Skip navigation

All About King Charles Spaniel, aka English Toy Spaniel

Share article on Facebook Share article on Pinterest Share article on Twitter (opens new window)
red and white king Charles spaniel smiling outdoors

King Charles Spaniels, not to be confused with Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, are loyal and loving little dogs that can make for a great addition to families.

About the Breed

King Charles Spaniels love their family and prefer to spend as much time as possible around them. Although this is a wonderful trait for people looking for companionship, these dogs can be prone to separation anxiety. It is essential that you do not adopt a Charlie if you will frequently be leaving them alone for long periods.

Due to their pleasant temperament and love of being a lap dog, this breed is an excellent choice for singles, couples, or seniors. While these pups can get along with children, it is highly recommended that they are in a house with older children, as they may not be as good of a match for young kids. These dogs can also learn to get along with other pets, so long as they are socialized beginning at a young age—it's helpful when your Spaniel can grow up around other cats or dogs.

Their quiet disposition, moderate energy levels, and small stature make the King Charles Spaniel an ideal choice for people who live in an apartment.

Breed History

This breed is often associated with England, but it is more likely that these dogs originated in Asia. Experts believe that Japan gifted these dogs to British royalty. During the 17th century, at the time of King Charles II's rule, the popularity of this breed grew exponentially.

It's undeniable that King Charles Spaniels have an uncanny resemblance to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. However, experts believe that because of the included breeding with Pugs, the resulting King Charles Spaniels have a shorter snout and a slightly different appearance from their relatives.

Today this breed is not quite as common as the Cavalier, but the King Charles Spaniel is far from rare.

English Toy Spaniel Facts

Although at first, it may be slightly confusing, King Charles Spaniel's names are aplenty. Their other names and nicknames include English Toy Spaniels, E.T.s, and Charlies. Most importantly, King Charles Spaniels are not called Cavalier King Charles Spaniels because those dogs are a completely separate breed.

Before adopting one of these affectionate dogs, pet parents often have a few items they first want to know. Common questions include:

What's the Average King Charles Spaniel Lifespan?

The expected lifespan for these dogs is 10-12 years, although it is not unusual for them to live up to 16 years of age. Even though this is the average, each dog's health and life expectancy can be affected by numerous factors.

Do King Charles Spaniels Shed?

Simply put—yes. Although they may not shed excessively like some other fluffy breeds, King Charles Spaniels still shed a decent amount. Frequent brushing can help reduce the amount of hair left around your house, but don't be surprised if you still need to run the vacuum a few times a week.

How Big Do King Charles Spaniels Get?

The average size for a Charlie is 8-14 pounds.

What Are Common Colors For King Charles Spaniels?

This breed can be found in four colors, all of which have a specific name. The black and tan color is called King Charles, the black, white, and tan coloration is called Prince Charles, the red and white option is called the Blenheim, and the red coat color is called Ruby.

Though these gentle pups are family-oriented and devoted to their people, they are often shy and reserved around strangers. However, given time, they can warm up and be friends with just about anyone.

red and black and white king Charles spaniels on a leash

Grooming and Care

King Charles Spaniels have long, silky hair that needs to be brushed multiple times a week, preferably every other day. Frequent brushing can help reduce matting and tangles, and overall, keep your dog's coat looking and feeling good.

On average, Charlies need a bath on a monthly basis, although yours may require one more frequently if they happen to get into some mud.

Besides their coat care, your pup will also need their teeth brushed multiple times a week. Be sure to use dog-safe toothpaste and to reward your dog after a job well done. On the list of grooming needs, it's important to keep an eye on your Spaniel's nails. On average, they will need trimmed about once a month or close to when they need a bath. If you are uncomfortable cutting your dog's nails on your own, you can also ask your dog's veterinarian or groomer.

In order to help your Charlie become comfortable with their entire grooming routine, it's vital to introduce them to each item beginning at an early age and always reward them afterward.

Another essential part of taking care of your dog is to provide them with a nutritious diet. The proper food plan can help your dog feel and look great. Just be sure you are giving them age-appropriate food and the recommended amount. Overfeeding can quickly lead to weight gain. Obesity can affect any dog, and a list of other health issues will soon follow.

To help your dog stay in their best health, you must provide them with plenty of daily exercise. King Charles Spaniels are not overly active, so they only require a moderate amount of physical activity per day. This can be through a few walks, a run around the yard, or some games of fetch. Just be aware that as naturally cuddly dogs, you may have to convince your dog that getting off the comfy couch is worth it.

Dogs are not only a long-term commitment, but they are also a financial one. Do you know how much it costs to have a dog?


Training is an essential responsibility for any Spaniel parent. Training should begin at a young age and continue throughout your pup's entire life. Charlies are an intelligent breed, so you may be surprised how much they can learn and retain even at just a few months of age.

Going hand in hand with training is socialization. Socialization is an implemental part of your dog developing a well-rounded personality and temperament. Socialization is also a life-long process, but thankfully socialization opportunities are endless.

Common Health Issues

Charlies are a relatively healthy dog breed, but they can still develop some health issues. According to our claims data,** common King Charles Spaniel health issues include:

  • Mitral regurgitation/insufficiency—condition with the heart's mitral valve
  • Mitral valvular disease (endocardiosis)
  • Heart murmur
  • Cancer
  • Ear infections

Although these conditions are typical for this breed, there is no guarantee that they will develop any or all of these issues.

That being said, one of the best ways to look after your dog's health is to take them for their yearly appointments with their veterinarian. These annual check-ups are an ideal time to talk with your veterinarian about any concerns you may have about your pet's health or behavior.

Even if your pal appears to be completely healthy, it is still crucial that you take them for their check-ups. Some conditions may be challenging to diagnose on your own, so it never hurts to have a professional's opinion. Plus, as the saying goes, a healthy dog is a happy dog.

**Internal Claims Data, 2015-20

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.


calico manx cat resting on a wooden kitchen floor

Manx Cat Facts

Manx cats are not only friendly and playful, but they can also get along with kids, dogs, and other cats—what’s not to love?


two curious French bulldogs in front of a blue couch

Fun Facts About French Bulldogs

Learn more about these free-thinking, cuddly, and lovable little dogs.


white standard poodle resting on a red couch with colorful pillows

All About Poodles

The curly-coated Poodle has been a fan favorite breed for decades. Poodles are smart, friendly, active, and they hardly shed—what’s not to love?