Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Clumber Spaniel
Average Cost to keep/care for a Clumber Spaniel
Clumber Spaniels are quite unique and it’s thought they were first bred in France some 200 years ago. They are heavier than other spaniels and take their work at a much slower and more leisurely pace. Over the years, these lovely natured dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people, although not as many as they deserve. These spaniels are never happier than when they become part of a family and they truly enjoy being part of everything that goes on in a household. Clumber Spaniels are, in a nutshell, a lovely companion and one that always seems to be on their best behaviour around the home and anywhere else their owners take them.
The Clumber Spaniel has an interesting history and boasts being one of the oldest spaniel breeds around. They were given their name by the Duke of Newcastle with some people believing that he brought some of these dogs from France over to England where he continued to breed them on his estate, Clumber Park. It is thought that the first spaniels were bred by a French aristocrat and that it was during the revolution that the Duke of Newcastle obtained a number of them from the French noble’s kennels. With this said, there is no evidence of this being the case and as such the Clumber Spaniel is considered by many enthusiasts and fans of the breed to be a purely English dog.
However, what is known is that it was the Duke of Newcastle who developed the breed and that his dogs were renowned for their hunting skills all over England. This naturally meant that other estates around the country were keen to own spaniels that were bred by the Duke’s kennels. There are paintings of white and lemon Clumber Spaniels posing with the Duke which are thought to be the ancestors of the Clumber Spaniels we see today.
Clumber Spaniels were also bred by King George V and many of his dogs were destined to become champion dogs. Other fans of the breed continued to promote them, but with the advent of the First and Second World Wars, the number of Clumbers fell into decline. Luckily a few dedicated people and breeders ensured these lovely dogs did not disappear altogether and continued to produce excellent examples of the breed ensuring these lovely spaniels survived.
Today, the Clumber Spaniel is again becoming a popular choice as a family pet, show dog and companion all thanks to their wonderful natures and charming good looks. With this said, they are still considered to be a British Heritage Breed and with fewer numbers of puppies being registered with the Kennel Club, anyone wanting to share a home with a Clumber Spaniel may need to register with a breeder and accept being put on a waiting list in order to own one.
Height at the withers: Males 43 - 51 cm, Females 43 - 51 cm
Average weight: Males 29.5 - 34 kg, Females 25 - 29.5 kg
Clumber Spaniels are the heavier than other spaniels and they boast having a dense and silky coat. They are renowned for their gentle, thoughtful expression and their "Clumber Roll" which means they tend to stand out in a crowd. They have large, square heads with heavy brows and a nice deep stop. Muzzles are square and dogs have nicely developed upper lips.
Their eyes are full of expression and boast being a nice deep amber or darker colour. Clumber Spaniels have large, well-covered vine shaped ears which hang slightly forward and which are slightly feathered. They have a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. They boast longish, powerful and quite thick necks and strong, well-muscled sloping shoulders. Front legs are well boned, strong and straight.
Clumbers have a well-muscled, strong long body with a deep chest and well sprung ribs. Their loins are muscular and nicely let down on the flanks. Their hindquarters are well developed and strong with powerful back legs. Their feet are round, well covered and large. Tails are set low and extremely well feathered which dogs carry level to their backs.
When it comes to their coat, the Clumber boasts having a lot of silky, straight hair which lies close to their body. Their legs and chests are both nicely feathered. They come in two colour-types being as follows:
Dogs can have a few markings on their heads and freckles are allowed on their muzzles which adds to their overall appealing looks.
The Clumber Spaniel is the ideal choice for the first-time owner because not only are these dogs intelligent and therefore easy to train, they are known for being extremely good around children and other pets too. The only thing to worry about would be their size because these spaniels might just be too big for anyone who lives in a smaller house. With this said, they would be the perfect choice for families who boast a bigger property and nice large, secure back garden.
Because these dogs form very strong bonds with their family, they can suffer from separation anxiety which can turn into a real problem if a Clumber is left on their own for long periods of time. This could well result in a dog developing some quite destructive behaviours around the home. They do however, do really well when they live with people who work from home or who spend a lot of time in the house during the day. They also do well if one member of the family stays at home when everyone else is out during the day.
Clumbers may not be as fast as their lighter boned spaniel cousins, but they do boast a strong instinct to work which often sees these dogs pushing their way through the undergrowth to investigate a scent. They are known to be independent spirits which people often mistake for being stubborn. When young, they can be quite boisterous, but by the age of 2 or 3, the Clumber Spaniel settles down into a good natured character that is a pleasure to be around although even as adults, they like playing the clown when the mood takes them.
Clumbers are also renowned for their snoring and they do tend to "slobber" quite a bit, especially when excited or after they've had a drink of water. Unlike many other spaniels, the Clumber tends to be a little wary of people they don't know, but they would never show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards strangers, they simply remain aloof and standoffish until they get to know the person a little better.
Being highly intelligent, the Clumber Spaniel is very easy to train with the added bonus being there is nothing these dogs like more than to please their masters. More recently they have been trained as tracking dogs, some of them have even been trained to do "heelwork to music" and others excel at agility. Clumbers are also trained under the PAT Dog scheme which sees them visiting people in hospital and residents of retirement and nursing homes.
Clumbers are a good choice as family pets because they are extremely tolerant of children. They are easy-going, laid back characters and they just adore being part of a family. However, when young Clumbers are known to be a little boisterous which means any interaction between dogs and children needs to be well supervised by an adult to make sure nobody gets knocked over, frightened or hurt during playtime.
These spaniels are also great around other pets and animals as long as they have grown up together. However, care should be taken when Clumbers are around pets and cats they don't know because their instincts might just get the better of them. They rarely show any aggression towards other dogs which is especially true if they have been well socialised from a young age and introduced to as many new situations and dogs as possible once they have been fully vaccinated.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Clumber Spaniel is between 9 to 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like many other pedigree dogs, Clumbers are prone to suffer from their fair share of hereditary health disorders which are worth knowing about if you are planning to share your home with one of these easy going spaniels. The disorders most commonly seen in the breed include the following:
As with any other breed, Clumber Spaniels need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed a good quality balanced diet that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Clumbers are heavy shedders throughout the year, but especially more so during the Spring time and then again in the Autumn. Their leave copious amounts of white hair about the place if they are not regularly brushed. On top of this, the heavy feathering around their legs tends to pick up a lot of mud and debris which needs to be cleaned off when dogs come back from a walk. The same can be said of their bellies which also tend to get covered in mud if the weather is wet thanks to the feathering they have on their undersides.
It's a good idea to keep a Clumber's feet neatly trimmed to avoid any knots and tangles developing in between their toes. It's also important to keep a close eye on a dog's ears and to make sure they are always dried once a dog comes back inside for a walk. If any moisture is allowed to build up in a Clumber's ear canal it can lead to a nasty yeast infection taking hold and this type of problem can be notoriously difficult to clear up. It also pays to have these dogs professionally groomed from time to time because their coats do need to be occasionally trimmed.
Young Clumbers don't need to be given an excessive amount of exercise because their joints and bones are still developing and putting too much pressure can cause problems later in their lives. At around 6 months old, the amount of exercise a young Clumber is given can be gradually increased. With this said, Clumbers are not high energy dogs and like to take things at their own pace which means a good thirty-minute, interesting walk would suit these dogs right down to the ground.
Being very intelligent dogs, Clumbers do need to be given a lot of mental stimulation to prevent boredom setting in. Older dogs, when they reach their golden years really do benefit from being stimulated because it helps keep their cognitive function more finely tuned. If left to their own devices for long periods of time, these laid back dogs can develop some unwanted behavioural issues with separation anxiety being high on the list.
If you get a puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Clumber Spaniel, you would need to pay anything from £600 to over £850 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Clumber in northern England would be £25.57 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £61.72 a month (quote as of April 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £40 - £60 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Clumber Spaniel and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1000 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Clumber Spaniel would be between £90 to £140 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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