Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog breeds, a Spaniel bred for hunting wild turkeys in the Wateree River Swamp of South Carolina, in the United States. It is the state dog of South Carolina. The dog breed of Boykin Spaniel descends from hunting dogs bred in the early 20th century as a gun dog in South Carolina, U.S.A. The dogs had to be small enough to ride in the small boats used by hunters in the swamps. L. Whitaker Boykin (1861–1932) experimented with crossbreeding different dog breeds, and the resulting dog is named after him. Legend has it that the dog Boykin started his breeding program with was a dog of unknown heritage named "Dumpy", found on the street by a friend of Boykin's. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, and the American Water Spaniel may have been used in the development of the breed. The area in which the breed developed, around Camden, South Carolina, was a resort area, and the breed was noticed by visitors and so spread around the United States.

Boykin Spaniel Appearance

The Boykin Spaniel is slightly larger than the English Cocker Spaniel, with more feathering (long fur on legs and belly.) Traditionally, its tail is docked at the age of three days, leaving 1/3 length.

The dog coat color comes in liver or chocolate (shades of brown.) White markings other than a mark on the chest, or a white mark on the chest that is more than 60% of the width of the chest, disqualify puppies from being registered with the Boykin Spaniel Society, although the American Kennel Club standard does not allow denial of registration for conformation reasons.

Height at the withers for males ranges from 15.5 - 18 ins (39.4 - 45.7 cm) and weight 30 - 40 lbs (13.6 - 18.2 kg). Females are smaller, 12.5 - 16 ins (35.6 - 40.6 cm) and 25 - 35 lbs (11.4 - 15.9 kg).

Boykin Spaniel Hunting use

The Boykin Spaniel is a versatile hunter, working as a retriever and upland hunter, flushing birds into flight. Pointing is not in character with the Boykin’s hunting style. Their stamina in hot weather and eagerness make them good for dove hunts, but also for pheasant and other upland game. They can be used in driving deer or in tracking wounded game. Their small size makes them easy to carry in a canoe or other small boat, and they are described as "the dog that doesn't rock the boat."

Boykin Spaniel Health

Boykin Spaniels have a 37% chance of being born with hip dysplasia, according to 2006 statistics. Puppies can be checked by a local veterinarian for this problem at the age of 2 years old by an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) x-ray or as young as 4 months old by a PennHIP exam. All breeding stock should receive either a passing PennHIP evaluation or an OFA certification prior to being bred.

The BSS and BSCBAA Code of Ethics for member breeders mandates that dogs to be bred should be tested for hips, hereditary eye disease, and heart/cardiac, as well as for other diseases that may have a genetic component such as allergies, elbow dysplasia, and patella luxation. The join venture of the AKC and OFA is called the CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) database. For a CHIC number the dogs must have an annual CERF test for eyes, an OFA test for patellar luxation, and a test for hip dysplasia. Owners must agree to publicly publish the results in the OFA or CERF databases. Optional tests are a heart test and an elbow dysplasia test. Obtaining a CHIC certification does not mean a dog has passed their evaluations; it is merely an indication that the owner checked for the health diseases in the Boykin Spaniel. Testing and conscientious breeding can reduce the incidence of these problems, and puppy buyers should request results of these tests.

The Boykin Spaniel Foundation (BSF), a 501(c)(3) entity and wholly owned subsidiary of the Boykin Spaniel Society, sponsors eye and heart clinics at its National Upland Field Trial and National Field Trial in January and March of each year. The clinics are provided at no charge to BSS members, with a limit of one Boykin Spaniel per family. The BSF also has a program that provides a one time reimbursement of $75 to its members (membership must be current) to defray the cost of radiographs and subsequent evaluation by the OFA. The BSS notifies the member when his or her dog reaches eligibility age (24 months) and encourages participation in the program with the long term goal of improving genetics within the breed. The program has been funded since 2006 but is subject to cancellation each year at the recommendation of the BSF. The BSF feels that this reimbursement program is making a difference.

Boykin Spaniel Temperament

The Boykin Spaniel is a friendly and social dog that does best in an family environment with lots of outdoor activity. It is easily trained and eager to work. It is stable around children and other dogs. They can sometimes be described as energetic with great endurance that lasts throughout the day. They are extremely adaptable to different environments as long as they are giving ample opportunity for social interaction and plenty of time to burn off excess energy. This dog is very good with children, and with other dogs. They are not easily angered and tend to be eager to please and friendly.

Boykin Spaniel Care

As with all dogs, the Boykin Spaniels require daily exercise and regular grooming. Clipping the coat regularly is recommended especially if the dog is in the field, as the soft coat collects foxtails and briars. Spraying the dog with cooking spray is also recommended to help defend against tangles in the long fur.

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