Intro to Boykin Spaniel
When considering truly red-blooded American gundogs that have been developed wholly in the United States, the Boykin Spaniel breed has the honor of being one out of the top four. The American Water Spaniel, American Fox Hound, and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever help to round out that impressive list. Yes, we have many other beloved gundog breeds here in the United States, but if you look closely at their backgrounds, you will find they were bred first in other countries such as Canada, France, Germany, and Great Britain, among others.
Boykin Spaniels were a best-kept secret in South Carolina for many years, but these jovial, animated little hunting machines were destined to break out into the wider world sooner or later, and we are so blessed to share in this experience. The typical Boykin is friendly and eager to please. As a pet and companion he is exceptional with an amicable disposition.
According to the Boykin Spaniel Society breed standard, the Boykin Spaniel is medium in size, sturdy, and typically spaniel. He is first and foremost a hunting dog with proven retrieving and flushing abilities characterized by boundless enthusiasm and endurance and moderate speed and agility. Being intelligent and possessing a great desire to please make the Boykin easy to train. He is a strong swimmer, taking to water easily and is valuable for water retrieving as well as field retrieving.
The Boykin is built to cover rough ground and swim in all conditions with agility and reasonable speed. He should be kept to reasonable size, neither too small nor too large to do the work for which he is intended. Bitches are 25 to 35 pounds and 14 to 16.5 inches at the shoulder. Dogs are 30 to 40 pounds and 15.5 to 18 inches tall.
Boykins are known for their gorgeous golden eyes, which harmonize strikingly with their solid brown coats. These coats range from a rich liver (reddish brown) to dark chocolate, and can be flat to moderately curly with medium length, fine hair with light feathering on the legs, feet, ears, chest, and belly. A small white spot on the chest is allowable, but no other white markings are permitted. Tails are docked when a pup is 3-5 days old so that at maturity the tail is 2.5 to 3 inches long.
As stated above, the Boykin is primarily bred to be a hunting dog, but he has proven his versatility in many other endeavors as well. Boykin owners and their Little Brown Dogs (LBDs) participate successfully in hunt testing, conformation, agility, rally, dock diving, flyball competitions, obedience, pet therapy, and a few Boykins are uniquely bred and trained to participate in turtle conservation projects across the United States. And we cannot forget a Boykin’s incredible value as a loyal, loving companion in the home. Anyone who has had the honor of being owned by a Boykin Spaniel will tell you that their personalities are one-of-a-kind, in the best possible way.
Next time: The History of the Little Brown Dogs from South Carolina and the Boykin Spaniel Society that Saved Them.