The powerful, solid, and hard-working Clumber Spaniel is a bird dog by nature but makes for a perfect family companion as well.
While this breed appears a bit brutish due to its long, low, and thick body, that assumption is well off the mark.
The Clumber tends to be slower than its Spaniel family counterparts, but this dog can easily outwork the rest with its high level of endurance and winning enthusiasm.
The phrase "slow and steady wins the race" could have been made to describe the Clumber Spaniel
What this breed lacks in height, which ranges from 17 to 20 inches, they make up for with their rock solid body.
Female Clumbers on the small end might weigh as much as 55 pounds, and males can reach up to 85 pounds. Their heavy build makes them perfect for moving through thick brush unphased, and their level of energy allows them to do so for hours on end.
History of the Clumber Spaniel
The origin story of the Clumber Spaniel has been long debated and remains unclear. However, in 1878, the first Clumber in American history was registered with the AKC.
While the Clumber Spaniel doesn’t rank high on the American Kennel Club’s registration list (it falls in at number 139), this little-known breed can make the perfect companion to any family or hunter.
Clumbers are recognized by the American Kennel Club as a Sporting Dog. As such, this breed excels outdoors.
Unlike other Spaniels, though, Clumbers are more adaptable when it comes to energy levels. They do need regular exercise to remain happy and healthy but will be completely content spending time at home, napping with human companions.
This mostly white dog is intelligent and aims to please. Its better than average memory makes it easy and quick to train.
While the breed makes "an excellent first-time dog" it does tend to create a trail of mess wherever it goes!
Its fondness of chew toys (and chewing in general), love of spending time outdoors (often in the mud), and the tendency for heavy shedding may require a little extra work.
For the unphased, though, the Clumber will warm the hearts of its family for a lifetime.
Physical Traits of the Clumber Spaniel
The Clumber Spaniel can stand up to 20 inches tall and weighs between 55-85 pounds.
This breed has an incredibly long body in relation to its height, which makes it easy for the dogs to plow through fields while on the hunt.
The Clumber, which is technically only as tall as a medium sized dog, has a thick, white coat that is excellent for protecting it while outdoors and keeping it in sight of its hunting partners.
The coat is generally straight, flat, and soft; its density provides durability and great protection from the elements.
While almost completely white, the Clumber does sometimes have lemon and orange colored markings, often on its ears and face.
Breed Standard of the Clumber Spaniel
The Clumber Spaniel can be found with any of the above characteristics, but its Breed Standard is much more specific. Some Standard traits include the following:
- 18-20 inches tall at the withers for males and 17-19 inches tall for females
- A weight of 70-80 pounds for males and 55-70 pounds for females
- A deep, broad muzzle
- Eyes that are dark amber in color
- Low set ears attached at eye level
- A strong, muscular neck with no shaving
- A feathered tail with little trimming
- A comfortable gait that can be maintained at a steady trot
- As few markings on the body as possible
Coloring Standard of the Clumber Spaniel
- Clumbers are not found in a variety of colors. This breed has an all white body with some acceptable markings.
- Lemon or orange colored markings are often found on the face and ears. Markings on the face can include color around the eyes (one or both), a spot on top of the head, and a freckled muzzle.
- Clumbers also sometimes have freckling on their legs and a spot at the base of their tail.
- The fewer the markings on a Clumber Spaniel, the better.
Colors that fall under the AKC’s standard for Clumber Spaniels are:
Markings that fall under the AKC’s standard for Clumber Spaniels are:
Temperament of the Clumber Spaniel
This rare dog can be difficult to find when searching for breeders. Future families of Clumbers generally remain on wait lists for extended periods of time before being able to take one home. When the day comes, though, the Clumber is family for life.
This solid, muscular dog is extremely gentle and affectionate.
Quiet naps resting against its human companion keep this dog happy and fulfilled. “Laid-back” is a term often used to describe the Clumber, and it will remain that with only one or two walks per day and an occasional run around the backyard.
At the same time, Clumbers are hard working and strive to please their human companions whenever possible. If there is a task that needs to be done, whether at home or in the field, this breed will work long and hard until the duty is done. Determination and strong will make up much of the Clumber’s personality.
While Clumbers are born hunters, they don’t require the usual amount of exercise and activity of one. As adults, Clumbers actually tend to be less active and maintain a generally docile nature. They will work endlessly in the field, but once home, are equally as happy to lay around quietly while the rest of the family goes on about their day.
Clumbers are strong-willed and deeply appreciate a companion who knows how to set rules. Without someone to follow, this breed will always find a way to get what it wants. Setting rules and boundaries during puppy-hood will keep this quick learning dog well behaved and completely loyal.
The Clumber Spaniel does well with children and other pets, including small animals like ferrets, as long as they are raised with these companions around. Introducing an adult Clumber to a child or cat for the first time might throw it off guard. Socializing this breed from a young age will likely ensure lifelong bonds between the dog and children or other pets.
Deep set eyes and a drooping face give the Clumber an aloof appearance. Rest assured, though, this dog is an avid thinker and problem solver with unending determination, no matter what its goal is.
Physical Abilities of the Clumber Spaniel
As part of the Spaniel family, Clumbers are hunting and sporting dogs by nature. While they can be just as successful in the field as other Spaniels, their method of work does stray from the norm.
Clumbers have a rolling gait and move at a slower, but very steady pace. Their bone structure and solidity enables them to act as plows through thick brush, and they will continue to do so until their prey is retrieved.
Aside from hunting, Clumbers also make excellent hiking partners. Their strength and steady stamina will keep them right alongside even the most avid hikers and trekkers.
Outdoor enthusiasts can rest assured that a Clumber will have no problem whatsoever on a hunt, hike, or even a swim. These dogs can handle it all.
Due to their heavy stature, Clumbers are not joggers. They’ll trot endlessly on a hunt or hike, but tend to suffer hip problems when running is a part of their routine. High-speed activities are not in a Clumber’s nature, but task this dog with a slow paced, all day excursion, and it will thrive.
Clumber Spaniel Health and Care
Clumber Spaniels have a general lifespan of about 10 to 12 years and are typically healthy dogs. Like any breed, though, there are certain health conditions to be aware of.
Serious health concerns for Clumber Spaniels can include:
- Hip Dysplasia - Hip dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain, arthritis, and an inability for the hip to properly function. It occurs when the hip joint and thigh bone do not properly align. Hip dysplasia is common in Clumber Spaniels and can also be developed from gaining too much wait, thus causing pressure on the joints.
- Hypothyroidism - This deficiency of the thyroid can cause problems such as obesity, fatigue, and even infertility. Coat and skin issues can also occur, with the coat becoming brittle and the skin becoming darkened and rough to the touch. A daily thyroid pill, taken lifelong, can control these symptoms.
- Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) - This condition causes vertebral disks in the spine to bulge or herniate, and can cause pain, nerve damage, and possibly paralysis. Steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs can fix minor cases, but surgery can be required for more serious cases.
Lesser health concerns can include problems like:
- Entropion - This condition is seen when the dog’s lower eyelid folds in toward its eye, which can cause lasting irritation. The condition can be fixed with surgery.
- Ectropion - This condition is seen when the dog’s lower eyelid rolls out and away from the eye, causing a sagging look. Any exposed part of the lower eye can become prone to infections.
- Otitis Externa - This is a chronic inflammation of the external ear canal that is commonly seen in dogs with floppy ears that trap moisture. Antibiotics are used to treat symptoms, and regular ear exams and cleanings are recommended.
- Otitis Media - This is a chronic inflammation of the middle ear that is commonly seen in dogs with floppy ears that trap moisture. Antibiotics are used to treat symptoms, and regular ear exams and cleanings are recommended
- Colitis - This condition is caused when the colon (large intestine) becomes inflamed and disrupts the digestive system, causing painful diarrhea and bloody stool. A colonoscopy can diagnose the problem, and medications or dietary changes might be used to solve it.
Buying a Clumber Spaniel
Seek out reputable breeders when looking for a Clumber. Also, ensure that the parents of any potential new dog have been checked for hip dysplasia and look elsewhere if the breeder cannot provide this information. Because this condition is so common in Clumbers Spaniels, new puppies should be kept from running around and sliding on slick floors, which can cause damage to their newly developing bodies.
It’s also just as important to schedule routine visits to the vet. Being proactive about your dog’s health will greatly reduce the chance of developing any serious or minor health issues down the road.
Like all dogs with long, floppy ears, Clumber Spaniels need to have their ears checked routinely (at least once per week). Because of the dog’s long ears, air circulation gets blocked and can lead to frequent infections (otitis externa and media). Be thorough and consistent when checking your dog’s ears. Have your vet recommend a cleaning solution, and use it with a cotton swab to wipe the visible area of the ear during each cleaning.
Clumber Spaniels tend to be heavy shedders. As a combatant to this, daily brushing is a necessity. While their coat is only of medium length, it’s also thick and dense and requires care. Frequent bathing will help keep dirt and other outdoor debris from accumulating, and trimming of the rear legs, feet, and tail will keep this breed looking sharp.
Aim to brush your Clumber’s coat daily, bathe weekly, and trim as necessary to maintain a healthy appearance and a happy dog.
The recommended amount of food for the average size Clumber is 2 to 2 ½ cups of quality dry dog food per day. Of course, consulting with a vet for each individual dog is important because dietary needs can range from one dog to the next.
Training your Clumber Spaniel
Clumber Spaniels are intelligent and loyal dogs. They often do well living in families with children and other pets, but training and socializing them from a young age is important to ensure this compatibility.
Like other Spaniels, Clumbers need an authority figure in their lives. Meek or timid personalities don’t tend to mix well with training this breed. A lack of boundaries and rules might cause this dog to become stubborn, hard-headed, and motivated to act out. Clumbers living with children should be trained early on not to take food out of the kid's hands or chew on their toys. With such long bodies, these dogs also have a knack for reaching high places like countertops or kitchen tables. Clear rules are vital to instilling good behavior in your Clumber.
Train Clumbers with a calm and reassuring tone of voice. Harshness in the voice can cause the dog to pull back and disconnect from the training. Remaining confident and relaxed is crucial to bringing up a new Clumber puppy.
These dogs are happy, loving, and playful. Their loyal nature makes them eager to please, and their laid back personalities make them wonderful companions for most families. Raising a Clumber alongside a toddler or young child can produce a lifelong bond.
Socializing a Clumber Spaniel as a puppy will help the training process run smoothly. Not all dogs of this breed do well with strangers and other animals, but being proactive with your Clumber puppy will likely make a significant difference. Joining new puppy groups or exposing your young Clumber to friends, family, and children will all give the dog a better chance of mixing well with others as an adult.
Clumbers continue living their puppy years until they’re 3-4 years old. During this time, they can sometimes be whirlwinds of energy. Chewing on objects not meant to be toys can become a problem. Train using positive reinforcement of good behavior and your Clumber will have an easier time adjusting to more mature behavior. Expect to put both time and effort into training, and remember to be patient.
Why You Should Love Clumber Spaniels
The Clumber Spaniel can be a wonderful companion to both families and hunters alike. Slow paced outdoor enthusiasts will love having this breed along for the ride, and vice versa. Whether the task is hunting, hiking, swimming, or sleeping, the Clumber will be there. This playful and affectionate dog is a well-rounded pick for any human looking for a new best friend or an addition to the family.