CLUMBER SPANIEL: A Gentle Breed

If you want to explore the charm of a distinguished sporting breed renowned for its robust build and gentle demeanor.

Whether you are captivated by its distinctive appearance, historical significance, or gentle temperament, promises a rewarding and enduring companionship.

Clumber Spaniel

Explore the world of this delightful breed and consider welcoming a “Clumber Spaniel” into your home for a canine companion that combines elegance, athleticism, and a loving disposition.

The Clumber Spaniel, often referred to as the “Gentle Giant” of the spaniel family, is a distinctive and affectionate breed known for its substantial size, powerful build, and friendly disposition.

The Clumber Spaniel is a British breed that was named after Clumber Park, which is a Nottinghamshire estate in England. They were initially bred as hunting dogs, especially for flushing and retrieving game birds.

Let’s dig into the full details about Clumber Spaniel:

History

The Clumber spaniel dates back to at least the 1700s, perhaps sharing ancestry with the Basset hound and the now-extinct Alpine spaniel. The name Clumber comes from Clumber Park, the 3,800-acre estate in Nottinghamshire, England, belonging to the Duke of Newcastle.

The breed’s true origins remain murky, but nobles in that area hunted with a spaniel that looks very similar to today’s Clumber Spaniel. They were bred to flush birds from low-lying areas so hunters could shoot them, though some dogs probably retrieved the downed birds as well. Clumbers can still serve as hunting dogs to this day.

Clumbers arrived in North America in the mid-1800s, and they were one of the American Kennel Club’s charter breeds in 1884. Today, these dogs are still a relatively rare sight in North America. Many breeders agree that they’re a well-kept secret, which isn’t so different from the breed’s early history as treasured companions on English estates. 

Appearance

As the largest member of the spaniel family, the Clumber is easy to recognize thanks to a long, low, heavy-boned body that’s topped off with a head that the breed standard literally calls “massive”—so, yeah, it’s big.

This dog breed is known for its unique appearance and friendly behavior. It’s quite big, with a sturdy body and short legs. The face has a serious expression with deep-set eyes and long ears that hang down. Its tail is usually docked, meaning its cut short. He has a lovable and dignified look, making it an attractive and charming breed.

 

Gentle Giants

Physical Characteristics

Height

  • Male 18 to 20 inches
  • Female 17 to 19 inches

Weight

  • Male 70 to 85 pounds
  • Female 55 to 70 pounds

Coat

They have a dense, straight, and slightly wavy coat.

Color

White, often with yellow or orange markings

Ears

They have large, pendant ears that are well-feathered and hang close to the head.

Tail

The tail is set low and is often docked to a short length or left natural.

Lifespan

The average lifespan is around 10 to 12 years.

Temperament

He is celebrated for its gentle and amiable temperament, making it an exceptional choice for families and individuals alike. Renowned for its calm demeanor, this breed exudes a laid-back and easygoing attitude, making it particularly well-suited for households with children.

Despite its substantial size and robust build, he is notably patient and tolerant, fostering positive interactions with youngsters. Known for forming strong bonds with its human companions, this breed is often described as affectionate and loyal.

This breed’s friendly disposition extends to other pets, contributing to a harmonious living environment. Additionally, their intelligence and eagerness to please make them highly trainable, adding a layer of adaptability to their delightful personality.

Whether lounging at home or engaging in outdoor activities, the Clumber Spaniel’s affable nature shines through, making it a cherished and well-loved member of the family.

Grooming

These gundogs are considered to be average to heavy shedders, and there will be days when it seems as if it’s snowing Clumber hair in your home. Daily brushing is a must to keep loose hair to a minimum.

Other than that, all you really need to do is trim the hair on their rear legs and tail and between the pads of the feet to keep them looking neat. Ask a breeder or groomer to show you how. A Clumber Spaniel’s white coat can hold a significant amount of dirt and debris, so feel free to bathe him as often as you think necessary.

As long as you’re using a shampoo made for dogs, regular baths won’t affect his coat except to make it look clean instead of dingy. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly to prevent itchiness from shampoo residue.

Begin accustoming your Clumber to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth and ears.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

The Clumber Spaniel is prone to ear infections, so preventive care is important. This can be as simple as drying your dog’s ears after swimming and checking the ears regularly for signs of infection such as a bad smell, redness, or tenderness.

The Clumber with an ear infection may also shake his head frequently or scratch at his ears. Gently wipe out the ear — only the part you can see — with a cotton ball moistened with a cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. Never stick cotton swabs or anything else into the ear canal or you might damage it. 

Brush your Clumber’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Trim nails regularly if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep your legs from getting scratched when your Clumber enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.

Training

These dogs are known for their intelligent and easily trainable nature—but some will show a stubborn streak. When it comes to basic obedience, these dogs excel without too much extra effort from their owners. Simple lessons can begin when puppies are as young as 6 weeks old, but more advanced training can continue through your dog’s life. This breed is eager to learn and responds well to positive reinforcement methods.

As with any dog breed, provide proper socialization for your doggie at early in life to ensure they’re friendly toward people, children, and other animals.

When it comes to stranger danger, this dog isn’t overly shy about new faces, but they also aren’t quick to sound the alarm. In fact, they are a relatively quiet breed that isn’t known for barking often

gundogs

Exercise

Bred to be in the field, these dogs enjoy putting their minds and bodies to work, but they don’t need a ton of exercise.

Provide your furry friend with at least an hour of exercise per day. One long walk or two shorter walks should keep your spaniel content to lounge indoors. While they’re not likely to be speedsters, they can enjoy competing in agility, obedience, and rally competitions. They’re also avid retrievers, so a solid game of fetch will put this bird dog in their element.

While these canines are confident and self-assured, they were bred to be hunting companions who work in a pack. As such, they’re not well-suited to be left alone all day.

In fact, if they are left alone for excessively long periods, they can become anxious or destructive.

Nutrition

These spaniels take advantage of food left unattended on counters or tables, and despite their somewhat short stature, they’re surprisingly skilled at overcoming vertical challenges to steal a snack.

Feed your pup in moderation with high-quality dog food. Treats can be an effective training incentive—but don’t over feed these dogs.

Ask your veterinarian to help you determine a healthy meal plan based on your specific dog’s age, weight, and activity level.

Health Concerns

This hound isn’t overly plagued by health problems, but they are susceptible to a few common conditions. Some of these concerns can be mitigated with testing, like hip and elbow evaluations, an ophthalmology exam, and PDP1 testing for a rare genetic enzyme deficiency.

The following are common health problems encountered in Clumber spaniels

Hip Dysplasia 

This is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.

This disease is hereditary, but it can also be triggered by environmental factors, such as letting a puppy gain too much weight too quickly or injuries incurred from jumping or falling on slick floors. Because of the breed’s short stature, hips do not look normal compared to those of other breeds, so a veterinarian looking at their hip x-rays must take that into account.  

Hypothyroidism 

Hypothyroidism is caused by a deficiency of thyroid hormone and may produce signs that include infertility, obesity, mental dullness, and lack of energy.

The dog’s fur may become coarse and brittle and begin to fall out, while the skin becomes tough and dark. It can be managed very well with a thyroid replacement pill daily. Medication must continue throughout the dog’s life.

Ectropion 

This defect is the rolling out or sagging of the eyelid, usually the lower one, leaving the eye exposed and prone to irritation and infections such as conjunctivitis. Severe cases can be treated with surgery.

Entropion 

This defect, which is usually obvious by six months of age, causes the eyelid to roll inward, irritating or injuring the eyeball. One or both eyes can be affected. If your dog has entropion, you may notice him rubbing at his eyes.

The condition can be corrected surgically, but wait until your puppy is fully grown. Once his head finishes developing, at two to three years of age, the condition may correct on its own.

Ear infections 

They can be prone to ear infections because their floppy ears trap moisture. The warm, moist environment inside the ear is ideal for bacterial growth. Check ears regularly for signs of infection such as a bad odor, redness, or tenderness. The Clumber with an ear infection may also shake his head frequently or paw at it. Take him to your veterinarian for a diagnosis. Clumbers with frequent ear infections may have food allergies.

Bottom Line

The Clumber Spaniel is a distinctive and affectionate breed known for its substantial size, friendly temperament, and rich hunting heritage.

 Whether you’re seeking a loyal and gentle giant, a dog with a royal history, or a breed with a strong background in hunting and retrieving, the Clumber Spaniel is likely to capture your heart with its exceptional qualities and distinguished history.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q. Do Clumber Spaniels have a strong prey drive?

Clumber Spaniels were originally bred for hunting, but they typically have a moderate prey drive. Early socialization can help manage their instincts around smaller animals and pets.

Q. Are these gentle giants prone to heat sensitivity?

Due to their dense coat, these gentle giants may be sensitive to heat. It’s important to provide shade, water, and avoid excessive exercise in hot weather to prevent overheating.

Q. Do these gundogs suffer from separation anxiety?

Like many breeds, these gundogs may experience separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. They thrive on companionship and should not be left alone for too long regularly.

Q. Are they good swimmers?

Yes, they generally enjoy water and can be good swimmers. Their dense, water-resistant coat contributes to their proficiency in aquatic activities.

Q. Are these Spaniels good apartment dogs?

While Clumber Spaniels are adaptable, their size may make apartment living a bit challenging. They thrive in homes with access to a yard where they can enjoy some outdoor activities.

Q. Do Clumber Spaniels make good watchdogs?

While they are not known for being aggressive, Clumber Spaniels can be good watchdogs due to their alert nature. They may bark to alert their owners of potential intruders.

Q. Are they good with children?

Yes, they are generally good with children. Their patient and gentle nature makes them suitable for families, and they often form strong bonds with kids.

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