Charles II was completely besotted with his dogs, and they accompanied him everywhere. The King proclaimed that no corner of his kingdom was forbidden to his dogs, even the Parliament. The great diarist Samuel Pepys is quoted as saying that all he witnessed whilst at court ‘was the silliness of the King playing with his dog all the while and not minding his business’. Though perhaps James II, who succeeded Charles II is credited with the best quote. During a wild storm at sea, James shouted ‘Save the dogs and the Duke of Monmouth!’, prioritizing his pets over his son.
History The breed probably originated in the Far East of Asia. It was brought into England in the early 16th century from France, where it was a popular sporting dog. The spaniels were generally employed as ‘cockers’, fetching the woodcock birds at hunts.
Temperament A very affectionate, good natured dog, happy with children and mixes easily with other dogs. Being energetic and sporting they require regular walking. Note that some spaniels never become trustworthy in the vicinity of traffic (their natural instinct is to chase anything that move). The English Toy Spaniel is an average barker, and makes a passable watchdog. They are easy to train, being intelligent and obedient.
Health Some lines have a tendency to respiratory ailments, ENT problems and heart disease.
The popular Cavalier King Charles Spaniel resulted from cross-breeding during the early 19th century. This breed is a little larger than the classic English Toy spaniel, with a flat head and longer snout.