There are distinct characteristics that are desired in the English Toy Spaniel, also known as the Charlie, when you plan to show this breed. There can also be some complications. But if you can get past these complications, you will have a truly royal show dog.
The average Charlie for show purposes is between 10 and 18 pounds. There are, of course, exceptions. There are a few Charlies which are larger or smaller as the most important thing is quality overall than actual weight.
The head of the Charlie should be globular. It should be broad and high, with a short stop. It should not appear "nosey". The Charlie should have a sweet expression with its lips meeting exactly. He should be compact and cobby in appearance. Some Charlies are born with a tail that is naturally short, but if it is not naturally short, it should be docked. The Charlie should have a coat that is heavily feathered in appearance. His ears and his feet should be heavily coated also.
When you are showing a Charlie, you must make sure that he thinks it is his idea. You cannot force a Charlie to do anything. A Charlie cannot be forced to act on command. They need to be gently coaxed along and led gently to things such as showing. If your Charlie doesn't want to do it, he simply won't. It requires great amounts of patience as a handler to train a Charlie to do things like training for the ring.
Once you have mastered coaxing the Charlie into training for a show, the handler must take care to make the training a positive experience. The Charlie needs to focus on happy times and the training goals should reflect this. The Charlie has many talents, but they do not include the drive and focus necessary to compete in the world of dog sports. This dog doesn't have the drive to be a strong and fierce competitor. However, the Charlie does have a great attitude and personality that will help it be very happy working along your side in the obedience or agility ring.
The other complication of showing a Charlie is that these dogs have very good memories. It will remember everything! Well, that should make it easy to train, right? Wrong! It will remember every detail that went wrong in the training and in every prior show. If a judge has been particularly heavy handed with it in a show during table examinations, the Charlie will remember it! If another dog has jumped out at it in the ring or from under a chair, the Charlie will remember. This can make them very reluctant to do your bidding!
It is definitely up to you, the handler, to set the tone and make showing a fun activity, or it could quickly turn into a frustrating one for both of you.
With a lot of perseverance and dedication, your Charlie can be a great show dog! He can even learn to look forward to the shows! Together, you will make a great team!