Archive for category general news

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

——————————————— end of article—————-


Leave a comment

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

or visit

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 <> 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

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

Leave a comment

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:

Leave a comment

First Search and Rescue Clumber

see the story over at Dog Channelstorypicture-S&R, congrats to long time breed advocate Jody Davidson!

thank you Youlla for the tip off

——————- end of article ————————————

Leave a comment

You can teach a child ‘new tricks’

I have just enjoyed reading this latest piece of research

Lakestani N, Donaldson ML (2015) Dog Bite Prevention: Effect of a Short Educational Intervention for Preschool Children. PLoS ONE 10(8): e0134319. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134319

There is a neat abstract, the last lines read: These results indicate that preschool children can be taught how to correctly interpret dogs’ behaviours. This implies that incorporating such training into prevention programmes may contribute to reducing dog bite incidents.”

So society, if not parents, need to take on board the task of informing 3 to 5 year old children about dogs’ emotional states and help the children from being bitten.

———————————————————————– end of article —————————————

Leave a comment

Anal Furunculosis

Intro (from

What is anal furunculosis? Anal furunculosis is a chronic, progressive inflammatory disease of dogs that results in ulceration and inflammation in the area surrounding the anus.

What animals are affected? Anal furunculosis occurs most commonly in middle aged or old aged German Shepherd Dogs, although other breeds can be affected. (Yes I have seen it in a Clumber)

What are the clinical signs?

  • Pain, particularly whilst passing faeces
  • Foul odour associated with the perineum (the area between the anus and the genitals)
  • Matting of fur of the perineum with discharge
  • Red and sore-looking skin in the area of the anal ring
  • Ulceration, potentially becoming extensive
  • Draining sinuses in the perineum

Further information:

Leave a comment

Developments in Hip Dysplasia assessment

We’ve all been waiting a long time for some positive scientific news on research etc for hip dysplasia. I have even witnessed some scientists review the material from much earlier with regard to environmental influences based on reviewing wolf mothering practices (1).

HD is a persistent and complicated problem. So I am intrigued to see this report published, and hopefully, the results will translate to other breeds, and we can draw blood test samples from dogs under 12 months of age and predict the likely hip score range, which will make ensuring better quality hips can stay within the breeding population as so few can now afford to keep big numbers of dogs and choose which to breed after x-raying post 12 months of age.


(1) see Facebook – ICB Breeding for the Future – post starting “Okay, we have lots of puppy nursing videos!
Let me tell you what I’m thinking about, and maybe we can do some citizen science.” on May 30 2015


——————————————————————– end of this item —————————–

Leave a comment


My Clumber fabric was recently used to make this stunning tote, crafted by Beccie at, who says “This is our ‘Ringside’ Tote. The bag is made out of 1000 D Cordura.  There  are 4 outer pockets created by the custom fabric panel. The fabric is protected by clear marine grade vinyl so while pretty, it is very protected and the totes look wonderful for years to come.”

see the fabric at, I feel as a proud as a mum to see the fabric being used so beautifully!

Leave a comment


Worldwide request! If in the first edition your Clumber kennel name, your name, your state/province/country, or approximate year you began breeding Clumbers, was incorrectly listed or omitted, please inform me.   Also it is fun to share with other Clumber types how you happen to choose your particular kennel name if it’s not self-evident!
Bryant Freeman, Breed Historian
Clumber Spaniel Club of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 3565, Lawrence, KS 66046 USA
———————————————————————– end of article —————————-

Leave a comment

Super New Clumber print from Venaticus Collection

James Darley is famous for his working Clumbers competing (and winning) at the higher ends of the very elite sport of field trials in the UK, and also for his lovely Clumber prints, and he has just released a new one, and this is one of my all time favourite Clumber pieces!

Here is a little bit of what James says, “Dating from 1888, The New Keeper was painted exactly 100 years after the work that marks the first evidence of Clumbers in England, The Return from Shooting by Francis Wheatley. The painting is by Charles Burton Barber. He was the artist whose pictures were used in many of the most familiar Pears soap advertising posters tenderly portraying children with dogs or cats.

Barber’s scene of Clumbers joining the boy’s game of make-believe was almost certainly a commissioned work by the owner of an estate big enough to warrant such a sizeable kennel. There, the dogs would have been worked in teams to move game to holding coverts (called “blanking in”), the birds then driven towards standing guns, as well as hunted singly and in pairs and shot over as they are today.



Attempts to trace the location have not yet borne fruit – so if you recognise the place, or the keeper’s uniform, do let me know.

The picture is a hitherto little-known work by an acclaimed artist whose chief patron was Queen Victoria; she commissioned him to paint her favourite dogs for almost 25 years.  He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and won numerous accolades. With a clue from another Clumber owner, this oil painting was traced to the storeroom of an obscure municipal gallery in the English Midlands. Under exclusive arrangements, it has now been reproduced, to a very high standard that faithfully replicates the original work in all its quality.

The New Keeper is now available, in an edition limited to 500 hand-numbered prints, size 18 x 22½ in. (45 x 57 cm.), including a 2 – 2½ in. (5½ – 7 cm.) border. Price is £44, plus a delivery charge of £5.50 irrespective of destination (UK, Europe or elsewhere overseas) or the number of prints ordered. This price is actually lower than that of Venaticus Collection prints ten or more years ago, and reflects the reduced costs of new printing technology and online marketing, and freedom from Value Added Tax. Orders and payments can only be accepted online: go to for full details and instructions. You will also find other prints of Clumbers still available there, as well as prints of other working breeds.”

And despite the fact my Clumber wall is full, I am adding this new edition of this fabulous artwork to my collection. The painting was featured a number of times in magazines in the past so it may be familiar, but it still retains its impeccable charm

————————————————————— end of article———————————————————————————-

, , ,

Leave a comment