The Boykin Spaniel has long been a popular breed of hunting dog since the early 1900s. They have a remarkable resume as waterfowl retrievers, upland game bird fetchers and even as charming family members. If you are interested in getting yourself a Boykin Spaniel, here are facts you might want to know so you can understand these huntig dogs.
Boykin Spaniels are popular for being “whatever” buddies. They get along with just about anyone; they can do anything; and they are multi-talented! However, they are more hunting dog than trained dog. They can do what most hunters want done with just obedience training and hunting experience. Boykin Spaniels are ideal waterfowlers mainly because they naturally retrieve and love water. They can help fill duck straps and also retrieve birds they see fall. But of course, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not built for icy waters or heavy seas. Boykin Spaniels may also be made to hunt turkeys! Yes, turkeys – the huge birds with long spurs, sharp beaks and huge wings. Turkeys normally don’t respond to calling when they are gathered in flocks. So, hunters must first scatter them before calling in singles. A Boykin Spaniel may be commanded to disrupt turkey flocks and then return to his owner’s side by command. There, he’ll remain until a bird is shot. If a shot bird happens to run off, this hunting dog will trail it and lead his boss to the catch.
Training a Boykin is expected to be easy, at least for those who choose constructive training and focus on light corrections. People who want completely predictable and robotic hunting dogs are certainly going to be unhappy with a Boykin Spaniel. Like all other spaniels, he will most likely resist repetitive drills and may even charm his owner into giving up behavioral training. The key to training a Boykin Spaniel is positive reinforcement. Petting, treats and verbal praise are encouraged throughout the training process. In case corrections are necessary, these must be administered lightly. Subjecting a Boykin to a heavy-handed trainer runs the risk of shutting the hunting dog down sooner or later.
Male Boykin Spaniels typically stand 15-18 inches tall and weigh around 30-40 pounds. Females are somewhat smaller. They have medium-length coat which can be anything from plain flat to curly. Talking about color, Boykin Spaniels may either be solid chocolate or solid liver. Some come with a white spot on their chests and bob tails.
Boykin Spaniels are known to be very friendly and outgoing hunting dogs. They love attention so much that they will always try to please whoever is with them. This is also why they can be problematic watchdogs. A Boykin Spaniel may bark at strangers but his wagging tail will definitely give the façade away. Boykin Spaniels are just not that threatening of a hunting dog. In addition, the Boykin is always so bouncy and high in energy. As such, they will need active exercise everyday.
All purebred hunting dogs run the risk of developing genetic health problems. Boykin Spaniels are no exception. Among the most common health issues, these hunting dogs experience are hip dysplasia and eye problems such as cataracts. They are also prone to ear infections. The Boykin Spaniels life expectancy is around 14 to 16 years. Know that Boykin Spaniels are hunting dogs and need a lot of active exercise. They need to be taken out for long, brisk daily walks and be made to do a “job” that will help burn off energy. Because they are a hunting dog breed that easily gets bored, they will find means to keep themselves entertained. If they feel unattended to or if their primal instinct to go out is not fulfilled, they can get destructive.