Toy Spaniels

King Charles, Prince Charles, Blenheim, And Ruby

The four Spaniels classified as toys were until a recent period all known as King Charles Spaniels. The division into four varieties is governed entirely by their color, as they are alike in all other respect. In fact, it is not an unusual occurrence for the four varieties to be present in one litter.

The chief points to look for in the selection of puppies of from two to four months old, are: Short faces, short backs, dense coats, great bone, short feet, and well-twisted tails.

The standard description issued by the Chow Chow Club is as follows:

HEAD.-Large and massive; skull flat and broad, with little stop; well filled out under the eyes.

MUZZLE.-Moderate in length, and broad from the eyes to the point (not pointed out at the end like a fox’s); lips full and overhanging.

NOSE.-Black, large, and wide. (In cream or light-colored specimens a pink nose is allowable.)


EYES.-Dark and small. (In a blue dog light color is permissible.)

EARS.-Small, pointed, and carried stiffly erect. They should be placed well forward over the eyes, which gives the dog the peculiar characteristic expression of the breed-viz., a sort of scowl. TEETH.-Strong and level.

NECK.-Strong, full, set well on the shoulders, and slightly arched.

SHOULDERS.-Muscular and sloping. CHEST.-Broad and deep. BACK.-Short, straight, and strong. LOINS.-Powerful.

TAIL.-Curled, well carried over back.

FORE LEGS.-Perfectly straight, of moderate length, and with great bone.

The King Charles is a glossy black with rich mahogany markings, tan spots over the eyes, on the cheeks, the lining of the ear, and the lower parts of the legs and under part of the tail. White is not permissible in the variety, although at one time black-and-white was accepted as a desirable color.

The Prince Charles was produced by the interbreeding of the black-and-white and black-and-tan King Charles Spaniels. They are a pearly white, with evenly distributed glossy black markings covering the body in patches; tan over the eyes and on the cheeks; ears lined with tan, and with tan under the tail.

The Blenheim is red and white in color. They should be pearly white, with patches of rich red chestnut or ruby red, evenly distributed over the body. The ears and cheeks must be red and a white blaze should extend from the nose to the forehead and then curve between the ears. Much importance is attached to the presence in the middle of the blaze of a spot of red the size of a dime. This mark is called the Blenheim spot, and in connection with a profuse mane, is considered as adding much to the beauty of the breed.

The Ruby is, as its name indicates, a rich, unbroken ruby red, the nose, of course, being black. The Ruby is the latest member of this family, but one already very popular, and many good specimens are being shown.

There is no question about the long descent and aristocratic associations of the Toy Spaniels, for they have been the favorites of royalty for many years. They are frequently mentioned in history and occupy prominent positions in the portraiture of various periods. They were popular with royalty in the days of Henry the Eighth and Queen Elizabeth. Charles the Second was devoted to them, and during his reign they were said to have overrun Hampton Court and other palaces. The unhappy Queen of Scots went to the scaffold accompanied by her spaniel, and the Marlborough family, dating from the first duke, had a red-and-white spaniel at their country place, Blenheim, that was known by that name.

It is generally believed that the toy spaniel came from Spain in much their present form, or were bred from Cocker Spaniels in England. They resemble the Cocker in disposition, have the same colors and markings, and the Blenheim spot previously referred to is frequently present on the forehead of Cockers.

The portraits of Van Dyke, Boucher, and Greuze, in which spaniels are frequently introduced, show the toy spaniel of the past had a longer nose and smaller head than those of the present day, and that their ears were longer and often dragged on the ground. The Blenheims of Marlborough were also used for working the coverts for pheasant and woodcock shooting, and were said to have had splendid noses, which many still possess.

The fact that the dogs in the old portraits differed but little from the authentic portraits of Cockers in the beginning of the last century confirms the belief in their relationship.

The contention that the toy spaniel is descended from the Japanese Spaniel is contradicted by differences in character, as the Jap has more of the disposition of the Pug.

The chief points to look for in the selection of all English Toy Spaniel puppies at from two to four months old are the same, except, of course, color, to which some weight should be given according to the standard laid down. They are: Diminutiveness compatible with soundness and robustness, extreme shortness of face, large eyes, lofty skull, short body, nicely proportioned all around, low-set and rather long ears.

The following are the standard description and points of the four varieties as laid down by the Toy Spaniel Club:

HEAD.-Should be well domed, and in good specimens is absolutely semi-globular, sometimes even extending beyond the half-circle, and absolutely projecting over the eyes, so as nearly to meet the upturned nose.

EYES.-The eyes are set wide apart, with the eyelids square to the line of the face-not oblique or fox-like. The eyes themselves are large, so as to be generally considered black; their enormous pupils, which are absolutely of that color, increasing the description. From their large size there is almost a certain amount of weeping shown at the inner angles; this is owing to a defect in the lachrymal duct.

STOP.-The “stop,” or hollow between the eyes, is well marked, as in the Bulldog, or even more so; some good specimens exhibiting a hollow deep enough to bury a small marble.

NOSE.-The nose must be short and well turned up between the eyes, and without any indication of artificial displacement afforded by a deviation to either side. The color of the end should be black, and it should be both deep and wide, with open nostrils.

JAW.-The lower jaw must be wide between its branches, leaving plenty of space for the tongue and for the attachment of the lower lips, which should completely conceal the teeth. It should also be turned up or “finished,” so as to allow of its meeting the end of the upper jaw, turned up in a similar way as above described.

EARS.-The ears must be long, so as to approach the ground. In an average-sized dog they measure 20 inches from tip to tip, and some reach 22 inches, or even a trifle more. They should be set low on the head, and be heavily feathered. In this respect the King Charles is expected to exceed the Blenheim, and his ears occasionally extend to 24 inches.

SIZE.-The most desirable size is from 9 pounds to 12 pounds.

SHAPE.-In compactness of shape these Spaniels almost rival the Pug, but the length of coat adds greatly to the apparent bulk, as the body, when the coat is wetted, looks small in comparison with that dog. Still it ought to be decidedly “cobby,” with strong, stout legs, broad back, and wide chest. The symmetry of the Toy Spaniel is of importance, but it is seldom that there is any defect in this respect.

COAT.-The coat should be long, silky, soft, and wavy, but not curly. In the Blenheim there should be a profuse mane, extending well down in the front of the chest. The feather should be well displayed on the ears and feet, where it is so long as to give the appearance of their being webbed. It is also carried well up the backs of the legs. In the King Charles the feather on the ears is very long and profuse, exceeding that of the Blenheim by an inch or more. The feather on the tail (which is cut to the length of about 3Y2 or four inches) should be silky, and from 5 to 6 inches in length, constituting a marked “flag” of a square shape, and not carried above the level of the back.

COLOR.-The color varies with the breed. The King Charles is a rich, glossy black and deep tan spots over the eyes and on cheeks, and the usual markings on the legs are also required. The Ruby Spaniel is a rich chestnut red. The presence of a few white hairs intermixed with the black on the chest of a King Charles Spaniel, or intermixed with the red on the chest of a Ruby Spaniel shall carry great weight against a dog, but shall not in itself absolutely disqualify; but a white patch on the chest or white on any other part of a King Charles or Ruby Spaniel shall be a disqualification. The Blenheim must on no account be whole-colored, but should have a ground of pure pearly white, with bright rich chestnut or ruby red markings evenly distributed in large patches.

The ears and cheeks should be red, with a blaze of white extending from the nose up to the forehead and ending between the ears in a crescentive curve. In the center of this blaze there should be a clear “spot” of red of the size of a sixpence. The tricolor, or Charles the First Spaniel, should have the tan of the King Charles, with markings like the Blenheim in black instead of red on a pearly white ground. The ears and under the tail should also be lined with tan. The tricolor has no “spot,” that beauty being peculiarly the property of the Blenheim. The club has resolved that the All-red Toy Spaniel be known by the name of “Ruby Spaniel.” The color of the nose to be black. The points of the “Ruby” to be the same as those of the “King Charles,” differing only in color.

VALUE OF POINTS.-King Charles, Prince Charles, and Ruby Spaniels: Symmetry, condition, and size, 20; head, 15; stop, 5; muzzle, 10; eyes, 10; ears, 15; coat and feathering, 15; color, 10. Total, 100. Blenheim: Symmetry, condition, and size, 15; head, 15; stop, 5; muzzle, 10; eyes, 10; ears, 10; coat and feathering, 15; color and markings, 15; spot, S. Total, 100.