Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

A lively, friendly dog, the Boykin spaniel is outgoing toward people and children, and needs a yard to play in or a brisk daily walk.

Boykin Spaniel at a glance
The Boykin Spaniel Dog Breed

The Boykin seems to have boundless energy and needs lots of exercise.


Weight Range:

Male: 32-38 lbs.
Female: 30-36 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 17 in.
Female: 16 in.


Floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: 40 minutes/day
Energy Level: high
Longevity Range: 925
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred for:

Turkey retrieving


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Curly, wavy
Colors: Solid liver
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Club recognition:

UKC Classification: Gun Dog
Prevalence: So-so

The Boykin spaniel is a medium-sized brown dog with a spaniel's floppy ears and a deep liver-brown coat.

The coat is medium in length and moderately curly. Some of the fringe of the coat is a lighter red color. Legend has it that the spaniel's brown coat was bred in to provide camouflage as he lay against the earth during the hunt.

The Boykin spaniel is a sturdy but agile dog of medium build. The female is 14 to 16 inches and the male is 15 to 18 inches. Average weight is between 25 to 40 pounds (11 to 18 kilograms).


The typical Boykin spaniel is friendly and eager to please. He is a born hunter, but also makes a lively, friendly companion in the home. They are outgoing toward people and children, although early socialization is recommended. The Boykin is full of energy and will need a yard to play in or at least a brisk daily walk. The Boykin is easily trained, and should have basic obedience training at an early age. They are fantastic swimmers and are fast learners who enjoy having a job to do. This breed is full of enthusiasm for hunting and is suited for a family that enjoys regular hunting or camping trips.

Living With:

Like many of the sporting breeds, Boykin spaniels make the transition from hunting companion to family pet easily. Stamina even in hot weather and eagerness to please make this a favorite among hunters in the field, but the Boykin is just as enjoyable at home. His compact size allows a family on the go to include their Boykin on many outings. He will need lots of exercise as the breed seems to have boundless energy.

The coat is medium length and will need weekly brushing and occasionally a grooming to keep it trim and neat.


In the early 1900s on South Carolina's Wateree River, hunters often used small boats to access game along the river corridors. The boats were already loaded with men, guns and provisions, so the typical large retriever was just too big to fit. The Boykin spaniel was developed during this time as the ideal dog for hunting wild turkey and waterfowl. He was perfect for travel in the one-man boats because of his compact size.

The first Boykin spaniel was reportedly a small stray spaniel-type dog befriended by a man in Spartanburg, South Carolina. After the dog began to show aptitude for hunting, the man sent his dog, named "Dumpy," to his hunting partner Whit Boykin. Under his guidance, "Dumpy" became a superb turkey dog and waterfowl retriever. The Boykin spaniel became so well known as an excellent hunting companion that South Carolina made him their official state dog. Ultimately, "Dumpy" became the foundation stock for the breed. Other ancestors of the breed are the Chesapeake Bay retriever, cocker spaniel, and the American water spaniel.