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English Toy Spaniel Breed Info, Pictures, Traits & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

English Toy Spaniel

Height: 10 – 11 inches
Weight: 8 – 14 pounds
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Colors: Ruby (red), Blenheim (white & chestnut), Prince Charles (tricolor), King Charles (black & mahogany)
Suitable for: Apartment living, retired couples, calm households, families with older children
Temperament: Laid-back, proper, timid, happy-go-lucky, soft-hearted, cuddly

With one look at the English Toy Spaniel, you can see just why so many people are in love with this breed. They have to-die-for snubbed noses, long locks of luscious hair, and stocky little bodies. What’s not to love?

Sweet and shy, the English Toy Spaniel takes a calm, relaxed approach to life. These little dogs provided company to royalty throughout history—and they haven’t forgotten their roots. One of the first toy breeds recognized, this adorable long-haired cutie makes an ideal partner in a chill, peaceful atmosphere.

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English Toy Spaniel Puppies

English Toy Spaniel Puppy
Image Credit: Mariia Kenig, Shutterstock

If you purchase an English toy Spaniel from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay quite a bit. Price varies greatly depending on the vet care, quality of puppies, and preference of the breeder. Always make sure to check the status of the breeder you wish to purchase from so you can make sure they’re legitimate. As a way to stay clear of backyard breeding or scams, it’s best to see proof that the litter is well cared for and in good condition.

You can also get a puppy or a full-grown English Toy Spaniel if you check with rescues and shelters. Some rescues are breed-specific and have waiting lists for adoption requests. You can call around or browse websites in your vicinity to see what you can find.

At times, home placements require rigorous processes like home visits, household requirements (like fences or no children), and written agreements.

3 Little-Known Facts About the English Toy Spaniel

1. The English Toy Spaniels get their flat face look from Pugs.

It is believed that in the English Toy Spaniels were cross-bred with Pugs or Japanese Chins in the 18th century. This accounts for their facial shape and shorter snout, which became shorter over time.

2. English Toy Spaniels have their own coat color names.

Each coat color of the English Toy Spaniel has its own name—talk about fancy! Chestnut and white varieties are called Blenheim. Black and tan types are called King Charles. Black, white, and tan are called Prince Charles. Lastly, the solid red color is Ruby.

3. An English Toy Spaniel may have soothed the Queen of Scots before her execution.

In 1587, legend has it that an English Toy Spaniel accompanied and comforted Mary, Queen of Scots before she was beheaded for treason. While this may not be 100% verified, she did love this small breed during her 44 years of life.

English Toy Spaniel Dog
Image Credit: Mark_KA, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the English Toy Spaniel 🧠

They are incredibly affectionate and loving toward their humans. They attach themselves, bonding strongly to those who live with them. They are also quite inviting to strangers with a slow introduction.

English Toy Spaniels are happy, devoted dogs who will be your shadow. They are also highly sensitive, so you should never try harsh punishments. They do much better with positive reinforcement.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

English Toy Spaniels are excellent for families or single-person households.

While they make wonderful companions, very young children can be a bit overwhelming for them. They are small and mild dogs, so the noise and chaos kids can bring may cause nervousness or timidity. However, if you socialize them early, they may do alright.

Because they are reserved and calm, they make ideal apartment-mates. If they will be outdoors, this dog is not one to stray. But a leash or fenced-in area is advisable to keep your little one safe.

Generally, these dogs won’t want to veer too far away from your sight. They will look to you for guidance, love, and protection. Also, they tend to bond with one person over all others, so you may spot your spaniel picking favorites in the home.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

English Toy Spaniels tend to get along very well with other pets—especially other dogs. They love the companionship that other pooches bring and usually do well with first-time introductions. For being small, they aren’t inherently bossy like some little dogs can be.

These dogs aren’t overly yappy and overbearing, either. So, when playtime happens, they’re happy to romp around without stealing the show. They have a joyful spirit and aren’t usually aggressive. They’re much more likely to cower than dual when it comes right down to it.

They will bond very well with other animals when they are raised together—whether it be another dog or the family cat. They do have a high prey drive and may like to chase smaller animals like rodents. Always supervise playtime and gauge your dog’s reaction, as they all respond differently.

English Toy Spaniel puppy lying in bed
Image Credit: Mariia Kenig, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning an English Toy Spaniel:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

English Toy Spaniels benefit from a well-balanced, nutrient-rich dry kibble diet. Portions will depend on the size, energy level, and life stage of your dog. Always follow the recommended food requirements on the specific dog food you purchase.

These dogs may adore a nice scoop of wet dog food as a topper or as an occasional special dish, but be careful not to make it a daily habit. Wet dog food is fabulous in terms of moisture content. However, it can decay teeth and aid in obesity. Dry kibble helps to keep plaque and tartar from forming.

There is always a chance your pup may have certain allergies or require specific diets. If that is the case, follow a nutrition plan with your veterinarian to ensure your English Toy Spaniel receives adequate sustenance.

Exercise 🐕

These little dogs don’t require a ton of exercise, but they still benefit greatly from daily walks. English Toy Spaniels may also like lounging a little too much, meaning they can be especially prone to weight gain. Appropriate activity is essential for their wellbeing.

These dogs love having a playmate. So, whether that be you or a furry friend, they will be much more inclined to exercise if they have the motivation to do so.

On average, an English Toy Spaniel requires about 30 minutes of exercise per day.

  • Tip: Be careful if temperatures are extreme on walks or outdoor adventures. These dogs are very sensitive to cold and hot climates, as they are a brachycephalic breed.
English Toy Spaniel lying on the ground
Image Credit: Mark_KA, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

When it comes to training your English Toy Spaniel, you run into a few roadblocks here. First of all, they may be slightly delayed in picking up new concepts as opposed to some other canines. You will need to be patient as they learn how to do basic things, like going to potty outside.

Once they pick up on something, they usually retain it quite well. But in terms of any agility training or hyper-focused activities, they won’t show much of an interest.

Remember, English Toy Spaniels are highly sensitive and care very much about what you think. Always make sure you give them lots of positive reinforcement over harsh punishments.

Grooming ✂️

One thing you may find most adorable about an English Toy Spaniel is their long-flowy hair that mimics pigtails. While adorable, coat care is essential. These dogs are prone to matting, so you will need to get ahead of any tangles forming.

They are not hypoallergenic. English Toy Spaniels actually have a double-coat and shed moderately. A quick brush once a day and thorough grooming once a week should keep their coat in mint condition.

You should only bathe your English Toy Spaniel once a month. The natural oils their skin produces helps to keep their coat and skin soft. Over-bathing can interrupt the process and dry out their skin.

Health and Conditions ❤️

As with any purebred dog, English Toy Spaniels are susceptible to certain health conditions over others. Be sure to keep up with regular evaluations at your veterinarians to get ahead of any developing issues as your pup ages.

Minor Conditions
  • Hanging tongue syndrome – Otherwise known as “lazy tongue”, hanging tongue syndrome results from dental decay. Once teeth are missing, it can cause your dog’s tongue to hang out of their mouth.
Serious Conditions
  • Patellar luxation – This is a condition where the joints in the legs become dislocated. It’s due to a genetic defect for loose joints, but this is manageable with veterinary attention.
  • Anesthesia sensitivity – Some dogs are highly sensitive to anesthesia. It can cause bad reactions in dogs, even death. This breed is inclined to have negative responses to this. But luckily, your vet can test before administering the anesthesia in most cases.

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Male vs. Female

Each English Toy Spaniel will bring their share of personal quirks and character. However, certain differences within the breed itself rely more on gender.

The most significant difference between the male and female English Toy Terrier is that unaltered males may mark their territory. Typically, this issue resolves itself when you get the male neutered.

Otherwise, males are a bit more playful and accepting, while females tend to be slightly more reserved and selective. Again, this is a general description and not a judgment toward every dog. Each English Toy Spaniel will exhibit their personalities with their own flavor.

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Final Thoughts

There’s really not a lot of room for error if you select an English Toy Spaniel. They are a safe bet, with a laidback, even-keeled personality. You can have them in a small studio apartment or large mansion—they work out no matter what. Plus, they do amazingly well with other pets and older kids.

If you want a low-maintenance, bubbly buddy that will accompany you on any adventure, you may have found your perfect match. English Toy Spaniels will continue to dazzle the hearts of owners everywhere.

Featured Image Credit: Mark_KA, Shutterstock

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