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Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Clumber Spaniel
Average Cost to keep/care for a Clumber Spaniel
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Clumber Spaniels are quite unique with their lovely white coats and orange or lemon markings. They also have a lovely, thoughtful expression on their faces which makes the breed all the more endearing. It’s thought they were first bred in France some 200 years ago. They are heavier than other spaniels and take life at a much slower and more leisurely pace than their lighter cousins.
Over the years, these good-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, sweet-natured companions and family pets 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 having been around for over 250 years. 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 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.
When a Clumber Spaniel moves, they do so effortlessly with a nice straight gait both in their forequarters and their hindquarters.
The Kennel Club frowns on any exaggerations or departures from the breed standard and would judge the faults on how much they affect a dog's overall health and wellbeing as well as their ability to perform.
Males should have both testicles fully descended into their scrotums and it is worth noting that a dog can be a little lighter or heavier as well as slightly taller or shorter than set out in the Kennel Club breed standard which is given as a guideline only.
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 well living 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.
Clumbers are the perfect choice for first time dog owners because they are so amenable and people-oriented, loving nothing more than to please and to entertain their families. They are particularly good with young children and older people too although playtime can get a bit boisterous at times.
Clumber Spaniel are very social by nature and even though they have working and hunting dogs in their lineage, they do not have a very high prey drive. However, this is not to say that a dog would not give chase to a smaller animal when the mood takes them and this includes squirrels and the cat from next door. It also pays to keep a Clumber on the lead when walking them near livestock and wild animals to be on the safe side.
Clumbers have a very playful side to their natures and love to entertain and be entertained. They mature slowly not really growing up until they are anything between 2 and 3 years old and even then, they stay very puppy-like liking nothing more than to "clown" around when the mood takes them.
Clumber Spaniels are large dogs that need enough space to express themselves which in short, means they are not well suited to apartment living. They are the perfect choice for people who have large, secure back gardens that a dog can safely roam in whenever possible.
Although Clumbers form strong ties with their families, they are quite independent by nature and therefore do not really mind being left to their own devices, providing it is never for too long.
Clumbers are not known to be "barkers" and will typically only voice an opinion when they feel the need to alert an owner about something they don't like that's going on in their environment.
Most Clumber Spaniels really like being in water and will happily take to it whenever they can. However, anyone owning a dog that does not like swimming should never force them into the water which could end up really frightening them. With this said, care must always be taken when walking a Clumber off the lead anywhere near more dangerous watercourses just in case they decide to leap in and then need rescuing.
Clumber Spaniels are not natural watchdogs although this is not to say a dog would not let an owner know when there are strangers about although they would rarely do this aggressively, preferring to take their time, keep their distance and bark.
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.
Clumber Spaniel puppies are very cute with their large chunky bodies and adorable facial expressions which means it is all too easy to spoil them when they first arrive in their new homes. However, owners need to start out as they mean to go on by laying down rules and boundaries so that puppies understand what their owners expect of them. It also helps establish a "pecking order" and who is the alpha dog in a household. As such, Clumber puppies should be taught the following commands as early as possible:
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 providing 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:
Clumber puppies would have been given their initial vaccinations before being sold, but it is up to their new owners to make sure they have their follow-up shots in a timely manner with the vaccination schedule for puppies being as follows:
There has been a lot of discussion about the need for dogs to have boosters. As such, it's best to talk to a vet before making a final decision on whether a dog should continue to have annual vaccinations which are known as boosters.
A lot of vets these days recommend waiting until dogs are slightly older before spaying and neutering them which means they are more mature before undergoing the procedures. As such they advise neutering males and spaying females when they are between the ages of 6 to 9 months old and sometimes even when a dog is 12 months old.
Other vets recommend spaying and neutering dogs when they are 6 months old, but never any earlier unless for medical reasons. With this said, many breeds are different and it is always advisable to discuss things with a vet and then follow their advice on when a dog should be spayed or neutered.
Some Clumber Spaniels gain weight after they have been spayed or neutered and it's important to keep an eye on a dog's waistline just in case they do. If a dog starts to put on weight it's important to adjust their daily calorie intake and to up the amount of exercise they are given. Older dogs too are more prone to gaining weight and again it's essential they be fed and exercised accordingly because obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years. The reason being that it puts a lot of extra strain on a dog's internal organs including the heart which could prove fatal.
Clumbers are prone to suffering from allergies and it's important for a dog to see a vet sooner rather than later if one flares up. Allergies can be notoriously hard to clear up and finding the triggers can be challenging. With this said, a vet would be able to make a dog with an allergy more comfortable while they try to find out the triggers which could include the following:
All responsible Clumber Spaniel breeders would ensure that their stud dogs are tested for known hereditary and congenital health issues known to affect the breed by using the following schemes:
Apart from the standard breeding restrictions that are in place for all Kennel Club registered breeds, there are no other breed specific breeding restrictions for the Clumber Spaniel.
It is mandatory for all Kennel Club Assured Breeders to use the following tests on stud dogs and all other breeders are strongly advised to follow suit:
The Kennel Club strongly recommends that all breeders use the following schemes on stud dogs:
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.
Clumber puppies are boisterous and full of life which means it's essential for homes and gardens to be puppy-proofed well in advance of their arrival. A responsible breeder would have well socialised their puppies which always leads to more outgoing, confident and friendly dogs right from the word go. With this said, any puppy is going to feel vulnerable when they leave their mother and littermates which must be taken into account. The longer a puppy can remain with their mother, the better although it should never be for too long either.
It's best to pick a puppy up when people are going to be around for the first week or so which is the time needed for a puppy to settle in. Puppy-proofing the home and garden means putting away any tools and other implements that a boisterous puppy might injure themselves on. Electric wires and cables must be put out of their reach because puppies love chewing on things. Toxic plants should be removed from flowerbeds and the home too.
Puppies need to sleep a lot to grow and develop as they should which means setting up a quiet area that's not too out of the way means they can retreat to it when they want to nap and it's important not to disturb them when they are sleeping. It's also a good idea to keep "playtime" nice and calm inside the house and to have a more active "playtime" outside in the garden which means puppies quickly learn to be less boisterous when they are inside.
The documentation a breeder provides for a puppy must have all the details of their worming date and the product used as well as the information relating to their microchip. It is essential for puppies to be wormed again keeping to a schedule which is as follows:
There are certain items that new owners need to already have in the home prior to bringing a new puppy home. It's often a good idea to restrict how much space a puppy plays in more especially when you can't keep an eye on what they get up to bearing in mind that puppies are often quite boisterous which means investing in puppy gates or a large enough playpen that allows a puppy the room to express themselves while keeping them safe too. The items needed are therefore, as follows:
All puppies are sensitive to noise including Clumber puppies. It's important to keep the noise levels down when a new puppy arrives in the home. TVs and music should not be played too loud which could end up stressing a small puppy out.
As previously mentioned, Clumber puppies would have been given their first vaccinations by the breeders, but they must have their follow up shots which is up to their new owners to organise. The vaccination schedule for puppies is as follows:
When it comes to boosters, it's best to discuss these with a vet because there is a lot of debate about whether a dog really needs them after a certain time. However, if a dog ever needed to go into kennels, their vaccinations would need to be up to date.
Older Clumber Spaniels need lots of special care because as they reach their golden years, they are more at risk of developing certain health concerns. Physically, a dog's muzzle may start to go grey, but there will be other noticeable changes too which includes the following:
Older dogs change mentally too which means their response time tends to be slower as such they develop the following:
Living with a Clumber Spaniel in their golden years means taking on a few more responsibilities, but these are easily managed and should include taking a look at their diet, the amount of exercise they are given, how often their dog beds need changing and keeping an eye on the condition of their teeth.
Older Clumber Spaniels need to be fed a good quality diet that meets their needs at this stage of their lives all the while keeping a close eye on a dog's weight. A rough feeding guide for older dogs is as follows bearing in mind they should be fed highly digestible food that does not contain any additives:
Older Clumbers don't need to be given the same amount of daily exercise as a younger dog, but they still need the right amount of physical activity to maintain muscle tone and to prevent a dog from putting on too much weight. All dogs need access to fresh clean water and this is especially true of older dogs when they reach their golden years because they are more at risk of developing kidney disorders.
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 builds 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.
Puppies need to be fed a highly nutritious, good quality diet for them to develop and grow as they should. As a rough guide, a Clumber puppy can be fed the following amounts every day making sure their meals are evenly spread out throughout the day and it's best to feed them 3 or 4 times a day:
Once a puppy is 12 months old they can be fed adult dog food.
Once fully mature, an adult Clumber Spaniel must be fed a good quality diet to ensure their continued good health. As a rough guide, an adult Clumber can be fed the following amounts every day:
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 £28.43 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £63.23 a month (quote as of December 2017). 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 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 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 healthy well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree Clumber Spaniel puppy.
When visiting and buying any puppy or dog, there are many important things to consider and questions to ask of the breeder/seller. You can read our generic puppy/dog advice here which includes making sure you see the puppy with its mother and to verify that the dog has been wormed and microchipped.
Clumber Spaniels are classed as a vulnerable native breed and as such fewer puppies are bred every year. This means that healthy, well-bred Kennel Club registered puppies can often command a lot of money. As such, with Clumbers there is specific advice, questions and protocols to follow when buying a puppy which are as follows:
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