The Clumber Spaniel Dog Breed: All You Need to Know

The Clumber Spaniel is an amusing and mellow dog with a gentlemanly overall appearance. It is smart, eager to please, and, interestingly, the largest of the flushing spaniels. 

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at everything you need to know about this lovable and affectionate breed, from its history and origin to its physical characteristics, personality, and health. 

History and Origin of the Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel’s Ancestry

The Clumber Spaniel is a breed with a rich history and ancestry. A descendant of the Basset Hound and the Alpine Spaniel, Clumber Spaniels were originally bred in France in the 18th century and brought to England shortly thereafter.

During the French Revolution, many French nobles fled to England, bringing their beloved dogs with them. The Clumber Spaniel was one of the breeds that made the journey across the channel.

Development of the Breed in England

In England, the breed was further refined by the Duke of Newcastle on the Clumber Park estate in Nottinghamshire. The estate encompassed over 3,800 acres of woodland, farmland, and lakes, and the Duke was an avid hunter of game birds, such as pheasants and partridges. 

The Clumber Spaniel’s heavy build made it well-suited to the dense underbrush and rugged terrain of the estate, and the long, powerful legs allowed it to move through the brush with ease while its thick coat protected it from thorns and brambles.

Over time, the Clumber Spaniel became a favorite of the British aristocracy, who prized it for its hunting skills. It was even depicted in paintings by famous artists of the time, including Sir Edwin Landseer and Richard Ansdell.

Introduction to the United States

Fast forward to the 19th century, and the Clumber Spaniel was introduced to the United States. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1878 and classified it in the Sporting Group. 

Today, the Clumber Spaniel is known for its gentle disposition, loyalty, and affectionate nature. While the breed is no longer used for hunting as frequently as it once was, it still excels in the field and is a favorite among hunters. 

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

Clumber Spaniels are a stocky and heavy-set breed, yet capable of moving freely and easily. Here is a closer look at the breed’s physical characteristics and appearance. 

Size and Weight

Clumber Spaniels are considered to be a medium to large breed and the largest AKC-recognized flushing spaniel. Males typically weigh between 70 and 85 pounds, while females weigh between 55 and 70 pounds.

Males are also taller than females – they typically stand around 18 to 20 inches tall at the shoulders, and females around 17 to 19 inches. Despite their size, Clumber Spaniels have a gentle and calm demeanor. 

Coat and Color

One of the most distinctive features of the Clumber Spaniel is its thick, soft coat. The coat is white with patches of lemon or orange, which gives them a unique and beautiful appearance.

The coat is long and silky, which requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Clumber Spaniels shed moderately throughout the year, so regular brushing is necessary to keep their coat looking healthy and shiny. 

Distinctive Features

In addition to their unique coat, Clumber Spaniels also have striking facial features that make them stand out from other breeds. They have a large, square head, droopy eyes, and long, pendulous ears that give them a sweet and gentle expression.

Personality and Temperament

The Clumber Spaniel has a gentle and laid-back nature. Their calm demeanor makes them great therapy dogs. They are generally easy-going and get along well with children and other pets. 

Intelligence and Trainability

Clumber Spaniels are intelligent dogs, but they can also be stubborn and difficult to train. Early socialization and training are essential to prevent behavioral issues such as digging, chewing, and barking.

Breed members respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques such as rewards and praise. Harsh training methods should be avoided as they can cause fear and anxiety in these sensitive dogs.

Clumber Spaniels excel in many activities, like obedience, agility, and tracking. They also have a very keen sense of smell, making them excellent hunting companions.

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

As with any breed, early socialization is essential to ensure that the Clumber Spaniel is comfortable around other animals. They are generally friendly and gentle with other dogs and cats.

Some Clumber Spaniels have a strong prey drive and may be inclined to chase small animals such as squirrels or rabbits. It is important to keep them on a leash or in a securely fenced area when outside.

Health and Lifespan

The Clumber Spaniel is a generally healthy dog, but like any breed, they are prone to certain health issues. It is important for owners to be aware of these issues and take preventative measures to ensure their Clumber Spaniel lives a long and healthy life.

Common Health Issues

Some of the most common health issues in Clumber Spaniels include: 

  • Orthopedic Issues: The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, panosteitis, and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Hypothyroidism: A lack of thyroid hormones due to an underactive thyroid gland, which results in lethargy, weight gain, and skin problems 
  • Anemia: Some breed members are predisposed to immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, which results in low red blood cell counts 
  • Eyelid Problems: Entropion (inward inversion) and ectropion (outward inversion) are common eyelid disorders in the breed 

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventative care is key to keeping your Clumber Spaniel healthy. Feeding high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age and activity level can help prevent obesity and related health issues.

Regular exercises, such as daily walks and playtime, can also help keep your Clumber Spaniel in good shape. Practice yearly veterinary checkups to ensure your dog is healthy and to catch any potential health issues early.

When it comes to taking care of Clumber Spaniels, we must note that the breed is prone to moderate drooling, meaning you need to be prepared to clean drools on a regular basis. 

Expected Lifespan

The Clumber Spaniel has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years, which is on par with other breeds of its size. However, with proper care and attention to their health, some Clumber Spaniels have been known to live longer. 


Overall, the Clumber Spaniel is a loving and loyal companion that thrives on human interaction. It makes a great family pet for those who are willing to provide it with plenty of love, attention, and exercise. 

Whether you are looking for a family pet or a hunting partner, you should consider the Clumber Spaniel. Just ensure you research the breed and find a reputable breeder.

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