English Toy Spaniels have small, cobby frames with silky, wavy coats that come in four color combinations: The Blenheim (red & white, often with a red “thumb print” on the forehead), The Prince Charles (black, white & tan), King Charles (black & tan) and Ruby ( mahogany red). Their rounded heads have short, Pug-like snouts and hanging ears that are set high and slightly feathered. They have long necks, sloping shoulders and straight forelegs. Their tails are usually docked and feathered.
Thumbnail: Photography by Kayla Bertagnolli, as captured at the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
English Toy Spaniels are cheerful companions. Loving without being jealous, energetic without being boisterous, they are superb pals for playing around the house, cuddling on the sofa and tossing a ball in the yard.
While they do get along with everyone in the family, they tend to bond with their masters. English Toy Spaniels are very good playmates for children, being patient and playful, and they make a good first impression with strangers. Sometimes, they may be shy around new people.
Being people-oriented dogs, English Toy Spaniels crave companionship and attention. Don’t ignore them or leave them alone for too long: They can get depressed, lonely and sometimes mischievous.
English Toy Spaniels may look like adorable lapdogs, which they certainly are, but they also descend from a long line of bird dogs. Therefore, they need room to run—preferably in a fenced back yard. When taking them for walks in the park or around the block, however, don’t forget the leash: They love to chase cars, birds and small critters.
English Toy Spaniels can live as long as 13 years. Common health problems include a heart condition called mitral valve disease, hip dysplasia and ear infections. They need daily brushing, ear cleaning and the occasional grooming.
The English Toy Spaniel originated thousands of years ago in China, making its way to Europe during the Middle Ages. Bred mainly for companionship—especially among the wealthy—the English Toy Spaniel also had a reputation for being a good bird dog.