Milestones – James Darley and the Venaticus kennel

1971 First encounter with Clumber spaniels: the gundogs tent at the CLA Game Fair at Stowe School: kept going back!

1975 First dog: a 15-month-old Clumber dog taken on trial for £30, renamed Bertie, June

1975 First use of a Clumber on game: Bertie used for driven grouse shooting, Scotland, September

1977 First field trial award: 4th and C of M, “minority breeds” stake, the Spaniel Club, north Wales

1978 First any variety spaniel field trial award: C of M, Essex FT Society novice stake: first award to a Clumber in a trial open to all other spaniels for 40 years

1978 First test win: an any variety spaniel open test, Leicestershire Gundog Society

1980 First litter: sire Bertie, dam Susie: 7 live pups, all going to working homes

1980 First limited edition print of a painting of Clumbers: “Clumber Spaniels and Pheasants”, produced and marketed by own publishing imprint, Venaticus Collection. It was fully sold

1981 Established Clumber Spaniel Research Fund within the breed club: endowed by proceeds of print sales, to fund research into hereditary conditions

1984 Co-founded the Working Clumber Spaniel Society: jointly with Shaun Freke; inaugural meeting of 70 members


1988 Revived the “minority breeds” field trial last held 1982, taking it over from the Spaniel Club, together with the solid silver trophy


1989 First use by any outside body of the Kennel Club’s registrations database, after much persuasion, doubling the WCSS’s membership


1990 First Clumber in royal family since 1937: sale of puppy, Edwina, to HRH the Princess Royal


1990 First win by a Clumber in a field trial open to any other spaniel since 1913: Duncan in the WCSS “minority breeds” stake, Suffolk


1990 Princess Royal accepted invitation to become WCSS president


1991 First placing in an any variety spaniel field trial since 1926: Duncan takes 4th in Meon Valley all-aged stake, Hampshire


1991 Duncan is highest-scoring spaniel in winning team of five gundog breeds at CLA Game Fair, Margam Park, south Wales, before an appreciative grandstand in 37° heat

1991 Received the Institute of Public Relations Sword of Excellence: major PR industry award for WCSS’s positioning and communications

1993 Gave presentation at 3rd International Seminar on the Clumber Spaniel, Sweden, on the WCSS’s role and achievements in improving health (more...)

1993 Returned to Sweden to judge field trial and lead training workshop

1994 First year when the WCSS represented the breed at the CLA Game Fair

1996 Retired as secretary of the WCSS

2001 Conceived, wrote and published the WCSS brochure


2002 Won 3-year battle over the KC’s failure to record field trials and awards for minority breed spaniels in the Stud Book – shown to be against its own rules (more...)

2003 Defeat in campaign to reverse the KC’s change of open stakes from any variety to ESS only, let down by feebleness of WCSS committee’s resolve


2004 Third field trial win by Max: gives him the top field trial record of any Clumber born in the 20th century


2004 Third Clumber of Venaticus kennel to win a field trial: Ros joins Duncan and Max for another new record, viewed by HRH


2008 First litter in the history of the breed born to two field trial winning parents


2010 Gave evidence to Parliamentary APGAW inquiry into health and breeding of pedigree dogs, criticising the KC and recommending it be denied more powers (more...)


2011 Boris becomes 8th Venaticus Clumber with a trial award: only a “minority breeds” stake C of M, but a start. Bella’s day will come…


2012 Bella and Boris take 1st and 2nd in the WCSS minority breeds field trial


2012 Bella, undefeated in three field trials within a fortnight, achieves the best competition record of any Clumber bitch since 1900


2013 First award for 75 years to a Clumber bitch in an any variety field trial: Bella gains a C of M at Kent Working Spaniel Club novice stake


2014 Boris becomes the 5th Venaticus Clumber to win a field trial


2015 Spot, 15 months old the day before, is victorious in her first field trial: the third bitch in succeeding generations to win a trial


2015 Boris joins his sister Bella as an award winner in an any variety field trial, gaining a second AV C of M a few days later


2015 Spot gains a C of M in a Spaniel Club any variety field trial aged 17 months; with her dam Bella and uncle Boris, these three are the only Clumbers at this time with trial awards against English springers


2016 Spot gains another C of M in an Eastern Counties AV stake, the first Clumber bitch to take two trial awards against springers since 1928


2017 Spot’s litter is the first in the long history of the breed with both parents award winners in AV field trials


2017 Russell becomes the 11th Venaticus Clumber to gain a field trial award


2018 Spot's 2nd place in a Midland Counties AV stake, and her third AV field trial award, are unmatched by a Clumber bitch since 1912