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Boykin Spaniel
The Boykin Spaniel is a compact retriever/spaniel.  Suitable for upland (dove) as well as some water retrieving, the breed definitely deserves the recognition as the State Dog of South Carolina.  The Parent Club, the Boykin Spaniel Society, has taken singular responsibility in maintaining the working ability of the dogs as well as the exceptional health and temperament.  Additionally their focus to include rescue as the beneficiary of breeding programs is obvious, deserved and much needed.  When reading about the Boykin Spaniel you will also want to become familiar with this club.  It's definitely one of the best parts of the Boykin Spaniel.

By Breed Name
By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): SportingRetrieverSpaniel Height: 14-18 inches
Weight: 25-40 pounds Longevity: 12-15
Colors: solid liver or dark chocolate, white spot on the chest permissible Coat type: short, straight acceptable but usually medium length flat to some curl allowed, feathering on legs allowed
Recognized Registries: UKC, NCA, FCI and others
Overall Appearance: Medium spaniel type dog of solid shades of brown, with distinctive medium length coat and conformation (powerful rear, longer in body than heigh) suitable for swimming.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to very high
General Nature: genial but can be skittish
  with Children: variable on history, training, supervision, socializing and behavior of children
  with other pets: generally very good
  with dogs: generally very good
Socialization requirements: rather high, the sensitivity and intelligence of the breed makes it prone to skittishness if not properly introduced to the world while young
Ideal home characteristics: Must appreciate the innate working drive and ability, while this can be used for things other than retrieving, the dog will need a job despite its cute appearance and compact size.
Temperament Notes: Intelligent, agile, athletic and often of a more submissive or soft inclination. Training will focus on building confidence initially.
Training requirement: moderate: socializing, basic manners and some
Trainer notes: Similar to other Spaniel breeds in an innate working drive combined with high desire to please.  This is relatively easily quashed by rough handling so positive and fun training methods should always be employed with this breed.  They are ideally suited for advanced work beyond socialization and basic manners.  Options like Pet Therapy, Search and Rescue, Field Work, Frisbee Catching, DockDogs, DogScouts, Agility and more all comes to mind.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: early 1900s
Country of Origin: USA - Specifically South Carolina
Original Function: retriever, flushing spaniel
History: A stray was found outside the Methodist Church one Sunday in the early 1900s. This dog was adopted and showed hunting ability and was sent to a local trainer in Boykin. His aptitude made him a popular stud to other hunting dogs and the breed was found.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: too large, too much white, heavy head
Health Notes: hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas, eye problems, hypothyroidism, skin disorders, heart issues
Health Testing: CERF, OFA knees and elbows and cardiac, Thyroid Panel from Michigan State or comparable
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Boykin Spaniels?
  • What would you consider the ideal Boykin?
  • What criteria do you seek in your breeding stock?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What titles do you seek for your breeding stock?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies available?
  • At what age do you send your pups to their homes?
  • What training and raising advice would you give to someone getting a Boykin puppy?
  • What would you consider an ideal Boykin home?
Web Sites:  -Boykin Spaniel Rescue

Other Resources
Breed standard: Boykin Spaniel Standard

Breeder Ethics: Code of Ethics for the Boykin Spaniel Society of South Carolina

Other: The Boykin Spaniel Society must be applauded not just for its verbal support of its breed rescue but also for putting its money where its mouth is.  With a high litter registration fee (relatively speaking $40) they were able to designate that $20 of each litter registration goes to rescue.  This serves dual purpose in perhaps causing casual breeders to rethink any excessive breedings as litter registration fees would mount as well as making those breeders help pay for the "safety" net that Rescue creates for their puppies.  DigitalDog goes on the record as saying that EVERY Parent Breed Club should do as much, and that we don't know of others that do. The recently formed Boykin Spaniel Club and Breeder's Group must be recognized as a group that wishes to increase the marketability and exposure of their breed by gaining AKC recognition.  It would be difficult to demonstrate that any breed recently recognized by the AKC has benefited by the recognition.  Cases in point would include the Shar Pei and many others who's initial introduction results in a flurry of being called rare and becoming a fad and then the quick acceptance in interest of puppy mills in overbreeding the dogs in question.  DigitalDog feels strongly that the Boykin Spaniel Club is ill-advised and that the detriments to the breed would far outweigh any gains by the path they are pursuing.
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