The English Toy Spaniel

descriptive textDog breed info
English Toy Spaniel
(King Charles Spaniel)
Weight:9 — 14 lbs
Height: 10” — 12”
AKC Rank 2008 #123
Lifespan: 10 — 12 yrs
Origin: England

Dog breed info—English Toy Spaniel

Breed Overview

Origin 1600’s. Original function: Flushing small birds, Lapdog. Today: Companion, Lapdog. Colors: Black and tan, Red and white, red, black.

The English Toy Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel began as one breed, possibly resulting from crosses with oriental toy breeds. These little dogs were originally found among the wealthy and were used ad foot and lap warmers as well as companions.. They were never used as working dogs. Their popularity saw it's peak during the seventeenth century reign of King Charles II. King Charles doted so heavily on his dogs that the breed was named for him.-the name which is still known in England. In America, they were and are called “English Toy Spaniels.” The King Charles version of black and tan was best known but there is a red and white version which was also bred. The AKC registered the breed in 1886 but the breed has never gained much favor in the USA.


Most are eager to learn new things and do well with training, but some can be slow or stubborn. We suggest clicker training and positive reinforcement as the best solution which you can learn here. This breed also does well with agility training.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Toy Spaniel puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The English Toy Spaniel puppy can be slow and difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.



The English Toy Spaniel is a fun-loving little lap dog. It is gentle, sweet, amiable and best of all, quiet. They are playful, energetic and devoted to its’ family but can be reserved with strangers. The Toy Spaniel has a stubborn streak and while well behaved, can be independent when it wants. They are generally okay with children and other dogs and even household cats. Their pleasant disposition makes them a joy to have around the house. This is not a "great" watch dog, though it may bark at the doorbell. It is a pleasant companion dog to take along on car trips. As with all little dogs, the family must maintain an “alpha-pack-leader” position toward the dog. While treating the dog with kindness, also treat the dog with authority and leadership so he doesn’t decide to “rule the household.” Give the English Toy Spaniel a lot of attention, love and play time. This dog likes company and does not like to be left alone.

If you happen to get an English Toy Spaniel with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Generally likes other dogs. Some may pick and choose their dog friends but they are basically friendly. Most enjoy the company of other dogs.


Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Accepts other pets as a rule. Not aggressive.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Not sure of strangers. Fiercly8 loyal to family but standoffish or reserved with strangers. Can be slow to warm up to people he doesn't know.


Pretty playful. Give her some games or toys and she’ll occupy her time. She’s a happy little dog and loves to have fun.


Moderately affectionate. She rates about 3 bars out of 10 for this. She EXCELS as a lap dog though.

Good with children?

Yes, older, well mannered kids 6 or 7 and up especially. The English Toy Spaniel doesn’t tolerate rambunctious, noisy, poking, pushing, screeching children’s antics. Kids should be taight how to behave around dogs and how to treat them but still should be supervised for the sake of the relationship.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes, excellent choice for seniors. The English Toy Spaniel is playful and affectionate enough, is a lapdog at heart, requires some grooming time and lots of human attention. They require little exercise and just a short walk or some play time so is a good match for the senior.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, flat, farm or ranch all okay.

This is an indoor dog only. Does poorly in heat and humidity. Needs to be around humans and needs lots of human interaction. Can not cope with hot, humid climates.

A house with a doggie door and a fenced back yard would be nice but not necessary.


Energy level

Low energy. Sleeps a lot and chews on toys.

Exercise needs, daily

Low. A short walk or two on leash for mental stimulation is all the English ’toy Spaniel needs. Maybe some play time in the park or yard. See book below—”50 Games To Play With Your Dog.”


Moderate. Will announce the doorbell but not known for being an outstanding watchdog

Guard dog?



Some shedding.


Has a long coat. Brush or comb 2 or 3 times a week to prevent matting,



Suggested Reading - English Toy Spaniel
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • Book at the left - This hardcover book is a complete owners guide from training to care and health. The author is a photographer and there are plenty of photographs. Unfortunately, it is in very short supply at this time, but it is a worthy document.

  • 2nd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" and the title says it all. There is something in this book for every dog to keep his brain stimulated and busy. It's a great diversion from the norm.

  • 3rd book from the left is "50 Games To Play With Your Dog" and this is really good for breaking the monotony. Give your King Charles Toy new, interesting games to play. They are easy to teach and do.

  • At the right is a book by the American National Red Cross that deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual foe all dog owners. This is Vol 2, 2005 and comes with a DVD.

English Toy Spaniel Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Alaskan Malamute puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
English Toy Spaniel Breeders with puppies for sale. They are not very many. Try a search online and see if you can find more breeders, puppies or clubs for leads.

Dog Health Issues For English Toy Spaniels
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the English Toy Spaniel by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Intervertebral disc disease—Biochemical changes in a young dog of certain breeds can cause at least one diseased or mineralized disc in the spine of a dog. A disc that is not functioning properly will cause pain, problems walking, stumbling, severe neck pain and even paralysis. The Dachshund has an 80% chance of having this problem but the English Toy Spaniel can too. Treatments can go from non-invasive doses of anti-inflammatory steroids, muscle relaxants and bed-rest to surgery. Pain meds are also given as needed. Mess with the spine and you have a serious situation and it’s tough on the dog!

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg, weak legs. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small dogs like the English Toy Spaniel. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Valvular heart disease—Usually older dogs. A progressive disease. Heart valves thicken and degenerate. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, reluctance to exercise, fainting, excessive coughing, no appetite, constant fatigue. Can lead to heart murmurs and heart failure. See vet immediately for treatment program!

  • Dental problems. Brush teeth often and have regular vet checkups.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated can lead to total blindness.

  • Glaucoma—Painful pressure builds in either or both eyes and if not treated promptly, will cause total blindness.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Hydrocephalus—An excess of spinal fluid built up in the brain caused by an obstruction in the fluid pathway. Congenital Hydrocephalus is moist common and occurs shortly after birth. A number of things can cause it. Adult dogs can get it from tumors or infections in the brain. Some neurological signs are seizures, loss of coordination, unusual behavior, walking in circles, and blindness. Doctors have various tests to detect this disorder so don’t fool with it if you suspect something is wrong.

  • Patent ductus arteriosis—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosis. That small vessel is supposed to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own With this disease, the vessel does not go away resulting in improper circulation of blood.

  • Legg-Perthes—A disease of the hip joint in young dogs. It is a deforming of the head of the femur head where it fits into the pelvic socket and is generally noticed at around 6 to 8 months age. The disease affects small and toy breeds and can range from mildly debilitating to totally debilitating. It’s very painful and the dog will have a lame leg at the affected hip. Pain can become severe in some dogs and the dog will go from occasional limping to continuous carrying of the leg. Severe muscle atrophy can set in with the appearance of shortening of the affected leg. Restricted joint movement is also a common sign of Legg-Perthes. Surgery will usually restore an English Toy Spaniel to a fairly normal life but prevention at the breeding stage is the right solution.

  • Lazy Tongue - The tongue doesn't always retract all the way back into the mouth.

Other health problems could occur with your English Toy Spaniel. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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