English Toy Spaniel

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About English Toy Spaniel

8-14 lb
10-12 years
AKC Toy Group
Best Suited For
Families with older children, singles and seniors, apartments, houses with/without yards
Quiet, gentle, devoted, stubborn
Comparable Breeds
Japanese Chin, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
10-11 inches
English Toy Spaniel Basics

A true lapdog, the English Toy Spaniel is dedicated to becoming the world’s best couch potato. This breed does like to play too but he prefers doing so on the living room carpet as opposed to outside in the dirt and grass. After all, the dirt and grass could make his beautiful, silky coat dirty! English Toy Spaniels love being spoiled and absolutely enjoy living in the lap of luxury. To them, luxury doesn’t have to be an English estate. It could very well be a small and cozy apartment providing the dog is with the people he loves.

Referred to as Charlies by breed enthusiasts, the English Toy Spaniel was a well-loved pet of many royal families. Both King Charles I and King Charles II favored this breed. In fact, this breed is actually called the King Charles Spaniel in England due to the royal’s affinity of them. It’s no wonder that they are nicknamed Charlies! For more information on the English Toy Spaniel, read on.

A true lapdog, the English Toy Spaniel is dedicated to becoming the world’s best couch potato.


Originating in the Far East centuries ago, the English Toy Spaniel made its way to England in the 16th century. This exotic pet was quite popular among the Royals of that era. The English Toy Spaniel was simply bred to be a well-loved lapdog and live a luxurious existence. Today, these spunky dogs still enjoy relaxing with their owners and living a comfortable life.


It is believe that the English Toy Spaniel is a descendant of some of the Asian breeds such as the Japanese Chin and the Pekingese. In the late 1600s, English Toy Spaniels were bred with Pugs, thus creating a dog with a shorter muzzle and smaller size. During the 1800s, the breed was still being crossed with various exotic short-muzzled dogs. This resulted in the apple-headed, short-muzzled dogs with prominent eyes that we know today.


If there is one thing that English Toy Spaniels like to do, it’s eat. They love eating and would be happy to nosh all day. This isn’t healthy for them as they will become overweight. It is essential that the English Toy Spaniel be fed a high quality, dry food designed for less active, small dogs. Dry kibble will help prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems.

English Toy Spaniels are pretty bright dogs. They have a strong desire to please their owners however; they have a short attention span.


English Toy Spaniels are pretty bright dogs. They have a strong desire to please their owners however; they have a short attention span. To keep this breed interested during training sessions, delectable treats are necessary. Charlies love tasty treats so this will keep him focused and be his reward for working hard during the session.

This breed makes a wonderful therapy dog. Their small size and love for riding in the car make traveling to hospitals and nursing home facilities easy. Patients enjoy allowing this cute little dog to sit on their laps while stroking their soft coats. Everybody feels better with an English Toy Spaniel around!


Weighing in at somewhere between 8 and 14 pounds, the English Toy Spaniel stands between 10 and 11 inches tall at the withers.


The English Toy Spaniel is an all-around, easy-going breed. Unlike many other spaniels, the Charlie isn’t big on barking. In fact, he rarely uses his voice. Of course, he will bark minimally when someone comes to the door. This is a very quiet breed that does well living in small apartments.

A generally cheerful and friendly breed, the Charlie will pick his favorite in the family and give most of his attention to him. He’ll still love and play with the other family members; he just has a preference for his favorite person. English Toy Spaniels bond for life. They don’t understand when people leave and they can become very upset. This breed does best with people who are at home most of the time.

English Toy Spaniels are fragile dogs. They can be harmed or killed by unsupervised kids. A child could simply be running and fall on the dog causing it to get hurt or die. Charlies can also nip at children if the kids are annoying the dog. It’s best for this breed to live with older, well-behaved children and adults.

Common Health Problems

There are numerous conditions for which the English Toy Spaniel is predisposed. Some of these health issues are vertebral disc disease, patellar luxation, congestive heart failure, mitral valve disease, hyaloid artery remnant disorder, glaucoma, distichia and retinal dysplasia. The breed is also prone to ear infections due to the droop ears they sport.

Life Expectancy

On the average, English Toy Spaniels live to be 10 to 12 years old.

Exercise Requirements

English Toy Spaniels are not fans of exercise. They would much rather chill on the couch than to chase a ball in the yard. Although this breed does not require a lot of activity, he does need some exercise to stay healthy and fit. Regular walks are important, but the occasional brisk trot will be beneficial to the Charlie. He might not like it; but it is needed.

This breed is easily enticed with tasty treats. Puzzle toys which hide a treat within tend to keep the English Toy Spaniel intrigued and active inside of the house. Those that have a fenced yard for the dog to play in will find that the Charlie’s playfulness will have him chasing balls and other toys around the yard. Though not the most energetic breed of dog, the English Toy Spaniel will happily spend time playing with kids. That is, until he becomes bored and needs a nap.

The English Toy Spaniel is an all-around, easy-going breed.


The American Kennel Club writes: “The English Toy Spaniel is a gentle, happy and playful loving breed that is naturally well-behaved and intelligent. They are good family companions and play well with children. Their small size makes them ideal for an apartment. All varieties of the English Toy Spaniel are easy-to-groom and require regular twice-weekly combing and brushing.” The English Toy Spaniel was first recognized by the AKC in 1886.


Those who enjoy spending time grooming their dogs will find the English Toy Spaniel to be perfect. This breed’s coat is long and profuse. Feathering covers the ears, legs, chest and body. The coat should be straight or moderately wavy but it should always be silky and glossy.

There are four colors and classifications with the English Toy Spaniel breed. Dogs with a mahogany red coloring are called the Ruby. Those with black, tan and white are called the Prince Charles. Black and tan coated dogs are called the King Charles. Dogs with a white body and red patches on the body as well as a red dot on the head are called the Blenheim.

Because of its profuse coat, daily brushing and combing is needed with a Charlie. Bathing is important to its overall health. The English Toy Spaniel should be bathed at least every other week. Without proper grooming, this breed can experience skin infections and flaking skin.


Charlie puppies are absolutely adorable but they are extremely fragile. They can easily be killed by hugging them too tightly or even tripping and falling on them. Caution must be taken when living with puppies and adults of this breed. Early socialization is important for English Toy Spaniels to lead happy lives. Without it, they can become shy and fearful of strangers.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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