Boykin Spaniel Dog


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Boykin Spaniel Dog

Breed information guide

The Boykin Spaniel, cloaked in its eye-catching liver-brown coat, serves as more than just a visual spectacle—it’s a breed steeped in history and ever-increasing popularity. The American Kennel Club (AKC) not only recognized the breed in 2009 but also ranked it 82 out of 200, signalling its continued rise in the canine world and its indelible impression on dog enthusiasts across the globe.

Explore further to uncover the captivating evolution of the Boykin Spaniel, from its official recognition to its growing status as a beloved companion. Learn why this charismatic breed is winning over hearts and minds in the UK, US and round the globe, one wagging tail at a time.

Quick Facts:

  • Size: Medium size breed
  • Weight: Males 14-18 kg (approx.30 to 40 pounds), females weighing between 11-16 kg (approx. 25 to 35 pounds)
  • Height: Males 41-46 cm (approx.16 to 18 inches), females typically being 36-41 cm (approx.14 to 16 inches).
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years.
  • Types: The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized sporting dog breed native to South Carolina. It is known for its floppy ears, sturdy body, and liver-brown fur on its wavy, waterproof double coat.
  • Families: Boykin Spaniels are a great choice for active families with children. They typically do well with other dogs and pets, especially when socialised from a young age.
  • Allergies: Boykin Spaniels are not hypoallergenic.
  • Appearance: Medium-sized sporting dog with floppy ears, a sturdy body, and liver-brown fur on its wavy, waterproof double coat.
  • Temperament: Intelligent, friendly, bright, active, and loyal. They are known for their energetic personality and affectionate nature.
  • Other pets: Boykin Spaniels typically do well with other dogs and pets like cats, especially when socialised from a young age.
  • Barking: The Boykin Spaniel has a moderate barking tendency. Alert to strangers and unusual activities, proper training can minimize excessive barking.
  • Training: Highly trainable and eager to learn. They are smart with a great capacity for picking up new tricks and skills.
  • Exercise required: High-energy dogs that need one to two hours of daily exercise to stay happy and healthy.
  • Owner requirement: Suitable for active families and those who can provide plenty of time for their dog’s well-being.
  • Grooming: Medium-length fur that requires regular brushing. Their grooming needs are relatively simple, but they do shed medium-to-high.
  • Health: Some health problems to be aware of include Hip Dysplasia, Luxating Patella, Exercise-Induced Collapse Syndrome, and Collie Eye Anomaly.
  • Nutrition: Best on a high-quality, high-protein diet. Care should be taken not to overfeed.
  • Accommodation: Adaptable to various living conditions but requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Cost: Boykin Spaniel puppies typically cost between £600 to £1100 from reputable breeders.

Breed History & Traits:

The Boykin Spaniel has floppy spaniel ears and a moderately curly coat which is a testament to selective breeding. Its coat, predominantly solid liver in colour, sometimes showcases a fringe that’s a lighter red hue. You might’ve heard about this breed’s hunting roots. That brown coat? Perfect natural camouflage against the earth.

Boykins are native to South Carolina in the United States bred to work in the lakes and swamps so a natural swimmer! They are named after Whit Boykin who was the areas leading dog man.

Historically, the Boykin Spaniel had a big role in hunting – especially when it came to turkey retrieving. Its agility, and medium build, made it an ideal companion for hunters. Females typically stand between 14 to 16 inches, while males range from 16 to 18 inches. Their average weight oscillates between 25 to 40 pounds.

Key Traits:

  • Boundless Energy: The Boykin Spaniel is not the type to just sit around. It thrives on activity and requires regular exercise to channel its energy positively.
  • Friendly & Outgoing: This breed, it’s super friendly, especially with people and kids. But, you know, early socialisation is recommended to keep this trait going strong.
  • Eager to Please: During training or just playtime always try to make you happy. It’s a real treat to have around.
  • Natural Swimmer: If you love activities, you’re in luck! The Boykin Spaniel is an excellent swimmer with a lot of splashes around.
  • Adaptable: Even though it’s born for hunting, It can switch from being your hunting buddy to your cuddle buddy in no time.

Temperament and Personality:

The Boykin Spaniel is a breed that’s bursting with energy and affection. With its roots in hunting, you might have seen or experienced how this dog is always on the move, eager to explore & play. But don’t let its active nature fool you. 

In reality, the Boykin Spaniel is a loyal companion, always ready to snuggle up and shower its owner with love. Their honey-gold eyes radiate warmth, making them an instant hit with both adults & children. Reminds you of that time when you first met your Boykin Spaniel.

Boykin Spaniel vs. Cocker Spaniel:

When it comes to temperament, both the Boykin Spaniel & the Cocker Spaniel are friendly & affectionate breeds. However, there are subtle differences:

The Boykin Spaniel, with its boundless energy, is perfect for those who have an active lifestyle. In contrast, the Cocker Spaniel, while still playful, can be a tad more laid-back and thus suitable for a wider range of households. Boykin Spaniels are larger than Cockers but smaller than Springer Spaniels. If you ever had a chance to spend time with both breeds, you’d know exactly what this means.

AspectBoykin SpanielCocker Spaniel
TemperamentFriendly, outgoing, and eager to pleaseGentle, playful, and amiable
Size14 to 18 inches (36 to 46 cm)Slightly smaller, averaging 14 to 16 inches (34 to 40 cm)
Exercise NeedsHigh, requires regular activityModerate, enjoys play but can be more relaxed

Appearance and Colours:

The Boykin Spaniel – a medium-sized sporting dog – has a sturdy body & liver-brown fur. Its wavy, waterproof double coat is not just a beauty to behold but also functional, especially during hunts. Those floppy ears and expressive eyes further add to its charm and make it a favourite among many dog enthusiasts.

Colour Variations:

The Boykin Spaniel mainly has a solid liver-brown coat. But, there are subtle variations you might want to look out for:

  • Solid Liver Brown: The most common shade, giving the Boykin Spaniel its unique look.
  • Lighter Red Hue: Some Boykin Spaniels might have a fringe that’s a shade lighter and increases their charm.
  • Black Boykin Spaniel: A rarer variation, the black Boykin Spaniel is something to see, with its glossy black coat contrasting with its golden eyes. If you’ve ever come across one, you’d know how stunning they are.


The Boykin Spaniel always enjoy training session because of its eager-to-please nature. But, there’s a catch – its boundless energy means that consistent & early training is required. As they thrive on positive reinforcement so always reward good behaviour with treats or praise. Sometimes they can be a tad stubborn but don’t worry! With a bit of patience & consistency, you’ll have a well-trained companion before you.

Tips and Techniques:

  1. Start Early: Start training your Boykin Spaniel as a puppy. This sets the foundation for future learning and behaviour.
  2. Consistency is Key: Ensure that all family members use the same commands and reward system. This avoids confusion for your dog.
  3. Socialisation: Introduce your Boykin Spaniel to different environments, people, and other animals. It helps them become a well-rounded & confident dog.
  4. Avoid Negative Reinforcement: Heard the saying, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”? Boykin Spaniels respond best to positive vibes. Avoid shouting or punishing your dog.
  5. Engage in Fun Activities: Incorporate games and fun activities into training sessions. This keeps your Boykin Spaniel engaged and makes learning enjoyable.


Boykin Spaniels, often referred to as “little brown dogs”, pack quite the punch with energy & enthusiasm. Hailing from South Carolina, these dogs weave a tale of hunting and retrieving, particularly in the waters of the Wateree River. Their zest for water, combined with agility, makes them spot-on companions for a range of activities.

Activity Levels:

Boykin Spaniels, with their zest & energy, need their dose of regular exercise to keep that tail wagging. Their roots in hunting paint a clear picture of their leanings towards tasks stretching both their noggin and limbs.

  • Swimming: Swimming is a top activity for Boykin Spaniels. Whether it’s a lake, river, or pool, these dogs will happily dive in and fetch toys or just enjoy a good swim. Think about those times you’ve seen a dog splash about in the water, and it’s like watching happiness in action.
  • Fetch & Retrieval Games: Tapping into their natural retrieving instincts, games like fetch are perfect. Using a ball or a frisbee can provide hours of entertainment & exercise. Like that time you saw a dog sprinting back & forth, fetching pure delight.
  • Hiking & Nature Walks: Their curious nature & love for exploration make hiking a suitable activity. They’ll enjoy the scents & sights of nature trails. You know, when you go on nature walks, there’s always something new to discover.
  • Agility Training: Setting up an agility course in your garden or joining an agility club can be a great way to channel their energy & intelligence. It’s like when you set up a fun obstacle course for kids but for dogs.

Ideal Home & Owner

Considering their size and temperament, Boykin Spaniels thrive in homes with spacious gardens where they can run and play. While they can adapt to apartment living, it’s essential to ensure they get their daily dose of exercise. These dogs love the outdoors, so a home with easy access to parks, lakes, or hiking trails would be ideal. Their love for water means a nearby water body would be a bonus!

Owner Compatibility:

Owning a Boykin Spaniel is a delightful experience, but it’s essential to understand the traits that make an ideal owner for this breed.

  • Active Lifestyle: Given the Boykin Spaniel’s high energy levels, they’re best suited for owners who lead an active lifestyle. Whether it’s daily walks, hikes, or weekend adventures, these dogs need an owner who can keep up with their energy.
  • Patience & Consistency: Training a Boykin Spaniel requires patience. They’re intelligent and eager to please, but can sometimes be stubborn. Consistent training methods and positive reinforcement work best.
  • Understanding of Dog Needs: Recognising the signs when your Boykin Spaniel wants to play, needs rest, or is hungry is crucial. An ideal owner is attentive to their dog’s needs and ensures they’re met.

Other Animals:

Diving into the world of Boykin Spaniels – they’re more than just their wavy coats and expressive eyes. In fact, their genial and social vibe makes them gel easily with other pets. But, as you would with any pet, understanding their behaviour is key. Let’s not forget, that each Boykin Spaniel brings with them a distinct temperament, and a lot depends on the environment you’ve raised them in.

Compatibility with Other Pets: 

You’ve probably seen it yourself – Boykin Spaniels showing their gentle side, fitting in smoothly with many pets. But, there’s a twist – sometimes that old hunting spirit from their ancestors shows up, especially around those tiny creatures. You’d wanna keep a keen eye during those first meetings.

Boykin Spaniel’s Compatibility Table:

CatsModerateEarly socialisation is key. Some Boykins coexist peacefully with cats.
Other DogsHighThey enjoy playdates and social interactions with other dogs.
Small Pets (e.g., hamsters)Low to ModerateTheir hunting instincts might be triggered. Supervision is crucial.

Size & Weight:

When you’re mapping out a plan for your Boykin Spaniel’s journey from pup to adulthood, it’s pretty important to consider their size and weight patterns. It guides you on their nutritional, exercise, and health needs as they grow and change.

Size: These beauties fall under the medium-sized breed category.


  • Males: They tend to be on the heavier side, weighing in at around 14-18 kg, which is roughly 30 to 40 pounds.
  • Females: A tad lighter, you’ll find them weighing between 11-16 kg – that’s about 25 to 35 pounds.


  • Males: Standing tall and proud, they range from 41 to 46 cm, which translates to approximately 16 to 18 inches.
  • Females: They’re typically a bit shorter, measuring between 36-41 cm or about 14 to 16 inches.

You see, having these numbers in mind helps tailor the care you provide, ensuring they’re always at their happiest and healthiest.

Grooming & Care:

Maintaining that Boykin Spaniel glow isn’t always a walk in the park. You see their wavy, glossy coats, and think – how much effort does it really take? More than you’d initially guess, actually.

Maintenance Needs:

You know, Boykin Spaniels come with this fancy double coat – looks fabulous but it tangles a lot! Brushing it regularly is a must if you don’t want it to turn into a matted mess. And their ears? With that adorable floppy look, they’ve got this knack for picking up infections. Regular checks are just part of the package.

Essential Grooming Tools for Boykin Spaniels:

  • Slicker brush: This one’s a lifesaver – helps you get rid of those sneaky tangles and shed fur.
  • Comb: Ever been caught off-guard by sudden mats? This tool’s got you covered for those.
  • Ear cleaning solution: You’ll want their ears all clean and shiny, right? This is the secret.
  • Nail clippers: Ever heard that click-clack sound on the floor? Time for a trim.
  • Dog-safe shampoo: Those occasional baths when they’ve rolled in something you’d rather not know about – this shampoo ensures they come out gleaming.

So, with a little time and these tools, your Boykin’s gonna look like they just stepped out of a doggy salon every day!

Nutrition & Food:

Thinking about what goes into your Boykin Spaniel’s bowl? Nutrition is the key. You’ve probably seen that burst of energy when they spot a squirrel or when they’re having their zoomies in the garden – that comes from what they eat.

Top 5 Recommended Foods for Boykin Spaniels:

  • High-quality commercial dog food: You’ve seen the aisles, those brands claiming to be the best. But the trick? Ensure it matches their age, size, and just how much of a zoomer they are.
  • Lean meats: You remember that time you dropped a piece of chicken, and it vanished? Chicken, turkey, or beef – they love it. Just keep it cooked and skip those spices or fancy sauces.
  • Fish: Heard about omega fatty acids? They’re like the superfood for dogs. Just make sure it’s cooked and no sneaky bones in there.
  • Vegetables: Sneak in those carrots, peas, and green beans. Who said dogs don’t eat greens? They add that extra crunch and goodness.
  • Rice and Pasta: Think of it as their carb-loading days – especially if they’ve had an active one.

So next time you’re prepping their meal, remember, it’s like fuel for all their adventures. And trust me, they’ve got plenty of those lined up!


When you look at your lively Boykin Spaniel, you might think – this bundle of joy’s probably invincible, right? Well, Boykin Spaniels, hearty as they come, do have their own set of quirks in the health department. Getting a heads-up on these helps in ensuring they stay their spirited self.

Common Health Issues:

  • Pulmonic Stenosis: Ever heard of this? It’s a congenital heart defect. Catches you off-guard, but it can affect the Boykin Spaniel’s zest for life.
  • Haemophilia A: Think of it like a kink in their armour. It’s a bleeding disorder which, you guessed it, can make injuries a bit of a challenge.
  • Hip dysplasia: This one’s a bummer. A joint condition that, down the road, can lead to things like arthritis and, well, pain.
  • Eye problems: Blink and you’ll miss it. Regular check-ups help in nipping those potential eye issues right in the bud.
  • Allergies: Notice them itching a tad too often? Boykin Spaniels have this tendency to be a bit allergy-prone. Keeping an eye on what they eat and where they play can help.


Ever had that sudden expense, and you thought – why didn’t I see this coming? With dogs, things can get unpredictable. Insuring your Boykin Spaniel, in this case, can be your safety net. Unforeseen vet bills? They stack up faster than you think. With pet insurance, you’re kind of setting yourself up to tackle these without digging too deep into those pockets.

Steps to choose the right insurance plan:

  • Research Different Providers: A no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. There’s a whole buffet of insurance plans out there. Dig a bit, and see what suits you.
  • Understand the Coverage: This bit’s tricky. Some plans, they’re all about accidents, but illnesses? Not so much. Or the other way around. Make sure you’re in the loop.
  • Consider Your Dog’s Needs: Let’s say your Boykin has a existing health condition. You’d want that covered, right?
  • Look into Premium Costs: Coverage’s important, but you don’t want the bills giving you sleepless nights. Make sure it fits the bill – pun unintended.
  • Read Reviews: Think of it like asking the neighbour. Other dog parents? They’ve been there, done that. Their two cents can give you some clarity.

Buying & Breeders:

So, you’ve set your heart on getting a Boykin Spaniel puppy. Can’t blame you – they’re just pure joy on four legs. But, diving into this, it’s not just about the wagging tail and those puppy eyes. Where your new buddy comes from – that matters a lot.

Tips for spotting top-notch Boykin Spaniel breeders:

  • Research: Ever stumbled upon a shady deal and thought – wish I’d done my homework? Don’t skip this. Dive into the breeder’s history. Those reviews and testimonials? They spill the beans.
  • Visit in Person: You know, seeing is believing. Drop by, and take a look around. How they’re raising those pups? That tells you a story.
  • Ask Questions: Ever had someone dodge your questions? Red flag. A solid breeder, they’ll chat away, and clear those doubts.
  • Medical History: And then there’s the health bit. Getting your hands on the medical records of the puppy’s folks? That’s gold.

Expected price range for Boykin Spaniel puppies:

Those little furballs, the Boykin Spaniel pups? They can cost you anywhere between £600 to £1100. But then, prices, they swing this way and that – pedigree, how famed the breeder is, all that jazz. But, say you spot a deal under £500. Tempting, right? Just a heads up – it is probably to good to be true so beware low prices this could indicate unscrupulous breeders

Boykin Spaniel Society: 

Heard of the Boykin Spaniel Society? These folks, they’re like the guardians of the Boykin Spaniel legacy. Getting in on this? It’s like hitting the jackpot. You’re in the middle of all the know-how, and better yet, surrounded by folks who get the Boykin Spaniel love. It’s a win-win.

Rescue & Re-homing:

Thinking about adopting a Boykin Spaniel? You’re onto something beautiful there. These little guys, known for wearing their hearts on their paws, just switch right from the rescue to making your home brighter, if you give them all the feels.

Top 3 reasons to bring home a Boykin Spaniel:

  • Second Chance: Picture this. A Boykin Spaniel, looking for that forever home, and there you are. That second shot at a joyful life? You hand it to them.
  • Cost-Effective: You know, adoption, it doesn’t hit the wallet as hard as buying a fresh-out-the-box puppy. Plus, you’re backing a cause that just feels right.
  • Supporting Rescue Efforts: By adopting, you help free up space in shelters, allowing them to rescue more dogs in need.

Mixed Breeds:

You see, the Boykin Spaniel – all friendly and adjusting, sometimes gets mixed up with other breeds. The goal? Best of both worlds. These mixes, have a dash of Boykin’s brainy side and a whole lot of that eager-to-please thing going on.

Popular Boykin Spaniel mixes include:

  • Boykin Spaniel and Labrador Retriever: Known for their high energy and friendly disposition.
  • Boykin Spaniel and Cocker Spaniel: A mix that often results in a smaller, yet equally energetic and affectionate dog.
  • Boykin Spaniel and American Water Spaniel: Combining the water-loving traits of both breeds, perfect for those who enjoy water activities.
  • Boykin Spaniel and Springer Spaniel: A mix that brings together the agility and enthusiasm of both breeds.
  • Boykin Spaniel and Chesapeake Bay Retriever: A robust and hardworking mix, ideal for hunting and retrieval tasks.


In this guide, we’ve explored the unique world of Boykin Spaniels. If you’re thinking of adding one to your family, it’s about more than just owning a dog; it’s appreciating their rich history and quirks. They’re a treasure that demands love and utmost care. Dive deep into their story, seek expert advice, and perhaps join breed clubs. With Boykin Spaniels, the journey is truly rewarding.


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