The English Toy Spaniel is a compact and almost square dog with a cheerful and loving personality. The body is very sturdy, with their most noticeable part being their head. The English Toy Spaniel is not a large dot, only weighing from ten to fourteen pounds. They have a round head that appears large for their body and has a chubby plush appearance. Their eyes are big and either dark brown or black with a short muzzle and large black nose. Their neck is medium in length and perfectly arched. The body is short and compact with a tail that is usually docked to only a couple inches. They have a feather on the tail which is feathery and only a couple inches long.
The English Toy Spaniel is an affectionate dog that makes a good family pet as they get along with most. Many people confuse them with their cousin, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, although they are actually two separate breeds.
The coat of the English Toy spaniel is long and very pretty, especially when properly brushed and maintained. It's a heavy long coat with feathering on the legs. It has a slightly wavy and very shiny glossy appearance.
The English Toy Spaniel has four different varieties of colors. The Prince Charles is a tri-color consisting of white background and black spots and markings on their face as well. The Blenheim is a chestnut red and white dog with the background being white. This variety often has a spot on the top of the head, which is called the Blenheim spot. The King Charles pattern consists of a shiny black background with brown marks on the legs, under the tail, on the cheeks and inside of the ears. They usually are not any white, but if there is, they will be on the chest. The Ruby English is a deep red color with a few patches of white on the chest.
The origin of the first English Toy Spaniel is somewhat vague to this day. They were first spoken of and seen in the 1500s during the reign of King Charles, which is how one breed got their name King Charles English Toy Spaniel. King Charles and his brother James II loved this dog. In fact, Charles was often criticized for playing too much with his dogs. During a shipwreck in 1613, James ordered the crew to save all the dogs and as an afterthought said, "and Colonel Churchill", who later became the Duke of Marlborough. The dogs were allowed to go any where they wanted, including public places, which is still in affect today in the British Empire.
Breeding efforts began by crossing the spaniel with the bull-dog, Japanese chin and the pug. They became very popular with the French until World War II when may were lost. Only a couple of breeders managed to hang onto a select few. It's this select few that is responsible for the breed still being around today.
In the early 19th century, the breed was what we today know as the King Charles. Eventually the face was shortened and four different colors were established: black and tan, the Blenheim, Ruby and Prince Charles color which is a tri-color.
The English Toy Spaniel is a jolly sort of dog with a wonderful temperament and disposition. At times it may appear shy, but this is only until they get to know someone. If the person shows affection towards the spaniel, the dog warms up to them very quickly. They are playful, loving and very sweet.
The English toy spaniel is, by nature, a very intelligent and well-behaved dog, but it does have a mind of its own. It does need to be treated gently and with kindness and will respond accordingly. They get along well with other dogs. They are a quiet dog that is non-demanding, wanting only to be with other people. In fact, they love being with many people and especially love children. Although they are not bred to be a watchdog, they will do their part. They don't bark excessively, but will bark when it's necessary. The English Toy Spaniel makes a great companion dog and family pet. The largest complaint owners have about this dog is that they are picky eaters. Other than this, they are loved and treasured as a family dog.
The English Toy Spaniel is a relatively healthy dog that doesn't have a lot of health concerns. There are some genetic and hereditary problems that do affect this breed, however. Some of the bloodlines of the English Toy spaniel are prone to slipped stifle and Mitral Valve Disease. MVD can be fatal to the dog if it is not treated immediately. This is a disease of the heart where the mitral valve prematurely ages and fails to function properly.
Some English Toy Spaniels suffer from respiratory problems, a lot of this coming from their short face and pug nose. Because of their face, they may wheeze and snore more than average. Difficulty breathing in hot weather is another concern because of their short muzzle. It's important to no over-exert this dog. Other problems that may affect the English Toy Spaniel are eye disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal dysplasia. They are also prone to ear infections so it's important to maintain good care with their ears, especially if they spend a lot of time outside. Many of the ear infections may be food related, so make sure you spaniel is on a high-quality diet.
The English Toy Spaniel has long hair so will need to be brushed regularly to avoid the hair becoming tangled and matted, especially if they spend any amount of time outdoors. This also gives you the opportunity to check them for parasites or ticks. Every couple of months, you can shampoo the dog with a gentle dog shampoo and conditioner.
If the dog is going to be shown, they will require trimming by a professional groomer, making sure to not cut too much off. Their ears should be checked and cleaned at least once a week. This dog is prone to ear infections so checking them frequently can eliminate and potential problems. You can wipe their ears with a moist cotton ball, but make sure they are thoroughly dried. Any sign of a foul smell or dark wax may indicate a yeast infection or ear infection and should be seen by a veterinarian.
The nails of the English Toy Spaniel should be trimmed on a regular basis to avoid them getting too long and tearing or ripping, thus causing possible damage to the vein.
The English Toy Spaniel needs exercise just like any other dog. They don't need a large amount, however. They enjoy taking walks and should be walked every day. Because they are spending so much time indoors, the exercise helps keep them healthy and out of mischief. If the spaniel is not getting enough exercise, they may turn to mischievous things to keep them occupied.
If you do have a yard, they'll love the opportunity to run around and play. Make sure the yard is fenced in or they may tend to chase after small animals. Because of their intolerance to extreme weather conditions, make sure they are not exercised strenuously on bad days. The English Toy Spaniel should not be exercised too hard as over-exerting themselves can be very harmful to their health. Although they are small dogs, they will still take advantage of any large space they have to romp around.
The English Toy Spaniel is an intelligent and cheerful dog that is fairly easy to train. Because they have a mind of their own, it's important to show them who the alpha is in the family. The earlier in their life they are shown this, the better off you'll all be. They love pleasing their owners and will make training a joyful experience. Crate training is usually the most effective way to housebreak this dog.
It's very important they become socialized at a young age because of their tendency to be shy with strangers. Walking them in a public park or other places where there are people often works well from an early age. Many owners enroll their spaniel in basic obedience training at a young age. They usually do well in this.
Because of their hunting and scenting instincts, it's important to start them on a leash at a young age so they will adapt well and enjoy walks.