Boykin Spaniel Dog

The Boykin Spaniel dog is a very beautiful, medium-sized breed of dog. It is known for it’s hunting skills. But today, it is raised mainly as a good companion or family dog. The breed is also known by some other names such as Swamp Poodle, Little Brown Dog, or simply as Boykin.

As the name suggests, the Boykin Spaniel dog is a spaniel which was bred for hunting wild turkeys and ducks in the Wateree River Swamp of South Carolina, in the United States. It is the state dog of South Carolina, where it was discovered and further developed by hunters in the 1900s. 1 September is Boykin Spaniel Day in South Carolina.

The first Boykin Spaniel dog, or the precursor of today’s breed, was reportedly a small, stray spaniel type dog that befriended a banker walking from his home to the First Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina around 1900.

Alexander L. White (1860–1942) liked the little dog and took it home. After the dog showed some aptitude for retrieving, White sent the dog called “Dumpy” to his longtime friend and hunting partner Lemuel Whitaker Boykin near Camden, South Carolina.

“Whit” Boykin (1861–1932) experimented with crossbreeding different breeds, and the resulting dog is named after him. This breed is only one of two US-made breeds named for the family responsible for their creation.

In Boykin’s hands the little stray developed into a superb turkey dog and waterfowl retriever. This dog became the foundation stock for the Boykin spaniel. The dogs had to be small enough to ride in the small boats used by hunters in the swamps.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, and various pointing breeds were used in the development of the breed, according to Whit Boykin’s grandson Dr. Baynard Boykin.

The area in which the breed developed, around Camden, South Carolina, was a resort and hunting area, and the breed was noticed by visitors and so spread around the United States.

In January 2006 the breed became eligible to compete in AKC Spaniel Hunt tests for official AKC titles. In July 2006 the Boykin Spaniel was eligible to earn AKC titles in AKC agility, tracking, rally obedience, and regular obedience.[1]

Boykin Spaniel Dog Characteristics

The Boykin Spaniel dog is a very beautiful and medium-sized dog. It is only slightly larger than the English Cocker Spaniel, but much heavier through the body width. The tail of these dogs is traditionally docked at the age of 3 days, leaving 1/3 length.

Their eyes are engaging and bright. The color ranges from brilliant gold to a dark amber. Puppies will have milky bluish-gold to amber eyes until a few months old. The coat color comes in solid, rich liver or dark chocolate (shades of brown).

Coat length and density of the Boykin Spaniel dog vary widely due to the variety of breeds that make up the recent background of the breed. The coat is flat to moderately curly with medium length, fine hair light feathering acceptable on the legs, feet, ears, chest and belly. Length is normally 1-2 inches throughout the body.

Average body height of the mature dog is between 15.5 and 18 inches at the withers for males, and between 14 and 16.5 inches for the females. Average live body weight of the mature dog is between 14 and 18 kg for the males, and between 11 and 16 kg for the females.

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The Boykin Spaniel dogs are friendly, social and they are considered as a good family pet. They are eager to work and easily trained. They are good with, and extremely stable around children and other dogs. They can sometimes be described as energetic with great endurance.

The Boykin Spaniel dogs are extremely adaptable to different environments as long as they are given ample opportunities for social interaction and plenty of time to burn off excess energy reserves. They are not easily angered and tend to be eager to please. They are friendly and love attention.


Average lifespan of the Boykin Spaniel dogs is between 10 and 15 years.


How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Boykin Spaniel dogs are medium in size, and they are very active. So, their diet should be formulated for a medium sized breed with high exercise needs. You can also consult with a vet in your area for better recommendations.


Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Boykin Spaniel dogs. Like many other dogs, they also require daily exercise and regular grooming.

Clipping the coat regularly is recommended especially if the dog is in the field, as the soft coat collects foxtails and briars.

Spraying the dog with cooking spray is also recommended to help defend against tangles in the long fur.


The Boykin Spaniel dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, and exercise-induced collapse. Also check their ears regularly for signs of infection and clean when necessary.

Brush their teeth often using a toothpaste designed for dogs. And always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameBoykin Spaniel
Other NamesAlso known as Swamp Poodle, Little Brown Dog, or simply as Boykin
Breed SizeMedium
HeightBetween 15.5 and 18 inches at the withers for males, and between 14 and 16.5 inches for the females
WeightBetween 14 and 18 kg for the males, and between 11 and 16 kg for the females
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorSolid, rich liver or dark chocolate
LifespanBetween 10 and 15 years
Good for childrenYes
Country of OriginUnited States

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