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English Toy Spaniel

Country/Date of Origin: England/1600s

The early history of these little lap dogs is not clearly defined. It is thought they originated in China and arrived in England via Europe. For hundreds of years they have been the pampered darlings of English royalty. They have a lingering hunting instinct, which probably indicates that they were crossbred with small Cocker or Springer Spaniels over the years. It is not known however if they were ever used for hunting purposes. There are four varieties that are identical except for coloring. One of the foundation breeds of the American Kennel Club.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Ruby Spaniel, King Charles Spaniel, Blenheim Spaniel, Prince Charles Spaniel

AKC Group: Toy

Breed Club: English Toy Spaniel Club of America

Rescue Club: English Toy Spaniel Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A miniature spaniel in appearance with a short tail and pushed in face
  • Height: 10-11 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 8-14 pounds
  • Hanging ears are so long they touch or almost touch the ground They are not altered
  • Docked tail is cut to about 1 1/2 inches and is covered with hair that is 3 or 4 inches in length. The tail is not carried above the level of the back
  • Docking is optional and dogs with long tails are often seen
  • The very short face has a wide turned-up muzzle
  • The head is domed and is one of the most important points of the breed
  • Protruding tongue is a serious fault


  • Despite its scowling visage, this is a merry hearted dog
  • Likes its comfort
  • Gets along well with other pets and will tolerate children if they are not too rough
  • Attentive but not demanding. It is a "clingy" kind of dog that doesn't want to leave your side
  • Not outgoing with strangers


  • The coat is moderately long, very thick, and wavy, but not curly. The ears and feet are especially heavily coated. In the Black and Tan the hair on the ears is longer than that of the other varieties
  • There are four allowed color patterns: Ruby - a solid ruby red; Black and Tan ( King Charles)- a black body with tan points; Blenheim - a white ground coat with patches of red chestnut. A blaze of white extending up the forehead and ending in a loop with a red dot in the center is required for this color; and Tricolor(Prince Charles) which is a white ground dog with black patches and tan spots over the eyes, on the muzzle, chest and legs. The ears and vent should also be lined with tan
  • Moderate grooming

Health Concerns:

  • Large, prominent eyes are subject to injury and infection
  • Pushed in face may cause breathing problems
  • Dislocation of joints
  • Ear infections cause by lack of air circulating around the heavily coated, hanging, leathers
  • Large head causes whelping difficulties
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • Low exercise requirements make this an ideal dog for older people
  • Hard to train to do traditional obedience exercises but good manners seem to be inbred in the Toy Spaniel
  • Mary, Queen of Scots, went to the scaffold with one of these little dogs that refused to leave her side

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