English Toy Spaniel

The English Toy Spaniel, sometimes called the “Charlie” in honor of King Charles, is a precious toy companion. These dogs were bred for the British aristocracy, who wished to possess cuddly toy versions of spaniels. With their squashed faces and puffy coats, these dogs are much more toys than spaniels today. However, they are adaptable and fun family pets. Read on to learn more about the English Toy Spaniel.

Description of the English Toy Spaniel

These dogs are known for their extremely short muzzles, and beautifully profuse coats. They are toys through and through, petite and delicate.

This breed is thought to be a cross of Asian toy breeds and the toy spaniels developed in Britain by King Charles. For years, they have been popular with royalty.

The Charlie has a distinctive look about him, with a very notable coat. They come in a number of colors, each with special names indicative of their history. These dogs can have coats of Blenheim (red and white), King Charles (black and tan), Prince Charles (white, black, and tan), and ruby.

Life Expectancy and Size

These dogs are generally healthy, but have a rather short lifespan at just 10 – 12 years, which is unusual for such a small breed. As toys, Charlies generally stand between 9 and 10 inches, and weigh 8 to 14 pounds.

Protective Ability

This breed is known for mild manners and love of human company. They tend to bark the most when they’re lonely, not when they hear an intruder coming! The English Toy Spaniel is simply too small to be a guard dog, and too sweet natured to be a watchdog. Choose the Charlie for his loving personality, not his ability to offer protection.


These dogs do best with reward and relationship-based training. This can involve treats, but also simple praise is highly effective. While individuals respond quickly, individuals show a stubborn streak. Don’t let that deter you. It is essential to show the English Toy Spaniel why it is in his best interest to listen. This could be as simple as the loving praise he desires.

Do not resort to harsh words with this breed, as they are sensitive and trusting. Anger will make them sad and unresponsive.

Energy Level

This breed would just as soon remain cuddling on the couch all day. The most important requirement for the Charlie is adequate family time. These dogs love their humans and do not like being left alone.

However, it is important to provide at least some exercise so that the English Toy Spaniel stays healthy. Once outside, most individuals will show curiosity and excitement to explore. The difficult part can be getting them out there in the first place!

What Living with an English Toy Spaniel is Like

In less active families, these dogs will enjoy laying in the sun and cuddling up on the couch. You may confuse them with a pillow! Indeed, they always prefer their family’s company. They may be reserved with strangers, but are always friendly.

Unfortunately, these beautiful dogs have very short lifespans. They also have some unique problems, some of which stem from their abnormally short muzzles. This can create breathing issues.

Care of the English Toy Spaniel

These dogs are on the hardier side of toys. They enjoy their place as lifetime companions, but are not quite as delicate as some of their cousins.

Environmental Needs

The English Toy Spaniel is a small breed, and can become cold in winter. In summer, they may find it difficult to breathe in the extreme heat. Thankfully, these dogs are happy spending most of their time indoors. Make sure to provide plenty of shade and water at all times while they are outside.

Exercise Needs

Short daily walks are usually enough to keep these dogs happy and healthy. Ideally, these can be supplemented by time playing in the yard. Charlies liven up and become curious once you get them outside.

These dogs love spending playtime with their owners. Otherwise, they won’t get much real exercise done by themselves.

Shedding and Grooming

These dogs require brushing at least twice a week to remain shiny and mat-free. Their coat is prone to tangles. It is possible to clip periodically around the face and feet to make every day maintenance easier.

This breed sheds some, though not heavily. It is mostly seasonal, so they may require more maintenance during shedding periods.

It is important to check the Charlie’s ears for infection. Many dogs with floppy ears are prone to this problem.

Ideal Home Environment

These dogs are perfect for seniors and laid back adults. They may find small children overwhelming.

This breed is not a good choice for those that want a watchdog or for athletes that want energetic partners. Charlies are first and foremost companion dogs. They are perfect for owners that want toys on the sturdier side.

Most English Toy Spaniels are good candidates to adapt to city living.

Health Concerns

Health problems are generally limited to the usual culprits. Eye, heart, and knee problems are all common.

This breed may have difficultly breathing, especially with heavy exercise and in summer. Ear infections are also common.

Behavior Problems

This breed can have major separation anxiety. If they become lonely, they will likely whine, and maybe even begin destructive behaviors like chewing. They should not be left home alone for extended periods of time.

Some of these dogs may become timid if they are not properly socialized, but most are naturally friendly.