animals too. If you are prepared to groom the dog regularly, don’t mind the occasional slobber and are prepared for regular exercise then the clumber may be the dog for you.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
www.ankc.org.au


Dogs NSW
http://www.dogsnsw.org.au/breeders-directory
Email: info@dogsnsw.org.au
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
http://www.vca.org.au
Email: office@dogsvictoria.org.au
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
http://www.actca.asn.au
Email: info@dogsact.org.au
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
http://www.cawa.asn.au
Email: k9@dogswest.com
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
http://dogssa.com.au
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
http://www.cccq.org.au
Email: dogsqld@powerup.com.au
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
http://www.tasdogs.com
Email: tca@iprimus.com.au
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
http://www.territorydogworld.com
Email: naca3@bigpond.com
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
www.ankc.org.au

Dogs NSW
http://www.dogsnsw.org.au/breeders-directory
Email: info@dogsnsw.org.au
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872


Dogs Victoria
http://www.vca.org.au
Email: office@dogsvictoria.org.au
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
http://www.actca.asn.au
Email: info@dogsact.org.au
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
http://www.cawa.asn.au
Email: k9@dogswest.com
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
http://dogssa.com.au
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
http://www.cccq.org.au
Email: dogsqld@powerup.com.au
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
http://www.tasdogs.com
Email: tca@iprimus.com.au
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
http://www.territorydogworld.com
Email: naca3@bigpond.com
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409