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 ‘Singo’ and produced the Boykin Spaniel. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker, 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.