The world is, fortunately for the sake of the future of this breed, host to many, many dedicated breeders and owners. Very few in the modern western world have time or space, or funds, to operate a kennel of any real size so steps forwards in re-establishing or improving health and type are going to be frustrating at times. So let’s all thank those who nut through problems and stick with the breed; working on their own kennel, generously offering to place their valuable breeding stock with other breeders, trusting well credentialed newcomers, and not least being actively involved in health and breed committees.

Let me introduce you to the �kerman family of Sweden, where Annika is the main force behind the famous Sugar Loaf Clumbers.

Daily walk with a couple of dogs in the age between 4 months to 12 years.

Annika has always been a dog lover, “In 1977 I got my first dog, a yellow Labrador, and soon I was involved in the �dog world�. When visiting a dog show in 1978 a beautiful white dog caught my eyes, it was Ch Clumbrolds Lille Buddha.

“When I was ready to bring a new dog in to my life in the mid 80s I started to do some research and contacted some breeders. Finally I found a Clumber litter that interested me, and in 1985 Oscar aka Welladay�s Singin� In The Rain (Clumbrolds �lsking X Raycroft Siesta) became a part of my life.

“Oscar had a lovely character and had quite good success in the show ring. Unfortunately he suffered from hip dysplasia (HD) and I had to put him to sleep far too young.

“By that time a friend of mine offered me a Weimaraner, for a couple of years I was involved with that breed and lost contact with �Clumber community�. Then I meet Marie-Louise (Welladays) at a dog show, and she convinced me that I needed a Clumber again, and as fate would have it there were an up-coming and really promising litter.

“In 1997 Don�s Vildmannen moved in. I gave my husband a Clumber puppy as a Christmas gift, Ch S�lleb�cks Fyra Steg I Det Bl� a year later. I was soon deeply involved with the breed and in the Swedish Club. The more I started to learn, the more interested I became in the option of breeding.

“So, in 1999 I got a bitch puppy from Cia Ytterell � Ch S�lleb�cks Hooked On A Feeling and later that year Marie-Louise offered me a 2-year old bitch, Welladays Waterlily. Those two bitches were the start of my breeding.

Blanka – Welladays Waterlily (Ch Companionways Against The Wind X Don’s Viva Welladay) – One of my foundation bitches.

“In 2000, my first litter was born, and since then I have raised 17 litters.”

The origins of prefixes (kennel names) is a study in its own right, Annika explained how Sugar Loaf was chosen, “We have always been interested in travelling and visit different places in the world. The spring when my first litter was born we were visiting Rio de Janero. When I saw the wooden sign showing the road to the famous hill I decided that that�s the name of my kennel. Most of my litters have theme names related to our journeys.”

The conversation then moved towards breeding, and I asked Annika to describe her concept of what a Clumber is, over and above the wording of the breed standard, “A Clumber shall be a strong and powerful dog, but fit and firm. Movement is really important. The dog shall have a strong back and be well muscled. It�s important to see the difference between dogs and bitches. It�s important to see that it�s a spaniel made for hunting.”
“I want a dog with clean eyes and not too much loose skin, but still a soft expression.”
“But to be an ideal dog also the personality is important. A Clumber shall be a confident and friendly dog.”

Along the same lines, we then chatted about which Clumbers in particular have caught Annika’s eye or been really great dogs. “The Welladays Clumbers in the mid 80s were lovely. Both Welladays Wild West and his mother Welladays Wilda Matilda were the most beautiful dogs, and a compelling reason why I finally decided to become a Clumber owner!

“In USA, I want to mention two American bitches I saw in the late 90s, Critter�s For Ever and Ever Amen, and Clussexx Marry Me Bill. The second one I first saw as puppy and then as a veteran, lovely breed type.

“My own foundation bitch Ch S�lleb�cks Hooked On A feeling is another dog that fulfilled a lot of my requirements. Whipper is now 13 years and still beautiful. She was a great retriever when she was younger and she is in the pedigree behind most of the top-winning Swedish dogs today.

Whipper – Ch S�lleb�cks Hooked On A Feeling (Ch Schimos Aluff X S�lleb�cks Before The Rain) – A bitch that has a lot of qualities I aiming for, pictured at the age of 13th.

“If I look at my own breeding, the young bitch Sugar Loaf Maya Of Tikal is close to my ideal Clumber. Good size and construction, and a lovely temperament.

Nord JW-11 Sugar Loaf Maya of Tikal (Ch Minglas Paradis Oscar X Sugar Loaf Mama Africa) – A lovely young bitch

“On my latest trip to the National in USA I saw some really nice young dogs that I am looking forward to following in the future.”

A diverse background can bring so much information to a breeder, so I just checked with Annika what other breeds she had been involved with, “Labrador Retrievers and American Cockers during the 70s and 80s. Weimaraners during the 90s.”

Sugar Loaf Morning at Pascha Bay (Ch Welladays Wallstreet x Sugar Loaf Morning Glory)
A bitch representing the type of Clumber I am aiming for.

As a breeder a lot of thought and decision is required before including any individual into a breeding scheme, Annika detailed her thoughts, “First of all the dogs must fulfill some of the criteria I am looking for in my ideal Clumber. I never do a mating if I do not want to keep a puppy.

“I usually start to look for a pedigree that in some way gives me new bloodlines. If possible I look at previous offspring. Those criteria are more important than the dog itself. My latest import is an example of that. I have never seen her sire, but I saw several of his offspring. When I heard that he had a second litter out of a bitch I liked I was happy that there was a puppy available for me.

Nanna – Micklemess Sugar N’Spice (Janost Springsteen X Micklemess Busy Lizzie) – imported to give new blood lines.

“When finding a stud for my bitches, it�s also important to find a dog that can improve what I miss in her, and I try to never double on any serious health issues.

“The dog must be health tested and not have any known genetic health problems. I never used a dog with bad hips (FCI D & E) or elbows in my breeding. I avoid dogs that do not have a correct scissors bite. A level bite can be used if the dogs have a lot of other qualities.

“Another thing that is important is the temperament, and for that reason I prefer to use dogs that I have met.”

“I always check hips, elbows and eyes. Some of my dog are PDP1 tested, some are parentally clear.”

What are the immediate breeding plans at Sugar Loaf? “I hope to have a litter from Sugar Loaf Taj Mahal. She’s a beautiful bitch that I haven�t been able to get in whelp yet.

“During spring 2013 I plan to mate Ch Sugar Loaf Tivoli and Micklemess Sugar�n Spice. A mating that has been in my mind for a long time.”

All breeders respect how another raises beautiful and healthy puppies and can often gain ideas, so I asked Annika to share her technique. “I have my puppies in the house the first part of their lives, and then they move to the kennel. At what time depends on the season. In summertime, when we spend most of the time outdoors I move the litter when they are 4 to 5 weeks, and in winter time I keep them in the house until they are 7 or 8 weeks old.

“I let the puppies suck milk from the bitch as long as she allows it. When they open their eyes I start to give them small portions of minced meat. When they start to get interested and eat properly I start to give them Royal Canin Puppy Large Breed. Then when they are around 7 weeks they mainly eat dog food. I start to whistle when feeding them as soon as they are interested in the food, which gives a good start for having the puppy come on ‘call’.

A bunch of puppies on tour in the grass

“I start to train the puppies to stand and be handled on the table daily from when they are around four weeks. When they are around 4 to 5 weeks I start to take them for short walks, first just a walk around the barn, and then a little further. I also let them meet some of my other dogs, the horses and kids, etc. I also take them in the house occasionally after they have moved to the kennel, just to let them get used to the vacuum cleaner and other sounds in the house and to behave.

“At 7 to 8 weeks the puppies get their first vaccination (DHPPI) after that I start to take the ones that are still at home to different places to give them confidence. From this time I also try to exercise them on a daily basis. To start with I take them for short walks over the fields (15-20 minutes). From 6 months they join the adult dogs morning walk which is approximately 2 kilometres.

“As far as what is included in the sale of a puppy, all my puppies are registered, (required by the Swedish Kennel Club) and they are health examined, microchipped and vaccinated with DHPPI.”

Annika spelt out her goals as a breeder, both for her kennel and for the breed, “I hope that breeders all over the world work seriously to continue to improve health and to extend the gene pool. Inbreeding and over using dogs are not of any use for anyone in the long term.
“I try to work in that direction, it�s not always easy, some dogs are to be found in nearly all pedigrees if you go back some generations.
“My target is to breed Clumbers that are gentle, healthy, live a long life and are a pleasure to their owners.”

Balder – Ch Sugar Loaf Tivoli (Ch Sugar Loaf Hertig Knut X Ch Sugar Loaf Toscana) – A dog with a lovely head and soft expression. I aiming for dogs with a head without excesses, but still with a soft expression. This is an example of that.

We also discussed current issues in the world of Clumbers and Annika thought it important to tackle the general public’s and political ramifications, “With the EU directive and what�s happening in England it�s important for breeders to take these issues seriously and continue to work for a sound and healthy dogs.

“There are a lot of knowledgeable people in the breed that are a part of the �Clumber community�. They know the history and pedigrees and have the capability to continue to work together to improve the breed.

“But there are also a number of new people coming in to the breed who start breeding without first learning (and respecting) the history and or acquiring basic breed knowledge. Some people are in the breed for the wrong reason. Those can easily create a bad reputation for the breed, and ruin the achievement that has been done.”

I asked Annika if she would like to comment on body size and weight in the breed? “I appreciate that The Kennel Club and FCI have decreased the ideal weight.

“Some dogs are still far too big and heavy, but it is getting better. On the other hand some of the working Clumbers are far too small. Somewhere in the middle is probably the best.”

Of course, being part of the Clumber world is not just about breeding, or owning, or even competition, but there is a big world beyond the show ring today. Annika has tried all kinds of dogs sports! And her advice to newcomers to any of the dog competitive sports, “When you train a Clumber you must be creative, otherwise they get bored. Resting completely from the exercises for a few days at times tends to be good for motivation.

“Go slowly with young dogs, they mature slowly and need time.”

C.I.E NORD&SE V-06 NORD UCH AU CH US CH WW-11 Sugar Loaf Hertig Knut

As a breeder, and rather close follower of the breed and it’s state across the world, things turn up that really surprise me from time to time, I asked Annika to share her thoughts. “The improvement of the breed during the last 15 years! The breed today might be more diversified, but at least measurable health results have been so much better.

“One example is when the system for measurement of hip dysplasia changed in Sweden at end of 90s a lot of breeds had worse statistics, but the statistics for our breed went in the other direction and since then have been dramatically better.”

There are lots of folk with Clumbers I would love to interview for this magazine, folk who are dedicated to improving and promoting a healthy and active dog – a dog one would expect that would be welcomed by the Mansells of Clumber Park in the 1700 or 1800s. Sometimes, my timetable and workloads of those I invite just can’t mesh, sometimes I just don’t think, oh, I should ask them. So we don’t always get interviews.

However, the interviews do not need to be conducted by me, if you want to, you are most welcome to submit interviews for this magazine.

Because the material in these interviews is of particular importance to all breeders and also put a positive face on the future of the breed (as the interviews are about people taking proactive steps to improve health and type in each generation – whether they are breeders or just owners!) the interviews are always placed in the open (not-paid-for) section of the magazine and more than likely will end up in ‘Best of’ printed version.