English Toy Spaniel

AKC Toy Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The English Toy Spaniel’s origins probably trace back to Asian spaniels and perhaps the Pug; however, the breed was primarily developed in the British Isles. This loving companion dog became a darling of the British royalty, including Mary, Queen of Scots. One type of English Toy Spaniel, the King Charles Spaniel, is named for King Charles II of England, who owned quite a few of these charming little “comforter” dogs. During the nineteenth century, the English Toy Spaniel underwent several changes. He was bred smaller, with a flattened, upturned face, protruding eyes, and a more rounded skull. The result is today’s English Toy Spaniel. The somewhat similar Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is based on the pre-nineteenth-century Toy Spaniel.


The English Toy Spaniel is a small, sturdy, square spaniel with a pug nose, well-defined stop, and rounded skull. The teeth should form a slightly undershot bite. The round eyes are large, dark, and luminous. The nose is black. The long feathered ears are pendant. The soft, silky coat is well feathered and comes in four color varieties: King Charles (black and tan), Ruby (solid red, sometimes with a few white hairs or small white patch on the chest), Blenheim (white with red markings, often with a red “thumb print” centered on top of the head), and Prince Charles (tricolor: white with black and tan markings). The tail is customarily docked.

Key Facts

  • Height:  Averages 9-1/2 in. (female)
  • Size:  Very small
  • Weight:  8 to 14 lbs
  • Availability:  Very difficult to find
  • Talents:  Watchdog


Some bloodlines are prone to respiratory ailments, slipped stifle, eye problems, and ear infections. The eyes and ears should be kept clean to avoid some of these problems. Like many other short-faced breeds, the English Toy Spaniel might wheeze and snore. He might have trouble breathing in hot weather or with overexertion, because of his short muzzle. Protect this breed from extremes of temperature. Can be a picky eater. Good for adults who want a loving, quiet pet that is easy to care for and get along with. Needs very little exercise. Good with other animals.


Sweet but sometimes timid. Happy. Loving, gentle, and playful. Quiet and not demanding. Naturally well-behaved and intelligent, but can be a bit willful. Needs to be treated gently.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Easy to train
  • Independence:  Needs people a lot
  • Dominance:  Low
  • Other Pets:  Generally good with other pets
  • Combativeness:  Friendly with other dogs
  • Noise:  Average barker
  • Indoors:  Relatively inactive indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Feathered coat
  • Shedding:  Average shedder
  • Docking:  The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise:  Very little exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  Does all right without a yard
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates, but does not do well in heat
  • Longevity:  Average (10 to 12 years)

Useful Links

AKC® English Toy Spaniel Breed Standard


English Toy Spaniel Breed Club


Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the English Toy Spaniel


English Toy Spaniel Gifts