- GENERAL DESCRIPTION. The English Toy Spaniel is a toy breed that should weigh between 8 and 14 pounds. However, dogs weighing up to 20 pounds are not uncommon. Their most distinctive characteristic is their domed head, large dark eyes, pushed-in nose and broad ribcage. Their spaniel heritage is marked by long ears and coat, which may be profuse. Tails are frequently but not always docked. The breed comes in four colors: 1) red and white (Blenheim), 2) black, white and tan (Prince Charles or Tricolor), 3) red (Ruby), 4) black and tan (King Charles).
- WHAT'S IN A NAME. Keeping names straight in this breed can be confusing. English Toy Spaniels (also known abroad as the King Charles Spaniel) are affectionately referred to as English Toy Spaniels, ETS or Charlies. These are not to be confused with their cousins, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who are usually called Cavaliers but sometimes they too are called Charlies!
- ENGLISH TOY SPANIELS VS. CAVALIERS. ETS or Charlies have short pushed-in faces and nose as compared to a Cavalier nose, which is about 1 inch from stop to tip. English Toy Spaniel ears should typically be set low to accentuate the domed head and Cavalier ears should be set high to accentuate the flat appearance of the skull. Note, however, that some Cavaliers have lower earsets than preferred and some ETS have higher earsets than preferred, so focusing on the roundness of the head and nose placement will probably help the most in this comparison. ETS tails are typically docked and Cavalier tails are typically undocked and left long. Cavaliers are also slightly larger. Both breeds come in the exact same colors, which share similar but not identical names.
- COLOURS. English Toy Spaniels come in four colors. The parti-colored dogs carry white in their coats. These include the Blenheim (pronounced blenum) and Prince Charles. Blenheims have red patches on a white background. Occasionally one finds the famous Blenheim spot on the top of the skull resting between the red that usually covers the eyes and ears. The Prince Charles, or tricolor, consist of black patches on a white ground with tan over the eyes, under the ears and under the tail. In solid or whole color dogs, one finds the King Charles and Ruby. The King Charles has a black body with tan points over the eyes, under the ears, across the chest and under the tail. This color is also called black and tan. Lastly, the entirely red dog is called a ruby. Sometimes white is found on the chests of black and tans and rubies. Also, in cases of cross-color breeding, white may be found on the head and feet of dogs that otherwise appear to be solids.
- TEMPERAMENT. The English Toy Spaniel is a soft and quiet dog with a merry and sometimes mischievous demeanor. Charlies are more likely to choose their owner than to love everyone. Personalities range from the solitary to the gregarious but Charlies always have their preferred loved ones. Many Charlies are likely to become shy when confronted with situations or people they are unfamiliar with. With their short noses and their exclusive tastes in people, to be loved by a Charlie is a very special experience. In addition, Charlies can be little clowns and show-offs whose antics can entertain in unexpected ways. Their small size and easy care-coats are perfect for the elderly or city dweller, especially since they are not generally known for barking. Charlies can become easily overwhelmed in chaotic households if children are too young and unsupervised.
They are not likely to be aggressive but rather will bite if frightened or mistreated. They usually get along with other breeds of dogs when introduced properly. The best way to train your Charlie is to make a game of it - you'll find these small charmers to be very bright, eager and quick to learn any game of fun! Beware not to be stern or harsh in any correction - your darling will disintegrate emotionally - their sensitivity to their owners is well-known.
They are extremely willing to please their family although they can be stubborn. Some have been difficult to leash train, others love to do whatever the owner wants.
- GENERAL CARE. English Toy Spaniels require little grooming as far as long-haired dogs go. But they do require some - please read about care on the Grooming Page.
Charlies do not require a great deal of food. Providing two meals a day is preferable to once a day. If your dog goes off its food, one thing to check on is its teeth. Teeth in the breed can sometimes be problematic and should be brushed. In general one should lightly feel but not quite see the ribs in order to determine the proper weight for a Charlie. Most will eat between 1/4 to 1 cup a day of commercial dog food but may also require some canned food to make it edible.
There are currently excellent dog foods available for use that contain healthy ingredients without by-products, artificial colors, sugar or other unhealthy additives. Read the labels of the food you choose and make sure it has natural things like meat or fowl, rice, vegetables, oils, vitamins and minerals.
Due to their short noses, the English Toy Spaniel does not do well in hot and humid weather, especially in heavily polluted areas. They may suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) if over exposed in these situations. It is best to provide them with air conditioning in these climates.
Charlies should be kept on-lead or in a fenced-in yard. They should not be left outside unattended especially within an invisible fence or on a tie-out in case they are injured by a larger animal passing through. They should not be considered outdoor dogs. If their knees are in good shape, Charlies will enjoy some gentle hiking if they have been conditioned to it, but otherwise access to a small yard and some visiting around the neighborhood on lead is the most a Charlie will need to keep it in condition. Many city dwellers have paper trained their Charlies with success so they do not ever have to go outside. This helps in case of bad weather or late-night hours.
Return to CRETSC Club Page