Boykin Spaniel = Flickr User billread
The Perfect Owner & Home
There’s a split in philosophy as to whether Boykin Spaniels should be companion animals. The Boykin Spaniel Society feels that they’re bred for hunting, and they should be used only for hunting. However, Paisley Lyne Stevens, lifelong dog owner, mom to four Boykins and former President of the Boykin Spaniel Club, says the rare breed are by far the finest family dogs she’s ever experienced.
“It’s a pretty awesome little dog. Not in top three family dogs, like a Golden Retriever, but it’s a really neat dog for an active family. However, you don’t want to leave them at home alone. They want to go with you everywhere. To the beach, the soccer game, on your run with you.”
Appearance & Grooming
The medium-sized Boykin is as solid in color as it is in build. Its rich liver, brown or dark chocolate coat is sometimes seen with a small amount of white on chest or toes.
Size: 14 – 18 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 25-40 pounds
Grooming Difficulty: **
Cost of Grooming: *
Wendy Weinand, Petco’s National Grooming Operations Specialist, estimates the cost for grooming the Boykin Spaniel to be approximately $50, which would include a bath, nails, ear cleaning, and a breed specific trim. Forgoing the toenail clipping and the trim brings the cost closer to $35.
In general, this is a wash and wear dog that’s easy to take care of. Most family pets would do well with a product such as the Furminator to manage the Boykins top coat and under coat. The dog usually has a summer clip as well.
Personality, Temperament, & Exercise Needs
Puppy Exercise and Playtime Needs: ****
Adult Exercise and Playtime Needs: ***
Who is the Boykin Spaniel at a party?
“They’re every person,” says Stevens. “They have a very versatile personality. They can sit in the same place for the whole party, and be totally pleasant, or they can be high energy, and just a big clown, going from person to person.”
Once they get through their toddler stage, the Boykin Spaniel is a docile, easy to manage, peaceful and affectionate dog that does well with routine, and gets the idea of an invisible fence.
“Like a lot of the Retriever breeds, once they’re comfortable with themselves and their lives, and feel like they have a purpose, whether that’s a companion dog, a hunt test dog, a show dog, once they have defined what they are, they’ll make an incredible companion,” says Stevens.
Socialization & Training Needs
Training Difficulty: ***
Housetraining Difficulty: ***
Their focus, attention, and drive to please should kick in at around two years old.
“It’s like they suddenly turn less egocentric and become more driven to be of service and please,” continues Stevens.
Remember to choose a breeder that does temperament testing and encourages socialization. Unfortunately, some sell dogs that have not been in a home for six-plus generations. These are the ones more likely to cause some destruction.
“When a Boykin Spaniel is well bred and well managed, I’ve never seen them do poorly in any setting,” says Stevens. I’ve stayed in 5-star hotels with them, and they’ve had to ride in the elevator, and had nothing but a 4x4 patch of grass on which to eliminate. There was not one issue.”
“Like eggs, it’s better to get Boykin Spaniel straight from the farm. If you go the traditional route, you’ll get a healthier and more stable dog,” urges Stevens.
Life Expectancy: 15 – 17 years
While the Boykin Spaniel is relatively healthy, the following has been seen in the breed:
- EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse)
- Hip dysplasia
- Patella luxation
- Various eye issues
- Heart/cardiac problems
“Boykin Spaniels are prone to yeast infections, allergies, and some skin conditions,” says Stevens, “so be sure to use a good drying product when the dogs swim."
All dogs should have an annual exam, but owners may want to seek out a specialist if they know their dog is prone to a particular disease. There may be preventative procedures to conduct early on in the dog’s life.
Boykin Spaniel Breed Profile compiled by Gail Eisenberg