Boykin spaniel

Boykin spaniel Breed description: Character & Co


General information about the Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel is an American dog breed, which is recognized by the American Kennel Club since 2009. Until now, the lively Spaniel was not recognized by the FCI. The Boykin Spaniel is the so-called State Dog of the State of South Carolina. This type of spaniel reaches a stick size between 35 and 45 cm, with a maximum weight of 19 kg. The medium-sized dog has a compact build and medium-length coat. Boykin Spaniels can live up to 14 years. This Spaniel is also known as the Boykin, the Swamp Poodle or the Little Brown Dog.

Origin and history

The Boykin Spaniel's first breeder, Lemuel Whitaker Boykin, is responsible for its naming. It began breeding the breed named after it in the early 20th century in the town of Spartanburg, which is located in the state of South Carolina in the United States. For this reason, the Boykin Spaniel is also the US State Dog of this state.

Boykin started breeding when it got its dog named Dumpy from a friend who had found it behind a church. This the later successful breeder crossed with another stray dog. Further breeding crossed in other breeds and around 1960 the water-loving spaniel was entered in a stud book for the first time. In 2009 the final recognition by the AKC took place.

Banner: Shutterstock / Cynthia Davison
boykin spaniel shakes after bath, swimming doggy, doggy that likes to swim, black small doggy black boykin spaniel puppy on grass Boykin spaniel brown photographed from the side, dog with wavy long ears, medium dog breed Boykin Spaniel bounces in the water
Alternate Name Dumpy
Origin USA
Life expectancy 14 - 16 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group not recognised
AKC group not recognised
KC group Gundog Group

The nature

The nature of the Boykin Spaniel is characterized by cheerfulness and docility. The intelligent Spaniels show themselves to be industrious working dogs that listen to their word when consistently trained. The active Spaniels are very adaptable and persevering. They are very well suited for hunting or as a companion dog due to their fine nose and sense of responsibility. In the meantime, the Boykin Spaniel is also often kept as a family dog, as it delights children with its friendly nature and playful disposition.

Husbandry and use

The Boykin Spaniel is basically very uncomplicated to keep. The active Spaniels need both mental and physical exercise, but they also like to cuddle on the sofa. Boykin Spaniels can be kept in an apartment as well as on a larger property. They are suitable as a family, companion and hunting dog. Here is a brief overview of what you should consider and know when keeping a Boykin Spaniel:

  1. Regular and thorough grooming is important
  2. Extensive and long walks are mandatory
  3. Mental workout makes the Boykin Spaniel happy
  4. The loyal Spaniel needs consistent, but loving education
  5. The Boykin Spaniel is a working dog and should be allowed to live out this urge (dog school, etc.)
brown boykin spaniel with wavy ears, dog with wavy hair Boykin spaniel gives birth to some black and white puppies, dog giving birth, boykin puppies A close-up of a beautiful Boykin Spaniel

Breeding and buying

If you are looking for a Boykin Spaniel, it is best to inquire at a reputable breeder and have a look at the dogs on site. Unfortunately, the special Spaniels are rather rare to find in Europe, because the breed is hardly represented especially in Germany and Austria. In the United States there are many breeders, which you can find online on the marketplace of the AKC. The animals cost between 1200€ and 2000€, whereby bitches are usually more expensive.

Typical diseases of the Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel is affected by hereditary hip dysplasia, various heart, skin and eye problems, as well as frequent ear infections.

Breed description and character of the Boykin Spaniel

Its love of water is definitely something that sets the Boykin Spaniel apart. It used to be used for water and land hunting, as it is sporadically used today. This is also evident in its physique. Boykin Spaniels possess a compact and robust body that is clothed in wavy fur. The dogs possess a warm undercoat that is meant to protect them from water and the elements while hunting. The top coat is of medium length and has hangings on the legs, abdomen, chest, and ears. The soft and curly ears are characteristic of the Boykin Spaniel, as well as many other Spaniel species. You can find Boykin Spaniels in various shades of brown. Sometimes they also have small white markings on their chest.

Fur length medium
Fur wavy
Ear shape Floppy Ear
Tail short
Anatomy sporty
Size ♀ 35 - 42 cm
Weight ♀ 11 - 16 kg
Size ♂ 39 - 46 cm
Weight ♂ 14 - 18 kg
Suitable For -


brown boykin spaniel with wavy ears, dog with wavy hair
Boykin spaniel gives birth to some black and white puppies, dog giving birth, boykin puppies
A close-up of a beautiful Boykin Spaniel
  • Hip dysplasia (HD)

    Hip dysplasia (HD) is a genetic condition in dogs where the hip joint is not shaped properly. This leads to pain, stiffness and restricted movement.

  • Elbow dysplasia (ED)

    Elbow joint dysplasia is a chronic disease complex of the elbow joint of fast growing dog breeds.

  • Eye diseases

    Often occur with allergies and intolerances.

  • Skin inflammations

    Can be hereditary in certain breeds.

  • Heart disease

    Can occur frequently in dogs and can sometimes be treated with medication.

  • Eye infections

    Chronic eye infections can be very painful in dogs and can be treated with medication. In rare cases, the cornea must be treated.

Other medium dogs

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