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Life span: 10-13 Years

Height: 9 – 11 inches.

Weight: 8 – 13 lbs.

The English Toy Spaniel differentiates itself from other Spaniels in that it is not bred as a gundog and this is due in part to its small stature. In fact, when fully grown, the Toy Spaniel stands less than a foot tall and under 15 pounds, thus giving it the designation of “Toy”. However, its personality has all the trademarks of the Spaniel family – playful, affectionate, and attentive. The Toy Spaniel comes in four very different color patterns and each is with a specific name: Blenheim, King Charles, Prince Charles, and Ruby.

Physical Characteristics

This small dog has a noticeably small nose and domed head, with long ears that flop down and a long tail that usually remains down when the dog is resting. Their eyes are brown with a black nose. Their coat is long and dense, usually straight but may have a slight wave to it. Coat colors include black, red, white, and brown, and they can be tri colored, bi colored or simply have one color.


Even though they originated in Asia, they were first noticed in England. It is believed they were gifts to royalty from Japan, and before 1903 each color was considered a separate breed, although they were bred together. Brown and black were named King Charles; white, brown and black were named Prince Charles; red and white were named Blenheim; and red were named Ruby. The first were named because of King Charles II of England, the second after John Churchill’s estate (named after his victory in the battle of Blenheim), and so on. It was not until 1904 that the American Kennel Club denominated them one breed and named them English Toy Spaniel. Although they were originally named for hunting, they are not good at it, and are much best suited as pets.


This breed is calm and quiet indoors, and gets along well with children and other household pets. They are, however, wary of strangers, and if not socialized properly might become aggressive towards other animals. They dislike being outside for too long, although they do need a daily walk to be happy, and are sensitive to weather that is too hot or too cold. Given their flat snouts, they are prone to snoring, snorting and wheezing. Being left alone for long periods of time is not an option for this breed, as they may suffer from separation anxiety, which may result in destructive behavior. Even though they are stubborn dogs, they are highly intelligent and learn fast.


Although usually a healthy breed, they can suffer from:

Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis, which is a common congenital heart disease in which a large vessel causing the blood to pass through the heart and evade the lungs doesn’t close when they are born, leading to fluid accumulation in the lungs. This causes labored breathing, fainting, coughing, heart failure, etc, and can be fixed through surgery.

Mitral Valve Insufficiency, which is when the mitral valve begins to fail, preventing the blood flow into the left atrium, sometimes even leading to heart failure.

Cleft Palate, a disease that causes an abnormal opening on the roof of the puppy’s mouth and can be surgically corrected at 4 months old.

Cryptorchidism, in which one or both testicles may not descend, meaning the testicle will not be functional and may eventually cause cancer.

Seborrhea, usually derived from allergies, infections or other skin conditions. It can be recognized through a fetid smell and flaky skin.

Retinal Dysplasia, a malformation of the retina during its development that is present from birth and is usually mild and has no noticeable effects on the dog’s vision.

Legg-Perthes is a disease caused by the lack of blood reaching the femur bone, causing the cartilage around it to crack and for the bone to eventually collapse, affecting the hip joint, and noticeable through the dog limping.

Hydrocephalus, in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain, causing pressure on it. There can be many causes and although it can be tested through ultrasound, it has no cure, but can be treated to reduce the pressure. It can be noticed through a swollen head.

Umbilical Hernia, is present since birth and causes the internal organs or abdominal fat to be pushed against the abdominal wall near the umbilicus. If small, can be left untreated, but if it is large it must be treated with surgery to prevent a deadly disease.

Open Fontanel, in which the dogs are born with a soft spot on the top of their heads that usually closes up when they grow up. In some cases, this spot does not close fully, and these dogs are very sensitive because of it, and hurting their heads might kill them.


Their coat should be brushed at least twice a week, with regular hair trimming around the face and feet. Baths should be given once a month, as well as their nails trimmed, teeth brushed regularly and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. During exercise hour and as long as they are outside, they are energetic, but once they are done exercising and are home, they will be calm. Training can be difficult, since they can be stubborn at times, however, with positive reinforcement, gentleness, and patience as well as early socialization, this can be achieved.


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