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Clumber Spaniel - Rolling gait
thanks to its wide body
and short legs

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The Clumber Spaniel is a large purebred from the United Kingdom and is actually one of the largest spaniel breeds. It was bred to be a hunting dog (gundog) and its body shape means as it moved it makes a rolling motion due to its wide body and short legs. It was developed this way deliberately do it could moved through thick underbrush and such. Its name comes from Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire where it was bred. Today it does well in the show ring in events such as dog sports, obedience, tracking and rally and it is a great family dog. There are also efforts being made to re-establish it as a gundog and there are field trials it can compete in.

The Clumber Spaniel at A Glance
Name Clumber Spaniel
Other names Retired Gentleman's Spaniel
Nicknames Clumber
Origin United Kingdom
Average size Large
Average weight 55 to 85 pounds
Average height 17 to 20 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Dense
Hypoallergenic No
Color White
Popularity Not that popular – ranked 139th by the AKC
Intelligence Excellent– obeys first command 70% of the time or more
Tolerance to heat Moderate – just able to handle warm climates nothing hotter
Tolerance to cold Excellent – can live in cold climates even extremes
Shedding Constant – expect hair around the home and on clothing
Drooling High – this dog is known to drool and slobber
Obesity High – prone to weight gain so tracking food and exercise is important
Grooming/brushing Moderate to high maintenance – needs daily brushing
Barking Rare – not prone to lots of noise
Exercise needs Somewhat active – more so when young
Trainability Moderately easy to train – a few have a stronger stubborn side
Friendliness Very good with socialization
Good first dog Very good to excellent
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good but need socialization high prey drive can make then want to chase small animals
Good with strangers Good with socialization and supervision
Good apartment dog Excellent as tend to be quite chilled and lazy inside
Handles alone time well Moderate – prefers not to be alone for long periods
Health issues Somewhat healthy but some issues can include eye problems, panosteitis, hip dysplasia and obesity
Medical expenses $485 a year for medical insurance and basic health care
Food expenses $270 a year for dog treats and a good quality dry dog food
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for toys, basic training, license and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1000 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,000
Rescue organizations Several including the Clumber Spaniel Club of America Rescue
Biting Statistics None reported

The Clumber Spaniel's Beginnings

The Clumber Spaniel was bred and developed in the UK and it is believed breeds used in that development included the St Bernard, the Basset Hound and the Alpine Spaniel. There is no real documentation on its origins and its early history, but some suggest its ancestors were actually brought from France to England in the 18th century by the Duke of Noailles to be safe and near the Duke of Newcastle, his English family. It is Clumber Park near the Duke of Newcastle's large estate where the breed's name comes from. The other theory suggest that its beginnings were with the Bleinheim Spaniel. Either way it was the Duke of Newcastle's gamekeeper who developed and improved the breed.

The Clumber was bred to be a gundog used in hunting expeditions. It was bred to have a body and coat that could get it through the underbush and to handle bad weather too. It was the heaviest spaniel breed and could work quietly as part of a pack or alone. It had a good nose and much needed stamina. It was used to hunt various game that included pheasant and partridge and it could also be trained to act as a retriever. In 18th and 19th century paintings it is depicted as white and orange or as lemon colored.

As well as being a popular dog for the nobility when hunting, it was also one some of the royal family took note of. In 1878 the first Clumber entered the Westminster Kennel Club Show and it became more popular. Prince Albert, King Edward VII and King George V all had Clumber Spaniels. Queen Victoria wrote in her dairy that Albert's seven fine Clumber Spaniels were “such dear, nice dogs.” King George V was partly responsible for saving the Clumber Spaniel as numbers during the first world war had dropped dramatically.

New Lease on Life

It is believed the breed went first to Canada in 1848 with a British officer called Lieutenant Venables stationed in Nova Scotia, and then worked their way down to the US. It was in fact one of the first 9 breeds to be recognized by the AKC when it first formed in 1884. However a breed club was not formed until much later, around 1972. It is a rare breed still today in North America and in its home country. Today the UK's Kennel Club has it marked as a vulnerable native breed. The AKC ranks its popularity as 139th.

The Dog You See Today

The Clumber Spaniel is a large dog weighing 55 to 85 pounds and standing 17 to 20 inches tall. It is a rectangular dog, low to the ground, with heavy bones, a deep chest, wide body and short legs. The back ones are especially powerful and the front are straight with freckles and there is some feathering. It has a thick neck that also has some feathering (called an apron) and a feathered tail, which in some places is docked and in some where docking is now not allowed it is left natural. It has a dense, medium-length, soft and straight coat that lays flat. It is weather resistant and feathered in places and common colors are white with orange, brown or lemon markings

This dog has a large head with a deep and broad muzzle that has freckles. It has a heavy brow and a large beige or cherry nose. Its eyes are set deep and are a dark amber color. Over the lower jaw are flews that hang. Its ears are triangular and hang down with tips that are rounded, and they are set low down.

The Inner Clumber Spaniel


Clumber Spaniels are not great watchdogs as they are not always likely to bark to alert you to an intruder. It is an affectionate and gentle dog, intelligent too, very loyal but also very sensitive. It can be owned successfully by new owners as long as you are prepared to do your homework and use professional advice when needed. It can have an independent side but is actually one of the more easy going hunting dog breeds. However it is still not a dog for a meek owner, it needs you to be firm and the clear pack leader otherwise it can become a handful.


With the right owner this is a very cheerful, playful and sweet dog. It only barks rarely and is loving towards its family. When it is mature it is calm indoors and usually well behaved. It has a funny mix of being dignified but clownish sometimes too and is a friendly breed greeting visitors with great cheer. With strangers it can be aloof at first but is generally good with socialization.

Be warned this is a breed that slobbers and drools especially after drinking or eating so it will need regular wipe downs and there are likely to be drips across the floor! Saliva often sprays onto furniture or you too when it shakes its head vigorously because of its loose and droopy flews. It is also a snorer!

Living with a Clumber Spaniel

What will training look like?

Training a Clumber Spaniel should be moderately easy for people with some experience but may be a little harder for new owners due to its stubborn and willful side. There will be results but they will be gradual, and you will need to be firm but not harsh, and always consistent about the rules and your place as the pack leader. Be warned make Clumbers in particular are going to be more determined to test your resolve. Use positive techniques, offer it encouragement and praise, use treats as motivation and keep sessions engaging and not too long. Make sure you also spend time socializing it as soon as it you have it home. Expose it to different places, people, sounds, situations and animals. It is key to getting it used to them and to ensuring it is able to react appropriately.

How active is the Clumber Spaniel?

When it comes to activity level this dog is just slightly active. It still needs two daily walks to keep it healthy and it can be more active and used as a hunting dog still, but generally it is happy to have long periods of relaxation with small bouts of play or activity. This means it does just fine in an apartment if taken out at least twice a day. Do think about your dog as it ages though. It is a large dog and if you live in the 6th floor how will you get it up the stairs if it is no longer able to get up them itself. Be careful when taking it out in terms of weather and temperature though, it can easily get heat exhaustion and have breathing issues so go out when it is cooler and make sure it has shade and water.

Make sure it has a good rotation of chew toys, it likes to chew and can get through them pretty quick. When it is younger it is a lot more active so make sure you can give that to it. It likes playing fetch and other games with its owner. It is also a good swimmer. Make sure it does not do lots of jumping and twisting though as it can get back injuries doing that. Along with physical activity for its well being it also needs mental challenge too. Otherwise it can become bored and destructive and hard to control.

Caring for the Clumber Spaniel

Grooming needs

Clumber Spaniels have moderate needs in terms of grooming and maintenance. There is little trimming needed but it does shed constantly and heavily so daily brushing is needed, as well as daily vacuuming. Still be prepared to have hair around the home and on clothing, if that is something you cannot live with, this is not the breed for you. You may need to clip the hair under its ears if it gets to be too much as well as around the rear legs, feet and tail. It can get quite dirty so bathe it as it needs it. Too often though and you run the risk of drying out its natural oils that its skin needs. Also make sure you only use a suitable dog shampoo and rinse really well.


You should also take the time to check its ears once a week for signs of infection like tenderness, being inflamed, a bad odor or if the dog scratches at it often. This breed is prone to ear infections. There are lotions you can get if it is infected or see a vet. Clean the ears once a week too using a damp cloth, or dog ear cleansing solution with a cotton ball. Do not insert anything into it, just carefully wipe. Also make sure they are wiped dry after it swims or bathes. You should also give its eyes a check and wipe too. Its teeth should be brushed two to three times a week at least. Its nails will need clipping too when they get too long. There are proper dog nail clippers you can get but make sure you know where to clip and where not to. There is a part of the dogs nail called the quick that have blood vessels and nerves in it. This means if you cut too far down you will hurt your dog and cause bleeding. When in doubt have a groomer or vet do it for you or have the vet teach you how.

Feeding Time

How much each Clumber Spaniel eats really varies from one dog to another depending on its metabolism, size, activity, health, age and build. It can range from 2 1/2 cups up to 4 cups a day, or even possibly more. Make sure you feed it in two meals though to avoid triggering issues with bloat as that can be life threatening. Be prepared to lock away food and move food off your counters, and keep the trash where it cannot be reached. Clumbers will happily counter surf, raid fridges, bins, steal the baby's food. In fact sometimes they will chew and swallow things that are not even food so can end up at a vets for it.

How is the Clumber Spaniel with children and other animals?

With socialization and when raised with children the Clumber Spaniel can be good with them and be trustworthy. It can be protective of them, affectionate towards them and quite happy to have a best friend who will play ball with it. Be warned when the child or children are toddler aged there are likely to be some accidental knock downs though when the Clumber is an overly exuberant puppy, so some supervision is needed. Make sure you teach the children how to approach dogs, and how to stroke and play nicely. However not all Clumber Spaniels are the same. Some might prefer older children who do not pull at them all the time and rum at them.

With other pets the Clumber is again friendly with socialization, and especially if raised with them there in the home. Remember part of its background would have been hunting or retrieving birds so it may be best not in homes that have a lot of pet birds. If there are birds keep them supervised or out of the way of each other. With other dogs it is very good with socialization and can be taken to dog parks without issues.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

Clumber Spaniels live for 10 to 12 years and are somewhat healthy, as there are several health issues (not all of which are minor) it can have. To start off with there can be problem with conceiving and birthing so help is often required. It can need caesarian sections but it can also have a sensitivity to anesthesia which can complicate things. It is also very likely to develop hip dysplasia and other concerns include eye problems, back problems, pano, obesity, allergies, swallowing foreign objects, hypothyroidism, ear infections, impacted anal sacs and heat sensitivity.

Biting Statistics

Records of dogs attacking people and causing bodily harm in the US and Canada over the last 35 years do not mentioned Clumber Spaniels. It is not a dog that is more aggressive and therefore more risky to take out. Key to there being less chance of an incident is to ensure your dog is well socialized and has at least basic training. Also important is that it gets exercise each day, is properly fed and gets the kind of attention it needs. However the fact is any and every dog, no matter size or breed, has the potential to snap, over react to something or just have a bad day.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Clumber Spaniel puppy from a good breeder that is pet quality is going to cost around $1000, a show quality one from a top breeder double that or more. There are only 200 new puppies registered of this breed each year, compared to the ever popular Golden Retriever's 60,000! You will have to expect to be put on a waiting list but at least you can have more faith in the puppy's health, its parent's health and how the breeders treat the animals. Avoid puppy mills, back yard breeders or pet stores, prices range widely as does the quality of breeding and many at best neglect the animals and at worst mistreat them. Rescue shelters are an option though you are unlikely to find a purebred puppy at one!


When you have your Clumber you will need to take it to a vet for some procedures and tests, and there will also be some items you will need in the home. Those items include a crate, collar and leash, bowls, and these things will cost about $180. At the vet it will be given a good physical exam, shots, micro chipped, spayed or neutered, blood tests and deworming and such for a cost of $290.

Annual costs are another factor, a good owner should be prepared and be able to see to its dog's needs. Food should be a good quality dry dog food at least, it is a lot better for your dog and more likely to meet its nutritious needs. Treats and food will cost about $270 a year. Miscellaneous costs like license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items will come to about $245 a year. Medical costs will be around $485 a year and that covers pet insurance and basic health care like flea and tick prevention, check ups and vaccinations. This gives an annual starting figure of $1000.


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Male and Female Clumber Spaniel Names

The Clumber Spaniel is a very loyal and loving dog but it is heavy and big and loves to be a couch potato so expect a lot of weight against your legs or on your lap! It is not a dog you will forget is around with its hair everywhere, its slobber, snoring and gas either. As long as you prepared for these things and are able to find a good breeder this could be a great companion or family dog for people ready to put in the time for its socialization and training. It is a sweet dog but can be destructive if it gets bored (and its powerful jaws can do a lot of damage) so make sure you have toys on rotation and that it gets mental stimulation and some physical activity.

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