The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

Boykin Spaniel

Information and Pictures

A shiny coated brown dog with ears that hang to the sides with long wavy hair on them and light brown almond shaped eyes sitting down outside in the grass

Jackson the Boykin Spaniel, photo courtesy of Pawleys Island Boykins


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The Boykin Spaniel has a Spaniel type head. The tail is docked. The waterproof coat is rather wavy or curly, but a smooth coat is acceptable (hunters care more about the dog’s hunting abilities than its coat type). Color is liver or brown. The Boykin is larger than the Cocker Spaniel, with smaller, higher set ears that are covered with long, wavy hair. He has considerably less hair and a straighter muzzle.


Docile, pleasant and obedient, an intelligent and loyal companion, Its trademark yellow/amber eyes that stare expectantly into your eyes are often commented upon as if the dog is asking, “What do you want me to do next?” The Boykin Spaniel is a fantastic swimmer. They enjoy water and swimming; however they are prone to Spaniel ear infections and should be dried well after getting wet. Most owners report that each of these dogs has a unique personality and an enthusiastic field ability seldom matched by other dogs. His fine nose and enthusiasm in the field make him a versatile hunter. They have been bred as hunting Spaniels and have exceptionally good noses. Their sense of smell can lead them on an excursion if allowed to roam off-lead. This dog needs an owner who displays natural leadership consistently communicating with the dog what is expected of him and what is not.

Height, Weight

Weight: 25 - 40 pounds (11 - 18 kg)

Height: 15 - 18 inches (38 - 46 cm)

Health Problems

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.

Living Conditions

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


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.

Life Expectancy

About 14-16 years

Litter Size

About 5 - 7 puppies


Requires brushing every few days to avoid coat matting. This breed is an average shedder.


Just after the turn of the 20th century, Alexander White of Spartanburg, South Carolina, saw a small brown Spaniel-type dog wandering around after church service. The dog appeared to be a stray and he decided to take the dog home with him. He discovered that the dog had great hunting abilities. This stray had a wonderful bird sense. Alexander gave the dog to his hunting partner L. Whitaker Boykin. The dog was a male and he was given the name "Dumpy." The Boykin Spaniel breed has evolved from this one dog, with crosses to American Water Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, Pointers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. It is used as a hardy retriever of upland birds as well as water fowl. The Boykin Spaniel is popular in the southern United States among bird hunters. Its state of origin is South Carolina, USA, which has designated the Boykin Spaniel its official state dog. In July 2005 the Boykin Spaniel Club of Breeders Assoc. of America was named by AKC as the official parent club. The Boykin Spaniel was an AKC FSS (Foundation Stock Service) breed for many years. The BSCBAA submitted their paperwork to AKC to progress into the miscellaneous group and was approved on February 9, 2007 with the effective date of January 1, 2008. Breeders hope to move the breed from the AKC miscellaneous class to the sporting group sometime in the future.


Gun Dog

  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • BSS = Boykin Spaniel Society
  • BSCBAA - Boykin Spaniel Club of Breeders Assoc. of America
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club
A little brown puppy with light golden brown eyes and a dark shiny brown coat with longer wavy hair on its ears laying in a pile of brown leaves with her head popping out and head tilted to the right.

Daisy the Boykin Spaniel as a puppy at 16 weeks old—"Daisy loves these leaves. She jumps in the pile until she completely disappears, then jumps out & looks at us like she's saying, "What?" High energy... we walk a minimum of 2 miles every morning rain or shine, chases her ball until I'm tired of throwing it, then another mile plus in the afternoon. Affectionate, mischievous and active, she certainly keeps us both busy!"

Jackson the Boykin Spaniel in the yard looking over at Daisy the Boykin Spaniel who is looking and walking towards the camera holder

Boykin Spaniels Jackson and Daisy, photo courtesy of Pawleys Island Boykins

Close Up - Boykin Spaniel puppies with their mother.

A litter of Boykin Spaniel puppies with their mother, photocourtesy of Pawleys Island Boykins

Close Up - a Litter of Boykin Spaniel puppies

A litter of Boykin Spaniel puppies, photo courtesy of Pawleys Island Boykins

Close Up - Boykin Spaniels sitting outside and looking back

UWPO UWPCH GRCH Hollow Creek's Gus CGC aka Gus, United Kennel Clubs' #1 Boykin Spaniel of their Premier 2004

A soft looking brown puppy wih long wavy ears, a brown nose and gray eyes laying down on a red oriental rug.

Levi the Boykin Spaniel puppy at 10 weeks old

A small brown puppy with long ears that hang down to the sides, a brown nose, tan eyes and wavy hair on his head sitting down on a brown leather couch.

Levi the Boykin Spaniel puppy at 12 weeks old

A medium sized brown dog with copper brown eyes and long soft wavy ears and a brown nose laying down on gray tiles.

Levi the Boykin Spaniel puppy at 19 weeks old

View from the top looking down at a dark brown dog with wavy soft fur with his long drop ears spread out on each side of his head laying down on gray tiles looking up.

Levi the Boykin Spaniel puppy at 19 weeks old

Side view head shot of a thick, long coated brown dog with ears that hang down to the sides with wavy hair on them in front of a large body of green water looking happy and relaxed with his tongue hanging out

Levi the Boykin Spaniel at 1 year old

See more examples of the Boykin Spaniel