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8 Small Spaniel Breeds you need to know about

Arguably, one of the best small dog breeds in the world is the Cocker Spaniel. They’re sweet, affectionate and gentle to be around, making them a fantastic companion for families, first-time dog owners, pets and those with children in their homes.


But, these aren’t the only traits that make the Cocker Spaniel so special and intriguing to own, the truth is there are a lot out there, and these tiny dog breeds come in plenty. There are at least 8 different types of Small Spaniel Breeds that exist out there.


Keep reading to know which is best suited to your home.


8 Small Spaniel Breeds

Here are 8 small Spaniel Breeds that you need to know about:

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1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a petite breed from the U.K. To put it into perspective, just how small they’re 12-13inches/31-34 cm and weigh between 13-18lbs/5.9-9 kg. Compared to other small Spaniel breeds, they’re easy to distinguish, coming in four different coat colours: tricolour, black and tan, ruby and Blenheim. Their coat tends to be long, sleek and silky to touch with feathering around their body and long ears making it an ideal little dogs breed.


If you’re looking for company, you’ll never be bored with a Cavalier King’s Charles as it has a sporty nature making them a fantastic companion to accompany you on hikes, runs or walks on the beach. They also love participating in agility games, rallies and fly ball, making them fun to be around.


2. English Cocker Spaniel

This dog is one of the world’s cute dog breeds that provide lots of entertainment in the home. Their cheerful, playful, loyal and sensitive personality allows them to be loved by everyone in the family and even visitors to your home. The only downside is their cheery nature makes them a bad watchdog around burglars. They’re a small dog breed weighing between 15-17inches/38-44 cm and weighing between 26-34lbs/11.7-16 kg.


On the contrary, they tend to have a stronger hunting drive compared to other Spaniel breeds, which means they must undergo obedience training as early as possible to eliminate this.


There are no restrictions when choosing the coat colour of the English Cocker Spaniel, as many different ones exist. Unlike some dogs, they’re not a hypoallergenic dog breed and are prone to a medium amount of shedding. Because of this, they require 2-3 brushes a week.


3. Irish Water Spaniel

As its name suggests, the Irish Water Spaniel comes from Ireland and is commonly referred to as the rat tail Spaniel. This is because it has a smooth tail similar to a rat and helps with its swimming.


Its original purpose used to be a dog that helped them retrieve water animals like ducks and geese and get land game such as pheasant and quail. Due to these traits, they can be loyal and playful around families and alert and curious around strangers.


As they were previously water based animals, they tend to carry an athletic and well-built body for their small size. They’re slightly larger than other Spaniel breeds, growing up to 21-24inches/54-61cm and weighing between 41-68lbs/18.6-31kg.


4. Sussex Spaniel 

One long and low-built Spaniel breed worth knowing about is the Sussex Spaniel, coming from the South of England. On average, this dog can grow up to around 13-15 inches/34-39cm and weighs between 35-45lbs/16-21kg. This small Spaniel breed is one of the rarer dogs compared to other Spaniels and nearly went extinct just after World War II.


They exist today but in small numbers, and when you come into contact with one, it’s more than likely you’ll be charmed by their intelligent, affectionate and happy personality. In the home, they’re very loyal, crave attention and love to make deep bonds with family members.


Their coat is often medium length and can be wavy or flat, with feathers around their legs. They have a single coat that comes mainly in a solid golden liver colour with white markings on the chest.


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5. Papillon 

One small toy Spaniel breed that is pretty cute is the Papillion. Out of all the small Spaniels, this is often thought of as the smallest, growing up to 8-11inches/21-28cm and weighing between 6-10lbs/2.7-4.5 kg. Previously this dog used to be known for their dropped ears until they were selectively bred to have upright ears making it the best small cutest breed in our opinion.


This petite dog also has a straight and long singled layered coat that’s medium length. While they do shed, their shedding is not as frequent as other non-hypoallergenic dog breeds; the Papilion only sheds bi-annually. Plus, there’s no one set coat colour this dog has. It comes in white, sable, red & white, white & chocolate, black & white and fawn & white.


Out of all the small Spaniel breeds, this dog is considered one of the most intelligent and friendly. Due to their intelligent nature, they’re easy to train and can learn tricks quickly if taught from a young age. One of the main downsides about the Papillion is that they’re known for their small yet loud voice.


This means if you lived in a closed space, i.e. a flat, or with neighbours nearby, they might disturb them a little. One way to stop them from barking is to not leave them alone for a long time, as they can easily develop separation anxiety.


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6. Boykin Spaniel

Originating from South Carolina in the USA is the Boykin Spaniel. This cute, small breed is fantastic to own if you love the water or live nearby to the ocean or a lake. Part of this is because it has an athletic body and webbed toes. This body was previously used to help retrieve waterfowl from lakes, swamps and rivers.


Today they’re less of a waterfowl breed and more of a gentle, friendly and enthusiastic dog to have in the home. They’re very social around others and don’t have any aggressive traits, as long as they undergo positive reinforcement training from an early age.


There’s some debate that the Boykin Spaniel is small to medium in length, growing up to 14-18inches/37cm-46cm at the shoulder and weighing between 25-40lbs/12-19kg. You can usually identify this dog by its medium length, slightly wavy coat that comes in either brown, dark chocolate, or a rich liver.


7. American Water Spaniel 

Coming from the Great Lakes part of the USA is the American Water Spaniel. This dog breed first came into existence in the 19th century and is thought to be a combination of other Spaniels such as the Irish and English.


Back then, they were mainly known for their water retrieval skills; however, today, they’re more suited as family pets and are fantastic for homes. If you do own one, you must address its high energy needs, as they’re sporty and independent. Therefore, they require at least 1-2 hours of walks a day which can be broken up into shorter periods.


Like the English Spaniel, they have a thick double coat that can be curly or wavy. Typically they have three colours: dark chocolate, brown and solid liver brown. They sometimes have white markings on their chest and toes. They’re also seen as a small to medium-sized Spaniel breed growing up to 15-18inches/39-46cm in height and weighing between 25-45lbs/11-16kg.

8. English Toy Spaniel 

This Small Spaniel is a toy breed that looks similar to a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel; however, it’s quite different. It’s so small it grows up to 9-10 inches/23-26cm and weighs between 8-14lbs/4-7kg on average. The small size of an English Toy Spaniel makes them perfect for cuddling in your lap and is ideal for any sized home.


Unfortunately, if you’re someone who spends a lot of time outside your home, then this dog doesn’t tend to do well as they suffer from separation anxiety and can be prone to barking. Regarding their appearance, they usually have four coat types red and white, black and tan, white, black and tan and ruby. They also shed, but only moderately. To prevent their hairs from falling all over your home, you should brush them each week to remove loose hair and stop the coat from becoming tangled.


What are the other Spaniel breeds?

Alongside the smaller Spaniel breeds, there are some medium-sized Spaniel breeds you might be interested in knowing about too. These dog breeds are the following:

  •   Brittany

  •   Clumber Spaniel

  •   Field Spaniel 

  •   Nederlandse Kooikerhondje 

  •   Welsh Springer Spaniel


Final thoughts

Overall, Spaniels are a charming dog breed to own, and they’re highly unlikely to be aggressive around others in the home. Most of them are very playful and tend to bond closely with family members, being loveable and winning the hearts of many who come into contact with them.


They’re also happy, full of energy and quite intelligent, making them easy to train as long as you start their training early. Whether you’re choosing a small or medium-sized Spaniel, it’s important to know that sometimes their characteristics and appearances differ slightly from others. Therefore you should visit them and meet the breeder first before deciding on buying.


What interests you about small Spaniels? Let us know in the comments below.


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