Did you know?
At the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1587 one of her loyal
English Toy Spaniels was hiding beneath her skirts.
English Toy Spaniel
My fashion philosophy is, if you’re not covered in dog hair, your life is empty. – Elayne Boosler
Oddly enough, the English Toy Spaniel traces his origins back to Japan. From there he was taken to Spain and then to England. Once there, he became a favourite of royalty. At the peak of his popularity, King Charles II (1660-1685) was the breed’s patron and in England this dog is still called the King Charles Spaniel or the “Charlie”.
With the subsequent rise in popularity of the Oriental breeds, these small spaniels were crossed with Pugs, Pekingese, and Japanese Spaniels. The resulting dog’s physical appearance, round skull, short muzzle, and upturned nose reveal his ancestry.
English Toy Spaniels, particularly the red and white variety, were commonly seem in art throughout the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Titian, Manet, Gainsborough, and Van Dyck all featured the little dogs in their paintings. From the 16th century, it was the fashion for ladies to carry small toy-sized spaniels as they travelled around town. These dogs were called “Comforters”.
The English Toy Spaniel is less popular than his cousin, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, in both the UK and the United States. English Toy Spaniels are often mistaken for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. However the English Toy is quite a bit smaller, has a shorter muzzle, and a domed rather than a flat skull.
Photos displayed courtesy of Rhoda Ace, KRA Kennel, Ontario
The English Toy Spaniel weighs no more than 14 pounds (6.3 kg) and has a long, silky, straight coat and profuse feathering on the legs, ears and tail. Regular grooming is required. Shedding may be an issue.
There are four colour variations:
King Charles (Black and Tan): rich glossy black, with bright mahogany-tan markings on muzzle, legs, chest, linings of ears, under the tail and spots over the eyes.
Prince Charles (Tri Colour): pearly white with black patches, brilliant tan markings on cheeks, linings of ears, under the tail and spots over the eyes. There is a wide white blaze between the eyes and up on the forehead.
Blenheim: pearly white with chestnut-red patches. There is a wide clear blaze with the “spot” in the centre of the skull.
Ruby: solid rich chestnut red.
As you might expect of a dog once called the Comforter, the English Toy Spaniel is charming, cuddly and possesses a merry and affectionate outlook. One of the most amiable and undemanding of the toys, he is easy to live with and easy to like.
His demeanor tends towards calm when indoors. You will likely find him snuggled into the couch or burrowing into soft pillows. He loves his comforts! While somewhat reserved with strangers, he loves family cuddles and is a terrific breed for senior citizens. He will tolerate other pets well. Like many other toy breeds, he will find the roughhousing of small children too much to handle and is best in a home with older children who will respect his size. This is a dog who is very reliant on human companionship. He needs his people and may suffer from separation anxiety if let alone for long periods. His docile, quiet nature lends itself to therapy work in hospitals and nursing homes.
Bred primarily as a lapdog, the English Toy Spaniel fits well in apartment other accommodation that is not typically dog friendly. His exercise needs are easily met with a romp around the yard. Just make sure it’s fenced. He’ll happily wander off in pursuit of something interesting.