Boykin Spaniel

Breed Information


2022: #82

2021: #90

2020: #87

2015: #107


Boykin Spaniel

Other names

Boykin, Swamp Poodle, LBD (Little Brown Dog)


United States

Breed Group

Sporting (AKC:2009)

Gun Dog (UKC)





Life Span

14-16 years









15-18 inches (38-46 cm)


25-40 pounds (11-18 kg)



Litter Size

5-7 puppies

Puppy Prices

Average $700 – $1200 USD

On average a Boykin Spaniel puppy will cost $900 in the United States. Most puppies can be found between $700 and $1,200. The price will vary depending on the breeder and location as well as the dog’s bloodline, color, and age among other things.

Disclaimer: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

Breed Characteristics



Apartment Friendly


The Boykin Spaniel will do okay in an apartment if it is adequately exercised. A small yard is sufficient.

Barking Tendencies



Cat Friendly


Child Friendly


Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Dog Friendly


Exercise Needs


The Boykin Spaniel is a working dog and needs a lot of daily exercise, including a long, brisk daily walk, where the dog is heeling beside or behind you; never in front, as in a dog’s mind, pack leader goes first. They have a high drive and are very willing. This is an intensely energetic dog that needs adequate exercise and a “job” to do daily to burn off energy and exercise its very nimble mind. They will find ways to entertain themselves if not provided by their owner and can be very destructive when bored or when their primal instinct to walk has not been fulfilled.



Moderate Maintenance: The Boykin’s medium length double coat can be flat to slightly wavy with a light fringe of hair, called feathering, on the ears, chest, legs and belly. Weekly brushing and the occasional bath will keep your Boykin’s coat in good shape. If you want, you can have a professional groomer clip the coat as needed for neatness.

Health Issues


Hypoallergenic: No

The most common health issues are hip dysplasia, eye problems such as cataracts, and a few localized lines have heart and skin problems. Prone to ear infections.



Ranking: # Full Ranking List



Shedding Level


Moderate Shedding: The coat sheds moderately, but regular brushing will help keep dead hair off your furniture, floors and clothing.

Stranger Friendly




Easy Training: The Boykin Spaniel has a very obedient nature and are very intelligent, which makes them quite easy to train. They do still require a consistent pack master, as any breed does. It is imperative that when walking your Boykin Spaniel, that they are made to heel beside you. If the dog is allowed to lead the walk, they will likely believe themselves to be in charge.

Watchdog Ability


Boykin Spaniels are an enchanting blend of charisma, intelligence, and versatility. Not only are they agile hunters and retrievers but also devoted family companions. If you’ve ever considered adopting one, this comprehensive guide on Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Characteristics is your one-stop resource for everything you need to know.

Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Characteristics

Physical Features

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog with a sturdy build. Their expressive eyes exude warmth, reflecting their affectionate nature. They sport a dense, wavy coat that is usually chocolate or liver in color.


Boykin Spaniels are known for their keen intelligence and enthusiastic demeanor. These dogs are agile, alert, and incredibly affectionate, making them the perfect choice for families and individuals alike. They are sociable creatures, often going out of their way to greet people and other dogs.


Don’t let their playful antics fool you; Boykin Spaniels are exceptionally smart dogs. They are quick learners and can master commands and tricks with ease. Their intelligence coupled with their desire to please makes them excellent candidates for advanced obedience training and dog sports.

History of the Boykin Spaniel


The Boykin Spaniel originated in South Carolina, United States, and was initially bred for hunting wild turkeys. Their keen nose and agile movements made them popular among hunters in the early 20th century.

Evolution Over Time

Over the decades, the Boykin Spaniel has evolved into more than just a hunting dog. Today, they are popular as family pets, therapy dogs, and even in dog sports. Their versatility is a testament to their adaptability and intelligence.

Famous Boykin Spaniels

While not as high-profile as some other breeds, Boykin Spaniels have had their moments in the limelight. From featuring in hunting shows to acting as therapy dogs, these remarkable canines have made a mark in various fields.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Like any breed, Boykin Spaniels are susceptible to certain health problems such as hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and heart issues. Regular vet check-ups and a balanced diet can go a long way in ensuring a healthy, happy life.

Exercise Needs

Boykin Spaniels are active and energetic dogs. They require daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Whether it’s a long walk, a game of fetch, or even a swim, these dogs are up for any physical challenge.

Diet and Nutrition

A balanced diet is crucial for the Boykin Spaniel’s well-being. Make sure to consult your vet for diet recommendations that suit your dog’s age, health condition, and activity level.

Training Your Boykin Spaniel

Basics and Obedience

Training should start early for Boykin Spaniels. Basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” are essential for any dog, but especially for a breed as intelligent and energetic as this one.

Advanced Training Techniques

Once the basics are mastered, you can move on to more advanced commands and tricks. Boykin Spaniels excel in agility courses and are quick to learn complex commands.

Common Training Challenges

Despite their intelligence, Boykin Spaniels can be stubborn at times. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to overcoming any training hurdles.

Grooming Essentials

Coat Care

Regular brushing is essential to keep the Boykin Spaniel’s coat in top condition. Their wavy coats can easily mat if not properly cared for, so make sure to detangle them regularly.

Dental Health

Oral health is often overlooked but is crucial for your dog’s overall well-being. Regular teeth brushing and dental check-ups can prevent many oral issues.

Nail Trimming

Long nails can cause discomfort and even pain for your Boykin Spaniel. Make sure to trim their nails every few weeks to keep them comfortable.

Socialization and Behavior

With Humans

Boykin Spaniels are exceptionally friendly and get along well with people. Socialization should start early to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.

With Other Animals

Generally, Boykin Spaniels get along well with other dogs and pets. However, early socialization is key to ensuring that they are comfortable around other animals.

Boykin Spaniel in the Great Outdoors

Hunting Skills

Originally bred for hunting, Boykin Spaniels have a natural instinct for tracking and retrieving. They are often used in various forms of hunting and excel in field trials.

Water Activities

Boykin Spaniels are excellent swimmers. They love water and are often used for retrieving in waterfowl hunting.

The Family Dynamic

With Children

Boykin Spaniels are gentle and patient, making them excellent companions for children. However, as with any dog, it’s important to teach children how to interact safely and respectfully with them.

With Seniors

Their affectionate and easygoing nature also makes Boykin Spaniels great companions for seniors. They are adaptable and can adjust to a less active lifestyle if needed.

Adoption and Buying Guide

Where to Adopt or Buy

If you’re looking to adopt, numerous rescues specialize in Boykin Spaniels. For those looking to buy, it’s crucial to find a reputable breeder who tests for health issues and provides a well-socialized puppy.

Costs Involved

Owning a Boykin Spaniel involves various costs, including food, healthcare, and grooming. Make sure to budget accordingly before bringing one into your life.


Boykin Spaniels are a delightful blend of intelligence, versatility, and affection. Whether you’re an avid hunter or looking for a loving family pet, this breed has something for everyone.


What is a Boykin Spaniel?

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized breed of dog that originated in the United States. It was developed in the early 20th century in South Carolina as a versatile hunting and retrieving dog, particularly suited for hunting waterfowl and turkeys.

What are the physical characteristics of a Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels are medium-sized dogs with a well-balanced and muscular build. They have a distinctive wavy or curly coat that can range in color from rich liver to chocolate brown. Their ears are long and pendulous, and they have expressive, friendly eyes.

What is the temperament of a Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They are intelligent, eager to please, and highly trainable, which makes them great companions for families and hunters alike. They have a strong work ethic and are happiest when given tasks to perform. They tend to get along well with other dogs and pets, as well as children.

Are Boykin Spaniels good with children?

Yes, Boykin Spaniels generally get along well with children. They have a patient and gentle demeanor, making them suitable for families with kids. However, as with any dog breed, proper socialization and training are important to ensure a positive interaction between the dog and children.

Are Boykin Spaniels good for hunting?

Yes, Boykin Spaniels were originally bred for hunting and retrieving game in the swamps and rivers of South Carolina. They are excellent retrievers and are well-suited for hunting waterfowl and upland game birds. Their compact size and strong swimming abilities make them effective in various hunting environments.

Do Boykin Spaniels require a lot of exercise?

Yes, Boykin Spaniels are an active breed that requires regular exercise to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Daily walks, playtime, and opportunities to explore the outdoors are important to keep them happy and healthy. They enjoy activities such as fetching, swimming, and agility training.

How do I groom a Boykin Spaniel?

Boykin Spaniels have a wavy or curly coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting and to maintain its appearance. Regular ear cleaning and nail trimming are also essential parts of their grooming routine. Bathing should be done as needed, but not too frequently to avoid stripping the natural oils from their coat.

Are Boykin Spaniels prone to any health issues?

Like all breeds, Boykin Spaniels can be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, eye problems, and allergies. Responsible breeding practices and regular veterinary care can help mitigate potential health concerns.

Are Boykin Spaniels good as indoor pets?

Yes, Boykin Spaniels can adapt well to indoor living, especially if they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. They are social dogs that thrive on human interaction, so they should not be left alone for extended periods.

Remember that each individual dog’s personality and needs can vary, so it’s important to research and interact with the breed to determine if a Boykin Spaniel is the right fit for your lifestyle and preferences.

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