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English Toy Spaniels: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

English Toy Spaniel temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

English Toy Spaniel dog breed

One of the most amiable and undemanding of the toys, the elegant English Toy Spaniel is easy to live with and easy to like.

One breeder describes him as "quiet, intimate, dignified, funny, and sweet."

Though he does love to play in the yard, he doesn't need or want much more exercise than that. The yard must be fenced, for he has just enough spaniel instincts to chase birds or butterflies into the street.

Calm indoors, a lover of comfort and couches, he enjoys cuddling on laps and snuggling into soft pillows. His soulful eyes invite pampering, which he accepts graciously without taking nasty advantage.

This docile yet merry breed is terrific for senior citizens.

At the other end of the spectrum, he is easily overwhelmed by small children and cannot take rough handling or mischief.

The "Charlie" (reflecting his European name: King Charles Spaniel) is somewhat reserved with strangers. His own family is enough for him, thank you very much.

He is mildly stubborn, but the little training he needs will go well if you use praise and encouragement -- and food rewards never hurt.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is small and pretty, with a short face, large expressive eyes, and a lovely feathered coat in striking colors
  • Is amiable and sweet-tempered
  • Adores comfort, cuddling, and snuggling
  • Doesn't need much exercise
  • Is polite with strangers
  • Is peaceful with other pets

An English Toy Spaniel may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • A dependent personality that must have companionship most of the day to avoid "separation anxiety"
  • Standoffishness toward strangers that can become shyness if not socialized enough
  • Frequent brushing and combing
  • Considerable shedding
  • Waiting lists (hard to find) and a high price tag

An English Toy Spaniel may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

More traits and characteristics of the English Toy Spaniel

If I was considering an English Toy Spaniel, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, English Toy Spaniels need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They become anxious, which they express through destructive chewing and barking.
  2. Providing enough socialization. English Toy Spaniels tend to be standoffish with strangers. They need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds so that their natural caution doesn't become shyness. Teaching your toy spaniel how to be confident with the world is essential. Read about socialization on English Toy Spaniel Training.
  3. Grooming and shedding. To keep their silky coat short and free of mats, English Toy Spaniels require regular brushing and combing, and occasional trimming. English Toy Spaniels shed quite a bit, on the high side of average.
  4. Finding one. This is an uncommon breed, so be prepared for a waiting list and a high price tag.
  5. Health problems. Unfortunately, breeders deliberately breed these dogs to be deformed, with a short face and domed head. As such, they suffer more than their share of health problems – not only with their labored breathing, but also eye problems and neurological problems. See English Toy Spaniel Health.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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