ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

English Toy Spaniel

English Toy Spaniel
John Walton
Written by John Walton

The English Toy Spaniel (also known as the King Charles Spaniel, Prince Charles Spaniel, Ruby Spaniel, Blenheim Spaniel and Charlie) is a dog breed of small size that originated in England.

This breed became famous because of their association with King Charles II of England and Queen Mary I which means that these dogs date back to the 16th century and even earlier. The modern Toy Spaniel has preserved some of his hunting skills; however, today he is just a companion dog. In this article we are going to take a look at English Toy Spaniel’s characteristics and why he might be the right dog for you.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHigh
Exercise NeedsAbove Average

Dog Breed Group:Companion Dogs
Height:10 inches to 11 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 8 to 14 pounds
Life Span:10 to 12 years

When it comes to adaptability, the English Toy Spaniel is a more or less easily adaptable dog breed. However, due to his size and low energy levels, you should be aware that he prefers living in an apartment and that he would not handle well being put in a kennel in the yard. Companion dogs do not like being away from their owners and English Toy Spaniel is no exception.

Additionally, they are good for novice owners because they have a great personality and love pleasing their owners. This is a true companion breed that can be a great friend so there is no need for harsh training. As long as they are trained and socialized for good behavior on time, you probably won’t have any problems with them.

This is a very sensitive dog which means that he will become sick, depressed and self-destructive if neglected for long periods of time.

If you are a person with a busy schedule then this breed might not be for you unless you can take him everywhere with you. The English Toy Spaniel does not tolerate well cold and hot weather, which means that you must keep him in the cool and hydrated during the summer and warm during the winter.

This dog is really friendly and cheerful and shows real affection towards his family and simply adores his owner. He does not like being alone and he is a companion breed in every sense. However, what you should be aware of is the fact that this breed is not great with children.

As this is pretty common with small companion dogs, they do not handle well small children and they do not have patience with them. If they pick on him or try to pull him, the King Charles Spaniel (as the breed is called in the UK) will probably defend himself and bite. When it comes to other dogs and strangers, this breed is usually friendly if they have been socialized properly.

Speaking of general health and grooming, even though the King Charles Spaniel does not drool much, he does shed throughout the whole year and a lot. You will need to brush him all the time but do not be worried, because grooming is not difficult.

However, when it comes to health, the breed is susceptible to many hereditary conditions and they are known for having problems with eyes and heart. Also, the breed can be prone to weight gaining so be careful not to overfeed him.

When it comes to trainability, this Spaniel does not need harsh training and he is easy to train because he loves pleasing his owner. He is moderately intelligent and responds well to positive reinforcement. When it comes to prey drive and the potential for mouthiness, they are very high and should be controlled by proper training. They like barking but they don’t have a strong potential for wanderlust; however, be careful when you let him off leash.

Even though this breed has preserved some hunting skills, he is mostly a companion dog with low energy levels which means that you should never even try to exercise him harshly or too long. The intensity does not have to be high at all because his needs for such physical vigor is minimal. However, this adorable dog is a very playful dog and he is never boring.

Main Highlights
  • The Charlie needs proper socialization because he can be very timid or even too nervous, especially around children.
  • The English Toy Spaniel needs to be brushed every week because he sheds a lot and so you can remove loose and dead fur.
  • This dog breed should be kept on a leash because they are small and sometimes they cannot control their prey drive.
  • The Charlies do not handle well hot and cold weather and they can easily die if they overheat. Never leave them locked in your car!
  • This dog breed is great for apartments.
  • The Charlie is a brachycephalic breed which means that he is allergic to anesthesia.
  • This dog breed does not like being alone and he becomes depressed if neglected by his owner.
  • The Charlie have low energy levels and require minimum physical exercise.
  • The English Toy Spaniels used to be favorite dogs of European royalty and that is how they became popular.
  • This dog breed does not go great with children because they can be nervous around them and bite in self-defense.
  • Never purchase English Toy Spaniel puppies from unfamiliar and suspicious puppy mills or pet stores! Sometimes it is simply better to adopt.
Breed History

It is believed that the English Toy Spaniel’s true place of origin is Japan, mainly because of his shared ancestry with the Pekingese and Japanese Chin. Having in mind that they were given as a gift to European kings, queens and people of royalty, it is possible that is how they found their way to Europe.

The English Toy Spaniel can be seen in royal paintings from the 16th century even though he was a physically different dog compared to the individuals we can see today.

It is possible that it was Captain John Saris who brought this kind of spaniels from Japan in 1613 (their name was Damarets). Centuries after, the English Toy Spaniel began looking more like the breed we know it to be today and he became one of the most popular companion dogs ever.

The American Kennel Club recognized this breed officially in 1997. However, the English Toy Spaniel is less popular than the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and that is why he was identified as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the Kennel Club in 2003.

Size

The English Toy Spaniel is a dog breed of small size. The males and females are more or less the same and weigh 8–14 pounds (3.6–6.4 kg). When it comes to height, they are usually 9–11 inches (23–28 cm). The life span is 10 to 16 years and the size of a litter is 5.

Personality and Character

The King Charles Spaniel is cheerful, friendly, lovable, sweet and beautiful companion dog that can be a loyal friend to the end of his life. He is usually a one-owner dog, which means that he can be affectionate towards the rest of the family but he will love his owner the most.

As we already said, he does not really tolerate noisy and irritating children because he will most likely defend himself and bite. With proper socialization and training he might become less timid and nervous and friendlier.

The breed loves spending time with his owner even if he cannot exercise too much due to his small size and low energy level. They can do well with other pets as well and they are really devoted and happy dogs. This is why they are always recommended to older people or simply anyone who would like a small but loyal companion.

Health and Potential Problems

The English Toy Spaniel is not considered a healthy dog and there are some that might affect him. The breed is prone to:

  • Patellar Luxation is pretty common in Prince Charles Spaniels and small dogs and it is a condition that makes the patella not get properly lined with all of its three parts which consist of the thigh bone, knee cap and calf. Severe types of this condition result in surgery and complete lameness.
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) is a congenital heart disease which happens while the puppy is in the womb and even later on. It can be fixed with surgery.
  • Mitral Valve Insufficiency is a chronic valve disease that usually affects older dogs and it prevents the flow of blood back into the left atrium which can kill the dog. It is usually treated with diet and medication so your Charlie does not over exercise himself even more.
  • Cleft Palate is a condition of a slit that runs in a palate. This is common but puppies born with it cannot survive and they are usually euthanized. The only treatment is surgery.
  • Cryptorchidism is when one of your dog’s testicles fail to descend and this is usually common in smaller dogs. The treatment includes neutering and the removal of testicles.
  • Seborrhea is the condition that affects skin which becomes oily or very dry. The causes vary and it is usually treated with the change in shampoos and diet.
  • Retinal Dysplasia is usually a congenital hereditary disease and there is no treatment for it even though it usually leads to a complete blindness.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is the disease that affects the hip joint which results in deformity of the hip ball in your Prince Charles Spaniel.
  • Hydrocephalus is when the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) makes pressure on the brain and it affects young dogs. Unless it is treated with surgery the puppy will die.
  • Umbilical Hernia is a condition present at birth that is the abdominal fat. It does not have to be treated if it is small.
  • Open Fontanel means that this breed is born with a soft spot on their heads and if they suffer from a blow to that spot they can be killed instantly.
Care Features

When it comes to care features, the basic needs of such a dog are almost the same as for all dogs and they include dental, nail care, and regular bathing and checking for injuries. The Prince Charles Spaniel is a dog breed that prefers living in an apartment because he has low energy levels so he should be walked and exercised on a daily basis but not harshly and as long as it is minimal.

You should always check your dog carefully after each walk to make sure there are no fleas, ticks, cuts, bruises or some other kind of injuries on his body or skin as this breed is prone to infections.

Besides all of the regular brushing, bathing, brushing teeth, nail clipping and grooming, this dog breed should not be left in the yard because he is a companion dog and may become destructive towards himself if his owner neglects him for a long period of time.

Feeding Schedule

This is a dog of small size so his diet should be of high-quality and filled with vitamins and proteins, but the meals should not be large.

Speaking of recommended daily dosage of food for a Prince Charles Spaniel, it should be 0.5 to 1 cups of high-quality dog food per one day, which is usually divided into two meals. Your Spaniel depends on you to always buy him food of high quality and include vitamins, vegetables and proteins; otherwise he might develop health problems later on.

Additionally, even if your Prince Charles Spaniel is very active that does not mean that you are allowed to overfeed him – they are not really prone to weight gaining but it still may develop various health problems.

Coat, Color and Grooming

This Spaniel has a long, soft, and abundant coat that is straight and has a wavy texture. It might look difficult, but grooming is actually easy even though you should still consult a professional groomer from time to time. This dog breed needs a bath once or twice a month and weekly brushing because he sheds a lot throughout the whole year.

Speaking of colors, this breed comes in a wide variety: red, black, white, brown and they always have markings and patches of different colors on their body. They can be tri-color and have various black or white markings with mahogany patches all over their bodies.

The English Toy Spaniel needs to be combed almost daily if you take him outside because his hair gets tangled and messy. Make sure to clean his ears with a warm cloth in order to prevent infection.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

When it comes to children, the English Toy Spaniel is not the most recommended breed and you should be aware of that. This breed does not like noisy households and small children or toddlers who might step on him, pull his tail and annoy him. He will most likely defend himself by biting.

When it comes to other pets and dogs, the English Toy Spaniel is usually friendly, especially if he has been socialized properly and especially is he has grown up with them. If not, he can be suspicious and very timid of other animals so you should make sure to take him to dog parks and introduce him to the world around him. In that way you might prevent any trouble or injury because a friendly dog is always a happy dog.

In the end, we hope that you are now familiar with this adorable dog’s physical traits, personality quirks and most importantly – his basic needs that should be met every single day, as every dog deserves.

Having in mind that the Charlie is not a very energetic and active dog, an apartment might be the best thing for him, because he does not like being alone in the yard. You will need to provide both mental and physical walks on a daily basis so he would not become bored and self-destructive, but they should not be of high intensity.

The Charlie is a very small and sensitive dog who becomes sick and depressed if his owner ignores him, therefore if your work is preventing you from taking care of such a breed, you should not get it. This breed deserves love and proper care and you, as his owner, should provide it all the time. The English Toy Spaniel is a beautiful and loyal dog that might surprise you how lovable and happy he can be as long as he is in your presence.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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