King Charles Spaniel: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The King Charles Spaniel or English Toy Spaniel is a sociable, friendly, cheerful and calm breed with whom it is easy and rewarding to live together. It is a clean, discreet and not very noisy animal that usually makes life pleasant for its owners. Its appearance stands out for its beautiful coat and short snout. At Petlifey, we explain the character and characteristics of the King Charles Spaniel.

Character of the King Charles Spaniel breed

The English Toy Spaniel or King Charles Spaniel is an extraordinary companion dog. With a sweet and calm character, this dog is very popular among canine fans, despite the fact that in recent years it has lost some relevance to the well-known Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Its behaviour is active, but not excessively, reserved, docile. In general, it is very sociable, but can be suspicious of strangers. It is an animal with a happy appearance and an intelligent expression.

Animal with a very sociable and cheerful temperament, in general it is easy to share life with them. But it must be borne in mind that, despite this sociability, it is a dog with a selective personality. That is, it is it who chooses the people to whom it is going to give themselves for life and does not give its affection indiscriminately.

This selective nature goes hand in hand with great intelligence and high sensitivity, so the treatment given by its owner must be safe and firm.

But also calm and affectionate, avoiding at all times the abuse of authority or the use of force in its education or training, attitudes that can only lead to ruining a sociable and charming personality.

  • Energy: Medium. It is rather quiet, but you need to get some exercise on a daily basis.
  • Temperament: Cheerful, affectionate, friendly and docile, it is also somewhat reserved, selective and sensitive. Its smart and alert.
  • Adaptability: High. She adjusts very well to city life, and she even likes to spend time indoors. Does not tolerate loneliness.
  • Sociability: High. Very sociable, it gets along especially well with young children and older people. Be a little wary of strangers, but with other animals there are usually no problems.
  • Health: Good. You may have a respiratory or eye problem.
  • Longevity: High. Live from 12 to 15 years.
  • Utility: Company. Sure family dog.

Is it an active dog?

Despite this dynamic and vital attitude, this breed is not characterized by having great exercise needs, a characteristic that further accentuates its suitability as a companion animal.

He loves to be taken out for a walk, an activity that is delicious for its owners, since, calm and sweet, this dog usually responds very well and quickly to work on a leash.

Even so, the walks are not enough for the energy and activity level of this pet, so from time to time it is convenient to let them enjoy a dose of freedom, running around and playing at ease, something that is only owed to them. allow to be done in confined and safe places.

What behavior do you have with children?

The relationship established with children is usually quite good and you just have to be careful to adequately educate the little ones about the particular characteristics of the breed and the care they should give it, teaching them the fundamentals of handling a dog and teaching them about your rights and needs.

How do you behave with older people?

With the elderly, the relationship is not only good, it can be described as extraordinary. Indeed, the English toy spaniel loves to spend hours on its owner’s lap or dozing next to them and when they accompany them on a walk they are polite, careful and never abrupt, which is why they are ideal for any type of guide.

How does it behave with other animals?

With other dogs and even with pets of other species they also clearly demonstrate their great sociability, since they do not cause any problems and the cases of confrontation, most of the time between individuals of the same sex and based on hierarchy problems, are exceptional.

Can you live in an apartment or in the city?

This dog adapts perfectly to urban life, and in general prefers to live indoors and spend most of the day with its owners, since what it does not tolerate at all well is spending many hours a day alone, in case of which is quite common for the animal to develop a separation anxiety disorder.

How do you respond to strangers?

With whom they are sometimes a little suspicious is with strangers, especially in the event that the encounter with them occurs abruptly and unexpectedly.

In these situations, King Charles spaniels do not hesitate to warn with a shrill bark of the presence of strangers or intruders, which is why, like many other companion dogs, they are quite acceptable guardians, with great insight, permanent attention and high dynamism. .

Characteristics of the King Charles Spaniel breed

The general appearance of a specimen of the English toy spaniel or King Charles spaniel is characterized by its compact and hard body, as well as being a refined and elegant animal. Its head stands out, with rounded lines and a very short muzzle.

How is the King Charles Spaniel physically


It is a dog with a compact and robust body, with a short and strong back. With a rectangular body structure, the length of its body exceeds the height at the withers, which is about 29 cm. Its figure is refined and elegant, and its appearance is that of a happy dog.

Their feet are rounded, compact and solid, the so-called “cat’s feet”, and they have sturdy toes with strong joints. They are endowed with good foot pads and sometimes the central pad even melts with the nails. They are presented with long hair in the form of fringes.

In the past, the King Charles Spaniel used to have its tail cut off, and there are still some countries where this practice is still allowed and where it is possible to find specimens with a short tail, covered with good fringe and carried upright, but not on the back.

However, the most common is to find dogs with their tails in its natural state, whose length is usually proportional to the size of the animal’s body, so that the final image is balanced. In this case, the tail is also covered with an abundant fringe of hair and is raised without leaning on the back.


The head is quite large and stands out for its dome-shaped skull and its square, wide and very short muzzle. The stop is well defined and the nose is bulging upwards.

Their ears are set low on either side of the skull, are long and flat, and are covered with long fringes of hair that hang alongside the dog’s cheeks.

The eyes are large and round, set quite low and widely separated from each other; they are dark and denote a complacent, intelligent and calm expression


The coat or coat of the King Charles Spaniel is long, silky and straight, although sometimes it can be wavy, but without being curly. On the extremities, the ears and the tail this coat is longer and forms showy fringes.


There are four possible colorations in the King Charles Spaniel breed:

  1. There are black and tan dogs, which are characterized by having a coat of intense and shiny black hue, but with peculiar tan or bright mahogany spots on the muzzle, on the extremities, on the chest, on the inside of the ears and the lower part of the tail, as well as some small tan markings on the eyes.
  2. Tricolor dogs, whose coat is pearly white with well distributed black spots on the body, bright tan spots on the cheeks, inside the ears and on the underside of the tail. It also shows small tan markings over the eyes, as well as a wide white stripe between the eyes and on the top of the forehead.
  3. The specimens exhibiting the blenheim color have a pearly white background and well-defined reddish-brown spots distributed over the body, as well as a mole on the skull the size of a small coin.
  4. There are also ruby-colored dogs , with the coat of a beautiful, very intense and uniform reddish-brown color, without white spots.

King Charles Spaniel breed standard

  • Origin: United Kingdom.
  • Size: Small.
  • Height at the withers: between 26 and 32 cm both males and females.
  • Weight: between 3.5 and 6.5 kg.
  • FCI classification: FCI nº 128. Group 9 – Companion dogs. Section 7 – Companion English Spaniels.
  • Use: Companion dog.
  • General appearance: It is a refined looking dog with a compact, robust and well balanced body. Its dome-shaped head and its very short, upturned muzzle are characteristic.
  • Head: It is domed in the upper part of the skull.
  • Skull: It is quite large and shaped like a dome.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): It is well defined.
  • Muzzle: The muzzle is square, wide and deep, and it appears bulging upwards.
  • Nose: It is short and black in color, with large, well-open nostrils.
  • Jaws: The lower jaw is broad and somewhat protruding, so that the bite is slightly prognathic, but not to the point that the tongue protrudes. The lips match each other when you close your mouth, so the final look is nice.
  • Eyes: The eyes are very large, round and located with a certain separation between them. They have dark pigmented irises and their gaze reflects a pleasant expression.
  • Ears: Set low, which contributes to increasing the dome aspect of the skull. Very long and flat, they fall straight next to the animal’s cheeks. They are provided with long and abundant fringes.
  • Neck: It is of medium length and arched, thus allowing the animal to carry its head proudly raised.
  • Body: It is compact and robust.
  • Back: It is well levelled and short.
  • Chest: It is broad and deep.
  • Tail: Moderately long, proportionate to the general size of the dog, resulting in a well-balanced figure. It is covered with abundant fringes.
  • Forelimbs: They are short and straight.
  • Shoulders: Well sloped.
  • Forearms and arms: They are strong and solid.
  • Elbows: They are well attached to the ribs, without deviating inwards or outwards.
  • Hind limbs: Very muscular, they give the animal great momentum.
  • Legs: They are strong and powerful.
  • Knees: Well angulated.
  • Hocks: They are low and parallel.
  • Feet: Compact and endowed with solid and strong pads, the feet support straight, muscular and robust legs. They are covered with showy fringes of hair.
  • Movement: The King Charles Spaniel advances with a free, elegant and energetic gait endowed with a lot of momentum thanks to the power that its hind limbs give it.
  • Hair: Long, silky and smooth, with fringes on the ears, legs and tail. It can come in four colors: black and tan, tricolor (black and white with tan spots), blenheim (white with brown spots) and ruby.

King Charles Spaniel education and training

As has become common in this type of small companion breeds, it is quite common for cases of small dog syndrome to occur.

Especially in those specimens that are treated with an excess of care and protection, who are indulged too much and who are placed on the same plane as the humans that make up the family nucleus.

This type of treatment can lead to behavioural disorders that become serious and very discouraging since they completely alter the natural characteristics of the breed’s temperament.

However, if the proper precautions are observed when treating the dog and the advice of an expert is sought in case of a problem, the King Charles Spaniel can be an excellent choice even for inexperienced owners.

And it is that it is an eminently great companion dog, with valuable physical and temperamental characteristics, because for centuries it has been subjected to a precise selection aimed at obtaining a friendly, pleasant, affectionate, reliable dog with whom to share life is a rewarding experience.

Health and diseases of the King Charles Spaniel breed

A healthy breed with few pervasive health problems, the King Charles Spaniel typically enjoys a long, happy life with an above-average longevity. It can live more than 15 years.

However, all this does not mean that there are no diseases that, to one degree or another, stalk the breed and that if they are not controlled as far as possible by their breeders and owners, and avoided whenever possible by means of a selection. very careful and responsible for the reproductive specimens.

For example, one of the most typical conditions of the breed is knee dislocation, a very common ailment in small breeds, which can greatly limit the movements and the daily activations of the dog.

There are also some characteristic heart problems, and other eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma or retinal dysplasia. As in many other breeds that have large and protruding eyes , the eyes are one of their weakest points.

On the other hand, due to the length of its snout, it may suffer from some respiratory problems, not adapting very well to places characterized by extreme weather or high humidity.

Specifically, it is an animal that suffers especially with very hot summers, periods in which it may even need to spend most of the day sheltered indoors and, if possible, with an air conditioner on.

Respiratory problems are increased if the animal suffers from obesity, the most important and widespread health problem among all dog breeds today, and from which the King Charles Spaniel does not escape at all.

Many owners of copies of this breed tend to forget that their dog needs to do some daily activity, even if it is not a lot, to stay in shape.

With which the animal ends up becoming overweight that all it does is, as indicated, increase the incidence of respiratory problems, as well as exponentially increase the chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, joint diseases, etc.

The teeth are another of the weak points of the breed, so it is convenient to take them to the veterinarian so that it can check them periodically.

In fact, the best health strategy that the owner of a King Charles Spaniel can follow is to act preventively and take your pet regularly to the veterinary consultation so that the doctors check the general condition of the dog (mouth, eyes, ears , skin and hair).

In the same way, so that they control the evolution of their growth and their weight, and complete the pertinent vaccination, revaccination and deworming programs, internal and external, stipulated for this breed.

Feeding the English Toy Spaniel

In general, this is not a very demanding dog with food, neither in terms of quantity nor in terms of its composition, so it is easy to find a food suitable to its tastes and needs.

It is a good eater, but if on any occasion the dog refuses its food ration, it may be because there is a latent health problem or related to its teeth.

Care and maintenance of the King Charles Spaniel

As for aesthetic maintenance, the truth is that this is minimal and can be assumed without problems by the owner themselves . In fact, it consists of a simple regular brushing to keep the coat free of tangles and knots, and a trimming of excess hair.

Apart from this, it is advisable to give them a bath when it is really dirty and check the condition of its nails from time to time to trim them if necessary.

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