Boykin Spaniel

25-35 lbs
United States
Little Brown Dog

The Boykin Spaniel was bred from a need to hunt wild birds in the swamps of South Carolina. Their medium size, energetic nature, and swimming ability were perfectly suited to hunters who wanted a dog they could easily lift into the boat with the retrieved bird. Now, the Boykin’s friendly and lovable disposition makes them an ideal addition to any family. Requiring brushing and other occasional maintenance, the Boykin Spaniel is both intelligent and eager, making them easy to train. Be sure to keep your companion active, however, as they need exercise and mental stimulation to keep them from developing destructive habits.

purpose Purpose
Retriever, Companion
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Springer, Cocker and American Water Spaniel, Pointer

Boykin Spaniel Health

Sketch of Boykin Spaniel
Average Size
Male Boykin Spaniel size stats
Height: 15-18 inches Weight: 30-40 lbs
Female Boykin Spaniel size stats
Height: 14-16 inches Weight: 25-35 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Distichiasis
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Exercise Induced Collapse
Minor Concerns
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Corneal Opacities
  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Persistent Pupillary Membrane
Occasional Tests
  • Knee
  • Eyes
  • Hips
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination
  • Physical Examination

Boykin Spaniel Breed History

The tale of the Boykin Spaniel begins in the early 1900s in the United States. Hunters in South Carolina had been looking for a dog who could retrieve upland and water fowl. One day, Alexander White of Spartanburg spotted a small brown dog, a stray that had been wandering around the church. The dog was short and had a rather thick build, which earned him the name Dumpy. Mr. White gave the dog to his friend, L. Whitaker Boykin who lived in Camden. It wasn’t long before another dog of similar appearance was found, and mated to Dumpy. Originally thought to be a crossbreed from such breeds as the American Water Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Pointer, the little brown dog was bred on Boykin’s Pine Grove plantation over many years. Whit Boykin wanted a special breed of hunting dog that could hunt wild turkeys and ducks throughout the Wateree River swamp. The ideal dog would be small enough to lift into a boat with the retrieved bird, have a joyful temperament, maneuver through water and swamps, and be a loyal family dog. “Mr. Boykin’s Spaniels” were popular in South Carolina before World War II, and gained even more popularity outside the state after the war. Increased demand for the breed lowered breeding standards, and the physical condition of the breed suffered. In 1977, relatives of Boykin conferred with Dr. Peter McKoy, a local veterinarian, and founded The Boykin Spaniel Society to ensure the breeding standards were upheld. As a dog that was bred by South Carolinians for South Carolinians, it seems natural that in 1985, the Boykin Spaniel was declared the state dog of South Carolina. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2009.

Boykin Spaniel Breed Appearance

A Boykin Spaniel is a medium sized compact dog built to run across rough terrain and swim in any type of condition. They are sturdy, but not too heavy, with sloping shoulders, a well-developed chest, and a strong and straight back that is level, save for a slight arch above the loins. The spaniel-type head is proportionately balanced to the body, and is flat on top, slightly rounded on the sides, and fairly broad. The teeth are straight, meeting in a scissors or even bite. Eyes are set well apart and sparkle in shades of yellow to amber to brown, with darker shades of yellow often preferred. Large ears that can reach the tip of the nose are covered in long, wavy hair, the same waterproof coat that covers the Boykin’s entire body. While the breed hallmark is a solid brown coat, they can also be a reddish-brown liver color, or a chocolate brown with a small, white spot located on the chest. The fur can be flat or curly, and often feathers on the ears, chest, legs, feet, and belly. The Boykin’s paws are uniquely suited for swimming with webbed toes. Often, the tails of Boykins are docked.

Appearance of Boykin Spaniel
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Boykin Spaniel eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
brown Boykin Spaniel nose
Coat Color Possibilities
brown Boykin Spaniel coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Boykin Spaniel wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Boykin Spaniel Breed Maintenance

To prevent the long hair from matting, brushing is a necessity for the wavy coat of the Boykin Spaniel. Routine brushing should be done once to twice weekly, especially in the spring months when shedding occurs. With an occasional bath, your Spaniel will stay clean and not smell. However, if you notice a smell coming from your Boykin’s ears, it indicates an ear infection. Cleaning your pup’s ears weekly with a good ear cleaner can help cut down on the chances of an infection, especially when performed after any swimming, water activities, or bathing. Be sure to keep the nails trimmed to prevent any cracking or splitting, and brush your Spaniel’s teeth twice a week. The Boykin Spaniel is an active breed and needs lots of daily exercise, otherwise, they can exhibit destructive behaviors. Although they have been bred as an outdoor dog, the Boykin can live quite happily in an apartment, so long as you provide adequate exercise to prevent boredom. Due to the possibility of skin allergies in your dog, be sure to feed a high quality food for medium-sized dogs. On average, these energetic canines can eat about two cups of food daily.

Brushes for Boykin Spaniel
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Boykin Spaniel requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Boykin Spaniel Temperament

While at first the Boykin Spaniel was loved by hunters for their tenaciousness outdoors, the breed has come to be known as a very sweet indoor family dog as well. This intelligent and eager dog is easy to train. Calm, energetic, and playful, Boykins love to please their families. They are known as being lovable and amicable, traits which help them get along well with children and other dogs. Boykin Spaniels are quite active dogs, although not generally hyperactive. They do need consistent exercise, or they might be prone to bad behavior out of boredom. Boykins also have a tendency to roam, a personality quirk possibly left over from their hunting days, so be sure to provide enough attention and mental stimulation to keep them occupied. Overall, your dog will not only be a wonderful hunting companion, but also an adored friend.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
8 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes
activity minutes

Boykin Spaniel Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.5 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.75 - $2.25
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$52.50 - $67.50
food bag monthly cost

Boykin Spaniel Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Boykin Spaniel at six months
Male Boykin Spaniel size stats at six months
Height: 12.5 inches Weight: 25.0 lbs
Female Boykin Spaniel size stats at six months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 20.0 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Boykin Spaniel at 12 months
Male Boykin Spaniel size stats at 12 months
Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
Female Boykin Spaniel size stats at 12 months
Height: 12.5 inches Weight: 25.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Boykin Spaniel at 18 months
Male Boykin Spaniel size stats at 18 months
Height: 16.5 inches Weight: 35.0 lbs
Female Boykin Spaniel size stats at 18 months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs

Top Boykin Spaniel Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Boykin Spaniel breeders of 2023.
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Pocotaligo Kennel
Pocotaligo Kennel
Sumter, South Carolina
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder John's Boykin Spaniels
John's Boykin Spaniels
Buncombe, Illinois
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder BeeKauz Kennels
BeeKauz Kennels
Farmington, Illinois
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Larley Boykin Spaniels
Larley Boykin Spaniels
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Texas Trace
Texas Trace
Hempstead, Texas
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Spin Top Kennel
Spin Top Kennel
Athens, Alabama
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Boykins Forever
Boykins Forever
Leesville, South Carolina
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder South Georgia Kennel
South Georgia Kennel
North Augusta, South Carolina
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Western Penn.`s Boykin Spaniel
Western Penn.`s Boykin Spaniel
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Top Boykin Spaniel breeder Rock'n Creek Kennel
Rock'n Creek Kennel
Saint Matthews, South Carolina

Boykin Spaniel Owner Experiences

5 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Going on drives
Eating Snacks
going to work
Playing with his siblings
I never thought that I would own a Boykin, because I work in Veterinary Medicine (if you know, you know). But when the opportunity presented itself from one of my all time favorite local Boykin Breeders (who is an absolute angel, & one of my all time favorite clients I’ve had over the 6 years I’ve been in Vet Med), I just couldn’t say no. I picked Theo out of two litters, after carefully engaging with each puppy in each litter, and I knew he was the right one for me. He has been an absolute joy to have, and he is the perfect match for my Golden Retriever. He also plays with all of my cats too, sometimes I believe he thinks he is one. He is such a fast learner and has been so incredibly easy to train. He’s only 5 1/2 months old, making him an October baby, so he hasn’t gotten to experience swimming yet- so I’m very excited to see how well he does with that and retrieving in water! He’s an absolute natural, and absolutely entertaining to watch/be around. He does amazing with nail trims and trips to the groomer, although he is a flat coat so he primarily has only gone for baths so far, so no issues with fur matting yet! He is so incredibly smart & picks up on what his older siblings do quickly and is fast to mimic them (thank goodness they’re all good dogs, haha). When he isn’t wide open playing with his siblings or outside doing dog things, he is on the couch cuddling and sleeping. He is 10/10 the most laid back Boykin I have ever met. This all being said, I 10/10 would recommend getting a Boykin.
1 year, 7 months ago
7 Weeks
2 People
House & Yard
It is only 7 weeks old. I just got it today
2 years, 2 months ago
3 Years
Eating Snacks
Boykins are very sweet and gentle. They love playing but can also get wound up very easily. They are very smart and love being active outside. High energy levels but always sweet and hardly ever aggressive.
5 years, 11 months ago
3 Years
5 People
great training 30-45 min walk
5 years, 1 month ago
Book me a walkiee?
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