The English Toy Spaniel dog breed belongs to the Toy Group because of its diminutive size. These dogs are easy going, and extremely gentle; making them ideal as house dogs, especially for those looking for an amiable friend and companion in a dog.
The English Toy Spaniel toy breed originated in England and is closely related to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They were initially one and the same breed that acquired separate identities due to cross breeding with other smaller spaniels and Oriental toy breeds which were introduced into the country. These small dogs may have been used for flushing birds out of the thickets, but they were always popular as companion dogs, mainly living indoors with the family.
There is a legend that says the English Toy Spaniels as well as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels evolved from French toy spaniels brought into Scotland by none other than Mary, Queen of Scots. There is no doubt that the royals and the wealthy aristocrats loved this breed and used them as lapdogs. It was at the time of King Charles II in the 17th century that the English toy breed came to be known as King Charles Spaniels. They were mainly black and tan, but other colors appeared later on. The dogs were further bred for rounded heads, flatter nose and smaller size, eventually resulting in the breed now referred to as English Toy Spaniels.
The English Toy Spaniel dog breed is compact with a domed head and shortened nose that gives it a facial appearance similar to pugs. However, they have a long, flowing coat of silky hair. The different coat colors have specific names such as King Charles for black and ta; Prince Charles for black, white, and tan coat; Ruby for red coat, and Blenheim for white and red combination.
The body is square shaped and well proportioned, but the head is too large for the body. They have large nostrils and eyes too. The long, hairy ears hang close to the head; the tail may be coiled or docked. The dogs are just ten inches in height and weigh up to 12 pounds.
The breed is known for its calm and gentle, yet playful, temperament. They are not as boisterous as other similar sized dog breeds with high energy levels. They are usually friendly with children, and even strangers. They have a need to be around people at all times.
Even though they generally have a sweet disposition, mishandling can cause these dogs to have “small dog syndrome,” and they may show willfulness, timidity, excessive barking, and other undesirable behaviors. They need a loving, but consistently firm, treatment and leadership from all the members of the family, including the children.
Grooming and exercise
Because of their profuse coat, the English Toy Spaniel dog breed requires a bit of grooming. The coat has to be brushed thoroughly twice a week to keep it in good condition.
The exercise requirement of this dog breed is extremely moderate. Regular walks in the park are sufficient to keep them healthy and happy. They may enjoy a few hours in the yard, but it is not necessary. Moreover, the English Toy Spaniels cannot tolerate heat, and if at all it spends any time outdoors, it should be ensured that the weather is mild, and the dog has a cool place to rest. These dogs are thorough housedogs, and are not suitable for outdoor life.
Common health issues of English Toy Spaniel dog breed
The English Toy Spaniel dog breed is a relatively healthy breed with very few health problems. Some dogs may have a congenital heart disorder referred to as Patent Ductus Arteriosus. Patellar luxation is the only major problem they are known to have.
These dogs are known to lose their teeth early and have a condition called hanging tongue syndrome. Unlike the normal hanging of the tongue, the dogs with this condition have no control over their tongue. This breed has a life expectancy of 10-12 years, and regular health checkups should help keep the dogs in good health.