Sedghurst Clumbers
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The History of the Clumber Spaniel

The History of the Clumber Spaniel

Clumbers have been part of the British shooting scene for more than 200 years. By repute, a kennel of them was sent to the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire by a French Duke facing the guillotine, The Duke de Noialles. In time they spread to other estates, and later became favourites of King Edward VII and George V. They were worked as blanking-in dogs, in teams, and as all-round rough shooting companions. In early field trials in the late 19th century they were pre-eminent, yet as the pace of the 20th century life quickened, Clumbers fell from favour and declined as a working dog.

Clumber spaniels are still a rare breed on the Kennel Club’s vulnerable list. It is possibly the oldest, and certainly the grandest of the British spaniel breeds.

The Clumber's Job Description

They are the oldest, the largest and certainly the grandest of the British spaniel breeds. They are in nature independent and sometimes stubborn. Modern working Clumbers are purpose- bred for many generations, with drive, their own style and a nose on which reputations are made. Above all the Clumber is a determined game finder, driven by its large pink nose, which of course does lead it into trouble occasionally, when the ears shut down and the nose takes over. The Clumber's job description is the same as any spaniel's, to find and flush game for the gun, to be steady and to retrieve game tenderly, from land or water. It does it at a slightly slower more deliberate pace than a springer or cocker, but today’s working Clumbers can take some keeping up with, too! They are certainly not plodding, but do have their own pleasing style and tail action. And you learn to trust that body language on a Clumber, when its nose tells you there is game to be found.

Key to the Clumbers future….is selective breeding, from proven working lines, and proven healthy stock with low hip and elbow scores, clear eyes, PDP1 clear. Breeding an active dog, lean and well muscled, keen to please, trainable, likeable, and most importantly happy to do a full day's work.

We have to draw on the dogs from the past, when they were at their height in the Victorian and Edwardian days, those are the type of dog we need to get back to for our future. Look at the paintings by John Emms and Thomas Earl & Maud Earl.

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