Boykin Spaniel

Short History of the Breed Boykin Spaniel – wikiFido-Dog Breeds, Rescues

The dog was originally found in 1911, outside a Methodist church after service by Mr. Alexander L. White (1860-1942). He was named “Dumpy”, but showed some aptitude for hunting. Mr. White took the dog to his friend, Mr. Whit Boykin (1861-1932), which is where the name came from. Mr. Boykin bred the dog with a dog named Singo, a female dog found abandoned in a train depot. Later other hunters would breed their ‘Boykins’ to different gun dogs, including Labaradors, Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Pointers, Setters and American Water Spaniels.

65 years later, the Boykin Spaniel Society was formed. Their mission was to document the breed in a registry to encourage breeding of purebred Boykins, and ultimately obtain national recognition in a recognized organization such as UKC and AKC.

The BSS applied to the AKC for recognition in the early years of formation. The BSS was told that they did not have complete documentation for AKC recognition but to re-evaluate in the future. Several years later, the BSS again took their case to the AKC. Upon being told that they would turn the registration part of their business over to the AKC, the BSS determined that the BSS would continue as a private individual company rather than joining the AKC as the Boykin Spaniel national parent club.

In the late 1990’s, a group of people who still desired AKC recognition formed the Boykin Spaniel Club & Breeders Assoc. of America WWW.BoykinSpanielClub.ORG
Although faced with opposition and a lawsuit over ownership of the breed instigated by the BSS, the Boykin Spaniel Club continued working for AKC recognition.

In July 2005, the club was named the Official AKC Parent Club of the Boykin Spaniel. Although they remained an AKC FSS breed at that time, the AKC felt the club had made progress to the point of allowing them to begin participating in AKC events. In January 2006, the breed was allowed to participate and earn titled in AKC Spaniel Hunt Tests. In July 2006, they became eligible to compete in AKC agility, obedience, rally and tracking.

Physical Description and Size
The Boykin is a small to medium sized spaniel. Their size was one of the traits that made them a desired hunting companion in the early 1900’s. Small boats filled with hunters and gear did not leave room for a large retriever. The Boykin was big enough to bring back the turkeys and ducks, but small enough that they were not a burden.

The Boykin Spaniel is a moderate dog in all ways. There are no extremes in their build or trappings and their form follows function. They are a breed originally developed as an obedient companion able to behave while riding to a hunt in a boat, but strong and quick to flush and retrieve. Gait is without wasted motion or interference.

The head is expressive with amber or yellow colored eyes that show enthusiasm and intelligence. Lips are close fitting without being heavy or flewed and the muzzle is balanced with the head. The ears are set on even with the top of the skull and reach the tip of the dog’s nose when lightly pulled forward.

Boykins are always a solid color with an occasional tiny white spot on the fore-chest or toes. Excessive white markings are to be avoided. The coat color variations have been described in many terms including liver, red, chocolate, or bronze. Longer hair and feathering may appear faded.

Coat length and texture vary with a waterproof, wavy coat of around an inch long being the most common. Some coats may be smooth or curly. They have light feathering on the ears and limbs. Coat and feathering may become matted if not brushed regularly.

Tails are docked. Dew claws are sometimes removed.

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Temperament

Like all hunting and sporting breeds, the Boykin Spaniel has boundless energy and enthusiasm. They have a very high activity level and need to be given exercise for their body and mind daily. They do require daily exercise and excell at dog sports such as flyball, agility, tracking and obedience.

They are quick to bond with people and are attentive, devoted pets that prefer to be by their owners side at all times. It is excellent with children and is an instinctive swimmer. They can sometimes be unresponsive to harsher training methods ( chock chains or shock collars) and do best with clicker or operant conditioning methods.

Dog Care
(exercise, grooming, diet)

Boykin Spaniels must be exercised daily. They are an active breed that was bred to hunt all day long, so it is expected that they will have an abundance of energy that needs to be burned off.

Grooming every few days is needed to keep the hair from matting, especially behind the ears.

Ear infections occur in some dogs regularly. Skin conditions are in some of the bloodlines. Both of these are possible symptoms of either allergies or thyroid/endocrine disorders; a vet can accurately diagnose the problem.

Most Boykin Spaniels do well on a high quality kibble diet.
Health Issues and Life Expectancy
The average Boykin Spaniel life expectancy is 14-16 years.

Several Boykin Spaniels are born with hip dysplasia each year. Puppies can be checked by a local veterinarian for this problem at the age of 2 human year old by anOrthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) x-ray or as young as 4 months old by aPennHIP exam. All breeding stock should receive either a passing PennHIP evaluation or an OFA certification prior to being bred.
The breed is also known to have eye related problem. All breeding stock should have a current (yearly) certificate from CERF.

Other lesser known problems include cardiac (heart), patella luxation, elbow dysplasia, under bite jaw, and skin problems.

The breed is recognized by CHIC (Canine Health Information Center) and individuals tested for hip, CERF and patellas as well as having permanent identification (micro-chip or tatto) will receive a CHIC number and certificate. However, obtaining a CHIC certification does not mean a dog has passed their evaluations; it is an indication that the owner was responsible enough to check for the health diseases in the Boykin Spaniel.

Additional Resources
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Boykin Spaniel Club and Breeders Assoc. of America
WWW.BoykinSpanielClub.ORG
Boykin Spaniel Yahoo! Discussion group
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/BoykinSpaniel/
American Kennel Club
www.akc.org
Boykin Spaniels on WikiFido