Hunters in South Carolina created the Boykin Spaniel in the early 20th century as an all-around hunting dog to retrieve and flush out game. The breed can trace its lineage to a stray in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The dog was first christened Dumpy and displayed exceptional talent as a waterfowl retriever and was given to “whit” Boykin, who sired him with another small spaniel of unknown origin. A variety of other Spaniel breeds and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever were also utilized to develop the Boykin Spaniel. South Carolina designated the breed as the official state dog in 1984.
This dog is a no-nonsense versatile hunting dog exemplified by a neat, compact body, somewhat rectangular proportions; moderate bone; and a waggy spaniel tail. The eyes are a shade of brown, the nose is fully pigmented in dark liver, and the hanging ears lie close to the cheeks. Every feature of its head combines to give the Boykin an alert, intelligent, and confident expression.
Boykin Spaniel Temperament
The Boykin is affectionate and makes excellent family pets. They are pleasant, friendly, enjoyable, and inquisitive entertaining companions. This breed is not a watchdog. Boykins have a strong natural hunting propensity; however, it is a slow-maturing breed and requires training to become incredible hunting dogs.
|Energy level||Watchdog ability|
|Exercise requirements||Protection ability|
|Affection level||Cold tolerance|
|Friendliness toward dogs||Heat tolerance|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Friendliness toward strangers|
|Ease of training|
- POPULARITY: Not very common
- FAMILY: Spaniel
- AREA OF ORIGIN: United States
- DATE OF ORIGIN: 1900s
- ORIGINAL FUNCTION: Flushing and retrieving
- TODAY’S FUNCTION: Flushing and retrieving
- OTHER NAMES: None
Grooming: The Boykin Spaniel’s coat needs brushing weekly. Hunting dogs need to be clipped to minimize injury from foxtails and burrs. Do not bathe this dog more than once a month.
Activity level: These dogs demand daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight and ideal hunting conditioning.
Color: A solid shade ranging from liver to chocolate brown.
Coat: The dog’s outer coat is medium-length with a short, dense undercoat. The outer coat can be flat to wavy, and there is feathering on the legs, belly, and ears.
Year recognized by the AKC: 2009
- MAJOR CONCERNS: CHD, patellar luxation
- MINOR CONCERNS: cataract
- OCCASIONALLY SEEN: pulmonic stenosis, exercise-induced collapse
- SUGGESTED TESTS: hip, knee, eye
- LIFE SPAN: 11 to 13 years
- WEIGHT: Male: 30 to 40 pounds; Female: 25 to 35 pounds
- HEIGHT: Male: 15.6 to 18 inches; Female: 14 to 16.5 inches
Breeders and Buying Advice
Do not purchase this dog impulsively. It is essential to do research and meet multiple breeders and dogs, and select a puppy from lines that have been health-tested. Temperament and personality vary within the breed. Check out the sire, dame, and other related dogs to get an idea of the puppy’s personality.
- Parent club: Boykin Spaniel and Breeders Association of America; founded in 1997 (www.boykinspanielclub.org)
- Rescue: Boykin Spaniel Rescue. Inc. (www.boykinrescue.org)