�I ONCE shot over a team of Clumber spaniels belonging to Mr. D z. The breed (the Duke of Newcastle�s, taking their name from one of his seats) are mostly white with a little lemon colour, have large sensible heads, thick, short legs, silky coats, carry their sterns low, and hunt perfectly mute. The team kept within twenty or twenty-five yards of the keeper, were trained to acknowledge rabbits, as well as all kinds of game; and in the country Mr.D z was then shooting over afforded capital sport. One of the spaniels was taught to retrieve. He would follow any distance, and seldom failed to bring. A regular retriever was, however, generally taken out with them. Mr. D z told me that they required very judicious management, and encouragement rather than severity, as undue whipping soon made them timid. They are of a delicate constitution. He rather surprised me by saying that his spaniels, from working quietly and ranging close (therefore alarming the birds less), procured him far more shots in turnips than his pointers.�
Here we have an interesting description of the Clumber Spaniel written by General Hutchinson about seventy years ago, and the accompanying illustration depicts dogs differing little from those of more modern times, and unquestionably not the least resembling the sketch of a Clumber that did duty in Stonehenge�s �The Shot Gun and Sporting Rifle,� published in 1859. Not having a first edition of General Hutchinson�s work by me, however, I cannot say if the illustration appeared in that or was introduced later. It is a spirited drawing on wood. That the Clumber shares with the Springer the honour of scoring more successes at field trials than other spaniels is a proof that he is not degenerate in the field; he is said to be more easily broken than the Springer, though, naturally, he is not so fast. For the kind of work he is expected to do this is not a disadvantage, and he is not in danger of overrunning his nose. Mr. C. A. Phillips, who knows more about spaniels than most people, whether at work or on the bench, has recorded the opinion that as a sporting spaniel the Clumber has no equal among the different varieties. �They certainly may not be so flashy in outward appearance to the casual observer, but they are very much sounder in actual work, for, once they have been properly broken, they do not easily forget their lesson; they are less headstrong, more honest and conscientious in their perseverance, better game finders, and, although perhaps not, as a rule, quite so fast in their pace as the more leggy Springer, they can be got quick enough to satisfy the most fastidious, and, if properly-trained in condition, will endure and stay as well as any. . . . They will also fill the place of beaters when required; in fact, on some estates they are used for this purpose, viz., beating up the coverts. They are about the only spaniels, when granted this liberty that can be trusted not to forget their manners and run riot.� What higher praise could be asked? Yet Mr. Phillips adds a further reminder that they are exceptionally good for work in the water if accustomed to it as youngsters.
The early history of the Clumber is still a matter of contention. The story of the present of a team by the Due de Nouailles to the second Duke of Newcastle towards the latter part of the eighteenth century has usually been accepted as an explanation of the name of the dog. This may be perfectly correct, but Mr. James Farrow stoutly maintains that the Clumber is of English manufacture, probably having sprung from crosses between the Blenheim and the land spaniels of the time. The Blenheim, it must be remembered, was not always the toy known to us, but a sporting Cocker. For evidence of this it is unnecessary to go back a hundred years, since General Hutchinson wrote: �The preceding observations respecting spaniels apply to all descriptions employed on land service whether of the strong kind, the Sussex breed and the Clumber, or the smallest cockers, Blenheims and King Charles�.� Con�cerning the last named, which one may be surprised to find included in this category, he adds : � These fetch immense fancy prices when well shaped�black and tan, without a single white hair, and long-eared. But the breed is nearly useless to the sportsman, whereas the Blenheim is a lively, diligent little fellow, in light cover, and from his diminutive size threads his way through low, thick brushwood more readily than might first be imagined, being incited to great perseverance by a most enthusiastic enjoyment of the scent. In strong, high turnips he is employed with much advantage to spring the partridge. He creeps under, where a larger dog would be constantly jumping.� In considering the beginnings of the Clumber, however, one important factor is frequently omitted, that is, his disposition, so unlike the remainder of the spaniel variety. There is none of the fawning in his nature usually asso�ciated with the others. He has high courage, a capacity for attachment to his master alone, and a temper that is often dis�tinctly crusty with stran�gers. Whence did he derive these characteristics? It is a point worthy of consideration.
The modern Clumber is well portrayed in the illustrations we publish this week, since the dogs bearing the �Hempsted� prefix have for many years enjoyed a high reputation, both on the show bench and in the field. Mr F Saunders of Hemel Hempsted has been breeding them for thirty years, one of his first winners being a bitch bought from Mr J Thorpe Hincks. Old breeders will remember the kennel of this gentleman by his prefix of �Friar�. Friar John appears in many fashionable pedigrees. Hempsted Rufus, who won a number of prizes for Mr. Saunders in his early days, was somewhat lacking in Clumber expression, and the foundation of the best of the Hempsted family must be attributed to a bitch known as Champion Hempsted Kitty. Her head not being all that was wished for, she was mated to that fine stamp of dog, Sir Bentinck. The outcome of this union was the celebrated Champion Hempsted Toby, from whom so many of the winners of the last dozen years have sprung. One notable litter by him out of Likely Bird contained seven, three of which became full champions; to wit, Tramp, Trigger and Tobyson. Cross won several first prizes, while the remaining three, excelling as workers, were never exhibited. Mr. Fall has given us a beautiful picture of old Tramp, now eleven years of age, looking as fresh as a two year old, cheered doubtless by a thought of the twenty-seven challenge certificates that he has won. Trigger has picked up about five-and-twenty of the same honours, and Tobyson a dozen � altogether a very remarkable showing as the produce of one litter. All these were good workers and tender retrievers. Champion Shotover, through putting up a clever per�formance at last year�s Horsham field trials,was enabled to bear the handle to his name to which he had previously become entitled by his successes in the ring. Hempsted Boscoe is a bold, fast worker and beautiful retriever, virtues which are shared by Hempsted Peterkin. St. Mary�s Barnard, placed reserve at the Scottish field trials, is a grand young dog, a trifle on the leg. He is a very fast worker, thoroughly steady and retrieves tenderly. When he is shown there will not be many to lower his colours, I believe. There are other youngsters coming along at Hempsted that bid fair to keep up the reputation of the strain when they are seen in public. =
full version includes the three photos from the article
courtesy Clumber Spaniel Club Archives – this story has appeared in their newsletter