The English King’s name is a combination of its two parent breeds: the English Toy Spaniel and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These two parent breeds have intertwined histories. They originated from the same ancestors in Asia – likely ancient Japan or China. Early versions of Spaniel mixes popped up in Europe around the 17th century. During that time, there were four color combinations that were classed as separate breeds: King Charles (black and tan), Prince Charles (white, tan, and black), Blenheim (red and white), and Ruby (red). The King Charles Spaniel was named after its biggest fan of the era, King Charles II. Over the centuries, King Charles Spaniels were bred haphazardly and varied widely in appearance. This changed when American financier, Roswell Eldridge, traveled to England to buy two Spaniels in the 1920s. He restored breed stability by offering prizes to breeders for King Charles Spaniels that most resembled the dogs depicted alongside King Charles II in artwork and literary accounts. Also around this time, the prefix “Cavalier” was added to the breed’s name. In 1952, the first Cavalier King Charles Spaniels were brought to the United States, and they were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1996. Spaniel mixes that were not siphoned into the “Cavalier” offshoot were grouped together as one breed in 1904. They are now known generally as English Toy Spaniels. This breed is smaller and has a flatter nose than the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel due to breeding with Pugs in the early 1900s. Because the two parent breeds are very similar, this hybrid is relatively common, widely recognized, and popular in the United States and United Kingdom. Nonetheless, English Kings are not recognized by the American Kennel Club and breeders mating the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and English Toy Spaniels should be thoroughly researched if you are considering purchasing a puppy from them.