Boykin Spaniel

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
fast facts

About Boykin Spaniel

25-40 lb
12-15 years
AKC Sporting
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards
Quiet, obedient, agile, friendly
Comparable Breeds
Chesapeake Bay Retriever, American Water Spaniel
14-18 inches
Boykin Spaniel Basics

Have you heard of the Boykin Spaniel? Don’t worry if you haven’t, but we want to introduce you to this friendly, adorable breed. A medium-sized dog with a well-balanced physique, the Boykin Spaniel has made its way from a waterfowl retrieving breed to a faithful companion that perfectly fits into a number of different households

A breed that is easy to train, the Boykin Spaniel is excellent with kids and other dogs. Need to know more? Just read on to see if this breed is right for you.

A breed that is easy to train, the Boykin Spaniel is excellent with kids and other dogs.


The Boykin Spaniel originated in South Carolina, US. The story behind this breed is that sometime in the early 20th century, a dog was found wandering near a church. The dog was given to a dog trainer and hunter by the name of L. Whitaker Boykin. Boykin took this little stray and turned it into a first-class waterfowl retriever.


This relatively new bred was crossbred with the American Water Spaniel, the Springer Spaniel, the Pointer and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

The Boykin Spaniel was recognized by the AKC in 2009.

Food / Diet

As with many breeds, you can feed your Boykin Spaniel a high-quality commercial dog food or prepare homemade meals for it.

For the most part, Boykin Spaniels are eager to please, which makes training them much easier.


Because it is intelligent, Boykin Spaniels are considered easy to train, but only if you invest the proper time and effort. Even with all of its natural abilities, you will have to take the lead and teach your dog how you want it to behave and you have to make a commitment if you want your dog to develop to its full potential. If you need extra help or plan to take it hunting, you may want to consider a professional trainer or training classes.

For the most part, Boykin Spaniels are eager to please, which makes training them much easier. This breed can be somewhat sensitive, so use positive dog training methods such as praise and rewards to ensure the best results. Stick to these methods and you should have no trouble training your Boykin Spaniel.


Both male and female Boykin Spaniels weigh 25 to 40 pounds.

Temperament / Behavior

A real people pleaser, the Boykin Spaniel is a quiet and obedient breed. Easy to train, this is excellent with kids and other dogs, but you should watch it around smaller pets such as birds and cats, due to its natural hunting abilities. Your Boykin Spaniel may be slightly reserved with strangers, which makes it a good watchdog.

A friendly, social dog, the Boykin Spaniel does best in a family environment with lots of outdoor activity. It has lots of energy to spare, so be sure to give this dog plenty of exercise. Boykin Spaniels are extremely adaptable to different environments as long you expose your dog to plenty of social interaction and give it ample opportunity to burn off excess energy. As well, Boykin Spaniels love attention, so be sure you lavish your dog with lots of love.

Common Health Problems

The Boykin Spaniel is a relatively healthy breed, but it does suffer from a few common ailments. One of the most common health issues is hip dysplasia, which can cause lameness. Eye problems, such as cataracts, as well as ear infections are also seen in this breed. Skin and coat problems may present and may be linked to thyroid or endocrine disorders, and Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism are also known to occur in this breed.

Life Expectancy

Boykin Spaniels have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Exercise Requirements

Consider yourself warned – the Boykin Spaniel will always outpace you in any exercise. As a hunting breed, this dog is ready to work, so use this natural instinct to help tire it out. Daily walks, runs and jogs are recommended. The Boykin Spaniel can adapt to an apartment-sized space, as long as it gets enough exercise, but a fenced-in yard lets this dog run around on its own.

When taking your dog for a walk, make sure your Boykin Spaniel is heeling beside or behind you, never in front – in your dog’s mind, a pack leader goes first. It can be quite a task to burn off your Boykin Spaniel’s energy, but if you make sure it gets enough exercise, it will find ways to entertain itself, which can turn out to be destructive.

A real people pleaser, the Boykin Spaniel is a quiet and obedient breed.


The American Kennel Club says this about the breed: “The official State Dog of South Carolina, the Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized, all-around hunting dog with a cheerful, energetic personality. Possessing a rich, chocolate-brown coat and charm to spare, the Boykin is a favorite of hunters due to its willingness to work all day as well as its smaller size, which allows the hunter to lift both dog and duck into the boat at the same time!”


The Boykin Spaniel has a double coat. The outer coat is medium in length and is flat or slightly wavy, while the undercoat is short and dense. Overall, the Boykin Spaniel’s coat can be slightly wavy or flat and its color can be brown or liver, with little white patches on chest and toes. An average shedder, the Boykin Spaniel’s glossy coat needs to be brushed three to four times a week.


It will be hard to resist those big, yellow/amber eyes on this adorable puppy. As with most breeds, start training your Boykin Spaniel as early as possible, and introduce it to new people and environments.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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