Adopting A Clumber Spaniel

History and origin: This breed was developed in the early 19th century England and France.  It is believed that the Basset Hound and some early spaniel types were mixed to produce this powerful, slower- moving breed known for his endurance and his excellent sense of smell.  The Clumber’s strength enables him to move well through dense brush in pursuit of game.

Description: The Clumber Spaniel stands 17 to 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 55 and 85 pounds.  His low-riding body is heavy and strong, with a thicker-boned structure than the other spaniels.  His shedding weather-resistant coat is thick, straight, and soft and easily absorbs odors.  He needs regular brushing and periodic clipping to keep the coat clean and tangle free.  The color is white with lemon markings and the tail is docked.

About the breed: The Clumber Spaniel is a beautiful, brave, and reliable working dog that is excellent in retrieving.  Although he is bigger, slower, and less energetic than the other spaniels, he is still a very active breed.  He is reliable with his family members, though he may be suspicious of strangers and may not tolerate small children roughhousing with him.  Like most spaniels, the Clumber tends to be possessive of his food and toys.  This must be addressed from the time the dog is a puppy; the owner must handle his food bowl and toys regularly and must establish himself as the leader of the pack from day one.

Because of their obstinate nature and their incredible scenting ability (both traits inherited from the Basset Hound), Clumbers are easily distracted by smells and will ignore you completely if you do not start training early.  The recall command is particularly hard to teach to a Clumber, or to any other breed possessing an acute sense of smell.  It is important not to let this breed become overweight, due to his long back and short legs.  Obese Clumber Spaniels can develop back, hip, leg, and wrist problems. They can also be susceptible to ear infections, so it is important to clean your dog’s ears at least once a week.  Entropion, a folding in of the eyelids, can also occur in this dog.  This can be treated only through surgery.  Tear duct infections are also likely to occur with this breed.

Feeding: Recommended feeding for this breed is 1 ½ — 2 ½ cans of high-quality meaty product (13.3oz) with biscuit added in equal amount or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: The Clumber Spaniel is best suited in a house with a fenced yard, though he can adapt to apartment living as long as he is getting enough exercise.  The owner of this breed must be a firm leader and must not spoil the dog, for fear of increasing his tendency toward possessive aggression.  Older children should be taught not to wrestle or roughhouse with the dog.  This breed may not tolerate young children, who might be bitten over a possession issue.  Early training and socialization are crucial.  The elderly might be able to live with this breed if they have adequate leadership skills.