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english toy spaniel

Country of Origin: Great Britain

Height: Approx. 10 inches [est.]

Weight: 8 to 14 pounds

Coat: Profuse, long, straight or slightly wavy, silky, glossy; heavy fringing and feathering; mane

Colors: Blenheim (red and white), Prince Charles (tricolor: white, black, and tan), King Charles (black and tan), Ruby (rich mahogany red)

Other Names: King Charles Spaniel

Registries (With Group): AKC (Toy); UKC (Companion)


Ever since there were spaniels, toy versions have curled up in laps and warmed hearts. In England and Europe, the charming spaniel personality in a tiny package was highly valued in a pet. Existing couching and setting dogs were bred smaller and smaller (and other small dogs may have been used), but these tiny companions were basically miniaturized gundogs. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the shortened muzzle, domed head, and prominent eyes recognizable as breed characteristics today started to become desirable.

King Charles II was very fond of these happy dogs, and he lent his name to the little dogs. Today, they are still known by that name, except in North America, where they are called English Toy Spaniels.


This toy spaniel (nicknamed “Charlie” by admirers) has an exuberance about life, a truly affectionate nature, and a passion for his people. He is naturally well behaved and quiet, although it is important for him to be with and around people. Although merry and gregarious with his owner, he can be shy with those he doesn’t know.


Exercise: The English Toy Spaniel appreciates and looks forward to outings, although scampering about underfoot suits him fine, too. He is playful and loves to cavort with people of all ages.

Grooming: The Charlie’s fine, silky coat and featherings nearly reach the ground and must be brushed frequently. The folds of skin around his nose, mouth, and eyes require careful attention as well because these warm, moist spots harbor infection.

Life Span: The average life span of the English Toy Spaniel is 10 to 12 years.

Training: Charlies are naturally well behaved and are good listeners, so they pose few training problems. At times, they can be willful, and housetraining can be a challenge.

Find a Nylabone chew, treat, or toy for your English Toy Spaniel or petite dog!

Excerpt from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition © 2009 TFH Publications, Inc.

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