Love the Breeds: Clumber Spaniel Roundtable
Clumber Spaniels are not for everyone, these three breeders say, but for those who love them, they’ll never have another breed. Shedding, snoring and slobbering aside, they agree that the dedication and humor of the Clumber Spaniel is what endears them to their owners.
“You can come home from work after having a bad day and you open up the door and here’s this ball of fuzz with a toy in their mouth and their butt’s going everywhere. Not to give you the toy, just to show you the toy,” said breeder-judge Jan Sutherland.
Meeting a Rare Breed
With only an estimated 3,000 dogs in the U.S., the breeders strongly recommend prospective owners go to a national specialty as well as meeting dogs in their home environments, so they can experience “love mauling” in person.
“Attend a national specialty before you even make the plunge,” breeder judge Jim Fankhauser said. “Look at the extent of what’s out there before you jump in and make that commitment.”
Excellent Hunting Dogs
A very old flushing spaniel named for Clumber Park in Sherwood Forest in England, the breed was developed to push through low hedges in search of game. They remain a determined, methodical hunting dog that works close to the hunter. Breeder Dr.
Roe Froman, DVM describes them as the “Humvee” of spaniels.
“Find it, flush it, fetch it,” Froman said of the breed’s job. “I love hunting with Clumber Spaniels. I don’t know how many hunt test legs we’ve put on our dogs. Many, many, many for the 20 years we’ve been doing this. It is the most fun I think we can have with our dogs. We love it. They love it. I love it.”
While a Clumber’s antics are charming, and they are deeply devoted to their people, breeders agree that new owners should be aware of potential health concerns and idiosyncrasies.
Health Issues to Consider
Clumbers are notorious for eating foreign objects. Froman said it is the number one health risk in her experience. The discussion included who had the most foreign body removal surgeries. More than one had stories of dogs opened up six and seven times to take out blankets, socks, rocks, towels, plastic, toys etc.
Potential disease risks include neck and back problems common to long bodied dogs, autoimmune mediated hemolytic anemia and an enzyme deficiency called PDP1.
“So, if you’re going to have a Clumber or multiple Clumbers,” Froman said, “pet insurance is a really good thing to think about. … they’re worth every penny of it, but they are not an inexpensive breed either. So, don’t think you have to have be rich to have a dog but you have to be responsible. You have to know those things might occur.”
Judging the Clumber in the Show Ring
Clumbers in the show ring have become more successful in recent years, but the unique proportions of the Clumber, described as “long, low and substantial,” can be challenging for conformation judges to asses properly. The standard describes the dog as “9 tall to 11 long measured from the withers to the base of the tail.” This is a much longer dog than most judges are accustomed to seeing.
“It’s the training, in a sense, of a lot of the new judges that are coming into the breed,” said Fankhauser, “because they see rectangular, but it’s rectangular from, as Laura mentioned before, point of shoulder to buttocks. It’s not rectangular as we measure. So, you have to get them to retrain their eye to long enough. … You’re never going to find one too long.”
We hope you enjoy today’s podcast sharing the love of a special breed. You can find more information at http://www.clumbers.org/