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"Clumbers 101"


Where to find Clumber Spaniel Puppies


First - Yes they do snore, drool and shed.
I am not a clumber expert, but I am happy to tell you what I have learned about clumbers from other "clumber" people and from my own experiences.  

Before you purchase a puppy, please consider opening up your heart and home to a rescue clumber.
Sadly, there are many Clumbers currently in puppy mills and in shelters that have been rescued and rehabilitated that are in need of loving, forever homes. If you decide a rescue is the right fit for your family please contact Kim Mclendon with Clumbers in Need

Food for Your Adult Clumber: Clumbers are known to have food allergies, specifically to corn, wheat, and soy and some are allergic to chicken.  I recommend dog foods that do not contain these products.  Adult Clumbers eat about 4-5 cups of food per day.  Some foods that I have had good luck with for ADULT Clumbers are the following:

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Allergy Formula Fish and Sweet Potato (Although some clumbers do have allergies to potatoes)

Solid Gold Wolf King or Barking at the Moon

California Naturals Herring and Sweet Potato

Food for Your Puppy Clumber:  Clumbers can grow too fast as puppies and experience temporary limping if they are fed dog food with too high of a protein content.  Most puppy foods are very high in protein content (about 28%) so I recommend feeing your puppy a combination of puppy food mixed with a little adult dog food from about 4 months of age until they are about 10 months old.  By mixing Adult and Puppy Food your Clumber will still reach its optimum height and weight, but it will not grow too quickly.  At about 10-11 months you can slowly start to switch your Clumber to 100% adult food. 

Allergies:  Clumbers are known for various environmental and food allergies, so always be observant of your surroundings and make sure you are not exposing your clumber to lawn chemicals in particular.  The lawn spray used to kill lawn grubs is especially toxic to clumbers as are many household cleaning products. 

Ear Health:  Clumbers are long-eared dogs and as such they are prone to yeast problems in their ears. Keep the ears dry after swimming or bathing. Clean the ears weekly with a good product like EpiOtic, Vet Solution, or Zymox. If you notice a flare-up or red smelly ears, try Thornit Powder, Otomax, or Mometomax.  There is also a product called "blue ear solution" that works the best of anything, but you need to have your vet check your clumber's ears before trying anything to make sure the ear drum is intact and that there aren't more serious infections involved.

Chewing: Clumbers do like to chew so child proof your home as much as possible.  Just like human children, make sure there are not any household cleaning products in reach and no chemicals in the toilet.  Yes, your clumber will be the perfect height to think his/her water bowl is the toilet.  Clumbers love to carry toys around in their mouth so the more toys you can provide them with supervision the better.  Watch your puppy to make sure they are not chewing up their toys as they can be a choking hazard.   Care must be taken to keep toys, items of clothing, and other small items out of reach.  Do not leave bedding in your clumber’s crate. A Clumber should never be left unattended with toys. Plushies are likely to be quickly eviscerated, Kongs and Nylabones are quickly chewed apart or snapped, and Bodas are quickly unbraided and devoured to ball up in an intestine and make your puppy a surgical candidate. The best Clumber-proof toys can be found at

Anal Glands: Clumbers are known for impacted anal glands.  If you notice excessive “scooting” or a strong anal gland smell, have your clumber checked by your vet.  It is even a good idea to have your clumber’s glands expressed routinely when you have them groomed or have your vet express them every couple of months.  Some clumbers even may have to have their anal glands removed if they are continually impacted.

Housebreaking:  Puppies follow a natural rhythm from birth. As they nurse, the Dam licks them to stimulate urination and evacuation. When your puppy wakes, take him or her outside. After your puppy eats, take him or her outside. Be consistent in your rhythm; the puppy will follow.  I recommend crate training your puppy. 

Poisoning:  If your puppy or dog manages to consume chocolate (dark chocolate, baker’s chocolate or semi-sweet) immediately induce vomiting by administering 2-3 teaspoons of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide by mouth every 15 minutes until vomiting occurs. That should happen almost instantly, so it is advisable to pursue the ‘remedy’ outdoors.  Some other common poisons to dogs are onions, grapes, and raisins.  National Animal Poison Information Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Phone toll-free: (888) 252-7387.  

Water:  Clumbers LOVE water!  Make sure your clumber is always provided a fresh supply of water.  For house training your puppy, you may want to limit both the food and water intake after about 7 pm at night.  This will help your puppy with house breaking and make it easier for them to learn to “hold it” overnight.  I recommend crate training puppy.  You can feed them in their crate too so that the crate is always seen as a happy place. 

Heat:  Clumbers typically like to be cool.  This can also apply to their bedding.  For my adult clumbers I do not put any type of blanket or bed in their crates.  They get too hot and it is also a choking hazard should your clumber get bored some day and decides that his blanket looks appetizing. 

Clumbers and Other Pets: Clumbers generally do very well with other pets.  Keep in mind, however, to always exercise caution when introducing your Clumber to any new animals both for the safety of your clumber and of the other animal.  I strongly recommend introducing your puppy to other animals at a young age so that they are accustomed to being around other pets and know how to behave around them.  Remember that Clumbers were originally bred as hunting/flushing spaniels, so you need to be firm with them on what is acceptable to hunt and what is not.  The family cat is not ok to hunt nor is a little dog that looks like a bunny rabbit.  I highly recommend taking your puppy to obedience classes as soon as 16 weeks of age to teach them basic manners in public and to learn the basic come, sit, stay, lie down, and heal commands.  Clumbers can be very stubborn so it is important to work with them a lot as puppies.  A well behaved, well socialized Clumber is a happy Clumber and makes for a happy Clumber owner. 


Dear Vet Letter:

Clumber Spaniel Club of America
Genetic Health Committee
Roe Froman, DVM Chairperson

Dear fellow veterinarian,

Welcome to the world of Clumber spaniels. Largest of the spaniel breeds, Clumbers are generally quite easy going. We'd like to help acquaint you with some of the more unusual, as well as the common problems your Clumber patients may encounter.

Clumbers are one of the first ten original AKC breeds, but their numbers are few. We work with a limited gene pool, and are striving to improve the health and soundness of our dogs. Great progress has been made in the past decade.

Due to their thick ear leather and heavy, lowset ear, infections are not unusual. Routine cleaning can help to minimize problems. Clumbers who suffer from recurrent ear infections should be evaluated for possible food hypersensitivities.

Clumber eyelids are often "v" or diamond shaped, in accordance with the breed standard of conformation. Entropion may occur, but minor deviations of the lids may require only monitoring until full head maturation is reached (about two to three years of age). Ectropion is also sometimes seen, but care must be taken not to confuse the normal, diamond shape of the lower lid with ectropion. A properly shaped Clumber lid will often be looser than other breeds. Haw often shows. The proper lid, while loose, should not roll in or out, but drooping in and of itself is not unusual. Clumbers are supposed to have a lot of loose skin on their heads and faces.

Eosinophilic panosteitis is not unusual in growing Clumber pups. Like other large breeds, too rapid growth may play a role in this shifting leg lameness. EoPan is the most common cause of lameness in Clumbers between six to twelve months of age, when there is no evidence of injury. Shoulder or elbow abnormalities (OCD, ununited anconeal processes or fractured coronoids) should of course always be ruled out. Eosinophilic panosteitis is self-limiting and resolves once bone growth is complete. EoPan may also present as an intermittent hind leg lameness.

Hip dysplasia is not uncommon in the breed. Their substantial bone and heavy rear
muscling often seem to minimize overt clinical signs in Clumbers, even though their
radiographs may show changes which could be crippling in other breeds. Clumbers are a chondrodystrophic (dwarf) breed, and have an acetabular conformation which is naturally more shallow than that of retrievers, rottweilers or german shepherd dogs.

A website of digital photos includes OFA passing Clumber hips, as well as examples of puppy preliminaries, young dogs and varying grades of dysplastic dogs. This website can be accessed by following the health links at the Clumber Spaniel Club of America's website, at http:// . We hope you will find it useful, and appreciate your feedback. Chondroitin sulfate/glucosamine supplements such as Cosequin have frequently proven useful in managing Clumbers with hip dsyplasia. Clumber pups should be raised on a large breed puppy food, and excessive weight gain should be prevented.

The long, low body structure of the Clumber may predispose them to intervertebral disc disease. Both cervical and thoracic disc problems may occur. Medical or surgical therapies can be of great benefit.Immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is a serious disease which has been encountered in Clumber spaniels. Since sulfa drugs have occasionally been suspected as a trigger in autoimmune conditions, it is best to avoid them in Clumbers.

Hypothyroidism is not unusual in Clumbers. We recommend the thyroid panel at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Elevated autoantibodies are often a precursor to full blown hypothyroidism. If autoantibodies are present, we recommend a retest six to twelve months later. Some Clumbers will do better on the brand name Soloxine instead of generic thyroid supplements, but many do well on generics.

Rarely, portosystemic (liver) shunts have been reported in Clumbers. They may present typically, as young pups who begin to suffer neurological problems at weaning. Importantly, there are also a few case reports of adult (18 months to 4 years) Clumbers with late onset seizures and no prior clinical signs. Liver shunts in Clumbers have most often been extrahepatic (the reverse of most large breed dogs), and frequently amenable to surgical correction.

There have been occasional reports of punctate cataracts. These minute opacities in the lens in no way interfere with vision. They are not progressive. PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) has been reported rarely.

Cardiomyopathy is an uncommon but reported condition in Clumber spaniels.

Pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency is a rare condition in Clumbers. It is actually a
deficiency in the PDP1 enzyme, which regulates PDH. PDP1 deficiency in Clumbers
leads to a profound exercise intolerance (affected dogs may present with the complaint that they can't make it through a daily walk of a few blocks). It is a simple recessive trait, and a DNA test is now available through the University of Missouri. Sample submission guidelines and forms are available at

Further information about testing can be obtained from Liz Hansen at

Carrier dogs should not be bred to other carriers, but may safely be bred to clear dogs.

It is quite common for young female Clumbers NOT to have their first estrous cycle until they are 12 to 14 months old. This is not unusual, and should not be cause for concern. Many Clumbers are natural whelpers, but uterine inertia may necessitate cesarean section. Anasarca (water puppies) is also known to occur in the breed.

Anesthesia in Clumbers should be straightforward, given normal precautions. Ketamine/Valium/Isoflurane or Propofol/Iso are both reasonable protocols. Rarely, excessively short muzzles or an elongated soft palate may make anesthetic recovery a bit more comparable to brachycephalic breeds.

The Clumber Spaniel Club of America also subsidizes a DNA bank, which allows us to
store DNA from *all* Clumbers, pets and show dogs alike. This DNA bank, housed at
the University of Missouri, requires ten mls of blood in an EDTA (purple top) tube.
Many veterinarians have graciously drawn these samples at little or no charge, when
seeing a Clumber patient for another reason. Again, contact Liz Hansen at University of Missouri for further submission details.

Clumbers are in general a gentle, stoic breed. Their calm, accepting nature makes them enjoyable patients. If I can be of any assistance, or if I can answer any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Roe Froman, DVM
Chair, Clumber Spaniel Club of America Genetic Health Committee  

Big Spirit Puppy VIDEO 



    Kris Woodington  /  712-574-2458  / Sioux City, Iowa