The Clumber Spaniel is one of the oldest spaniel breeds. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Clumber is believed to have originated in France. However, the history is quite muddled, and evidence of the breed is more clear in the late 1700s when the Duke of Newcastle's gamekeeper, William Mansell, worked with the duke to develop a "burly spaniel" for gaming. Some speculate that the breed they created was the result of crossing Basset Hounds, Alpine Spaniels, and possibly even St. Bernards. The Clumber Spaniel became popular among the royalty of England, with Prince Albert, King George V, and Edward VII all known to have kept Clumber Spaniels.
Clumber Spaniels can suffer from anasarca, atopic dermatitis, cataracts, cryptorchidism, degenerative myelopathy, distichiasis, dystocia, ectropion, elbow dysplasia, entropion, eosinophilic panosteitis, exercise-induced collapse, hemangiosarcoma, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, immune mediated hemolytic anemia, inflammatory bowel disease, intervertebral disk disease, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, mitochondrial myopathy, oligodontia, patellar luxation, persistent pupillary membranes, portosystemic shunts, prognathism, pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase 1 deficiency, retinal dysplasia, and wry mouth. Sulfa drugs should not be used with this breed. The national breed club recommends hip and elbow evaluations, ophthalmologist evaluations and a pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency (PDP1) test.
Clumber Spaniels are known for their calm and affectionate nature. Despite their history as working dogs, they are often less active than other breeds in the Sporting Group, preferring a leisurely lifestyle with their families. They are intelligent but can also be quite stubborn, which may require a patient and consistent training approach. These dogs are generally good with children and other animals, making them suitable for families. Clumbers are known for their love of food and can be prone to obesity, so owners must be mindful of their diet.
They are the largest of the American Kennel Club (AKC) flushing spaniels. "Flushing" refers to the dog's task to hunt, find, and drive game out of their hiding spots.
According to the AKC, the Clumber Spaniel was known as a "dignified and mellow hunting companion of kings".
In 1878, the first Clumber Spaniel registered with the AKC was recorded.