History of the Sussex & Clumber Spaniels
The Sussex Spaniel appears to have been evident in the UK in the 1800's. Mr Fuller of Rosehill Sussex, England, is credited with being their founder and kept them for 50 years until the 1850's. They were kept as working dogs on his large estate. Though there were other Sussex Spaniel breeders, by the time of World War II there were still only a few Sussex Spaniels about. However, breeding was discouraged in wartime and resulted in only 5 known Sussex Spaniels remaining in 1945.
Mrs Joy Freer devoted her life to breeding the Sussex Spaniel for posterity and provided a link over six decades. She always worked her dogs in the field.
In the 1950's breeding problems had emerged and an outcross was undertaken by the Association. Today in the UK we still have a small gene pool.
The Breed was identified by the Kennel Club in 2004 as a Vulnerable British Breed. Only 74 puppies were registered in 2006.
For many years, tradition stated that the first Clumber Spaniel type of dog arrived at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire from the kennels of the French aristocrat, the Duc de Noailles, during the revolution, however much research has found no evidence to support this theory and the Clumber Spaniel is widely considered to be an English breed. There is a 1788 painting by F. Wheatley showing the Duke of Newcastle with a number of white and lemon dogs, which are recognisable as forerunners of the modern Clumber.
It is widely known that these dogs continued their association with the aristocratic houses of Great Britain, culminating with King Edward VII. King George V enjoyed using his Clumbers at Sandringham where he bred many working and show champions, the best remembered being Sandringham Spark. In the post-war years, until the mid 1960’s, the Clumber went into a decline in popularity when its fate was in the hands of a few dedicated breeders who managed to maintain the excellent qualities of the breed.
*Please note: These brief history texts were extracted from the SSA website and the Clumber Spaniel website respectively*