Logo image
Logo image

Boykin Spaniel: Everything About this Breed

6 minutes
The Boykin Spaniel has a friendly, intelligent and energetic character. This dog of American origin emerged at the beginning of the last century as a retriever. Today it is a highly prized pet. We invite you to learn more about this breed!
Boykin Spaniel: Everything About this Breed
Samuel Sanchez

Reviewed and approved by the biologist Samuel Sanchez

Last update: 15 June, 2023

Within the group of spaniels, we find the wonderful breed, the Boykin Spaniel. Of American origin, this dog has become a prey retriever since its appearance, highly valued for its energy and size. To this day, it’s considered an exemplary pet due to its good character.

Ideal for living with families with children, this dog needs a good dose of daily exercise to maintain its health. There’s much more to highlight about this breed, so we invite you to discover all about the Boykin Spaniel and its origins.

Origin of the Boykin Spaniel

The first decade of the twentieth century was when this breed first started to emerge. At that time, in South Carolina (USA), the hunters in the area required a smaller size retriever than those that existed at that time in the area.

This was because, when they went out in their boats to hunt turkeys and aquatic birds, they were loaded down with their utensils and provisions and there was no room for large dogs. It’s believed that the Boykin Spaniel, named after one of its first breeders: Lemuel Whitaker Boykin, emerged from the crossing of the cocker spaniel, the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and the American water spaniel.

This dog has been recognized by the American Kennel Club since 2009. However, to this day, the International Cynological Federation still doesn’t recognize it as its own established breed.

Some figure

Characteristics of the Boykin Spaniel

Boykin spaniels are considered medium-sized dogs, with males measuring between 39.4 and 43.2 centimeters (15 – 17 inches) and females between 35 and 42 centimeters (13 – 17 inches) at the withers. The weight is between 13.5 and 18 kilos (30 – 40 lbs) in males and 11.4 and 15.9 kilos (25 – 35 lbs) for them. Due to these attributes, they have a compact body with a robust appearance.

Its legs are muscular, its head is wide and it has a powerful jaw. Continuing with its face, its eyes are oval brown or dark yellow. Also, their flat ears fall to the sides and are “glued” to the head.

One of the most characteristic aspects of this animal is its coat of wavy, thick, reddish-brown or chocolate-brown fur. It has an internal and an external layer, the latter being of medium length. The hair is usually somewhat finer in the area of the ears, the belly, the chest, and the legs.

Character and behavior

What really stood out from the beginning was this dog’s intelligence, good predisposition for work , and eagerness to please. These are traits that continue to this day in Boykin Spaniels.

Now, in addition, they’re recognized as great pets because they’re affectionate, docile, and noble dogs. They love being with the family, they’re sociable, get along well with children and other dogs and they have a great capacity for adaptation.

Of course, to maintain that affable and balanced character, it must also be borne in mind that they’re very energetic and active animals. Therefore, in addition to their physical health, they require long daily walks and exercises so as not to accumulate energy and end up negatively influencing their character.

This is also important because they’re dogs that can easily live in different environments, regardless of whether they are in the country or in the city. The most important thing for them is to be able to run freely in an open space every day.

Boykin Spaniel care

In addition to high-intensity exercise, the Boykin Spaniel requires other care. Among them, you must ensure they have quality, balanced food that contains the necessary nutrients for a dog with high physical activity.

Brushing its teeth, trimming its nails, and checking its ears are other important care aspects for this dog. Regarding the ears, it’s essential that you check them frequently, because, as they’re long and drooping, it’s not usually easy to see any problems.

On the other hand, maintaining a clean exterior will also help not only keep your dog looking good, but also protect its health. For this, a minimum brushing of 2 times a week is recommended. This is the only way to remove knots from the dog’s hair, as well as surface dirt.

Boykin spaniel bath

Despite being a dog that needs to spend a lot of time outside exercising, if its coat is kept clean by brushing, baths can be given on a monthly basis. It must be remembered that in dogs it isn’t usually advisable to do it any more frequently, as this would remove the natural protective layer that their skin creates.

For the baths, you should always use a specific shampoo for dogs, which will be the only one capable of protecting their coat without affecting the dermis. You can also use a conditioner for dogs to make the coat look brighter and its subsequent brushing will be much easier.

Once the bath is finished, you’ll have to dry the dog well with a towel. It’s important to gently clean their ears on the inside as well, as the accumulation of humidity can lead to the appearance of fungi and infections.

Finally, if you’re going to use a hairdryer, you should never point it at their face or inside the ears. In addition, it’s advisable to use a medium power and keep a safe distance from the animal’s body, in order to avoid burning them.

Breed training

As they have a docile and intelligent character, training these dogs isn’t complicated. They tend to obey easily, especially you start the training when they’re puppies. Of course, you should remember that, during this early stage, socialization must also take place. This is essential in order to avoid behavioral problems in the future.

To this day, many of these dogs are still trained to hunt, especially in the aquatic environment. This is because they’re extremely good at swimming. Therefore, if the Boykin Spaniel is given the opportunity to exercise by swimming, they’ll thank you for it!

Health and disease

As experts indicate, these dogs are generally quite healthy. Even so, regular check-ups by both the owner and the veterinarian are very important, in order to detect any pathologies in them. In the case of the Boykin Spaniel, it could have some hereditary and breed-related diseases. Among them are the following:

  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Hip dysplasia. This may require traumatic surgery.
  • Patellar luxation. In this condition, the patella dislocates, causing lameness and extreme pain to the animal.
  • Pulmonary stenosis. This is an abnormality of the heart caused by very strenuous activity.
  • Juvenile cataracts.
  • External otitis. Because their ears are low and close to their faces, the ear canal doesn’t aerate properly and infections can occur.
Some figure

This breed has a high life expectancy, between 14 and 16 years. Of course, to reach these ages, it’ll  require the care and attention that we’ve mentioned in this article, in addition to a lot of love from its owners.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • The Boykin Spaniel Society. Recogido el 25 de julio en https://boykinspaniel.org/
  • Boykin Spaniel. American Kennel Club. Recogido el 25 de julio en https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/boykin-spaniel/
  • Tsai, K. L., & Murphy, K. E. (2006). Clinical and genetic assessments of hip joint laxity in the Boykin spaniel. Canadian journal of veterinary research, 70(2), 148.
  • The Happy Puppier Site. Recogido el 25 de julio en https://thehappypuppysite.com/boykin-spaniel/

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.