English Toy Spaniel Puppies
Information, History, Personality and More

The soulful eyes of English Toy Spaniel puppies are big attention grabbers that elicit loads of pampering.

There are many good reasons why many aristocrats of the past were enamored with this breed -- it's one of the most amiable and sweet-tempered dogs among the toy group.

Also known as King Charles Spaniel, Toy Spaniel and Prince Charles Spaniel, there is no doubt that "Charlies" make excellent companions.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.

Breed History

Majority of experts agree that most of the breeds that contributed to the creation of the English Toy Spaniel and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel have originated in the East, primarily Japan and China.


Despite almost identical names, the King Charles Spaniel, as this breed is also known, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are two distinct breeds.

From the 16th century, these pooches were primarily used by ladies as foot and lap warmers. Several paintings by Dutch and Spanish artists portrayed many of these small pampered spaniels along with their aristocratic families.

King Charles II was so fond of his toy spaniels that he often gave them more attention than to other, more important, affairs. He was credited for increasing the popularity of the breed and, because of this, the breed was named in his honor.

In the 19th century, in an effort to reduce the size of these dogs and produce a breed with a smaller nose, several types of toy spaniels were crossbred with the Pug and the Japanese Chin. This led to the drastic changes seen in English Toy Spaniels today. These changes are especially noticeable when modern English Toy Spaniels are compared to the spaniels featured in the 17th century paintings by Anthony van Dyck.

In 1903, the Kennel Club (the oldest recognized kennel club, headquartered in United Kingdom) combined the King James black and tan spaniel, the Prince Charles tricolor spaniel, the Blenheim and Ruby spaniels into a single breed and called it the Toy Spaniel.

The Toy Spaniel Club (a club that oversaw the 4 individual breeds listed above) objected and after King Edward VII's suggestion, the breed was called the King Charles Spaniel.

In 1926, Roswell Eldridge travelled to England with the purpose of encouraging breeders to recreate the original spaniels seen in Van Dyck's paintings. He offered a prize fund for the best male and female specimens that resembled the old-type spaniels immortalized in the pictures of Charles II. These dogs were to have a long face, flat skull and pointed nose. For the purpose of differentiating it from its cousin, the English Toy Spaniel, the recreated breed was named the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Among historical owners of this breed are Mary, Queen of Scots, and obviously, Charles I and Charles II.

The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1886 and categorized it under the toy group.

English Toy Spaniel Puppy

Physical Characteristics

The English Toy Spaniel is a lively and compact dog blessed with a merry and affectionate personality. Distinctive features are the head and silky, flowing coat that comes in many striking colors.

The body of the English Toy Spaniel is sturdy, with a square shape and cobby appearance. The neck is moderately long and elegantly arched. The topline is level. The chest is deep, with well-sprung ribs. The fringed tail is typically docked and carried at or above the back's level. A natural short or screw tail is also acceptable, whereas, in cavaliers the tail is typically kept natural.

The front legs are strong and straight. The rear legs are well-muscled and with good angulations. The feet are compact. The presence of fused toes is acceptable.

Unlike the cavalier, which has a flat head, pointed nose and ears set high on the head, the face of an English Toy Spaniel is distinctly pushed-in, the head is domed, the ears are set low and the nose is short, with wide-opened nostrils. The eyes in this breed are large, ranging from dark brown to black in color. The stop is deep and defined. The bite is slightly undershot, a trait that in cavaliers is considered a fault.

The coat is straight, with a silky, glossy appearance. Slight waving is permitted. The ears, feet, front and back legs are feathered. Four coat colors are accepted in this breed: the red and white, also known as Blenheim; the tricolor, also known as Prince Charles; the black and tan, also known as King Charles and the ruby, which consists of a rich mahogany red.

    Height Weight
  Male about 10 inches 8 to 14 pounds
  Female about 10 inches 8 to 14 pounds

Temperament of English Toy Spaniel Puppies and Dogs

Charlies are sweet, quiet and affectionate pooches featuring a bit of an aristocratic bearing but without being snobbish.

Young puppy socialization in this breed is a must so to build up confidence and prevent this breed's softness from developing into shyness. While this breed is initially reserved with strangers, they eventually warm up after they get acquainted.

Charlies are not typically suitable as watchdogs, but they may still bark to warn about an approaching visitor.

While this breed is playful, merry and normally docile, it does not do too well with small children. Charlies can be easily overwhelmed by their high-pitched voices, erratic movements and general mischief. They should do fine with older children as long as they are handled with respect and no roughhousing is allowed. This breed is usually peaceful with other dogs and pets, but small critters may trigger its prey drive.

While English Toy Spaniel puppies and dogs have a bit of a stubborn streak, they are quick learners, especially if you motivate them with praise and some tasty treats.

House breaking English Toy Spaniel puppies may be a bit of a challenge, but with loads of patience, most will eventually learn.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

This breed makes a terrific companion for the elderly as long as they can walk and socialize this dog.

An English Toy Spaniel tends to depend on you for companionship and your extended absence day-after-day will make him stressed and anxious. If you are away for a good part of the day, you may want to consider another breed.

This breed is definitively an indoor companion that thrives on human companionship. If he is ever left outdoors, he must be kept in a well-fenced area for limited periods of time. Because of low energy levels and small size, English Toy Spaniels make excellent apartment dwellers.

Activity and Exercise

Meeting this breed's exercise needs is not very difficult. If you are a couch potato, you may be happy to learn that a romp in the yard and a brief walk will suffix.

Indoors, this breed may be eager to share the couch with you or warm your lap on those chilling evenings. Cuddling, snuggling and snoozing are some of English Toy Spaniel puppies' and dogs' favorite pastimes.

King Charles Spaniel Puppy


The striking coat of the English Toy Spaniel dog breed requires some attention.

Frequent brushing and combing will become an integral part of your life to prevent tangles and mats. This breed tends to shed, so expect stray hairs on furniture, upholstery and clothing.

Health Concerns

When it comes to health, this breed suffers from several ailments and breed-specific disorders.

The short nose makes him prone to respiratory problems and overheating. Other conditions reported in this breed include mitral valve disease, patellar luxation and several eye problems.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Purchasing English Toy Spaniel puppies from a good breeder will reduce the odds of developing such conditions. Reputable English Toy Spaniel dog breeders will health screen their breeding stock and offer health guarantees with their puppies.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy English Toy Spaniel puppies is between 10 and 12 years.

Final Thoughts...

If you have fallen in love with English Toy Spaniel puppies, consider that they are not one of the easiest breeds to come around. When you do actually find one, be prepared for a case of sticker shock as breeders tend to charge a premium for them; however, for many owners the price of their English Toy Spaniel puppies was definitively worth every penny.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local English Toy Spaniel rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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