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This most distinctive flushing spaniel retained more hound genes than any of the others, except the Sussex, giving him the massive bone and heavy head that is his alone. His type was admired especially by the Duke of Newcastle in Nottingham more than a century ago. The Duke's estate, Clumber Park, was undoubtedly the source of the breed's name, but the breed's background is unknown. There are stories of hounds given to the Duke from French nobles. And yet, the traits may have been selected within the spaniels already extant. The characterization of the Field Spaniel, for example, was accomplished without crossbreeding!
These dogs have enjoyed quite some approval among British royalty. Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, was the first to tout them, and his son, King Edward VII, was extremely proud of those he bred in his Sandringham kennels. As favorites of royalty, these spaniels quickly became fashionable. King George V, son of Edward VII, was a dedicated sportsman and hunter, and continued the tradition of using Clumbers. An interesting note is that this king never allowed his Clumbers to retrieve; his Lab-radors were brought in for that chore. King George continued to enjoy hunting into advanced old age and this may have contributed to the myth that the Clumber is a slow, plodding worker good only for "old men on shooting sticks " (i.e.., hunting seats which are planted in the ground, and on which they waited for the game to come to them!).
The modern Clumber is a big fellow yet is anything but slow. He is birdy, active and can still put in a good day's hunt. Of course, he will not work at the pace of some of his lighter boned cousins, but he is especially useful in heavy cover, for the slower walking hunter, or where game is plentiful. Despite King George's desire to show off his Labradors, the Clumber is a fine retriever as well.
In both England and the USA, the dog is still rare despite his long and noble history. Dedicated fanciers keep his quality high, however, and he has never been in danger of disappearing. Tails, docked to the spaniel one-third, are carried low, never to be pegged in the show ring like a Boxer.




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