Another year goes by, but at least I can look back on 2009 as a very productive year within my own kennel. Due to the enormous generosity of the Akerman family I have had the absolute pleasure and delight of leasing their lovely multiCh Sugar Loaf Hertig Knut. But I confess whelping three litters in one week did take it’s toll on me! Two litters by Knott, and after four years of dogged determination on my part I got a litter from the soul Clumber by Ch Tweedsmuir Tom Cruise. I hope your year was as exciting and productive!

Fireworks appeared from time to time on the Clumber family horizon, but most have been short lived. The PASSION some folk have about Clumbers and things Clumbers is great, but sometimes it is best for the breed if the reactions are moderated and concerted rather than a big flash in the pan. Yes, I think people should be passionate, no, I don’t see a need to be doggedly forthright and derogatory.

Claims against people’s standards and commitment to the breed are most often raised, reactions to rescues is another point that has led to extreme comments. Extreme comments may get you noticed, but are they actually helping or harming the Clumber? Please ponder a second before advancing on the keyboard or reaching for the telephone – remember none of us are truly blessed with the ability to correctly predict what another owner or breeder will do, they may make a mistake, but guided back to reasonable or accepted practices, they could also contribute to the breed in a very positive way. Breed lover numbers are not great, should we randomly cast out anyone who irritates us?

There is a slow but growing recognition that the Clumber needs to be a healthy dog. The Clumber Spaniel Health Foundation is now the flagship for this fundamental right. Breeders need to be very particular in choosing the dogs to mate, and buyers and would be buyers must also contribute to this essential requirement by insisting on only purchasing happy and healthy pups. You must resist the temptation to ‘rescue’ a puppy from a breeder. If a breeder creates an unhealthy puppy it is their responsibility to care for that puppy – they won’t learn to be more explicit in their breeding plans otherwise! By the way, that does not give you as a purchaser the right to ignore what a breeder has told you about life style and expect the breeder to take back or re-purchase the pup – if you damage it, shame on you, but it is your responsibility to nurture it back to excellent health.

So who should breed Clumbers? Now this is a prickly question. If you have done your research into the breed and the likely selling/placing options, you have healthy and nice Clumbers, with basic healthy conformation, and a sound basic idea of canine health, then I think you should seriously consider the venture. If you think you may make a few dollars or pounds, stop now, you need to research a lot more into dog husbandry before breeding Clumbers!