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boykin retriever

Boykin Retriever Facts

Boykin Retrievers as Pets:

general health
energy level
chewing tendency
family and kid friendly

separation anxiety
preferred temperature
average climate
exercise needs
be friendly with other dogs
Thoroughbred Cost of Ownership
$800 to $4,000
pack of dogs
male weight
30-40 lbs
female weight
25-35 lbs

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See all pictures of Boykin Spaniels!

In addition to being great companions for hunting dogs, Boykin Spaniels can also make excellent family pets. They are very eager to please and love.

Boykin Spaniel was bred in South Carolina in the early 1900's. Local canine and breed expert Whit Boykin modeled the breed after a small brown retriever found in Spartanburg, South Carolina. When developing the spaniel, Whit Boykin crossed a variety of breeds, including the Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, American Water Spaniel and Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

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Boykin Spaniels are hunting dogs used for flushing or retrieving waterfowl. They are very strong swimmers. Their coats are usually one of two colors: dark chocolate brown or reddish brown.

Boykin Retriever Infographic

© AZ-Animals.com

Owning a Boykin Retriever: 3 Pros and Cons

advantage! shortcoming!
EASY TO TRAIN : These spaniels are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them easy to train. Shedding : Boykin Retrievers are relatively shedding, and if not brushed regularly, they can leave a lot of hair around your home.
Good for the Family : This breed is a great family dog. Boykin Spaniels can make great companions for kids. High Energy : Boykin Retrievers are full of energy and need a lot of daily exercise.
Social : Boykin Spaniels are social and generally friendly with strangers. Bad Watchdog : If you are looking for a watchdog, the Boykin Retriever would not be a good choice. They are too friendly with strangers to make a good watchdog.
boykin retriever retrieved

© Boykinspanieling / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

history and origin

The Boykin Spaniel is a breed developed in the 20th century. It is named after a small town in South Carolina with a population of about 100 people and Boykin after one of its founders, Lemuel Whitaker “Whit” Boykin. According to the origin story of the Boykin Spaniel, around 1900, a man named Alexander White found a brown beagle outside a church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and named him "Dwarf." fat". White took Dumpy to hunt with his other retrievers and was pleased to find that Dumpy had excellent instincts for the retriever and was able to compete with the purebred retrievers.

White took Dumpy to be trained by local expert Whit Boykin, known for working with dogs. It turns out that Humpty Dumpty is a competent hunter of ducks and turkeys. Boykin then made Dumpy the centerpiece of his breeding program and added other breeds of retrievers and retrievers. This eventually led to the Boykin Spaniel, an energetic hunting dog.

Boykin Spaniel Health and Recreation

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Carolina swamp athletes are drawn to the breed for its enthusiasm, adaptability and smooth movement. For a long time, the Boykin was known only where it was bred. Eventually, however, bird hunters across the country began to recognize the breed's potential, especially on the East Coast. This success is due to the breed's high energy when hunting, its ability to be active on land or water, and its urbane demeanor at home.

South Carolinians proudly recognize the Boykin Spaniel as their official state dog, and they celebrate September 1st as a special holiday. The AKC officially recognized the breed in 2009, making it one of the few "All-American" dog breeds.

Boykin retriever looking at green grass
The Boykin Spaniel was bred in South Carolina and is the state's official state dog.

© Cynthia Davidson/Shutterstock.com

size and weight

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog breed. Males typically weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and stand between 15.5 and 18 inches tall. Females are slightly smaller than males. They weigh between 25 and 35 pounds and stand between 14 and 16.5 inches tall.

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male female
high 15.5 inches to 18 inches 14 inches to 16.5 inches
weight 30 lbs to 40 lbs 25 to 35 lbs
mature boykin retriever
Boykin retrievers weigh between 25 and 40 pounds.

© Flatscaster – Public Domain

common health problems

Before bringing home one of these spaniels, there are a few health issues you should be aware of. Not all Boykin Retrievers will experience these problems, but knowing them will help you take good care of your dog and seek veterinary help if needed. Many of the health conditions that affect these spaniels are genetic, so it is important to purchase a Boykin Spaniel from a reputable breeder.

Hip dysplasia is one of the common problems in these retrievers. This is a genetic disorder in which the thigh bone fails to connect properly with the hip bone. This causes the two bones to rub together, which can be painful and can cause the dog to start limping.

Another health problem to watch out for is degenerative myelopathy. This is a progressive disease in the spinal cord of Boykin retrievers that is comparable to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dogs are usually not affected until they are over seven years old. However, you can determine whether your dog will develop degenerative myelopathy as he gets older by taking a DNA swab.

Some of these spaniels may also suffer from exercise-induced collapse. This condition can cause Boykin retrievers to suffer life-threatening muscle breakdown during strenuous exercise. Dogs affected by this condition should not receive more intense training, but should be able to live a happy life as a pet. There is also a DNA test that can be used to see if your dog is affected by this disease.

In summary, here are three major health issues that can affect these spaniels:

  • hip dysplasia
  • degenerative myelopathy
  • exercise-induced collapse
boykin spaniel smiley
Boykin retrievers have few health problems but can develop hip dysplasia.

© Cynthia Davidson/Shutterstock.com

Temperament and Behavior

These spaniels were bred for hunting, so they are very active dogs. However, in addition to being a great companion when hunting in the wild, this breed has many character traits that can also make it a great family dog. They are very friendly and affectionate. They are also easy to please. Boykin Spaniels love the attention they get from their families.

However, these spaniels have high needs for activity and mental stimulation. If you fail to meet these needs, they may behave undesirably.

How to Care for a Boykin Retriever

Remember that each dog breed is unique, so caring for these spaniels is different than caring for other breeds. When planning to care for this breed, keep their health concerns, temperament, nutritional needs, and other unique and important characteristics in mind.

best dog food

Whether you're choosing food for an adult hound or puppy, you should always look for high-quality and nutritious options from reputable manufacturers. Ensuring your retriever is getting the nutrition he needs is critical to long-term health. These spaniels should eat a food that contains adequate amounts of fat and protein. Choose foods that are higher in meat protein than plant protein, as these are easier to digest.

When choosing a food for your puppy, look for options that contain DHA or docosahexaenoic acid. This helps promote healthy brain and eye development in puppies.

Most Boykin Retrievers do best when they are fed about twice a day. You should divide the total recommended food intake into two equal portions. Puppies have smaller stomachs, so they should eat less and more meals throughout the day. If you're not sure how much food your dog should be eating, you can check the feeding guidelines on the bag or consult their veterinarian. The correct amount of food will vary for each dog based on the dog's age, health, activity level and other factors.

Here at AZ Animals, our pick for the best dog food for Boykin Spaniels is Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food.

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Made with hearty chicken plus prebiotics, probiotics, fiber and digestive enzymes, this treat is designed to pamper your dog's gut to ensure maximum nutrient absorption and boost immunity. Plus, it contains the vital glucosamine, which promotes strength building and maintenance, as Boykin retrievers can suffer from hip dysplasia.

You can buy Holistic Select Natural Dry Dog Food on Chewy or Amazon.

Best for Digestive and Gut Health

Maintenance and Grooming

These spaniels are relatively easy to groom and maintain. They have a wavy coat with medium-length hairs that are reddish-brown or dark brown. If you keep brushing them once a week, you can prevent them from shedding and reduce the amount of hair they leave around your home. Brushing your spaniel regularly will also help to remove dirt from his coat, keeping him clean.

In addition to brushing your Boykin Spaniel to control their shedding, you also need to brush to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. The dog's nails should also be trimmed regularly so they don't get too long and hurt the dog when it's walking.


These spaniels are easy to train. They are a breed that is eager to please and very intelligent. These two trails will help you teach your dog to obey commands and act appropriately. It is best to start training them as early as possible. Socializing them from an early age can also help them learn how to interact with other dogs and people.

boykin retriever puppy
Boykin Spaniel puppies are fun to train and can learn many tricks.

© Zadranka/Shutterstock.com


These spaniels are best for active owners. They were bred as hunting dogs but also enjoy activities such as running or hiking. Boykin Spaniels also love playing with their family in the large fenced back yard. Because they are active and easy to train, the breed also excels in tracking, agility, and field activity.


Before purchasing a Boykin Retriever from a breeder, it is important to talk to the breeder to learn more about the puppy. You should ask to see the parents' health history to make sure they don't have any genetic diseases that could be passed on to your dog.

Different Boykin Spaniels can have very different personalities. If possible, try spending some time with a few different puppies to see which one is best for your family.

Before bringing your new puppy home, be sure to puppy proof your home. You'll also need to buy puppy food, crates, dog beds, leashes and collars, toys, and other supplies your new dog will need. This will ensure you are fully prepared for their arrival and help you enjoy your time together.

Boykin retriever puppy lying on the grass
Boykin Spaniel puppies are easy to train and eager to please.

© Zadranka/Shutterstock.com

boykin spaniel and child

Overall, these spaniels can make excellent family dogs. This breed is very friendly and loving. They also adapt well to different environments. For best results, socializing and training them from an early age will help ensure they are interacting appropriately with your child.

Although these spaniels are great with children, it's always a good idea to supervise any dogs around children to prevent anything from happening to the dog or the child.

Similar Dog Breeds to the Boykin Spaniel

The English Cocker Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and American Water Spaniel are three breeds that are similar to these spaniels.

  • English Cocker Spaniel: The English Cocker Spaniel is one of the breeds that were mixed to create these Spanish dogs. Both dogs are hunting dogs with feathered coats. They're also about the same size, with an average male English Cocker Spaniel weighing 31 pounds and a male Boykin averaging 32.5 pounds. The coat of the English Cocker Spaniel can come in a variety of colors including light brown, tan, black or gold. Boykin Spaniels all have brown coats.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever: Both the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and the Boykin Retriever are known for their swimming abilities and ability to flush out waterfowl when hunting. However, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is larger than the Boykin Retriever. The average male Chesapeake Bay Retriever weighs 72.5 pounds, while the average male Boykin Retriever weighs 32.5 pounds.
  • American Water Spaniel: Both the American Water Spaniel and the Boykin Spaniel are affectionate, social dogs. They are all friendly, even to strangers. Both dogs have brown coats, but the American Water Spaniel has a curly coat while the Boykin has a feathered coat.
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famous boykin spaniel

Not many famous Boykin Spaniels have been recorded. However, famous actor Tom Selleck owns one of these spaniels.

These spaniels make great pets. Finding the right name for your dog is also important. Read the list below to find some inspiration for your special pup.

  • Jack
  • maximum
  • partner
  • pliers
  • Cody
  • Jeter
  • Sly
  • fashionable
  • Sheba
  • Princess

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about the author

heather hall

I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

Boykin Spaniel FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a Boykin Retriever?

The Boykin Spaniel is a relatively new breed, bred in South Carolina in the early 1900s. The Whit Boykin was bred by crossing the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel and American Water Spaniel. They were bred to flush out and retrieve ducks, turkeys, and other birds. The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog breed. Boykin Spaniels are usually one of two colors: reddish brown or dark chocolate brown. They also have a white spot on their chest.

How much does it cost to own a Boykin Retriever?

Buying a Boykin Spaniel from a breeder can cost anywhere from $800 to $4,000. The pedigree of the puppy, as well as the reputation of the breeder, can have a huge impact on cost. Adopting a Boykin Retriever from a rescue or shelter costs only about $300, which covers the application and vaccinations.

You also need to consider how much it will cost to own a Boykin Retriever. They need veterinary care, food, crates, dog beds, toys, leashes, collars, and many other supplies. Because of all these supplies you need to buy, the first year of owning a Boykin Retriever is usually the most expensive. You should expect to spend at least $1,000. Over the next few years, you should budget $500 to $1,000 to cover food and other expenses.

Are Boykin Spaniels Good For Kids?

Yes, Boykin Spaniels generally do well with children. This breed is loving and social. They enjoy interacting with children and are generally stable around them.

Do Boykin Spaniels shed a lot?

Boykin Spaniels shed just the right amount. Brushing them about once a week can help remove loose hair and reduce the amount of hair left in the house.

Are Boykin Spaniels Good Family Dogs?

Yes, a Boykin Retriever can make a great family dog, as long as there is enough space for them to expend their energy. Since they are a higher energy breed, they are not well suited for apartment living.

Are Boykin Spaniels easy to potty train?

Boykin Spaniels are very eager to please, which can make them easier to train. When potty training your new dog, be very consistent. Maintaining a consistent routine will help your dog learn when it's time to use the bathroom and help speed up the potty training process.

What is the life expectancy of a Boykin Spaniel?

The Boykin Spaniel has a life expectancy of between 10 and 15 years.

Are Boykin Retrievers herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Boykin retrievers are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom Do Boykin Spaniels Belong To?

The Boykin Spaniel belongs to the animal kingdom.

What class do Boykin Spaniels belong to?

The Boykin Spaniel belongs to the class Mammalia.

What Phylum Do Boykin Spaniels Belong To?

Boykin retrievers belong to the phylum Chordate.

What family do Boykin Spaniels belong to?

The Boykin Spaniel belongs to the canine family.

What order do Boykin Retrievers belong to?

Boykin retrievers belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Boykin Retrievers belong to?

Boykin retrievers belong to the genus Canis.

What type of mulch does Boykin Spaniels have?

Boykin Spaniels are covered in fur.

How Many Children Do Boykin Spaniels Have?

The average baby size for a Boykin Spaniel is 6.

What are some interesting facts about the Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels are enthusiastic working dogs!

What is the Boykin Spaniel's scientific name?

The Boykin Spaniel's scientific name is Canis lupus.

What's the Difference Between the American Water Spaniel and the Boykin Spaniel?

The biggest differences between the American Water Spaniel and the Boykin Spaniel are their appearance, color, temperament, and longevity.

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  1. American Kennel Club, available here: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/boykin-spaniel/
  2. Boykin Spaniel Association, available here: https://boykinspaniel.org/pages/puppy-wellness-guide-grooming–training-tips/puppy-buyers-questions
  3. Wikipedia, available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boykin_Spaniel#Appearance
  4. Animal Care Tips, available here: https://animalcaretip.com/how-to-potty-train-the-boykin-spaniel/#:~:text=Feeding%2C%20watering%20and%20walking%20your, to%20adapt %20 their %20physics%20 functions.
  5. Adopt a Pet, available here: https://www.adoptapet.com/s/adopt-a-boykin-spaniel#:~:text=The%20cost%20to%20adopt%20a,anywhere%20from%20% 24800% 2D% 244% 2C000.
  6. The Happy Puppy Site, available here: https://thehappypuppysite.com/boykin-spaniel/