Boykin Spaniels have medium-sized, compact bodies covered in flat or wavy coats that are usually brown, liver or chocolate with occasional white patches. Their medium-length heads are somewhat wide and flat on top. Their flat, feathered ears hang close to the cheek, and their brown, oval eyes have an alert and innocent expression. They have long, muscular necks that slope down to strong, level backs. Their tails are usually docked to about 5 inches. Overall, Boykin Spaniels carry themselves with a light and nimble sturdiness.
Extremely good-natured and loving, Boykin Spaniels are the ultimate pal. Curious and cuddly, rugged and focused, Boykins can hang with kids and sportsmen alike. They are outgoing, loving creatures that bring a sense of fun and humor to every occasion.
Bred to hunt wild turkey and waterfowl, Boykins love stomping through rivers, creeks and marshes. Take them on a woodland hike and they’ll follow you through any bog or stitch. They also love obedience games and “tasks” that keep them mentally sharp.
Family time is very important to Boykin Spaniels. They crave human attention, affection and togetherness. Boykins form strong bonds with their masters, but they have an open and outgoing way with strangers and new people. They get along famously with kids.
Boykin Spaniels will be happy living in apartments as long as they get plenty of outdoor exercise. Without it, they can get bored, agitated and out of shape—Boykins also put on weight easily, so try not to overfeed them.
They have an amazing sense of smell. This can be a good thing if you’re pursuing wild turkey, but not such a good thing if you’re on a quick walk and your Boykin catches a whiff of something interesting. These dogs have a strong determination and a desire to roam, so keep them on a leash whenever possible.
A healthy Boykin Spaniel can live as long as 16 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, skin allergies and eye problems. They are easy to groom, needing just a simple, good brushing every few days to prevent matting.
As the story goes, the original Boykin Spaniel appeared one day outside a South Carolina church. A man leaving the church adopted the dog and discovered that it was a superb turkey hunter. He sent the dog to his breeder friend—a man named Whitaker Boykin—who trained it and crossed it with other dogs (like the Cocker Spaniel and the American Water Spaniel) to produce the Boykin Spaniel. Today, it is the official state dog of South Carolina.