The Complete Guide to Clumber Spaniels History, Characteristics, and Care

The Clumber Spaniel, with its gentle giant demeanor and striking appearance, has captured the hearts of dog lovers for centuries. This noble breed, hailing from the rolling hills of France, has a rich and fascinating history that intertwines with French nobility and sporting traditions. Today, Clumber Spaniels are cherished companions known for their affectionate nature, playful spirit, and unwavering loyalty.

History of the Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel’s origins trace back to the 18th century, when French monks in the Clumber Abbey, located in Nottinghamshire, England, began breeding spaniels for hunting and retrieving game. These early Clumbers were prized for their ability to flush out birds from dense undergrowth, and their stamina and endurance allowed them to work tirelessly in the field.

As the breed gained popularity, it spread throughout Europe, eventually reaching the shores of England. In the 19th century, English nobility embraced the Clumber Spaniel as a symbol of elegance and sporting prowess. The Duke of Newcastle, a passionate Clumber Spaniel enthusiast, played a pivotal role in establishing the breed’s standard and promoting its popularity among the upper classes.

French Influence on the Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel’s name is derived from the French word “clumber,” which means “to plow through.” This is a nod to the breed’s original purpose as a hunting dog, where they would plow through thick brush and undergrowth to retrieve game for their owners.

Additionally, the Clumber Spaniel’s ancestors can be traced back to the Basset Hound and the Alpine Spaniel, both of which originated in France. These breeds were crossed with local British spaniels to create the Clumber Spaniel we know today.

Physical Characteristics of the Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel is a large and sturdy breed, with a powerful build and a distinctive appearance. They have a long, low-set body and a broad head with a square muzzle. Their eyes are dark and expressive, giving them an endearing and gentle expression.

Size and Weight

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, male Clumber Spaniels should stand between 17-20 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 70-85 pounds. Females should be slightly smaller, standing between 16-19 inches and weighing between 55-70 pounds.

Coat and Color

The Clumber Spaniel’s coat is dense and weather-resistant, with a soft undercoat and a straight, flat outer coat. They come in predominantly white with lemon or orange markings, which can range from light to dark shades. Some Clumbers may also have freckles on their skin, adding to their unique appearance.

Other Physical Features

One of the most distinctive physical features of the Clumber Spaniel is their large, heavy head. This gives them a dignified and regal appearance, but it also means they may be prone to heat exhaustion and respiratory issues. It’s important to keep them cool and well-hydrated, especially during hot weather.

Temperament and Personality of the Clumber Spaniel

Clumber Spaniels are known for their calm and gentle nature, making them excellent family pets. They are affectionate and devoted to their owners, often forming strong bonds with one particular person in the household. They are also known for their playful and mischievous personalities, always ready for a game or adventure.


Due to their patient and easy-going nature, Clumber Spaniels make great companions for families with children. They are tolerant and gentle with kids, and their size makes them less likely to be injured during rough play. However, as with any dog, it’s important to supervise interactions between children and dogs to ensure everyone is safe.

Sociable and Friendly

Clumber Spaniels are social creatures and enjoy spending time with their owners. They do not do well when left alone for long periods and may develop separation anxiety if not given enough attention and mental stimulation. They also get along well with other pets, making them a great addition to multi-pet households.

Moderate Energy Levels

While Clumber Spaniels were originally bred as hunting dogs, they have adapted well to a more relaxed lifestyle. They have moderate energy levels and require daily walks and playtime to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. However, they are not high-energy dogs and can adapt well to apartment living as long as they get enough exercise.

Training and Exercise Requirements for Clumber Spaniels

Clumber Spaniels are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. However, they can also be stubborn at times, so consistency and positive reinforcement techniques are key. Early socialization and obedience training are crucial for this breed to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and well-adjusted dogs.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, Clumber Spaniels also need mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. This can include puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions that challenge their minds. Without proper mental stimulation, they may become bored and resort to destructive behaviors.

Exercise Needs

As mentioned earlier, Clumber Spaniels have moderate exercise needs and require daily walks and playtime. They also enjoy activities such as swimming and retrieving, which tap into their natural instincts as hunting dogs. However, it’s important not to over-exercise them, especially in hot weather, as they are prone to heat exhaustion.

Training Tips

When training a Clumber Spaniel, it’s important to use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and playtime. This breed responds well to rewards and will quickly learn what behaviors are expected of them. It’s also essential to be patient and consistent, as they can be stubborn at times.

Common Health Issues in Clumber Spaniels

Like all dog breeds, Clumber Spaniels are prone to certain health issues that potential owners should be aware of. While not all Clumbers will experience these conditions, it’s important to be informed and proactive in managing their health.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common condition in large breeds, including Clumber Spaniels. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to pain and discomfort for the dog. This condition can be managed with medication, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery.

Eye Problems

Clumber Spaniels are prone to several eye conditions, including entropion (inward rolling of the eyelid), ectropion (outward rolling of the eyelid), and cataracts. Regular eye exams by a veterinarian can help catch these issues early on and prevent them from becoming more serious.

Ear Infections

Due to their long, floppy ears, Clumber Spaniels are susceptible to ear infections. It’s essential to clean their ears regularly and keep them dry to prevent bacteria and yeast from growing. If you notice your Clumber shaking their head or scratching at their ears excessively, it’s best to consult a veterinarian.

Grooming Needs for Clumber Spaniels

The Clumber Spaniel’s dense coat requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and free from mats and tangles. They also have a tendency to drool, so keeping their facial folds clean is crucial to prevent skin irritation and infection.

Brushing and Bathing

Clumber Spaniels should be brushed at least once a week to remove loose hair and prevent mats from forming. They also benefit from regular baths, which can help keep their coat clean and shiny. However, it’s important not to over-bathe them, as this can strip their skin of its natural oils.

Nail Trimming

Clumber Spaniels have large, strong nails that need to be trimmed regularly to prevent them from becoming too long and causing discomfort. It’s best to start trimming their nails from a young age so they become accustomed to the process. If you’re unsure how to do this, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for guidance.

Facial Fold Care

As mentioned earlier, Clumber Spaniels are prone to drooling, which can lead to skin irritation and infection in their facial folds. It’s essential to clean these folds regularly with a damp cloth and dry them thoroughly to prevent bacteria from growing. You can also use a specialized cleanser recommended by your veterinarian.

Choosing the Right Food for Your Clumber Spaniel

A high-quality diet is crucial for the health and well-being of your Clumber Spaniel. It’s important to choose a food that is specifically formulated for large breed dogs and meets their nutritional needs. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on the best food for your Clumber Spaniel based on their age, activity level, and any health concerns.

Feeding Schedule

Clumber Spaniels should be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. This helps prevent bloating, a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in large breeds when they eat too quickly. It’s also important to monitor their food intake and adjust accordingly if they start gaining or losing weight.

Treats and Table Scraps

While it may be tempting to give your Clumber Spaniel table scraps or frequent treats, it’s important to do so in moderation. Too many treats can lead to weight gain and other health issues, so it’s best to stick to healthy, low-calorie options such as carrots or apples.

Living Arrangements for Clumber Spaniels

Clumber Spaniels can adapt well to various living arrangements, including apartments, as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, due to their size and potential for drooling, they may not be the best fit for those who prefer a spotless home.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Dogs

While Clumber Spaniels enjoy spending time outdoors, they are primarily indoor dogs and should not be left outside for extended periods. They thrive on human companionship and do best when they are part of the family and included in daily activities.

Fenced Yard

If you have a yard, it’s best to have a secure fence to prevent your Clumber Spaniel from wandering off. They are known to have a strong prey drive and may chase after small animals if given the opportunity. A fenced yard also provides a safe space for them to run and play without the risk of escaping.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Pets for Clumber Spaniels

Clumber Spaniels are generally friendly and sociable with other pets, but proper socialization is still essential. It’s important to introduce them to other animals at a young age and supervise interactions to ensure everyone gets along. If you have other dogs, it’s best to introduce them slowly and in a neutral environment.

Cats and Small Animals

Due to their hunting instincts, Clumber Spaniels may not do well with cats or other small animals. It’s best to introduce them to these animals at a young age and always supervise interactions. Some Clumbers may coexist peacefully with cats, while others may see them as prey.

Children and Other Dogs

As mentioned earlier, Clumber Spaniels are great companions for families with children and get along well with other dogs. However, it’s important to teach children how to interact with dogs safely and supervise their interactions to prevent any accidents.

Tips for Finding a Reputable Clumber Spaniel Breeder

If you’ve decided that a Clumber Spaniel is the right breed for you, it’s crucial to find a reputable breeder to ensure you get a healthy and well-socialized puppy. Here are some tips to help you find a responsible breeder:

  • Do your research: Look for breeders who have a good reputation and have been in the business for several years.
  • Visit the breeder: A reputable breeder will allow you to visit their facility and meet the puppies and their parents.
  • Ask for health clearances: A responsible breeder will provide you with health clearances for both the parents and the puppies.
  • Get references: Ask the breeder for references from previous buyers to get an idea of their experience.
  • Avoid puppy mills: Never buy a puppy from a pet store or online without thoroughly researching the breeder first.



In conclusion, the Clumber Spaniel is a wonderful breed with a rich history and a lovable personality. They make great family pets and thrive on human companionship and attention. With proper care, training, and socialization, they can be loyal and devoted companions for many years to come. If you’re considering adding a Clumber Spaniel to your family, make sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder to ensure you get a healthy and happy puppy.

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