Some Clumber History
A drawing of two Clumber Spaniels from 1858.
A Clumber Spaniel from 1915.The breed's history is uncertain before the middle of the 19th century. One theory is that it originated in France, stating that the Duc de Noailles at the time of the French Revolution gave his kennel of prized spaniels to the Duke of Newcastle at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. The theory goes, that the now extinct Alpine Spaniel was breed with Basset Hounds, and the Pyrenean Mountain Dog also known as the Great Pyrenees. A second theory is that it is descended from the old type of Bleinheim Spaniel, which was later to be incorporated into the King Charles breed of Spaniel. Originally these dogs were large gundogs, colored lemon and white whereas the modern breed of them is a much smaller lap/toy breed of dog.
What is certain is that the breed took its name from Clumber Park and that the Duke of Newcastle's gamekeeper, William Mansell, is credited with their development and improvement. 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. The breed was shown in England from 1859 onward. 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.
Until the mid 19th century the breeding of the Clumber Spaniel was mostly restricted to the nobility. During World War I breeding was stopped entirely causing their numbers to decrease to a record low. In 1925, King George V re-developed a line of Clumbers in the Royal Kennel and were used in the fields in the Sandringham Estate
Sh. Ch. Raycroft Socialite, bred by Rae Furness and owned by Ralph Dunne of County Cavan, Ireland, won the coveted honor of Best In Show at the 1991 Crufts Centenary Show.
The Clumber Spaniel is currently recognised as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the UK Kennel Club, which means it is a breed which fewer than 300 new registrations each year.