Boykin Spaniel Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

The Boykin Spaniel is one of only a few breeds wholly American. With their luscious brown locks, these friendly dogs were developed in the early 1900s in South Carolina to hunt wild turkeys and ducks in swamplands. Whit Boykin, a local expert on dogs and breeding, modeled the breed after a small brown spaniel found in Spartanburg, South Carolina. 

Whit Boykin crossed various breeds when creating this Spaniel, including Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, American Water Spaniels, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Agile and compact, the Boykin Spaniel breed is an all-around gun dog adept at flushing and retrieving.

Boykins love participating in dog sports and any outdoor adventure, such as hiking, canoeing, or kayaking. The breed is small enough to fit comfortably in a canoe, and with their web toes, they are naturals in the water.

Adult Boykin spaniels stand 16–18 inches tall and usually weigh between 35 and 40 pounds. The Boykins’ expected lifespan is 14 to 16 years, and the females give birth to five to seven puppies per litter. Boykin Spaniels are known by several names, including Boykin, Swamp Poodle, and LBD (Little Brown Dog).

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Boykin Spaniels?

LBDs are known for their loving demeanors. However, when it comes to children, they are more comfortable with older kids who have learned how to interact and respect a dog. They won’t appreciate the unsolicited hugs and ear pulling from young children. They especially don’t love being hit, chased, or cornered, resulting in growling or snapping. More of the Boykin breed’s traits and characteristics are listed in the table below.

Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Features

Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed information


Males 16 to 18 inches

Females 14 to 16 inches


Males 30 to 40 pounds

Females 25 to 35 pounds

Relation with family


Relation with children

High – older children

Low – young children

Relation with other dogs

Good, if socialized

Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Smooth and Wavy

Coat length


Coat grooming frequency

Brushing twice per week

Relation with strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Openness to strangers


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



14 – 16 years 

How Does the Boykin Spaniel Interact with Family?

Boykin Spaniels are very affectionate, and although they were bred for hunting, they are excellent family companions. In addition to making a great companion out in the field for a hunt, this breed has many personality traits that make it a great family dog. They are very friendly and affectionate, and LBDs are also easy to please. Boykin Spaniels love getting attention from their family members.

How Does the Boykin Spaniel Interact with Other Dogs?

Boykins are naturally shy in the company of strange people and dogs. With exposure to different social settings with walks in the park, visits with other people, and interactions with other dogs, you may be able to break down their natural shyness around strangers. Socialization from a young age can help Boykins feel more comfortable in the presence of strange dogs.

How are Boykin Spaniels with Older People?

Boykin Spaniels are typically ideal companions for seniors. A program run by the Boykin Spaniel Rescue organization, Seniors for Seniors, brings together senior dogs and senior people. This underscores that LBDs are the perfect canine companions for older people. 

How are Boykin Spaniels with Children?

Although Boykins are known for their loving natures, they are not quite at ease in the company of small children. Sensitivity and the tendency to be anxious make them nervous when exposed to children too young to know how to treat dogs and respect them. Their only way to show their feelings when children pull their tail or ears or dish out unsolicited hugs is to growl or snap at the child.

However, early socialization of the LBD and the child could prevent unpleasant incidents when the Boykin feels the need to protect itself. Therefore, very young children should not be left in the company of any dog without adult supervision.

How are Boykin Spaniels with Neighbors or Guests?

Although Boykins are known for their loving natures, they are not quite at ease in the company of small children. Sensitivity and the tendency to be anxious make them nervous, but Boykin Spaniels are alert and effective watchdogs. However, their loveable, friendly disposition would likely prevent them from reacting with more than a few barks before welcoming neighbors or guests. 

What are the Physical Traits of the Boykin Spaniel?

The Boykin Spaniel is medium-sized with a sturdy and typically spaniel appearance. The Boykin is first and foremost a hunting dog with proven flushing and retrieving abilities. They are characterized by boundless endurance and enthusiasm, moderate agility, and speed. These Little Brown Dogs are intelligent, and they show a great desire to please, making the Boykin easy to train. He is a strong swimmer that takes to water easily and is valuable for field and water retrieving. From there the name Swamp Poodle.

The Boykin Spaniel’s physical traits are summarized in the table below: 


Trait information


Medium-sized, registered as Gundogs


Males 30 to 40 pounds

Females 25 to 35 pounds


Males 16 to 18 Inches

Females 14 to 16 Inches

Skull/ Head

Skull – fairly broad, flat on top, slightly rounded at the sides and back. Head – Impressive and proportionally in balance with the rest of the dog’s body. 


Yellow to brown to harmonize with the coat


Thin leather ears hang close to the cheeks and are flat.


The muzzle is approximately the same length as the skull


Dark liver in color with well-opened nostrils


Sufficient length to allow the dog to easily carry game 


Requires plenty of exercise


14 to 16 years


Medium-length double coat

Coat color

Solid brown – can be a deep liver, brown, or dark chocolate 


Show dogs: Docked tail so that at maturity it is 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. 


Strong, straight legs of medium length and well boned

** Docking tails is illegal in most of Europe.

How to Feed a Boykin Spaniel?

Your dog’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Boykin Spaniel’s diet on a medium breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Boykin Spaniels fall in the Medium-sized breed class, and most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your LBD grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Boykin from the table; all it does is add weight; instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

The Boykin Spaniel is an active, athletic breed type, needing food that contains animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Your Boykin Spaniel’s portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and of course, the brand and formula of food it eats. For example, if you hunt with your Boykin Spaniel, who weighs about 35 pounds, doing moderate fieldwork, you might need to feed your LBD somewhere around 1673 calories per day. 

Feed your Boykin Spaniel a food formulated for active and medium to large working dog breeds, recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand developed for all life stages. Feeding Boykin Spaniels several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

 An example of premium food for Boykins and its benefits are listed below:

The best dog food for adult Boykin Spaniels is Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food.

Made with hearty chicken plus Probiotics, Prebiotics, fiber, and digestive enzymes, this food is made to care for your dog’s gut to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and immunity. Plus, it contains essential glucosamine to promote the formation and maintenance of strong bones and joints since Boykin Spaniels are predisposed to hip dysplasia.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the five Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food recipes in this range:

  • Protein-Packed: With responsibly sourced real meat meal, containing almost 300% more protein than fresh meat, as the first ingredient, these recipes are packed with animal protein for strong, lean muscles in small breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.
  • Probiotics: Guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics are included to support your dog’s digestive health.

When Boykin Spaniels are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Boykin Spaniel Puppy Eat? 

Growing puppies consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Boykin Spaniel puppy, age 4-12 months and weighing 20 pounds, needs an estimated 733 calories per day. You always need to adjust your dog’s food intake based on his activity level and other factors.

It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When LBD puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Boykin Spaniel puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for toy-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Boykin Spaniels should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Boykin Spaniels with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that a Boykin Spaniel Should Take?

Boykin Spaniel breeders should have the following health tests done:

DNA Tests covering the 7 main categories

  • Musculoskeletal and Dental

  • Haemolymphatic

  • Skin and Immune

  • Urogenital

  • Metabolic and Endocrine

  • Ophthalmological

  • Neurological

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Boykin Spaniels?

Boykin Spaniels are widely recognized as a healthy and hardy breed. However, this breed is predisposed to several hereditary diseases and health problems. Even healthy LBDs should have regular veterinarian checkups, and owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Exercise-Induced Collapse – EIC is the symptom of a genetic condition that causes the inability of the dog’s body to make a chemical needed for brain-to-muscle nerve transmission. EIC could be fatal.
  • Hip dysplasia is a deformation that occurs and develops as Boykin Spaniel puppies grow. It results from joints that prevent the ball part of one bone from sliding smoothly in the socket of the other joint bone. Instead, it grinds and rubs in the joint, causing painful wear and tear damage as the LBD grows and becomes heavier. Although it could start in puppyhood, it usually only becomes evident in adult dogs, making annual medical examinations crucial throughout the dog’s life.
  • Elbow Dysplasia When the growth of the elbow is disturbed, a condition called elbow dysplasia may ensue. While this condition is generally inherited, other factors, such as nutrition and exercise, also play a role in its development. Most dogs will display symptoms before the age of one – though some may not show any signs until several years old.
  • Collie eye anomaly- CEA is a disorder caused by incomplete development of the eye. The severity of the abnormality ranges from no apparent visual defect to total blindness. A Board Certified Ophthalmologist can easily check 6-8 week old puppies.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy– DM is the symptom of a genetic disease that prevents the manufacture of a particular enzyme needed for spinal cord health. DM is 100% fatal.
  • Juvenile Cataracts- This condition can be a problem for some relatively young (less than six years old) dogs. It is thought to be hereditary.
  • Patellar luxation- A luxating patella occurs when the dog’s patella (kneecap), which usually sits on the groove of the femur (thighbone), shifts out of alignment. When luxation of the patella occurs, your dog may experience intermittent hind limb “skipping,” lameness, or a locking up of the limb at an odd angle.

Are Boykin Spaniels Hypoallergenic?

No, Boykin Spaniels are not hypoallergenic. The Boykin’s coat features a thick undercoat, so seasonal shedding will be a factor, no matter what you do. Give your spaniel’s coat a good brushing two or three times a week to keep it free of debris and mats.

What is the Exercise Need of a Boykin Spaniel?

A healthy Boykin Spaniel requires an hour or two of daily physical activity to remain fit and well-behaved. They are excellent candidates for challenging dog sports and field training. However, LBD owners should not lose sight of the risk of exercise-induced collapse, so watch your dog for signs of muscle weakness and imbalance, and talk with your veterinarian about the illness.

What are the nutritional needs of Boykin Spaniels?

The nutritional needs of a Boykin Spaniel include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the LBD are listed below.

  • Protein: Boykin Spaniels need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for LBD’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Boykin Spaniel’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Boykin Spaniels need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Boykin Spaniel sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too much carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: DHA is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Boykin Spaniel puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging LBDs by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Boykin Spaniel.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Boykin Spaniels are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Boykin Spaniel’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of LBDs.

What is the Shedding Level of Boykin Spaniels?

Boykin Spaniels shed an average to the high amount of hair, with the higher shedding occurring when the seasons change. The wiry-coated types hardly drop any hairs at all. Although still low shedders, the smoother varieties will lose some hair in spring and fall.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Boykin Spaniels?

Boykin Spaniels are relatively low maintenance, and their rich brown coats need a good brushing once or twice per week. A monthly bath is okay if the Boykin is very dirty, but too frequent bathing could remove the necessary oil from the LBD’s coat. If your Boykin has been splashing around in saltwater or ponds with algae, spraying him down with freshwater as soon as possible after the hunt will leave your LBD’s coat clean. Dogs with long ears need weekly ear inspections to remove infection-causing dirt. 

The rough-coated Boykin Spaniel sheds minimally but has slightly higher grooming needs. Its shaggier hair needs clipping by the owner or a professional groomer, and more frequent brushing is required. Their coats are dense and tightly formed, and twice-weekly deep combing is essential to prevent trapped allergens that could cause fungal or other infections on the skin.

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risk of matting.
  • Your Boykin Spaniel smells nice through grooming, thus raising the hygiene conditions.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat that makes your dog attractive.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after grooming regularly.
  • While grooming, you can check for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Boykin Spaniel.

To lower the grooming frequencies, you should keep your dog’s surroundings clean and the coat short. Your dog should be calm during grooming. Short walks before the grooming will calm your dog, thus ensuring they remain still during the grooming process. You can also give your Boykin Spaniel their favorite treat to munch on while you groom them. Grooming must be enjoyable and a stress-free process for your Boykin Spaniel.

What is the Drooling Level of Boykin Spaniels?

The drooling level of Boykin Spaniels is low, and they are not slobbery dogs at all. However, drooling is a natural process, and if your canine companion drools more than usual, it might indicate a health problem to report to your vet. The primary triggers of drooling are listed below:

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus. Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva. Moreover, a foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with their mouths open, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male LBD  spots a female LBD in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Boykin Spaniel?

Boykins’ coats are medium length, and the dogs carry thick undercoats to help keep them warm and dry in cold, damp areas. Their coats may feature some feathering on the chest, legs, belly, and ears, and some Boykins have a top knot, similar to the Llewellin setter.

What is the Coat Lenght of the Boykin Spaniel?  

The Boykin’s medium-length double coat can be flat to slightly wavy with a light fringe of hair, called feathering, on the ears, chest, legs, and belly. The outer layer’s length depends on the owner’s choice to trim the LBD’s coat or leave it to grow longer. Many hunters have their Boykin Spaniels’ coats trimmed to speed up drying. When these Swamp Poodles hunt in water, their dense double coats take very long to dry, causing risks of fungal infections against the Boykin’s skin.

What are the Social Traits of the Boykin Spaniel Breed?

Boykin Spaniels may be hunting dogs, but they’re adorable, which probably has affected their popularity. Boykins are friendly, sociable, and intelligent, and they make good family pets. They are good with children and other dogs, and their temperament is considered to be highly stable. As with most spaniels, Boykins are eager to please. They love attention. You would be hard-pressed to anger or annoy a Boykin. Other social traits of Boykin Spaniels include the following:

  • Elderly-friendly: Boykin Spaniels love interaction with the elderly. However, they are highly energetic and may exhaust the seniors if playtime is long. In addition, LBDs enjoy playing rough and can easily hurt the elderly hence constant supervision is vital.
  • Children-friendly: Boykin Spaniels enjoy running around or chasing after children. Caution should be taken for younger children as LBDs play rough and injure younger children. In addition, Boykin Spaniels are fragile, and younger children might easily hurt them as they may not know how to handle them gently, and your Boykin might bite to protect itself.
  • Family-friendly: The Boykin Spaniel is a friendly, social dog that does best in an active family environment with lots of outdoor action. 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 as you expose your dog to plenty of social interaction and give it ample opportunity to burn off excess energy. Boykin Spaniels also love attention, so be sure you lavish your dog with lots of love.
  • Cat-friendly: Boykin Spaniels get along great with other animals, including cats. Of course, each dog and cat has its own preferences and temperament. Still, you can feel reasonably confident your LBD and other pets will get on just fine, especially if they were all raised together or socialized at a young age.
  • Dog-friendly: When socialized with other dogs and cats from an early age, Boykins are perfectly amiable with other furry family members. The same holds true for strange dogs; Boykins will be well mannered as long as they have plenty of experience with dogs they don’t know.

How Do Boykin Spaniels Interact with Strangers?

They are alert and friendly enough to bark every time a stranger makes their way to your door. However, once a newcomer is inside the house, Boykins are far too welcoming to have any strong territorial traits. 

Is the Boykin Spaniel Playful?

Yes, Boykins are playful, and if there are no human playmates, they will be quite pleased playing with other dogs in the family. When a Boykin is happy, though, he loves to romp and play and will amuse his family by tearing through the house or running in circles around the yard for the sheer joy of it. LBDs usually get along well with other pets.

Are Boykin Spaniels Protective?

No, Boykins are not typically very protective. Their friendly disposition creates the opposite, and instead of trying to scare away potential intruders, their barks will likely be welcoming instead of warning them. 

What is the Adaptability Level of Boykin Spaniels?

Boykin Spaniels are highly adaptable. Even if they are relocated from a farm or a ranch to an apartment in the city, they will quickly adapt if the move does not separate them from their human families. People whose employment includes frequent relocation can be sure their canine companions will not suffer emotional trauma. They will be happy as long as Boykin Spaniels have their beloved human family with them and their new accommodation offers reasonable playspace in the backyard. 

What are the Personality Traits of Boykin Spaniel?

The Boykin Spaniel has an energetic personality and lots of love to share. Outdoor activities are in their blood, and they are at their happiest hunting with their owners. However, if they no longer hunt but live as companion dogs instead, frequent outdoor activities like hiking or taking long walks will keep them happy. 

A loyal companion with an affectionate temperament, Boykin Spaniels are an excellent choice for active families with children. They typically do well with other dogs and pets like cats, especially when socialized from a young age. These highly trainable dogs are eager to learn, making excellent hunting partners and good pets for those who can provide the proper care.

Can Boykin Spaniels be Aggressive?

Boykin Spaniels are not typically aggressive, and they are tirelessly active and affectionate. Some Boykins also tend towards aggression around other dogs, but only if they were not socialized early. Be consistent and firm with your Boykin and use positive reinforcements.

Can Boykin Spaniels be Dangerous?

The Boykin Spaniel is not a dangerous dog, and they are often deemed over-friendly because they trust everybody.

Do Boykin Spaniels Ever Attack?

No Boykin Spaniels are not likely to attack. However, it depends on the way the dog was raised. Many non-aggressive breeds become excessively aggressive if they live in environments where they have to defend themselves from abusers or if they must attack to stay alive. Therefore, it is never wise to approach strange dogs before talking to the owner. Do not misjudge a dangerous situation by thinking it would be mostly a show of teeth and lots of barking, but it might not be.

Can Boykin Spaniels Kill Humans?

No, Boykin Spaniels are not likely to kill a human. 

Do Boykin Spaniels cope with being left alone?

Boykin Spaniels are reasonably independent, enabling them to keep themselves busy with toys for several hours. However, two to three hours should be the limit. Dog owners who have to spend hours away from their Boykin frequently might want to consider a doggy daycare or a doggy sitter.

Can I leave my Boykin Spaniel at home?

Boykin Spaniels form strong bonds with their human families, but they typically become closer to one person than others. They develop “Velcro” relationships, and their happiness depends on their favorite human’s presence. If that person has to run an errand, leaving the pup with other family members at home would be fine.

Can Boykin Spaniels be left alone for 8 hours?

Eight hours is a long time for any dog to be alone, and not even the most independent dog would thrive if such isolation happens every day. Therefore, leaving them alone for extended periods could be traumatizing. Leaving a Boykin alone for too long can lead to destructive behaviors, such as barking, digging, and more. You can train your Boykin from the time they’re a puppy to be happy alone, but even with this training, they’ll be happiest when they’re with you.

How to Train a Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels are intelligent and are therefore considered easy to train. However, the owner would have to afford the time and effort to establish the pack status so the Boykin will know its place in the household. Any dog owner must be firm enough to take the lead and teach the LBD how to behave. Only proper training and socialization can ensure the Boykin reaches its full potential. Training the Boykin to hunt might need the assistance of a professional trainer.

For the most part, Boykin Spaniels are eager to please, making 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.

Are Boykin Spaniel Good Duck Hunting Dogs?

Boykins are excellent duck hunting dogs, but only if their owners put in enough time. Even though Boykin Spaniels are highly intelligent, hunters say they have to teach and teach more. It takes time to repeat the same training until the Boykin understands precisely what is expected. Not all Boykins become successful duck hunters, and owners should not apply pressure until it is clear that the LBDs graduate. Some Boykins take longer to learn the secrets of successful duck hunting. 

For a successful hunter and canine team for duck hunting, it is best to select the correct puppy at the time of the purchase. The best choice would be a puppy with both parents who excelled as duck hunters. Like in any breed, buying the best puppy you can afford may increase the likelihood of achieving your goals in the field. Please do not accept any marketing lines without confirming them; ensure you check all the health clearances for authenticity. Keep in mind that Boykin Spaniels are predisposed to hip dysplasia, cataracts, EIC (Exercised Induced Collapse), and more. Both parents should have been tested. 

 The best potential duck hunters will be the Boykin pups with the attributes listed below:

  • Withstanding the excruciating heat of early season dove hunts in the south
  • Breaking the ice in a timber hole during a late January waterfowl hunt
  • Sitting at the foot of a layout blind picking up Canada geese in a grain field
  • Quartering and flushing upland birds
  • The Boykin Spaniel truly is a versatile dog capable of getting the job done.

How Frequently does a Boykin Spaniel Bark?

Boykin Spaniels are vocal dogs and bark whenever they see unfamiliar people or pets. Their barking levels are, however, moderate. For many dogs, the triggers for barking include loneliness, threats, excitement, being territorial, attention-seeking, and even frustrations. There are different bark types based on the situation.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Boykin Spaniels hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your LBD is barking as a way of alerting you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Boykins may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger.  
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where an LBD feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Boykin Spaniel uses arousal barking to show its frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Boykin Spaniel is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercise. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

You can train your LBD to stop barking by using positive and negative motivators.

  • Whenever they start barking, command them to be quiet and if they obey, reward them with their favorite treat or toy. If they disobey your command, you can withdraw some benefits like not giving them their best toy.
  • Engage your dog in their favorite activity or exercise. Tired LBDs might sleep while you are away.
  • Look for attractive toys that would keep your Boykin Spaniel busy while you are away.
  • Continuous barking might call for a visit to the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Boykin Spaniel?

The need for mental stimulation of a Boykin Spaniel is essential as it lowers the risks of destructive behaviors resulting from boredom. Boykins are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. The playful and intelligent nature of Boykins further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your LBD, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Boykin Spaniels who are eight years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels are agile and athletic dogs with a lively pace. Boykins have a medium build, and their physique is well-balanced and sturdy. Their necks are slightly arched, and they have near muzzles with jaws perfectly sized to allow the easy carrying of wildfowl when hunting. Breed standards require the tails of Boykins to be docked. Their beautiful coat and intelligent brown eyes are their defining features. Boykins charm all with their vibrant personalities and their friendly, alert expressions. Their large, pendant ears are covered in wavy fur that is often a slightly lighter brown than the fur on the rest of the body.

Some of the breed standards of Boykin Spaniels are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Boykin Spaniel Breed Information 


Solid brown soft, curly coat – can be a deep liver, brown, or dark chocolate 


Boykin Spaniels classified as medium-sized gundogs 

Eye Color 

Yellow to brown to harmonize with the coat

Average Weight 

Males 30 to 40 pounds

Females 25 to 35 pounds

Average Height

Males 16 to 18 Inches

Females 14 to 16 Inches

Average lifespan 

Boykin Spaniel Dogs have a lifespan of 14 -17 years. 

What is the General Information about Boykin Spaniel?

The creation of the Boykin Spaniel included the contributions by the Dutch Smoushond called a Smousje, which translates to “trader’s dog” in English. Other gene contributors included the French Barbet, the Yorkshire Terrier, and the German Affenpinscher.

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 and its smaller size, which is a considerable advantage. Boykins are small enough to fit into the small boat along with the duck and the hunter, and most other duck hunter dogs are too large to join the hunter in the boat.

True to their spaniel and retriever genes, Boykin Spaniels not only adore swimming, but they are excellent at this activity. Plus, they are equipped specifically for this task – they have webbed toes and a water-repellent coat.

Boykin’s spaniels were popular in South Carolina before World War II, and later, in 1977, the Boykin Spaniel Society was founded to ensure the breeding standards of the dog. In 1985, the Boykin Spaniel was declared the state dog of South Carolina and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.

The Boykin Spaniel Society reports growing to over 4000 members hailing from every state in the union and Canada, Switzerland, Austria, France, England, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Africa, and Germany.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Boykin Spaniel?

If you are looking to bring a Boykin Spaniel, you should not be in a rush. The only “purebreds” available upon request are not the real thing and are likely bred on puppy farms. The more realistic way is to put your name on a breeder’s waiting list, and while you’re waiting, learn as much as you can about this amazing hunter-stroke-companion dog.

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or who promote the dogs as being “good with kids.” Boykin Spaniel puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the LBD  a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying a Boykin Spaniel, and you’ll be well rewarded with one of the best family dogs out there.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Boykin Spaniel puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. Although this breed is reasonably rare, the Boykin Spaniel is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential LBD  owners in touch with reputable breeders. 

  • Fédération Cynologique Internationale (International)
  • United Kennel Club (International)
  • The Kennel Club (United Kingdom)
  • American Kennel Club
  • American Boykin Spaniel Association
  • The Boykin Spaniel Society
  • The Boykin Spaniel Club of America
  • Europetnet
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • United All Breed Registry
  • International Canine Association

If you manage to track down Boykin Spaniel breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Boykin Spaniel puppies are often peppy and playful—all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes.

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

Although you might find a Boykin Spaniel puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Boykin Spaniels may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Boykin Spaniel is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Boykin Spaniels?

There are millions of homeless dogs across the country; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Boykin Spaniel can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopting parent. 

If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder, then your first stop should be the Boykin Spaniel Rescue Inc. website. A Boykin Spaniel rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Boykin Spaniel mix.

If you are looking for a purebred (or almost purebred) Boykin Spaniel, try a dedicated Boykin Spaniel rescue instead because they will, hands down, have the most varied selection.

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Boykin Spaniels or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs

  • Canada Guide To Dogs (National Boykin Spaniel Rescue, Inc.)
  • Canada Boykin Spaniel Dog Rescue Group
  • Belgian Kennel Club SRSH-KMSH
  • Boykin Spaniel RescueMe Germany
  • American Boykin Spaniel Rescue Alliance (ABGRA) 

What is the History of the Boykin Spaniel?

Boykins were initially developed in the early 1900s. The breed originated after Alexander White found a small, friendly brown spaniel outside his church, named him Dumpy, and brought him home. When White took him hunting and discovered the dog was a natural at retrieving and flushing, he sent Dumpy to his hunting buddy Whit Boykin for training. 

Dumpy became the forefather of today’s breed when Boykin began a breeding program that incorporated the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and several spaniel breeds, including the Cocker, American Water, and English Springer. For decades the breed was known exclusively in the region where it originated but has since become more popular along the Eastern Seaboard and across the US.

The Boykin’s ability in the field and amiable nature have brought him praise in all forms. On April 20, 1984, the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Commission endorsed the Boykin spaniel as South Carolina’s state dog. Governor Richard W. Riley proclaimed September 1, 1984, the first day of dove hunting season, as Boykin Spaniel Day.

On March 26, 1985, Governor Riley signed the act making the Boykin spaniel the official South Carolina state dog into law. Boykins have been on several state duck stamps and graced many national magazines and catalogs.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Boykin Spaniels?

Boykin Spaniels are reasonably rare, even in their home country. The prices of Boykin Spaniels range between $700 to $1,500. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, but if you do, the price could be $300 to $400, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Boykin Spaniel.

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Boykin Spaniel and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, spaying or neutering, etc. You can expect to spend about $4,500 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down to about $1,300 a year.  

The typical annual costs of having a medium-sized canine such as a Boykin Spaniel will not necessarily be much less than a larger dog. In fact, medical expenses throughout the LBDs life could be more than average because some smaller breeds are predisposed to more health problems than some larger dogs.

Except for the lower food volumes, vaccinations, microchips, and other expenses are the same, regardless of the dog’s size. Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $650. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Boykin Spaniel are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would only affect the maintenance costs of long-haired Boykin Spaniels,  and the weekly grooming of both types of Boykins is minimal. The Boykin Spaniel does not tend to drool excessively; in fact, the breed hardly ever drools. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. The Boykin Spaniel has a moderate risk of obesity, especially if working dogs become house pets with insufficient exercise. Daily walks should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with premium quality dry dog food and live an active life together.

How to Name a Boykin Spaniel?

Choosing a name for your Boykin Spaniel involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The LBD’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but as far as your canine companion goes, only the sound matters. Boykin Spaniels respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new LBD  pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your LBD  will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds. 

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Boykin Spaniel. Below is a list of suggestions of names for your Boykin Spaniel. 

Boykin Spaniel Breed Names

Boykin Spaniel Boy Names

Boykin Spaniel Girl Names


The lost-and-found doggy that inspired the Boykin breed.


Moon; another name for Artemis the moon goddess


The man who found Dumpey


Graceful; slender


Barrel maker; cask seller


Harmony; noble


Diminutive of Rocco; battle cry


Bright; star


One who hunts


Strong fighter


Free man


The most beautiful

What are the Different Types of Boykin Spaniels?

  • Listed below are some of the 15 types of Spaniels.
  • American Water Spaniel
  • Boykin Spaniel
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Irish Water Spaniel

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels are not easy to find. Purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding an LBD at a rescue center might be an equally challenging process. However, below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • English Cocker Spaniel: English Cocker Spaniels are one of the breeds that were mixed to create these Spaniels. Both of these dogs are gun dogs with feathered coats. They are both around the same size too, with the average weight of a male. more about English Cocker Spaniel social life care & diet information.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever: Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Boykin Spaniels are both known for their swimming abilities and for being able to flush out waterfowl when hunting. more about Chesapeake Bay Retriever social life care & diet information.
  • American Water Spaniel: American Water Spaniels and Boykin Spaniels are both affectionate and social dogs. They both are friendly even with strangers. Both dogs have a brown coat, but an American Water Spaniel’s coat is curly whereas a Boykin has a feathered coat. more about American Water Spaniel social life care & diet information.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.