Breed Profile – Clumber Spaniel


Our latest breed profile looks more closely at the Clumber Spaniel, a breed that had some prominence at this year’s Crufts. The steadiest of the spaniels, this gundog breed has a loveable nature to match its mournful ‘take me home’ expression.

clumber spaniel running

History of Breed: The Clumber Spaniel has an intriguing history with several theories as to its origin. One theory is that the Clumber Spaniel was a favourite of the aristocracy in 18th century France. Furthermore, during the French Revolution the Duc de Noailles gave his entire kennel of Clumbers to the Duke of Newcastle, who brought them to England. Another theory is that the breed is descended from the now-extinct Blenheim Spaniel, as is the King Charles Spaniel. Either way, the Duke of Newcastle and his gamekeeper, William Mansell, developed the breed at the Duke’s Nottingham estate, Clumber Park. The Clumber is heavier than other Spaniels and therefore not so quick in its work. However it has a lovely, dependable nature that makes it a great choice for families. The Clumber Spaniel is a vulnerable native breed.

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years.

Size: Large, with a height range of 43-51cm and a weight range 25-34kg.

Features: The Clumber has a characteristic mournful or thoughtful expression, which comes from the heavy brows over dark amber eyes and well-developed flews. The breed has a heavy-boned, sturdy body, carried low to the ground. The double-layered, white coat has orange or lemon markings, particularly on ears, flews, forelegs and around the eyes. Feathering on the chest, forelegs and tail and a freckled muzzle are also features of the Clumber Spaniel. Large vine leaf-shaped ears hang slightly forward towards the cheek.

Energy Levels/Exercise Required: The Clumber Spaniel requires about an hour of exercise a day, which is less than other gundogs of this size. Not as energetic and enthusiastic as other spaniel breeds, the Clumber will nevertheless enjoy games which exercise its gundog instincts. In the field, Clumbers have the endurance to manage a whole day beating and will work steadily at flushing game in heavy cover.

Potential Health Problems: Whilst the heaviness of the Clumber Spaniel is one of its features, it is important to avoid excessive weight gain. Carrying excessive weight puts pressure on the joints and organs, exacerbating conditions such as hip dysplasia, common in Clumber Spaniels. For overweight dogs, Gilbertson & Page recommend a dog food specifically designed to aid in weight loss. Dr John Silver Chicken is a lighter maintenance dog food with lower calories that still contains all the essential nutrients to keep an active dog in good health. Alternatively, Gilpa Slimline is a more tailored feed for overweight dogs. By encouraging exercise and gradually reducing food intake, it is possible to reach the correct weight as advised by a vet. Once the dog reaches this weight, feeding to condition should maintain it.

The drop ears of the Clumber Spaniel need careful monitoring to stay clean and free of foreign bodies. This is especially important if they are a gundog and spend a lot of time rushing about in undergrowth.

Temperament: The Clumber is a highly intelligent breed, making it easy to train and obedient. It has a loveable nature, being quiet, gentle and steady. The breed also has a dignity and aloofness that can make it wary of strangers, but it is never aggressive.

Family Dog/Child Friendly: Thanks to its calm, gentle nature, the Clumber Spaniel makes an ideal family dog. It is loyal and affectionate, good with children and will enjoy the activity of a busy family life. Clumbers also make good companions for those living alone who enjoy about an hour’s outdoor activity daily. They don’t need a huge amount of outdoor space at home to run off excess energy. However they are happiest in a large house in a rural location.

Likes: Company, affection and attention.

Dislikes: Strangers and solitude.