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BaxterBoo Blog
February 22, 2013

Boykin Spaniel

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  • Height: 15"- 18”
  • Weight: 25-40 pounds
  • Historical function: Bird hunting
  • Modern function: Companion, bird hunting
  • AKC classification: Sporting group

Physical Characteristics:

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog that is slightly larger than an English Cocker Spaniel, though it is broader. The coat may be chocolate or liver colored with a wavy or curly coat that is about 1-2" in length with feathering on the legs and tail. Since the dog is bred more for hunting performance instead of appearance, there are variations in appearance. The tail is typically docked.

History of the Breed:

A small brown spaniel type dog was reportedly a stray that a banker found while walking home from church around 1905. The gentleman, Alexander L. White, decided to adopt the dog and found that he had excellent bird hunting skills. White sent the dog to his friend Whit Boykin, a longtime hunting buddy. Under Boykin's care, the dog became an excellent turkey hunting dog and waterfowl retriever. Various dogs were crossed with this original dog to develop into what is now called the Boykin Spaniel. The goal was to keep the dog small enough to retrieve from swamp boats in the South.  Probable included breeds that developed the Boykin are the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Springer Spaniel, the American Water Spaniel, and the Cocker Spaniel.


The Boykin Spaniel is a cheery, friendly, social dog that makes a great family pet as well as hunting companion. They have a high level of endurance and are adaptable to many living situations provided they get daily opportunities for exercise.

  • Best suited for: Active families, hunters. Loves children and gets along well with other dogs.
  • Preferred living conditions: The Boykin Spaniel is content as long as this social dog gets lots of human interaction. He needs a job to perform to be content.

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: This prolific swimmer's ears must be checked and dried after becoming wet to prevent ear infections. Brush a few times weekly to prevent matting.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk at least, hopefully with a job. This dog is highly energetic and eager to please.
  • Life expectancy: 14-16 years.
  • Health concerns: The Boykin may be prone to hip dysplasia and cataracts. Some lines may have heart and allergy issues.

Breed Club Links: The Boykin Spaniel Club Perfect Pairings: Hyper Pet Flying Duck Toy.

Have any stories about a Boykin Spaniel? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Luke Faraone.

Susie on November 29 at 1:38 PM said:

My BEST friend EVER!

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