English Toy Spaniel

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Is the English Toy Spaniel right for you?

Species group:

The basics:
The beloved English Toy Spaniel, a true lapdog, was once a favorite of aristocratic women who admired the breed's beauty and gentle temperament. One legend says Mary, Queen of Scots herself brought the breed to Scotland -- and, after her public execution, her toy spaniel soaked in blood emerged from her skirts, where it had evidently been hidden to provide comfort to the bitter end. To this day, they are renowed for their loyalty and fine qualities as a devoted companion animal.

It's worth noting that this loving, loyal, and aristocratic dog is often confused with a similar breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Take a close look at the head. The English Toy Spaniel will have a squarish head with a very short nose and an undershot bite, while the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should have a more defined nose and a balanced bite that is never undershot.

To add to the confusion, the English Toy Spaniel is actually called the King Charles Spaniel by The Kennel Club in its native UK.

Appearance / health:
The English Toy Spaniel is a small, sturdy, dog with a dome-shaped skull. The deep, pug nose is black with wide-open nostrils. The skull is large in comparison to the body. The eyes are large and set wide apart. The ears are long and low set. The muzzle is short and well defined with an upturned nose. The legs are short, straight, and well feathered. The chest is wide and deep. The back is short and level. The tail is docked and carried level with the back.

They are average shedders. They are known as a wash and wear breed, referring to their minimal grooming requirements compared to other longhaired dogs. Regular brushing is sufficient to keep their coats in good condition and prevent matting of hair. Routine ear cleanups may help prevent infections.

They require low to moderate amounts of exercise. Short walks are sufficient to keep the dog happy and healthy. Heavy exercise can strain the dog's knees.

Several dogs suffer from slipped knees (slipped patellas or stifles). A cardiac problem called Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) is seen in few dogs. Another cardiac problem called Progressive Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) may be seen, as the dogs get older. Hereditary eye problems may be present.

Behavior / temperament:
English Toy Spaniels have a tendency to wander, and hence must be kept on a leash when the dog is outdoors. Though their hunting instincts are not as developed as other dogs, they are not completely absent. For their small sizes, they can be brave.

Always eager to please, these dogs are fast learners and do well in obedience and other tasks. They need to be socialized early to prevent timidity.

They do not bark much.

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