English Toy Spaniel (King Charles Spaniel)
The English Toy Spaniels, or King Charles Spaniels, as they are known in Europe, are a small Spaniel-type companion breed that lives to be just that - the best possible companion. They prefer having one true owner and are not as friendly as their cousin, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
They are calm and not particularly active. They are the happiest when they are with their family at home. They have a fine coat that doesn’t really tolerate cold weather. It is not an excitable dog, so a calm owner is exactly what these dogs are looking for. King Charles Spaniel owners describe them as:
9-11 in (23-28 cm)
8-14 lb (3,5-6,5 kg)
The English Toy Spaniel’s history dates back to the 15th century, and even then, they were popular among the British royalty. The British King Charles II was especially fond of these dogs, and it is believed that he had his own kennel.
These dogs were initially bred as sporting and hunting Spaniels, but they became more of a companion breed over time and selective breeding. The most significant step towards that happened when breeders started crossbreeding them with the Japanese Chin in the 19th century. English Toy Spaniels began taking a different role and played well-adapted family companions.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The English Toy Spaniel is a square-built, dome-headed dog with a sweet nature and a silky coat. This small breed has a sturdy, compact body, which they combined with a charming temperament. Their head is relatively large compared to their size. These dogs have large, dark brown or even black eyes with well-developed cushioning.
English Toy Spaniels are approximately 9 - 10 inches and can weigh 8 - 14 pounds. These dogs also have a short muzzle that prevents them from adequately cooling air during hot days, so if you have one of these dogs, make sure you keep them safe and shaded during hot weather.
The English Toy Spaniels are the best possible quiet lap dog there is. It has an aristocratic temperament - they are calm and dignified. There is a good reason why these dogs, alongside their cousins, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, are called “royal Spaniels” in the UK.
These dogs aren’t active and prefer spending their time close to their owners, sleeping, or relaxing on their laps. They are friendly if you give them time to adjust. The English Toy can act a bit shy or timid when meeting other people and other dogs.
Training is essential for all dog breeds doesn’t matter if they are active herders or lazy lapdogs. Your dog should learn basic commands and orders, and you should make sure they are housebroken, leash-trained, and can obey you as their leader.
These dogs don’t like to listen to command the first time it is given to them, so take your time and be patient with them.
When training an English Toy Spaniel, make sure you use positive training methods. Never use fear, punishment, or pain because not only is it cruel, it can result in an overly shy or even aggressive dog.
Like any other dog breed, the English Toy Spaniel should start the socialization process as soon as possible. Dogs that are not well socialized are prone to behavioral problems and might react badly to situations they are not familiar with.
These dogs are rarely aggressive but can react unpredictably if they haven’t been properly socialized. Socialization can even be done at home. Dress differently; wear glasses, hats, and baggy clothes so your puppy can’t recognize you right away. Teach your puppy to stay alone for a while and not make a fuss about it. It is the best way to make sure your puppy will grow up to be a stable, confident, and well-behaved dog.
English Toy Spaniel and kids
These dogs are not the best choice if there are younger children in the household. They can easily get overwhelmed by the excitement and noise that goes along with kids. These dogs are also quite small, so children could easily unintentionally hurt them. The English Toy Spaniel doesn’t tolerate rough handling, and that is when bites can happen.
Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and understand how to interact and play with them properly.
English Toy Spaniel and other pets
These dogs are extremely calm and peaceful which makes them suited for households with other pets. They can learn to get along with everyone as long as they are properly introduced or raised together.
The English Toy Spaniel has a long, straight-to-wavy coat that is soft and silky. This is one of their best characteristics and one of the reasons they are fairly popular. They don’t require much in the terms of grooming. You can brush them once a week, and give them a bath every 2 - 4 weeks.
They will also need other basic care; brush their teeth at least three times a week. Check their ears for signs of infection and redness, and trim their nails if they don’t wear them down naturally.
Unfortunately, there is a long list of potential health problems these dogs might have. This doesn’t mean your English Toy will develop any of them, it just means you, as a future owner, should be aware of them. Potential health issues include:
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) - Common congenital heart disease that affects many breeds.
- Mitral valve insufficiency - Common amongst older dogs, happens when the mitral heart valve begins to fail.
- Patellar luxation - Kneecap that moves out of its predefined place.
- Cleft palate - Health issue regarding the roof of the dog’s mouth, where by either trauma or by birth the palate has a hole or a slit.
- Retinal Dysplasia - Congenital hereditary disease, affects the development of the dog’s retina.
- Seborrhea - A skin disorder that causes dry, flaky skin, and an unpleasant “dog smell.”
- Cryptorchidism - Disorder that prevents one or both testicles from descending.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease - Disease that causes an abnormal formation of the hip joint.
- Open Fontanel - These dogs are born with a soft spot and in some cases, it fails to close.
- Fused Toes - This is common amongst English Toy Spaniels and shouldn’t be confused with other health issues.
These dogs have an average lifespan of 10 - 12 years.
If you decided that this is the right dog for you, now it's time to find a good and responsible English Toy Spaniel breeder. Buying a dog from such a breeder will provide you with a healthy puppy who will not have health and temperament problems.
These dogs became very popular, and many unethical and bad breeders started to breed these dogs to earn money without worrying about puppy health, temperament, and well-being.
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