English Toy Spaniel

Temperament: Gentle, Playful, Intelligent

  • Height: 9-10 inches
  • Weight: 8-14 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Toy Group 

The merry English Toy Spaniel was bred to be the companion of kings. But ETS are spaniels first and pampered lapdogs second, and beneath the patrician exterior beats the heart of a real doggy dog—bright, loving, and willing to please.


The English Toy Spaniel is a compact, hobby and essentially square toy dog possessed of a short-nosed, domed head, a merry and affectionate demeanor and a silky, flowing coat. His compact, sturdy body and charming temperament, together with his rounded head, lustrous dark eye, and well cushioned face, proclaim him a dog of distinction and character. The important characteristics of the breed are exemplified by the head.

About the English Toy Spaniel

The ETS is a square, snub-nosed toy weighing no more than 14 pounds. The large domed head—with its long and lush ears, dark melting eyes, and chubby cheeks—is a famous breed trait. The profuse coat comes in four varieties, each with its own proper name: red and white (Blenheim); black and tan (King Charles); white, black, and tan (Prince Charles); and a solid red (Ruby). Blenheim often have a red mark, the “Blenheim Spot,” on top of the head.

The ETS, like many toy breeds kept by royals, came to assume the personalities of their aristocratic owners. They can be proud and willful, and extremely discriminating in their choice of friends. With their favoured humans, they are affectionate at home and exuberant and curious at play.

NUTRITION The English Toy Spaniel should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and ideally formulated for small or toy breeds. Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with overly high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING The English Toy Spaniel’s long, wavy, silky, and profuse coat should be brushed at least twice a week with a pin brush or soft bristle brush. A long-toothed metal dog comb can also come in handy for gently working through areas where tangles may be beginning to form. Left unattended, tangles and mats are uncomfortable for your dog and can cause skin problems to develop. Regular trimming around the face, feet, and other areas can keep your English Toy Spaniel looking neat. The nails should be trimmed once a month, and a bath every four to six weeks with a gentle shampoo meant for dogs will help to keep the English Toy’s coat and skin clean and healthy. Grooming sessions are a good time to check the dog all over for any new lumps or skin problems, and to check that the eyes and ears are healthy and trouble free.

EXERCISE English Toy Spaniels are moderately active—when outdoors exercising they are alert, playful, and energetic, while at home they are sedate and dignified. They are easygoing dogs who make excellent companions for city dwellers in small apartments who can provide the dogs with daily walks on lead. As a short-faced breed, the ETS is not tolerant of hot weather and should not be left outdoors on warm or humid days.

TRAINING The “Charlie,” as the breed is sometimes known, is quiet, happy, and devoted to his owners. He is forgiving in nature and physically fastidious. Although primarily a companion to owners desiring a merry, affectionate pet, the breed has retained traits of his sporting ancestors and is said to be a fine small hunting spaniel. They are smart but can be stubborn during training; patience, consistency, and a positive, gentle approach are keys to success. Harsh methods are never appropriate for this sensitive, trusting breed. Early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the Charlie grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.

HEALTH English Toy Spaniels are generally healthy dogs, but there are several health and genetic screening considerations specific to the breed, including eye conditions, cardiac disease, and luxating patellas. Dedicated breeders test their breeding stock and communicate with each other regularly to work together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s unique qualities. The English Toy Spaniel’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  1. Cardiac Exam
  2. Ophthalmologist Evaluation

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