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How to Train a Clumber Spaniel

Do you want to have your Clumber Spaniel be one of the best-trained dogs? Click here to find out how

A dignified and mellow hunting companion of kings, the Clumber Spaniel is the largest of the AKC flushing spaniels. For those who can handle some shedding and drooling, the amiable Clumber is an amusing best friend and a gentlemanly housemate. Clumber Spaniels are powerful bird dogs of heavy bone, built long and low, with a massive head. They stand 17 to 20 inches; a small female might be 55 pounds, and a large male could go 85 pounds. Built to push through thick cover in the field, Clumber movement is nonetheless free and easy. The dense coat is primarily white, with sparse lemon or orange markings. Clumbers are sweet and easygoing at home, but these outdoorsy fellows can be relentless on scent. Smart and eager-to-please Clumbers respond well to training. Though a bit wary around strangers, Clumbers are friendly dogs who bark only when they have something to say, and so make indifferent watchdogs. They love swimming and fetching, and are sturdy childhood playmates.


Early Clumber history is, one researcher writes, “lost in a tangled web of folklore and misinformation.” We can pick up a reliable trail in the late 1700s at Nottinghamshire, England. There, the Duke of Newcastle and his gamekeeper perfected a burly spaniel named for the duke’s vast estate, Clumber Park.

Clumbers became a favorite of the many gamebird hunters among the area’s titled families and landed gentry. Since the duke’s day Clumbers have been popular with British royals, including Edward VII and George V (an important Clumber breeder in his day). The breed has been described by its partisans as naughty, mischievous, stubborn, affectionate, and entertaining, but through it all the Clumber retains the touch of regal dignity that marks him as a companion of crowned heads.

As accessories of the British upper crust, Clumbers were popular subjects for leading sporting artists and portrait painters during the heyday of the British aristocracy. Seen today, these pictures show that the breed has changed but little in all the years since.

Clumbers were on the scene for the very first British dog shows, held in the mid-1800s. They were introduced to America, by way of Canada, around the same time. Careful studbooks were kept on the breed in America even before the AKC was established, and the Clumber was among the AKC’s nine charter breeds when the organization was founded in 1884.

Quick Facts 

Temperament: Mellow / Amusing / Gentlemanly

Height: 17-20 inches

Weight: 55-85 pounds 

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Sporting Group


Clumbers are generally a healthy breed, although certain conditions are sometimes seen, including hypothyroidism (with side effects of skin and ear issues) and entropion or ectropion (eyelids that turn either in or out). Like many other large breeds, growing too rapidly can cause eosinophilic panosteitis in Clumber puppies’ something they usually outgrow. Hip dysplasia also occurs in the breed. Because the Clumber body is quite long, they are also somewhat predisposed to intervertebral disc disease (cervical and thoracic). Immune mediated hemolytic anemia has been encountered in some Clumbers; all should avoid being treated with sulfa drugs.

Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • PDP1 Test


As with all breeds with heavy, lowset ears, routine cleaning of the ears is a must to avoid ear infections. The heavy folds on the head require regular once-overs with a damp cloth. Wrinkles that are not kept dry can easily set up a yeast infection that has a bad odor and is unpleasant for the dog. Nails should be kept short with monthly trims. Bathing once a month is usually sufficient for a dog who isn’t working regularly in the field. Clumbers don’t require a lot of trimming; their coat is very easy care, requiring little more than a thorough grooming with a brush and a medium comb once or twice a week.


Despite their lumbering appearance, the Clumber can be a very active dog. They will benefit from long walks, taking occasional breaks to sniff around. Clumbers love to retrieve, so they can get ample exercise right in their own backyard, chasing after a tennis ball and enjoying time spent with their owner.


The Clumber is steady and reliable, thorough and tenacious. These traits can sometimes make them a challenge to train, because they tend to stop and think things through before deciding to do them. Keep training sessions interesting to keep their attention on learning instead of searching for something more fun to do. Most will require a reason to do as they are told. They do not take well to a heavy-handed trainer, however.


It is very important that a Clumber not become overweight, as excess weight puts strain on joints and bones supporting the breed’s sturdy, heavy build. A high-quality dog food appropriate to his age (puppy, adult, or senior) should have all the nutrients the breed needs. If your vet thinks your dog is becoming overweight, you may need to feed a low-calorie dog food. Clumbers are very food oriented. If you use treats while training, do so in moderation. Never feed cooked bones or fatty table foods.

Do you want to have your Clumber Spaniel be one of the best-trained dogs? Click here to find out how