English Toy Spaniel

English Toy looking forward

Quick Facts


8 to 14 pounds


9 to 10 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

10-12 years

Known For:

Bred to be the companions of kings, they are willing to please, but they are reserved with strangers.


Oh, the adorable English Toy Spaniel! This little royal companion has charmed hearts worldwide and has a legacy steeped in history and aristocratic approval.Β 


Originating from England, as the name suggests, the English Toy Spaniel (also known as the King Charles Spaniel) has been the favorite of many monarchs and pet enthusiasts alike. This breed, with its loving eyes and gentle demeanor, has comfortably nestled itself in the lap of luxury and in the homes of many who appreciate a good-natured, small dog.

History and Origin

The history of the English Toy Spaniel is a tale of regal love and elegance. The breed can trace its roots back to the Renaissance period in Europe, particularly England, where it was often depicted in paintings and literature of the time. The English Toy Spaniel’s ancestors were believed to have arrived in England from the Far East, and over time, were selectively bred to produce the small and refined appearance we see today.


One cannot discuss the English Toy Spaniel without mentioning King Charles II of England. The king was so enamored with these little dogs that they were named after him. His love for the breed was so profound that he was often criticized for paying more attention to his dogs than to the matters of the state. Rumors even suggest that he decreed these spaniels could go anywhere in the kingdom, including places where pets were usually forbidden.


Historical paintings and documents show these spaniels in royal courts, often at the feet of queens or held in the arms of princesses. Their prominence in history showcases their importance in the cultural and social events of their time.


As for famous English Toy Spaniels, “Dash,” Queen Victoria’s beloved pet, deserves mention. This faithful companion was so dear to the Queen that she had him sculpted, and he even has an epitaph at Windsor Castle.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The English Toy Spaniel is a picture of elegance and grace, encapsulated in a small package. Typically weighing between 8 to 14 pounds and standing about 9 to 10 inches tall, they are perfectly sized for laps and cuddles.


They have a dome-shaped head with large, dark, and expressive eyes that exude warmth. Their ears are set low and are adorned with rich, flowing hair, giving them a regal appearance. The muzzle is short and somewhat flat, adding to their distinctive face.

In terms of coat, the English Toy Spaniel boasts a silky, medium-length coat that can come in various colors and patterns, including Blenheim (chestnut and white), tricolor (black/white/tan), ruby (solid red), and Prince Charles (white with black and tan markings).


Their compact body, paired with their graceful gait, exudes elegance in every step. Despite their royal appearance, these little spaniels are robust and sturdy, making them resilient companions for various activities.

Personality and Temperament

The English Toy Spaniel, with its rich history in the lap of royalty, carries a demeanor that can only be described as “regally affectionate.” These little dogs are known for their sweet and gentle nature. They are the kind of dogs that love to be near their humans, often seeking out the comfiest lap in the room or snuggling next to you on the couch.


However, don’t be mistaken by their demure appearance. They are playful and occasionally can exhibit a mischievous streak! They can be quite animated with their families, showcasing their joy with delightful little dances and happy barks. Socialization at an early age is crucial as they can be a bit reserved or shy around strangers.

Health and Lifespan

Every breed has its unique health characteristics, and the English Toy Spaniel is no exception. Generally, they are hearty little dogs with a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. However, like all breeds, they have predispositions to certain health conditions.


Some of the health issues that can be associated with the English Toy Spaniel include heart murmurs, ear infections due to their floppy ears, and some eye conditions. Additionally, due to their compact facial structure, they can sometimes experience respiratory issues. Regular check-ups and early detection can help in managing most of these health concerns.


It’s also worth noting that they can be prone to weight gain. A balanced diet and regular exercise are essential to ensure they maintain an ideal weight.

Care and Maintenance

English Toy grooming

Caring for an English Toy Spaniel is both a joy and a responsibility. Their medium-length, silky coat requires regular brushing to avoid matting and tangling, especially behind the ears and under the legs. They are not heavy shedders, but periodic grooming will help maintain the beauty of their coat.


Exercise needs are moderate. A couple of short walks paired with some indoor play or a romp in a fenced yard usually suffices. But, always be mindful of their respiratory sensitivities and avoid over-exertion.


Diet is essential. Given their tendency to gain weight, it’s vital to monitor their food intake and ensure they get a balanced diet tailored to their age, weight, and activity level. Their ears, due to their size and droop, should be checked regularly for signs of infection or wax buildup. Dental care, like with all dogs, is also essential to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

Training and Behavior

The English Toy Spaniel is an intelligent breed, but they are also known for their independent streak. This combination means that while they are capable learners, they sometimes choose when they want to listen. Early training, rooted in positive reinforcement, is crucial for these little monarchs. Remember, they’ve been pampered by royalty, so a gentle, treat-driven approach usually works best!


Socialization from a young age is essential to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs. Expose them to various people, places, sounds, and experiences. This helps curb any tendency towards shyness or nervousness around strangers.


While generally well-behaved, they can sometimes showcase a bit of a stubborn streak, especially when they set their minds on something. Consistency and patience in training are key. Establishing a routine helps them understand what’s expected of them.

English Toy Spaniel and Families

English Toy with people

English Toy Spaniels are, by nature, companion dogs. This means they thrive in environments where they are part of the family activities. They are affectionate with family members of all ages, from the young to the elderly.


When it comes to children, these spaniels are gentle and often patient. However, because of their small size, it’s crucial that interactions with younger kids be supervised to ensure the safety of both the child and the dog.


As for other pets, English Toy Spaniels generally get along well with other animals, especially if introduced properly. They can coexist peacefully with other dogs and even cats. However, it’s always recommended to supervise initial interactions and ensure a peaceful environment.

Adopting an English Toy Spaniel

Bringing an English Toy Spaniel into your home is a decision that promises endless love and companionship. If you’re considering adoption, it’s essential to ensure you’re ready for the commitment.


Research reputable breed-specific rescues or organizations. These places often have a deep understanding of the breed and can guide you through the adoption process, ensuring a good match for both the dog and the family.


Before adopting, consider your living environment, the time you can dedicate to the dog, and any other pets you might have. Ensuring a suitable home environment is crucial for the well-being of your new furry friend.


Lastly, remember that adoption is a lifelong commitment. Whether you’re bringing home a puppy or an older dog, they’ll depend on you for love, care, and a safe environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the temperament of an English Toy Spaniel?

English Toy Spaniels are known for their affectionate, gentle, and somewhat reserved nature. They form strong bonds with their families and prefer quiet environments.

Do English Toy Spaniels require a lot of exercise?

They have moderate exercise needs, satisfied with short daily walks and playtime. They are well-suited for apartment living due to their size and activity level.

How much grooming does an English Toy Spaniel need?

Their long, silky coats require regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles, along with occasional baths to keep them clean.

What health issues are common in English Toy Spaniels?

They can be prone to heart problems, eye issues, and patellar luxation. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for early detection and management.

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