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King Charles Spaniel – English Toy Spaniel

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

English Toy Spaniel

The English Toy Spaniel, classified in the toy group, is well known for its long and silky coat and popularity among royalty. The English Toy Spaniel is sometimes referred to as the King Charles Spaniel, a name which was derived from its association with the 17th century king, Charles II of England.

A brief history of the English Toy Spaniel

English_Toy_Spaniel no imageHistorians generally agree that the toy spaniel breeds were first developed in Japan and other Eastern Asian countries, where they may have shared some common ancestry with similar breeds such as the Chinese Pekingese and the Japanese Chin dog. Toy spaniels were often given as gifts by Japanese and Chinese royalty, nobility and traders to European royalty as means of extending friendship between two countries. The popular red and white version of the English Toy Spaniel was first seen in 16th century paintings, such as Venus of Urbino by Titan. These early English Toy Spaniels had pointed muzzles–a difference from the flat and more rounded muzzles of modern English Toy Spaniels.

The English Toy Spaniel quickly became associated with European, and especially English, royalty. Mary I of England, the daughter of Henry VIII, was frequently painted with English Toy Spaniels and was well known to enjoy the companionship of toy breeds. Charles II of England was very well known for his love of the English Toy Spaniel, which is the reason for their other common name, the King Charles Spaniel. Writers at the time recorded how the breed was allowed to roam freely in Charles II’s palace, even during important state occasions and visits.

Characteristics

The English Toy Spaniel is a toy breed and typically stands from about nine to eleven inches tall at the shoulders. The breed is usually light, with most dogs of the breed weighing in at eight to fourteen pounds. Male English Toy Spaniels are typically heavier than females. The breed is known for having large dark eyes, a domed head, and a short nose. Their coats often come in different colors, including white, brown, red, tan and mahogany.

Personality wise, the English Toy Spaniel is known for being extremely friendly–so friendly, in fact, that they are not usually regarded as suitable watchdogs because they may not be wary of strangers. They are generally considered lapdogs that enjoy being given gentle attention, and as such are not suitable for families with high-energy children who are not able to be patient and gentle with them. The English Toy Spaniel is a quiet dog, and is generally considered to be an excellent choice for an owner living in an apartment.

Did you know? Trivia

  • Mary, Queen of Scots was also found of English Toy Spaniels—one of her spaniels accompanied her to the scaffold and, it is said, refused to leave her side even after her decapitation.
  • English Toy Spaniels were primarily black with tan markings up until the 17th century, or around the time of Charles II. Other colors, such as red and white, appeared after this era.