The Boykin Spaniel carries a unique set of credentials that no other breed of canine can honestly claim. He is a dog originally bred by South Carolina hunters. He was developed initially as the ideal dog for hunting wild turkeys in the Wateree River Swamp during the early 1900s and now beautifully adapts to the dove fields, the duck marshes and the homefires of his modern-day masters. Most individual Boykin Spaniels have a special personality and enthusiastic field ability that no other dog can match.

A Boykin Spaniel is unmistakable, if you know what you’re looking for. He is a little brown dog with a spaniel’s flop ears and a deep liver-brown coat, bleached to reddish fringes by the sun. Backwoods legends has it that the spaniel’s brown coat was bred-in to provide the dog camouflage as he lay nervously on the floor listening to his master call a turkey in. The docked tail came as a man-made modification to keep a long twitching tail from rattling leaves in a turkey blind. He is larger and rangier than a Cocker and his coat doesn’t have all the fancy feathering around the edges. His most outstanding feature, however, is a super-energized personality that adds an extra special twist to the usually mundane chores.

General Appearance

The Boykin Spaniel was developed in South Carolina, USA as a medium-sized sporting dog with a docked tail. The breed is built to cover all types of ground conditions with agility and reasonable speed. Size and weight were essential in development of the breed as these hunting  companions needed to be lighter and smaller than their larger sporting dog cousins to fit in the portable section boats of the time period. As a result, the Boykin Spaniel came to be known as “the little brown dog that doesn’t rock the boat”. Being a hunting dog, he should be exhibited in hard muscled working condition. His coat should not be so excessive as to hinder his work as an active flushing spaniel, but should be thick enough to protect him from heavy cover and weather. The Boykin Spaniel is primarily a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.


The Boykin Spaniel is friendly, a willing worker, intelligent and easy to train. The Boykin Spaniel thrives on human companionship and gets along well with other dogs and children. He shows great eagerness and energy for the hunt yet controllable in the field.


The Boykin Spaniel is solidly built, with moderate bone, and smooth firm muscles. The ideal height measured from the ground to the highest point of the shoulder blades for dogs is 15 ½ – 18 inches at the withers; for bitches is 14 – 16 ½ inches at the withers.


The Boykin Spaniel color is a solid liver color – a deep reddish brown color that includes various shades of chocolate brown, from light to very dark. A small amount of white on the chest is permitted and no other white markings are allowed. Sun bleaching is acceptable.

Learn more at the Boykin Spaniel Club and Breeders Association of America.