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Boykin Spaniel… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Have you never heard of a Boykin Spaniel? Well, that probably means that you’re not from South Carolina or don’t do a lot of bird hunting because if you did, there probably wouldn’t be much we could tell you about this incredible dog breed! You see, the Boykin Spaniel dog breed has earned the reputation for being a fabulous dog to take on the hunt with you, which is why he has become a preferred choice by many hunters across the United States.

But that’s not all…

The Boykin Spaniel is an excellent guard dog/watchdog and loyal companion. This is why it’s unsurprising that this little retriever often makes it on folks’ “short list” when determining what “kind” of dog they should get. The only problem is that just like any dog breed, the Boykin Spaniel will have specific “needs” that may make him better suited for folks than they would with others.

Let’s take a moment and discuss some of the pros and cons of owning a Boykin Spaniel so that if you decide to adopt one, you won’t regret your decision six months from now! So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Facts

Country of Origin: United States

Original Purpose:  Hunting Dog

Height:  14 to 18 inches tall

Weight:  25 to 40 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 14 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Sporting

Origins of the Boykin Spaniel

As we’ve already hinted, the Boykin Spaniel is from South Carolina. And if you’ve never been to South Carolina or have never spoken to someone from South Carolina about the Boykin Spaniel, we can save you some trouble and let you know right now that South Carolinians are CRAZY about this dog!

It was so wild that they even decided to make the Boykin Spaniel the official state dog of South Carolina. The funny thing is that South Carolina gave the Boykin this honor in 1985, nearly 25 years before the American Kennel Club (AKC) even chose to recognize the breed!

But that didn’t bother me…

True South Carolinians because they weren’t waiting on the AKC to tell them what they already knew. After all, the Boykin Spaniel had been around for over 80 years since it became the “state” dog!

First developed in the early 1900s, the Boykin Spaniel was created for one purpose and one purpose only… to be the best hunting partner in the world! And in a state where hunting is prevalent, being able to make this kind of claim isn’t something that is going to go “unchecked.” This is why earning the title of “state” dog in a hunting state is a significant feat!

Prized for his ability…

To retrieve game birds, local hunters found the Boykin Spaniel an ideal choice to take out and hunt wild turkeys, waterfowl, and pheasants. It also helped that this retriever was medium, small enough to fit into the boat, yet big enough to handle himself on dry land or water.

Who is the Boykin Spaniel named after?

The Boykin Spaniel gets its name from Whit Boykin, who first bred this particular Spaniel in the early 1900s. During this time, Whit found a stray dog with a fantastic ability to retrieve birds. And it seemed like a “sin” to let this talent go to waste, particularly in a state like South Carolina, so he decided why not cross this dog with a Cocker, American Water Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and a Springer Spaniel. And what emerged from this humble beginning became the cherished Boykin Spaniel!

Physical Characteristics

The Boykin Spaniel is undoubtedly a good-looking dog. And while he is one of the smaller members of the spaniel club, don’t be fooled by his compact size; this dog is tough! Standing between 14 to 18 inches tall and weighing 25 to 40 pounds, the “medium” sized Spaniel means business. His compact body, brown eyes, and flat ears that drop over his cheeks are all keenly in tune with the hunt and will be ready to spring into action once given the signal.

A signal…

That could mean running through the brush, a field, or diving into the water; it won’t matter because the Boykin Spaniel’s rich, lush outer coat is ready for whatever the world can throw at it. Either way, grooming your Boykin SSpaniel’s wavy fur will be easy enough because Boykins don’t shed a ton, so as long as you give his outer coat a light brushing at least twice a week, you should be good.

Personality and Temperament

The Boykin is a very calm and intelligent dog. You can see that by the way he looks at you. He is also very gentle and kind with children. He is not a funny dog and doesn’t clown around, but he is a dog that you can trust. As we’ve already mentioned, the Boykin Spaniel is a hunting dog, which means it requires a lot of exercise if you want to keep him happy.

But remember, even if you are an AVID hunter, chances are you don’t go hunting every day, so remember to be sure to give your Boykin plenty of exercise between the “hunts” so that he’ll not only be a “happy” dog, he will also stay in tiptop shape for you when you need him the most!

Now, if you’re not a hunter…

That doesn’t mean that the Boykin Spaniel can’t also be a great family pet for you. After all, these guys make excellent companion animals and are great with children and other four-legged creatures you may have living with you! You’ll want to be more conscious that your Boykin Spaniel will need plenty of exercises and should be engaged in playtime that appeals to his abilities, such as retrieving items for you.

That said, however…

Suppose you are looking for a pet that will be “content,” spending countless hours on its own, and NOT being given plenty of time to stretch its legs daily. In that case, this will not be the right dog for you because a bored Boykin will likely begin to “act” out either by chewing up everything in your home or by barking at just about everything they happen to see walk by.

Training and Socialization

The Boykin Spaniel is a naturally friendly dog that is extremely smart, which not only makes training them pretty easy but also makes it a lot of fun! Be gentle in your training and use plenty of positive reinforcement, as these guys generally don’t respond well to SHOUTING!

Did we mention he loves water?

If not, we should have, which is why you should always try to allow your Boykin some “water” time, especially if you’re trying to train your Boykin to help you retrieve waterfowl.

Potential Health Concerns

The Boykin is generally a healthy breed but is susceptible to the following health problems…

This is why you should always meet the Boykin puppy only from a breeder who can produce the CHIC certification and proof of DNA tests that show that he comes from healthy parents.

It’s also why…

If you are thinking about adopting a Boykin Spaniel soon, you should also take a moment and consider what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for them. This way, if anything happens to your new “buddy,” you won’t be on the “hook” for 100% of their veterinarian bills.

Check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article for more information about pet insurance policies.

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