OVERVIEW OF THE BOYKIN SPANIEL
Popular as a turkey and waterfowl hunting dog in South Carolina, the Boykin Spaniel has great talent and personality. Depending on their gender they range between 14 to 18 inches in height and weigh between 25 to 40 pounds. These medium-sized dogs have gorgeous rich brown or dark chocolate mid-length coats with large floppy ears. Although they are intelligent masters in the field, they are just as delightful at home with their human families.
These affectionate and loyal dogs are eager to please their pet parents and get along well with kids and other dogs. It is, however, important to train them from an early age.
Boykin Spaniels have endless amounts of energy and don’t do well in apartments. This breed needs to expend bucket loads of energy in the outdoors whether hunting, hiking, running, swimming, or playing. They also need mental stimulation which they can get by participating in tracking activities, obedience training, agility, rally, or field events, among other ventures.
Although Boykins will alert-bark when people or other dogs approach their home property, they are fairly welcoming of strangers and not as suspicious of newcomers as certain other breeds.
Since they are such faithful companions and can get very attached to their human families, they do not do well when left alone for long periods. If they experience separation anxiety (or boredom) they may display destructive behavior by chewing whatever they find appealing around the house, digging, and barking.
If you are considering welcoming a Boykin Spaniel to your family, here’s what you can expect and how to ensure you give them the best care possible.
BOYKIN SPANIEL FOOD AND HEALTH
Buying your pup from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearance certificates will minimize the chances of your pet developing genetic disorders.
Health clearance certificates can be confirmed on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website and should reveal a score of fair or higher for hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and hypothyroidism. It is also advised to see a certification that their eyes are healthy from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
The amount and type of food you feed your Boykin will depend on their age and their activity level. They are prone to quick weight gain which can lead to health problems and a poor quality of life.
Good quality dog food should provide all the necessary nutrients for your pet’s healthy development. The packaging will indicate how much to feed your dog according to its weight. Puppies need certain nutrients for development, so ensure that you only feed them puppy formulas and don’t feed them adult dog food.
Divide the recommended amount of food for your pup into two servings daily and stick to set feeding times. Remember that training snacks also add calories, so choose low-calorie snacks and factor them into the total calorie count for the day’s meals.
Be careful when sharing your own food with your pup. This is generally not recommended since many human foods are actually toxic to dogs. Things as simple as grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol sweeteners, onions, and chocolate are poisonous to young and adult dogs.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR BOYKIN SPANIEL
Boykin Spaniels are enthusiastic and highly trainable. Start training and socializing them from an early age. Keep it fun, varied, and interesting, and avoid harsh training methods. Training should always be constructive with lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Although you may want to get a dog collar for a name or identification tag, they should be avoided for attaching a leash. Always use a harness instead as this allows you to lead without placing strain on your pet pal’s throat or neck.
If your Boykin gets excited and moves quickly, a collar can cause long-term damage as well as thyroid, ear, and eye problems. Since a harness will fit around your pet pal’s torso it eliminates any chance of pressure on the neck. Look for a padded or lined harness and if you walk or run with your pup after dark, choose a design with reflective strips to keep your pet pal visible.
When choosing a collar for a name tag, the correct fit should have enough space to fit two fingers between your pup’s neck and the collar. If you can’t fit two fingers, adjust the size so your pet pal does not choke. Check puppy collars daily to make sure they are not too tight and loosen or upsize whenever necessary. A collar that is too loose, on the other hand, can get caught on items or during play.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR BOYKIN SPANIELS
Although Boykin Spaniels were bred to be outdoors hunting, there is a good chance that your pet pal will prefer staying inside with you at night. Since Boykins can grow up to 18 inches in height, you will need a sizable crate. If you only plan to use the crate for puppy training and not when they are older, a smaller unit will suffice.
Either way, the crate needs to be big enough to let your pet stand, stretch out, and turn around with ease. Add a dog mattress or bed inside the crate to make it a comforting space for your pup and never use it for punishment. It should be perceived as a happy space.
There is a wide range of dog beds available from donut-shaped and raised beds to orthopedic and memory foam mattresses. Your pet pal should be able to lie comfortably on their bed without hanging off the edges. If you go for a donut shape, ensure that they fit inside the bolsters comfortably.
A bed with a removable cover that is easy to clean and machine-washable will make life much easier for you.
BEST TOYS FOR BOYKIN SPANIEL
Boykin Spaniels are energetic and happiest when they get loads of exercise and playtime with their humans and other dogs. This means that there are plenty of toys that your pup will love.
If you want to change things up from playing regular ‘fetch’, erratic balls and Kong toys will bring a new dimension of fun. Since they bounce unpredictably your pup will stay mentally engaged as well as expend lots of energy to retrieve the toys. Some toys have space to hide a treat inside so when your pet returns the ball to you, they can get a reward.
A ball launcher is great for regular balls and allows you to throw further if you have large open areas or take your pup to the beach. Frisbees can also be entertaining, but make sure it is not a hard plastic frisbee since these can hurt your puppy’s mouth. Check that the edges are smooth. Rubber frisbees are best while water frisbees are fun for playing at the lake, beach, or even in the pool.
We highly recommend getting teething toys for your puppy. Achy and itchy gums can cause them to seek relief by chewing your shoes, furniture, or kids’ toys. Teething toys will save your belongings and provide relief with tasty or textured durable toys. Older dogs like chew toys such as ropes or tug toys and rubber textured toys. Although not a replacement for brushing their teeth, chew toys also help with dental care.
To engage your pup’s intelligence in a more subdued way, puzzle dispensers and treat finder toys are a winner. These come in different forms such as interactive shuffleboards, treat dispenser balls, and mazes. They challenge your pet pal to solve the puzzle after which they can access the hidden snack. Something yummy is generally a worthy cause for any pup to persevere through problem-solving.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR BOYKIN SPANIEL OWNERS
Boykin Spaniels have a soft, slightly wavy single or double coat with feathering around the legs and ears. Brush your pup once or twice a week to remove dirt and loose hairs, and to get rid of knots and tangles. This will also help to redistribute their skin oils evenly. These oils keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy and naturally clean.
When brushing out knots, start at the tip of the hair to gently remove the tangle and work your way gradually closer to the skin. Brush and trim when their hair is dry since wet hair curls easily which can make it trickier. Although you can trim your Boykins’ hair, never shave them.
How often you bathe your pet pal will depend on their activities. Once a month is generally good as long as they get a weekly brushing. It is important to start grooming your pup from a young age. Not only will this prevent infections and keep them healthy, but it gets them used to being checked and having brushes and clippers close to them without getting anxious.
Start introducing your pup to all the procedures and handling their paws and ears slowly and reward them for calm behavior. Grooming can serve as a bonding time between you and your pup when done correctly and gently.
Brush your puppy’s teeth daily when possible and make sure you only use dog-friendly toothpaste. This is necessary to prevent gum disease and smelly breath.
While you are brushing them weekly, check their skin, paws, ears, and eyes for any irregularities, redness, or infections. Catching this early will prevent serious issues from developing. Clean their ears with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner dotted onto a cotton ball.
If your dog is spending lots of time outdoors on rough terrain they may wear their nails down naturally. If not worn down naturally, their nails will need to be clipped every three to four weeks. Since their nails contain blood vessels it may be best to get a professional groomer to take care of this to ensure you don’t accidentally hurt your pup and ruin the grooming experience.
BEST BOYKIN SPANIEL ACCESSORIES
When welcoming a Boykin Spaniel to your family, make sure you have the right grooming accessories to keep them looking and feeling clean and healthy. A pin brush or slicker brush is a good option, especially for dogs with double coats. These help to untangle knots and redistribute oils with the closely positioned bristles. They also get close enough to the skin to remove dead and loose undercoat hairs.
Since Boykins love the water, they will most likely enjoy beach or lake adventures. In this case, a drying coat is a great way to keep your pup wrapped up for the drive home. A drying coat is a fitted towel that wraps and secures around your pup almost like a dog jacket. Your pup will get dry faster, stay warm and the coat will prevent your car upholstery from getting extremely wet.
This high-energy pet pal is the ideal companion for people and families who enjoy hiking, running, and having an active lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time hiking or camping, why not get your pup their own hiking gear?
A foldable dog bowl will allow you to carry a bowl in your backpack for feeding or water without taking up too much space. You even get an inflatable dog mattress that fits into a small backpack pocket when folded up.
You can get your pet pal their own dog backpack which fits just like a harness. These generally feature weather-proof zipper pockets and an attachment clip for a leash. Some have reflective strips to ensure your pup stays visible in the dark. They allow free and easy movement without any obstructions so your furry adventurer can still run, climb and hike with ease while wearing their mini backpack.
For training, we recommend a training pouch for yourself. This clips around your waist or can clip onto a belt. Some versions are waterproof while most have zipper pockets and a D-ring, O-ring, or fabric loop on which to attach a leash for hands-free walking. The pouch holds dog treats, waste bags, keys, a phone, and other small items you may need when out walking or training your pet pal.
To learn more about breeds like Boykin Spaniels, check out our breed hub page.