The English Toy Spaniel (commonly called the “Charlie”) is a small, cute, cobby dog with a merry temperament and appearance. It comes in four different colors and has a profuse silky coat with heavy feathering. The Charlie has a distinctive domed head, a flat punched-in face, large dark eyes and a broad ribcage. It also has the long, low-set, softly feathered ears that are typical of many spaniels. Their tails are usually docked (surgically shortened) a few days after they are born. English Toy Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels look very similar. Sometimes, a short-nosed Cavalier or a long-nosed Charlie will fool even experienced breed aficionados. The most important distinguishing characteristics of this breed are exemplified by its head and face. The Charlie has a plush, chubby face with a soft and appealing expression that reflects its intelligent, gentle nature.
Size and Weight
Generally, English Toy Spaniels are similar in size and weight regardless of sex. Mature adults should weigh between 8 and 14 pounds. Smaller dogs are preferred. These compact dogs rarely reach over a foot tall at the shoulders. Their average height is between 9 and 11 inches.
Coat and Color
English Toy Spaniels are profusely coated, with heavy fringing on their ears, body and chest, and with flowing feathering on both the front and hind legs and feet. Their coat is straight or only slightly wavy, with a silken, glossy texture. Although the Blenheim and the Ruby rarely gain the length of coat of the Prince Charles or King Charles color varieties, good coats and long ear fringes are a desired and prized attribute. Charlies come in four colors. Each variety has the same coat, just in a different color. A dog that has a marked red dot on his or her forehead and red patches on a white body is called a “Blenheim” (pronounced “blenum”). The version of the English Toy that most people recognize is a black dog with tan markings. This is called the “King Charles” variety. A Charlie that boasts tri-color markings (black, white and tan) is known as a “Prince Charles.” Finally, an English Toy that is all mahogany red is called a “Ruby.”
The English Toy Spaniel requires a lot of grooming. The long hair on its face, ears and hind legs is primed to accumulate food, feces, mud and other debris. Without regular brushing, the coat of this breed will mat, which can contribute to skin infections, hair loss (alopecia) and other unpleasant complications. It is especially important to keep the Charlie’s hair groomed behind the ears, behind the elbows and between the back legs. Picking hair away from the mats carefully and gently will preserve the coat. Charlies should be bathed once or twice a month, with a gentle shampoo and conditioner that will keep their coats soft. Brushing and combing of this breed is done not to prevent accumulation of shed hair, but instead to keep mats and tangles under control. English Toy Spaniels are prone to get really messy faces after they eat. They may need a good wipe-down after meals. They also often need their eyes wiped with a damp sponge, to remove accumulated debris. Their ears should be checked regularly for signs of waxy buildup or infection. Weekly brushing of the teeth is helpful to keep tartar from building up and to minimize gingivitis. Monthly nail clippings are in order if the dog does not wear its nails down naturally.