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Clumber Spaniel Geschichte

The breed type “Spaniel” was first referred to in the XIV century. In his Book of Hunting "Le Livre de la chasse" Gaston Phoebus de Foix - a feudal landowner- mentions Spaniels….”fair Spaniels”, already. He wrote: "There´s another kind of dogs….....hounds for the hawk. Spaniels of their manner come from Spain. Such a hound for the hawk should have a great head, a great body, be of fair hue. White or tavele for they be the fairest and of such hue as is commonly the best.  The good qualities of such hounds are these…..they love their master and follow him without loosing him, notwithstanding if they are located in a big crowd of people….mostly they run ahead their master, dashing and wagging their tails, and let flush the winged game….but their real skill is focussed on quails and partridges. When they were taught to lay before than they are qualified to catch partridges and quails with the net……and if they have learned to swim they are good for the river and the duck shooting".

As of May 1387, Count of Foix and Viscount of Béarn, Gaston Phoebus wrote the “Book of hunting” (Le Livre de la chasse) and dedicated it to his hunting companion “Phillip dem Kühnen” in 1389.

Clumber Spaniel Geschichte

There are some legends about the arising of this breed. However non-controversial that the Spaniels that we now know as Clumber come from Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. One of these legends implies the breed have been bred from spaniels, which the Duc de Noailles at the time of the French Revolution in the late 18th century gave with his kennel of prized spaniels to the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park. It has been theorized that the Duke of Newcastle's long time gamekeeper, William Mansell, was himself responsible for the development of this unique breed. Probably get through the selection of the best working dogs to find a suitable dog for these purposes. It is known that he and his descendants worked in that area for a long time with a significant number of hunting spaniels. The earliest description of the Clumber is from the year 1861 by John Meyrick, who described him as " the largest variety of Spaniel, weighing sometimes as much as 30lbs." .... - Much smaller than the Clumbers as we know them today!

First pictures of this original Clumber Spaniels on the painting of Francis Wheatley of 1788
which now is to be seen in Clumber Park and shows the 2nd Duke at the hunt with his dogs.


From his kennel the Duke then shared dogs with his neighbours at the country seats in the Dukeries (this is also the explanation for our kennel name).The Dukeries is a district in the county of Nottinghamshire so called because it contained four ducal seats. It is south of Worksop which has been called the Gateway to the Dukeries.
The ducal seats were:

Clumber House : principal seat of the Dukes of Newcastle.
Thoresby Hall : principal seat of the Dukes of Kingston and later of the Earls Manvers.
Welbeck Abbey : principal seat of the Dukes of Portland
Worksop Manor : a seat of the Dukes of Norfolk

Near Worksop Francis John Savile Foljambe of Osberton Hall then became well known for his Clumbers, the prize winning Nabob and notably Beau “pillar of the stud” in 1872.

The Clumber spaniel was shown in England from 1859 onward and officially recognised as a breed in 1879.

The Clumber Spaniels have been favored by the Royals. Kept and bred by Prince Albert,
King Edward VII, King George V and more recently HRH Princess Anne the Princess Royal.

Prince Albert, the Prince consort of Queen Victoria, was a fancier and promoter of the breed, as was his son King Edward VII, who bred them at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. They are referred to in Queen Victoria's diary:
On October 16, 1840, she wrote, "Walked out directly after breakfast before Albert went to shoot. He had his 7 fine Clumber Spaniels with us and we went into the Slopes, with such a funny old Gamekeeper, Walters, in order that I should see how the dogs found out their game. They are such dear, nice dogs."


The breeding of the Clumber Spaniel was mostly reserved to the nobility until the mid 19th century. During World War I breeding was stopped and their numbers dropped to a record low. King George V. re-developed a line of Clumbers in the Royal Kennel in 1925 and this dogs were used in the fields in the Sandringham Estate.

Clumber Spaniel Show contra Arbeitslinie

In 1891 Cruft's developed from a pure terrier show to exhibiting all dogs, including Clumber Spaniels. An advertisement for Mr James Thorpe Hinck’s stud dogs ‘Friar Trounce’ and ‘Friar Bob’ claim them to be both “well broken and excellent workers”. Friar Bob being a direct descendent (6th generation) of Nabob of 1872. In the beginning of the last century Clumber were used as working dog as well as show dog. Kennels like "Beechgrove", "Heathmynd" and "Hempstead" bred Clumber Spaniels that had been both ....successful in the show ring and in the field.
The first Field Trials were given in 1899 and Clumber were represented in a high number.


Mr. F. Winton Smith's Clumber Champion Beechgrove Donally (top right), a dog that has remained practically unbeaten in the show-ring: several of his offspring have performed creditably at the trials. The picture left shows another of Mr. Winton Smith's famous Clumbers, Champion Beechgrove Bee, a bitch that has won the rare distinction of a title gained at trials alone; for she has never been exhibited.

During World War II the breeding of Clumber became less and they were only kept as show- and family dogs. The dogs were bred against the breed standard more for show than for looking on the abilities for work. The breed standard now was determinate by heavier dogs than the original Duke of Newcastle’s spaniels. The Breed became rarer and their reputation as working dogs was damaged. They were known as clumsier and more dawdling Spaniels, nothing for a fan of working dogs. Cocker and Springer now were preferred for hunting.

At the beginning of this century the registration numbers of Cocker- just like Springer Spaniels - in Great Britain
were almost one hundred times of the registered Clumber Spaniels.

But in the last few years some Breeder in GB made a reversion and thereby the numbers of Clumber Spaniels are increasing.


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Breed history of the Clumber Spaniel