The Boykin spaniel is a renowned treasure of South Carolina. In fact, Bill 2403 from South Carolina General Assembly declared the Boykin spaniel as the official dog of the state. Further, the state proclaimed 1 September 1984 a Boykin Spaniel Day, having been endorsed by the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Commission.
The Boykin spaniel is especially developed as a hunting dog particularly to aid hunters in the Wateree River. As such, this canine enjoys every opportunity to swim and play in the water.
The Boykin Spaniel is larger than the cocker. This energetic dog makes a great companion not just for athletic people but for families as well. Just like other sporting dog breeds, the Boykin spaniel adapts easily from being a hunting mate to being a family pet.
The Boykin is named after a specific person, L. W. ‘Whit’ Boykin (1861–1932), who is a planter, land appraiser, and a prominent sportsman. Whit and his fellow hunters sought for a dog suited for their hunting expeditions. They preferred a rangy dog that has a solid built for boat travel and can retrieve either on land or water.
Eventually, Mr Alexander L. White came across a stray dog during his walk to the First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He then decided to pet the canine and discovered its natural skill for hunting. White gave the dog called ‘Dumpy’ to his hunting partner, Whit Boykin, for training. Soon, ‘Dumpy’ was mated to a rugged brownish female named ‘Singo’ and produced the Boykin spaniel. The Chesapeake Bay retriever, the cocker, the springer, and the American Water Spaniel are believed to be the ancestors of the Boykin spaniel.
Described as ‘the dog that doesn’t rock the boat,’ the Boykin spaniel is the first breed in that 1900s that met size expectation of hunters. The Boykin spaniel is an excellent retriever of birds and waterfowl. As such, it became the ideal dog for hunters.
The Boykin spaniel is still mainly bred in South Carolina, but it is gaining popularity in other states. It was recognised by the United Kennel Club in 1985 and by the American Kennel Club in 2010.
Appearance and Grooming
The Boykin spaniel is a medium-sized, compactly-built sporting canine that can weigh 11–18 kg and can grow 35–46 cm at the shoulder. The Boykin’s head is well-proportioned to its body. It has flat, dangling ears with oval-shaped eyes in various shades of brown. Some Boykin spaniels have strikingly amber yellow eyes.
As a sporting canine, it has a strong body structure with a well-developed chest. Its back is described to be straight and essentially level. A full view of its hindquarters boasts strength and agility.
This breed is a double coat canine, having an undercoat and an outercoat. The outercoat can be moderately wavy and medium length, whilst its undercoat is short. The ears, chest, legs, and belly are feathered. One of its striking features is the coat’s colour. It can be solid rich liver, brown, or dark chocolate.
Keep this canine in good shape by following a strict weekly brushing. It is advisable to bring it to a groomer to clip the coat neatly. Special care must be given to the ears since moisture tends to be trapped in its long and dangly ears.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Boykin spaniel is affectionate and loves the company of people. It can get along well with cats if they grew up together. Though the breed is friendly, it does not tolerate toddlers. It is advisable to supervise this dog around children. However, it would make for a great playmate for older children who can understand simple game mechanics.
As a hunter’s companion, the Boykin needs regular exercise such as hunting, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and even canoeing. This breed loves the water and enjoys activities that involve swimming in water. Long walks and play sessions are good alternative activities for the Boykin spaniel if its owner is not into outdoor activities. Puzzle toys are recommended for mental stimulation.
The Boykin spaniel is energetic and loves to please its owners making it easy to train. Moreover, it is intelligent and a quick learner. It can follow simple commands. With early socialisation, this canine can be an outgoing and a well-mannered companion.
Nutrition and Feeding
Follow a consistent mealtime schedule and provide the same type of food to avoid stomach upsets. However, if you need to shift to another type of high-quality food, do so gradually. This helps your canine adjust accordingly without complications. A Boykin puppy must be fed three to four times a day whilst an adult Boykin spaniel can be fed twice a day.
Protein is important to be included in a Boykin’s spaniel diet along with some vegetables such as peas, carrots, and celery. However, a consultation with a veterinarian is also needed to ask on which food to avoid as this breed is prone to allergies.
Health and Exercise
The average Boykin lifespan is ten to fourteen years. Although a sturdy canine, this breed is known to be affected by the following health conditions:
- Heart condition called pulmonic stenosis
- Haemophilia A
- Hip dysplasia
- Eye problems
As a very energetic dog, the Boykin spaniel should be exercised daily. The more tired this pooch is, the happier it will be.
Cost of Ownership
The cost of a well-bred Boykin puppy is anywhere from £600 to £1100. Essential dog supplies would be an additional expense that you need to take into account upon the initial purchase. On average, a Boykin owner will need to spend about £300-£600 a year for high-quality dog food and treats as well as grooming products and vet check-ups. Expect to pay more if you get pet insurance for your Boykin. Depending on your location, age of the dog, his health condition, and the policy you choose, you may have to set aside £30-£70 for monthly pet insurance premium.
Boykin Spaniel Breed Highlights
- The Boykin is very energetic and would require a lot of exercise.
- It is suitable for families with older children.
- It is not known as a nuisance barker.
- This breed is a great hunting partner.
Are you sure the Boykin Spaniel is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
Dog Breed Selector Quiz