English Toy Spaniel

"The Spaniel with the Pug Mug"

Photo of English Toy Spaniel


One of the oldest of the toy breeds, the English Toy Spaniel probably has ancestors from Japan and maybe even China, which bred with European toy spaniels to produce a small, docile dog with a feathery coat and a pushed-in nose. Although the English Toy Spaniel existed in England long before King Charles I, his reign launched them into the spotlight, as he adored his black and tan toy spaniels so much that he took them everywhere he went and a parade of dogs often followed him around the castle. Later, the other colors developed - black, white, and tan; red; and red and white. The American Kennel Club accepted the English Toy Spaniel as a unique breed in 1886. Today, the English Toy Spaniel is rare, the 120th most popular breed.


Merry, bright, and animated but also docile, sweet, and calm, English Toy Spaniels make excellent lap dogs and indoor family pets, especially for seniors and families with someone home most of the day. They get along great with other dogs and even cats, although birds and animals might unleash their inner hunter. They love gentle, affectionate children, too, and will be happy to play, but not too roughly and never in the heat. They love to travel with you and make good travelling companions because of their small size and quiet nature.


Small, compact, and square-ish with a short nose, a domed skull, and dark, lustrous, loving eyes, the English Toy Spaniel is wrapped in a flowing, silky coat. Adults stand about 10 to 11 inches and usually weigh between 8 and 14 pounds. Their tails are typically docked to about two to four inches. English Toy Spaniels come in four different colors: red and white, called Blenheim; black, tan, and white, called Prince Charles; black and tan, called King Charles; and red, called Ruby.


English Toy Spaniels are so eager to please that they are easy to train, with patience and consistency. They don't like to be bored or overly taxed, however, so keep training sessions fun, light-hearted, and easy. Like many toy breeds, English Toy Spaniels can be challenging to housetrain if they don't learn what you want. However, taking them out on a regular schedule, supervising them, and letting them rest in a comfy crate for short periods when you can't supervise, will quickly teach them the rules.

Grooming & Care

Although the English Toy Spaniel has a relatively long and feathery coat, it is one of the easiest long coats to groom. Just brush a few times a week with a natural bristle brush and run through the coat with a steel comb. Clip nails, brush teeth, clean out those long ears, and you're done. Regular exercise is important for the English Toy Spaniel, but only in cool weather, or keep it indoors. A few tosses of the ball down the hallway, a game of tug-of-war, and a leisurely stroll around the block are all this little dog needs to stay fit.

Health Concerns

Like many small dogs, English Toy Spaniels can develop luxating patellas (kneecaps that slip out of place) and dental problems. Some may have open fontanels, a soft spot on the skull that doesn't close with maturity. This shouldn't be a problem with a little extra care, but talk to your veterinarian about what you should know about this issue. English Toy Spaniels are also very sensitive to anesthesia.

Famous English Toy Spaniel

Mary Queen of Scots was fond of the English Toy Spaniel; legend has it her favorite wouldn't leave her side as she was beheaded.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 34
Home 44
Children 49
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 62
Challenges Can be too small for very young children; don't tolerate heat and humidity well; likes to chase birds and small animals.
Height 10 to 11 inches
Weight 8 to 15 pounds
Life 10 to 12 years
Home Alone 82
With Kids 86
With Strangers 22
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

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