Dog Training

Continental Toy Spaniel


Attentive, Energetic, Happy
Size: Small
Height: 20-28 cm
Weight: 2-5 kg
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Coat: Longhair
Colors: White with red, brown or black
FCI Group: Companion and Toy Dogs

This dog exists in two varieties: the Papillon and the Phalène. The toy spaniels are very small and light little dogs and come from France and Belgium. The lively, cheerful mini spaniels were popular social dogs in aristocratic circles centuries ago. Their elegant appearance made them a luxury dog. Nevertheless, they are not lapdogs, but little bundles of energy.

Continental Toy Spaniel
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The Continental Toy Spaniel is a dog breed of French and Belgian origin. It is recognized by the FCI. The breed is assigned to group 9 (social and companion dogs).

The Continental Toy Spaniel belongs to the small dog breeds. Its coat is fine, long and shiny without undercoat. The color consists of a white base with markings in red, brown or black. There are two varieties of this breed: the Papillon and the Phalène. Papillon means butterfly in French, Phalène means moth.

The large, protruding ears of the papillon resemble the shape of a butterfly. The ears of the Phalène point downwards. In the beginning, there were only the droopy-eared toy spaniels. In the 19th century, toy spaniels and Chihuahuas were probably crossed with them. Since then there are also standing-eared Miniature Spaniels. These are more common and popular nowadays.

The cross-breeding of the Miniature Spitz and the Chihuahua also changed the nature of the Papillon. He is even more temperamental and barking than the Phalène. If you keep several Miniature Spaniels together, they will animate each other to bark.

Continental Miniature Spaniels are very lively, active and eager to bark. These lively, spirited doggies need activity and are extremely eager to learn. They are always looking for close contact with their humans. They like to cuddle and play a lot.

However, the Mini Spaniels are also considered to be particularly sensitive. This small dog breed is not recommended for small children. They are particularly empathetic towards their owners. The dogs sense how their humans are feeling right now. They respond to human moods. A harmonious home environment is especially important for the breed.

The small Continental Toy Spaniels are also suitable for apartments. Nevertheless, they need sufficient daily exercise, walks and contact with conspecifics. The dog breed is well compatible with other dogs. Despite their smallness, Miniature Spaniels are extremely robust.

When the opportunity arises, the small spaniel is a passionate mouse hunter. He is a small dog with great character. The small dog breed is suitable for people living alone. It also suits couples and families with older children.

Coat care:




Energy level:




Children suitable:

With supervision

The right food

How should you feed your toy spaniel? As with all dogs, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Feeding is comparatively unproblematic in this breed. The diet must not make the Miniature Spaniel fat. If he gets too much food, this has health consequences. His respiratory system and joints can be affected by excess weight. Especially the knees of toy spaniels are susceptible.

As a small dog, he should get about 210 kcal per day. It is best to distribute this over two to three meals a day. However, the amount and composition of food vary depending on age and activity. You can always get good advice on feeding from the breeder and veterinarian.

There are many reasons why it is best to avoid dry and ready-made food. Instead, you can give fresh, home-prepared food. This should consist of fresh meat, vegetables and cereals. However, you will need some expertise to do this. If you do not have time to prepare food yourself, you can use ready-made food. However, pay close attention to the list of ingredients and a high meat content in the ready-made food.

Always provide your toy spaniel with plenty of fresh water. This is especially important when feeding dry food. You can feed wet food or dry food. There is special dry food for small dogs that they can chew and swallow well.

Continental Toy Spaniel Care

The coat of the Continental Toy Spaniel is easy to care for. You should brush it regularly. Get your dog used to it as a puppy. Brush it every two days. Dirt can usually be brushed out. Bathe your Miniature Spaniel infrequently. And check him regularly for parasites like ticks and fleas. Again, you can get tips on caring for your Spaniel from breeders and veterinarians.

Check his ears and claws regularly. Parasites such as mites could settle in the ears of Papillon and Phalène and cause inflammation. With an ear cleaner for dogs you can regularly maintain the Hundeohren. In winter, you must trim the long hair on your dog's paws. Otherwise, small clumps of snow and ice can form.

Suitable accessories

For your Continental Toy Spaniel, you just need to purchase what every dog needs. Get a collar, leash, dog basket, food and water bowl. Instead of a collar, you can also use a special harness for small dogs. The harness should be soft and fit well, so that your doggie does not slip out of the harness.
Since Continental Toy Spaniels love to play, you can also buy dog toys. However, these toys should be suitable for dogs. The toy should not be dangerous for your dog. Last but not least, you can get towels, blankets, chews and treats.

Continental dwarf spaniel history

Origin & History

In France and Belgium, systematic breeding of small spaniels began at the end of the 19th century. In 1905 the first breed standard was established for the Continental Toy Spaniel. There are also speculations that the small dogs originated from China. Perhaps with the voyages of discovery of Marco Polo Asian small dogs came to Europe at the end of the 12th century.

From the 13th century onwards, similar looking luxury dogs can be found for the first time in Italian oil paintings and frescoes. The small dogs were mostly depicted together with noblemen or children. The Continental Toy Spaniel can also be seen in paintings by the Italian painter Titian. The painter Rubens is said to have owned such a dog. Marie Antoinette and the Marquise de Pompadour also had one. An ancestor of the Continental Toy Spaniel was depicted in a painting next to the Sun King Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

Perhaps the toy spaniels originated from the larger hunting spaniels. And then they became pastime and playmates of noble ladies and children. Even today Papillons and Phalènes still have some hunting instinct.

The spread of the toy spaniel happened from Italy. Thanks to France, the small dog breed has survived to this day. The toy dogs were very popular at the French court for centuries. There, the external breed characteristics were not significantly changed by breeding. At the English court, a different appearance of the toy spaniel was preferred. There the English Toy Spaniels were created.

The nobility perished in the course of the French Revolution. And with him the toy spaniels almost disappeared. At the end of the 19th century there were again lovers of this small dog breed in France and Belgium. They started a dedicated breeding and saved the small dog breed from extinction.

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