This article was inspired by many years of musing, but most recently by my latest litter, the F litter, that yielded a singleton, more shortly, and also a desire to really decide how much you can see in a pup, and what that pup will grow into. I remember while doing the routine handling and feeding of the 10 day old Q litter noticing the superb lay and length of shoulder on Quid at 10 days of age, and she kept that lay of shoulder into adulthood which I found very interesting as head type is not quite so easy to predict. Take for example the J litter of Judge and Jury I recall at birth commenting on Jury’s head thinking it wouldn’t be very nice as an adult, I was wrong, but Judge’s powerful head just outshone Jury’s at birth. And of course, if you are buying a new Clumber you are rather compelled to view baby puppies and take a chance, so how can you increase the odds of getting the true pick of the litter and a dog that suits your breeding programme – hence my little exercise. I wasn’t overwhelmed by ‘big’ breeders taking the time to contribute but I have had a fabulous selection of working only to show only and from breeders and owners around the world, so it is a superb look at how puppies evolve into their adult form – thanks folk! And to really help readers develop their eye for the pup’s likely evolution we have also been blessed with photos at slightly different ages.

I am not going to critique the dogs in any degree but will comment on points a casual reader may miss – not all dogs are perfectly stack, not all perfectly free standing, but that’s fine as this is the calibre of many, many photos you will get to see and no dog is going to stand still like a porcelain figure (or he is of no use to you or his breed!). This ‘study’ is about real life, and the photos are of real life – how neat is that!

Also, mainly because I can’t think of a particular really nifty way, I am going to present the picture studies randomly.


Right, let’s get to it.


female Diabf Amaretto Mist at 7 weeks and 2.5 years
courtesy Diabf Clumbers ( Sweden

It tends to be one of those challenges for breeders, getting that ‘perfect’ stack when the blessed photographer takes the pic, I know I drive my photographers up the wall seeking ‘that’ pic. The difference in topline is more than likely due to the lack of stacking practice at 7 weeks. This lass certainly demonstrates the lengthening of the body and the hindquarter muscle mass developing sometime after 7 weeks and before 2.5 years. I will now be a little less demanding for hindquarter muscle mass before 8 weeks of age.
male Wooliebourne Voom Voom at 6 weeks and 2.5 years
courtesy Heather Mayes, UK

what catches my eye here is how obvious the body patches are in the baby photo, except the tail patch, and also how the eye patch actually appears to shrink as the brain part of the skull develops. Colour develops at different rates, even on the same dog! They aren’t, say Westminster, stands but you can still see the lovely lay of shoulder, really nice length of neck in the baby pic, and as Voom develops you see a lengthening of body and a more stablizing use of his hind limbs
male at 7.5 weeks and 20 months
Looking like a wee pro at 7.5 weeks and with a sharp (although sloping) topline, here is an example of 7.5 weeks not really mirroring what we can expect of the adult. As an adult he doesn’t now any sign of the sloping topline but has retained the muscular strength for that sharp line finish. What hasn’t changed a great deal (to my eye) is his head and neck.
female: Diabf Campari Clipper at 7 weeks and 1.5 years
courtesy Diabf Clumbers ( Sweden, Lillian lives in America

Wow, look how this lass is mirrored from puppy to young adult, this is really incredible, the most notable change is the slight refinement, well defining, of the head.
female Erinveine Fait Accompli at 6 weeks and 10 months
yes this is one of the reasons I chose to write this article, Fae arrived, strong little blighter, did well, her mum was great, and as the first few days went by I had to start to scratch my head! Fae has a spot on her forehead, but it moved around the front and front part of her brow so much I found it distracting and I really thought how ugly her head was. Then to mask matters, her coat length grew, and grew more, the coat wasn’t a sleek tight coat of say a centimetre length more like 2 to 3cm and mostly stood away. It felt sleek enough to handle. So, as routine I photograph all the pups at 6 (and hopefully 7 & 8 weeks) weeks, looked at the pic and two things stood out. The shine on her coat – you would never have picked it from just looking at her, and also her nice structure. OK, I did ask folk for ‘adult’ pics, I don’t have one of Fae, but this pic at 10 months is just her to day at nearly 2 and as she is critical to this article I broke my own guidelines. She has actually grown a bit more length of neck as well as body, and again her head has fined/finished off a bit.
female: at 7.5 weeks and 13 months
This article has been a learning process for me and I am working through the photos as I write. I have mentioned about the length of body and hindquarter muscle mass developing, particularly on the pics of pups from 7 weeks to ‘adult’ This lass again demonstrates that, in fact, the muscle mass over the croup as well as behind the thighs is obviously developing in this time frame. So where is the body lengthening, hmmm, do you think in the flank, I think so, looking at these pics, the end of the sternum seems to be in about same position, and the prosternum (sternum projected forward of the upper arm) seems unchanged. I don’t think the loin itself changes markedly but it must ‘lengthen’ slightly to accommodate a more open/lengthened flank.

photo by

female: Sparkle Light Over Delsaux at 8 weeks and 2 years & 8 months
courtesy James Taylor, UK

I wasn’t thinking heads when I asked for photos, but this pair of pics tells a thousand stories on head development, Thank you! Obvious point number one, the change in coat type from the baby coat to the adult, the clean eye rim is evident at 8 weeks (probably earlier too), the eye shape has been retained, the actual relative depth of stop hasn’t changed much, but the brow has developed, as too the nose size. Of course there is more to see, have a look and make your own notes, she’s got such a pretty expression and clean head!
male: Ch. Countrymanor Picture Jasper at 6 months and 3 years
courtesy Kris Woodington, USA

I was so excited to get this pair of pics, the six month one is just so so what Jasper (bar muscle and coat) is as a 3 year old dog, it would be superb if six months really is such a snapshot of the adult dog – that needs more investigation!
male GrCh Erinveine Judge at 6 weeks and 10 years
I knew when we got Judge out for his photo shoot at 6 weeks he was something special (knew at birth actually!) He retained his proportions nicely, and I actually chose to pop in a photo at 10 years as he was blessed with good health and vigour beyond then. The 6 week portrait is actually very true of him, he perhaps came down into his legs a bit overall, but 6 weeks was a good foreshadower of his adulthood
female Ch Erinveine Quid Pro Quo at 6 weeks and 4 years
Ahh Quid, yep, you can see the fabulous length and lay of shoulder, and actually upper arm too, at 6 weeks, and it is still very obvious at 4 years
female at 7.5 weeks and 22 months
Now here is a girl who is going to prove the point you can’t be too set in your prejudgements! While the muscle mass (particularly over the croup) has developed markedly, her length of body hasn’t changed as noticeably as some of the other 7 weeks to adult examples!


Well, I think I have learned a lot, hope readers of the article do too.

A super big special thank you to all the lovely folk who sent in pics, I think I used all the samples, if you sent pics and they aren’t here that is my fault in filing not because I chose not to publish the pics.


So the points that stick in my head are:
~ the body still has some lengthening to do after 7 weeks of age, and that seems to be in the flank area with a shade of lengthening or less tensioning over the loin, and probably related to the hindquarter muscle mass. Of course the back ribs also tend to ‘spring’ a bit adding dimension in that area.
~ there is quite a lot of muscle mass to develop over the hindquarters, particularly across the croup and between the angles of the thighs, this will no doubt affect the loin (and so body and flank length) and even the strength of the back (so the topline).
~ front assembly (limbs, shoulder through to feet) angles don’t appear to change nor their relative situation on the ribcage – forward set stays forward set (so no prosternum) and set under the body (witnessed by prosternum and length of neck) stays relatively in that position
~ length of neck stays the same, occasionally it can alter (see front assembly note)
~ rear legs stance and effectiveness seems to improve with hindquarter muscle mass developing
~ leg bone strength/thickness improves markedly after 7-8 weeks of age, so Clumber baby pups can look a bit slender legged
~ heads, essential points of growth/development between 6 weeks and adulthood are the size of the brow and muzzle width at the nose, and nose size. A clean eye is obvious very early (actually a breeder will notice a poor or weepy eye is usually obvious or apparent at 6 to 8 weeks), and the relative depth of stop isn’t going to change much except for the illusion with the change from baby coat to adult coat.

Actually, one thing that hasn’t jumped and hit me is coat type, well perhaps it has, you can’t really predict it from the baby coat, want proof, look at Fae!.

Happy Clumbering!