What are the planned books?

click for here update

BOOK – WORKING TITLE Conformation Faults Illustrated check the conformation category

  • conformational faults illustrated 
  • what is soundness
  • intro to type/proportions/function (houses vs warehouses)

BOOK WORKING TITLE The Clumber Spaniel: Visually Assessing Conformation and Understanding Type – check the type category on this blog

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Ear Cleaning

Ear cleaning is more than likely going to be required with a Clumber, here is a veterinary orientated training video, however, …

DON’T place your towels, cotton swabs or q-tips on the floor … who knows what bugs these will pick up off such a surface and you could transfer to your dog’s ear.

The video shows two people doing the job, you can adapt, I particularly like the demonstration of how to best ‘open’ the whole canal for best cleaning.


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Breeders need to consider lots of things

Breeders really need to consider a probably ever growing list of things, as whatever they tolerate in their chosen parents will affect what genetic/phenotypic issues they produce in their pups.

If any fault or issue is handed on to future generations of dogs then their owners will also have to contend with it.

A breeder cannot reasonably expect to eliminate all issues by themselves, or we’d end up with no pups and no future generations. Besides nature’s magnificent DNA does throw the odd wobbly and produce a new issue or rekindles a disease or syndrome we all thought long buried if not ‘dead’.

But each breeder can nag away in each litter a little at many problems and so improve the lot and life quality and viability of each new generation.


So amongst the little list of things Clumber breeders need to consider, is the Caesarean rate … yes I have had to resort to Caesareans for the health of the bitch, and perhaps the pups, and yes sometimes I have bred from the next generation. Overall, I loath having to do Caesareans, and when selecting a new member for my breeding team it is a serious, but not deal breaking, consideration. Sometimes, Caesareans ARE necessary, and sometimes you will have to work on a couple of generations to turn it around, but it can be done, I have proven the point.

So how can we REDUCE the rate of Caesareans in our breed?

  1. Generally the helpful experts (those who advise but not go through the trauma and cost of actually breeding dogs) the scientists and the veterinarians suggest conformation is the main issue.
    So I think breeders could consider

    1. looking for less extremes in head width,
    2. (some reports also suggest nose/muzzle length),
    3. better (more) lay of shoulder (usually also gives a longer neck and a less pronounced withers),
    4. perhaps a longer and better returned upper arm allowing the forelegs to lie closer to the body in delivery,
    5. maybe more attention to rib cage shape,
    6. certainly better width of pelvis and angle of pelvis for a wider and better delivery path;
    7. and enough muscle mass on the pup to hold its form while it is born.
    8. but never select or search to one point in the extreme form!
  2. Sometimes, too, we may be guilty of not keeping our girls fit enough to deliver comfortably, a fit mum generally (barring wayward pups or her own poor conformation) will deliver better and quicker and with less stress on her own body so she is in a better place to care for her young. We need to keep her muscle quality and tone up and resist the temptation to let her get too fat … fat, although squishy in a living body, still takes up space and reduces canal size throughout the body, not least that bony canal the puppy passes through in natural delivery: the pelvis.
  3. If the dog you would like to breed has any history of the list below in the immediate ancestors, then the only reason to try to breed this dog most be some exceptional, and scarce but breed defining attribute, in fact make that attributes, I am not sure one exceptional point should outweigh the known existence of any of
    1. unwillingness to naturally mate
    2. incapability to naturally mate
    3. ill health or infection
    4. poor onset of labour (such as uterine inertia)
    5. lack of labout
    6. long labours
    7. any need for an ’emergency’ Caesarean
      (some folk opt for elective Caesars, that is their choice but it masks any natural delivery capabilities)
    8. ill thrift of mother and or babes
    9. mastitis
    10. poor or bad milk production
    11. poor or bad mothering

Caesareans are not part of the early history of this breed, those that couldn’t whelp or raise pups died out from the population … veterinary science couldn’t offer safe Caesareans until … (who knows when, you try to find out this information, but not until the 20th century!) … so the high rate of Caesareans reported in Clumbers is a modern problem which may have had its advantages in keeping this breed ‘alive’ at various stages but we must not let it become the norm or we have lost the historic foundations of the breed and created another one.

If each and every breeder, or even just the responsible and knowledgeable ones (you and me, and I hope MANY others) takes these things into consideration then we can take the Clumber from a vet’s bank manager’s delight to a breed that is look upon with even greater respect and remove one trauma from our lives (Caesareans) and we’ll enjoy the world of dogs that little bit more too.

This has benefits for us.

It certainly has BENEFITS for the breed, and this is our number one priority as breeders or lovers of the breed.

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Just a thought

“But never allow what you read or what you know to blind you to your own vision, and never allow what you have read or heard shape what you see or experience.” which apparently comes from Advice to Young Artists in a Postmodern Era by Williams Dunning.

This thought is so true for most of our endeavours in life: for the breeder, and for the judge, for the trainer, and for the owner; so I want to record it here!

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Playing and play bows

I hardly have any need, with the volume of information out there, to write specially about dog behaviour or even play bows and what they mean, so I won’t today. However, this is a very informative article I would like to recommend to those interested in learning a bit about dog behaviour or building on the knowledge they already have. Clumbers can offer this behaviour, they certainly understand it when it is offered to them


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A Malinois

This video came to my attention because a friend found it and was again annoyed by another “photo of a dog in full stride with his feet crossing under him, his front extension way beyond his nose, and all comments saying how wonderful his movement is” well such action isn’t correct.

This video shows a ‘normal’ length legged dog moving beautifully and effectively without excessive energy being spent and keeping the limbs moving no more then needed to achieve a rhythmic forward action … congratulations to the video makers!


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update: Let’s help the Clumber breed survive … let’s do it!

27 April 2017 update: well lack of action and support, the original volunteers soon got committed to other things in their lives, and I never had time, has seen this go into abeyance.
May be breeders and owners aren’t ready for this type of analysis and discovery of the state of health in the breed. Anyway the structure is there, it may inspire another generation.


So, information is being collated elsewhere which only proves WE need to take the opportunity nice and early to establish benchmarks for genetic diversity within the Clumber breed BEFORE we inadvertently lose MORE genetic diversity.


Now you have read this link and accepted the Clumber is in a genetic heap on the ground, potentially, I refer to to our immediate option, and point out I am not going to be available to implement this but an happy to stay as a supporter. I raised this topic in November 2015, and we’ve achieved SO little that obviously I am not the one to encourage breeders across the world to co-ordinate themselves, we need someone, or some group, to get this running … time waits for no one!


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Reach and Drive



Reach and drive are a consequence of the conformation of a dog, and this article covers the topic very nicely, so I am including it here for you!



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Dog Shampoos


Dog shampoos: … there are SO many to choose from; interesting article, I would add that I will not use a shampoo on my Clumbers that contains tea-tree oil (it is recorded as causing health issues in this breed) nor any containing ingredients known to be harmful to dogs such as macadamia or caffeine they may be present in tiny amounts but as there is a risk of licking during shampooing the face or other parts with shampoo on then I consider the risk warrants me not using these products. (photo is of GrCh Erinveine Judge at 7 years 7 months)

20 Ingredients You Don’t Want In Your Dog’s Shampoo

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Let’s help the Clumber breed survive … let’s do it!

added 10 Nov 2015:
this is a WORLDWIDE project – this is not about one breeder, or one country,
it is about ONE BREED – THE CLUMBER,
and it lives around the world

I suggest we discover the real genetic diversity of the Clumber by DNA testing what we have now. This is an international project. Let me explain …

There has been much talk and chat about the Clumber breed.

I know you and I care about the Clumber Spaniel surviving as a healthy breed.

So what can we do to help?

We can also establish by DNA testing the actual genetic diversity of the Clumber in the world
… so let’s do it!

  1. I don’t want to have to run this, time factors
  2. I believe this type of breed project is only going to be of value and accuracy if we are ALL involved
  3. to be effective we need to work together, at this stage without comment about breeding strategies and practices, past, current or floated,

The bulk of the work is undertaken by the world authorities on this type of project: UC Davis, but they need breed coordinators, which is where you and I must participate (for the sake of the breed), and cheek swabs, and this isn’t being done for free, so contributions from breeders, owners, and sponsors to defray costs.

If you are at all interested in this project,
be it non-committal support, be it as a coordinator, a promoter, a swab submitter, etc then

send a blank email to clumbergenetichealth-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

or visit https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ClumberGeneticHealth/info

Using a Yahoo group we can discuss ideas and ways forward, and also conduct a poll to elect an oversight committee. But no nonsense or slinging off, this is a project for the betterment of the breed, a numerically small breed, with a finite number of people interested in helping and supporting it into the future, each and everyone can be an asset towards that. Do not vent your feelings on this list, this list is for sharing thoughts and ideas, not for making judgements or holding grudges. (and if necessary a code of conduct will be drafted and enforced)

Below you’ll find more info on my thoughts and what UC Davis have already told me, and links to their pages.

My timeline is

  • let’s get as many registered as are interested …. NOW!
  • decide if those registered want to run this, or use an existing Clumber organization (but I want this discussed and no decision assumed)
  • let those registered vote to form a small oversight committee from the members of this email group to get this show on the road, the oversight committee either implement this or support a democratically voted on organization

this oversight committee/organizers then need to get cracking and not let grass grow under their feet they will need to

  • set up the project with UC Davis and work within UC Davis’ guidelines
  • decide if they have subcommittees to handle the following, or make sure it occurs
    • promote promote
    • promote this to breeders AND owners of fertile/non-sterilized Clumbers ALL OVER THE WORLD, club members or non-club members, without favour and all inclusive, without comment but with a healthy and polite invitation
    • promote this project to potential sponsors
    • chase UNRELATED Clumbers to ensure they are included, these are the dogs that will show if the breed has enough genetic diversity to survive – if the breed doesn’t then breeders and owners can consider their options then, let’s not waste time now by speculating until we have the hard DNA evidence on the worldwide population – as you will see from the email (below) from Dr Niels Pedersen at UC Davis COIs may be misleading us, but even so they have alerted us to the very low ‘effective population size’ for Clumbers in the Kennel Club registry.


Having found out that UC Davis can help us to establish the ACTUAL genetic diversity within the Clumber breed, I have had a couple of conversations with them about enrolling the Clumber.

My first and main worry was collecting swabs from 100 to 500 dogs that weren’t ‘related’ and I tried hard to establish what they meant by that, from the information from Dr Niels Pedersen I think it needs to be 100 ‘unrelated’, and they can handle the extra as related. As any researcher of the breed will know across the world we are starting to share dogs and so there are few dogs that are truly unrelated in the fifth plus generations, we just have to work with what we have.

Here is the VERY informative email from Dr Niels Pedersen that he has given me permission to use to promote adding Clumbers to the UC Davis Genetic Diversity Testing

On 6 November 2015 at 04:30, Niels Pedersen <ucdavis.edu> wrote:

Dear Ms. Irving: COIs are based on pedigrees and the assumption is that the pedigree lists the correct ancestry and that on average 50% of genetic diversity is inherited from each parent. Most pedigrees are correct, but it is incorrect that 50% of genetic diversity is inherited equally from both parents in a given puppy. The 50:50 is true if you average over hundreds of puppies, but an individual puppy inherits highly variable proportions of diversity from each parent due to what is called “genetic recombination.” Suffice it to say, one puppy in a litter may inherit 50:50, and others 25:75, 10:90, 75:25, etc. Therefore, if you follow the genetic contributions of one ancestor over another over many generations you will find different percentages, many of which differ greatly from that predicted by pedigree (i.e., COIs). Also, pedigrees to be anywhere near accurate, must cover enough generations to allow for genetic bottlenecks that have occurred at an earlier time, such as a popular sire effect or some sort of catastrophe that create different types of genetic bottlenecks. When a bottleneck occurs, whatever the cause, breeders are forced to inbreed because there are not a lot of dogs available for mates. This allows the breed to expand in numbers and the COIs during this period will be high. However, after this period of inbreeding is over, breeders tend to settle back into random breeding. If this random breeding is sustained over several generations, for instance 10 generations, a COI calculated from a 3-5 generation pedigree will be low, reflecting random mate selection. Remember, that the pedigree is only a name and not an exact measure of genetic contributions from various ancestors and a COI of 6% may be accurate for one dog but totally inaccurate for another. The situation with many modern breeds is that they are badly inbred because of past genetic bottlenecks, but they do not realize it because they are relying on COIs based on pedigrees that do not go back far enough to encompass these genetic bottlenecks. In effect, breeders are random breeding within a much inbred population, which gives the impression that they have a lot more genetic diversity than actually exists. This is the value of DNA testing, because DNA testing across a breed is an actual and not a theoretical measure of breed diversity. DNA testing is also the only way to determine whether there is a significant imbalance in diversity, with a major proportion of the breed having a small part of the total diversity and a small proportion having a large part (such as the Standard Poodle). If you want to determine the total amount of genetic diversity that exists in your breed, you need to test as many dogs as possible from as wide a geographic region as possible. If a breed is much inbred, 100 dogs may be sufficient, while if a breed is much outbred, it could take several hundred to identify all of the diversity that exists. In short, I would not even use COIs, but rather encourage testing of as many dogs as possible from the widest reaches of the world. It obviously is not correct to test only dogs from one kennel, one bloodline, or one region. This is where pedigrees can be helpful. You don’t want dogs that all come from same sire or dogs that were the result of some past genetic bottleneck due to geographic isolation, world wars, famines, etc. I hope that this answers your questions and does not raise new ones. –Dr. Pedersen

so let’s do it!
step one,
register your commitment by sending a blank email to clumbergenetichealth-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

of course you are not obliged to participate but you ARE INVITED … let’s do it for the fabulous white spaniel we dearly enjoy and love

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Another cautionary tale about what we allow our dogs to eat

Diet and treats are a perpetual discussion point for dog owners, well should be.

Don’t just assume because it has worked in the past

  • that the ingredients haven’t changed
  • the ingredients are as pure as they used to be
  • that as it is manufactured that the manufacturers have it right
  • that their suppliers have supplied the right material or at the right purity and not been contaminated
  • that the product has been correctly stored and so maintained its integrity
  • that the manufacturer is overly concerned with anything other than making a good profit, and the individuality of your dog really concerns them

No product is PERFECT for all dogs (no dogs are perfect either), manufacturers must find a ‘best fit’ for the vast majority to stay i business (and there are a LOT of dog food manufacturers!). Products are often billed with ‘new and improved’ formulas, why, because they need improving or ingredient sources or supplies alter.

If your dog is ‘off’, or worse, really assess the diet (what you feed AND what your dog self feeds on), try a change of diet, and if in any doubt seek veterinary attention for the symptoms that are concerning you.

Linda Case’s new post is a particularly interesting read:


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