Frequently Asked Questions – Boykin Spaniels
Boykin Spaniels are a hardy, fun loving spaniel. This does not mean they are the prefect match for all people and families! Before you plan to add a Boykin or any dog to your family please take the time to read as much as you can about the breeds. Do your research! You will find a lot of helpful information on this website. Talking to as many owners and breeders as possible before making your decision final will ensure that you make the correct decision. Whether you go to a breeder or a rescue group, you should be prepared to ask a lot of questions about the puppy or dog you hope to acquire.
Below are some FAQs to help you get started on your search for answers on this wonderful sporting breed, the Boykin Spaniel.
What kind of hunter are they best suited for?
Boykin Spaniels are biddable flushing spaniels that are sound enough to hunt all day long, every day of the hunting season. They are excellent swimmers and able to deftly retrieve from the water. They have been used on all types of fowl with success.
What is their energy level?
They are an energetic breed. They are a physically active spaniel designed for working all day in the field. Families that are seeking a sports companion will be pleased with the energy level and willingness they offer.
Are they courageous or passive in new or strange situations?
Boykins are curious and intelligent. Young puppies instinctively hesitate but quickly determine the situation's safety and react accordingly. New and strange situations for socialized adult dogs are usually investigated without fear or hesitation.
How social are they with people?
They are good with people and other dogs as long as they have been socialized properly.
How social are they with other dogs?
Boykin Spaniels who have been exposed to other hunting dogs through their young life are friendly with other dogs. Like most dogs, those individuals who have been secluded from members of their own species might find more difficulty in adjusting to other canine company.
Are they good with children?
They are very good with children. However, all breeds of dog should always be supervised when around young children.
Are the male dogs different in personality that the females?
Like most breeds, Boykins personalities run the gamut in both sexes. The best judge of personality is the breeder who has spent countless hours watching the puppies together and should be able to identify the most quiet, most active, most stubborn or most exuberant individuals.
Do they bark a lot?
Boykins are responsible barkers. They will bark an alert to an approaching person or a strange sound, but they should not bark unreasonably.
Do they dig the yard or chew a lot?
If left on it's own for a length of time, the Boykin might find it's own amusement. Adolescent dogs have a lot of energy that needs an outlet and all dogs have a natural urge to chew; however the breed's tendency toward these habits is in the average range.
How big do they get?
Boykins should be a moderately sized Spaniel, between 14-18 inches high at the withers (top of the shoulder). See the Breed Standard for more detail information. A large variety of breeds composed the original foundation stock of the breed's first registry which closed their stud books to new entries as recently as August 1980. Boykin Spaniels are medium size dogs.
How much do they shed?
They are a moderate shedder. Shedding can be controlled with frequent brushing and proper grooming.
How much grooming do they need?
Boykin Spaniels should be groomed. Regular brushing will keep mats from forming and a groomer would be able to clip your dog's coat to eliminate the longer hair in sanitary areas and areas that frequently mat.
How much do they eat?
A Boykin Spaniel eats approximately 2 cups of food per day depending on their exercise level and food quality.
How much do they cost?
Many responsible breeders go through great pains to eliminate unworthy specimens of the breed from their breeding program. They have an independent evaluation of the dog's hunting ability, as well as run the appropriate pre-breeding tests such as multiple appropriate OFA exams ( eyes, patellas and hips) and EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) testing and a large panel of Genetic Testing of Sire & Dam. A quality puppy usually comes from titled lines and parents, make sure that you ask to the pedigree and lineage before your purchase. Puppies are often a case of getting what you pay for and while you might find an inexpensive one you are raising your chances of buying a puppy who may develop a genetic health disease later in life. You will find the cost to buy a Boykin Spaniel varies greatly and depends on many factors such as the Breeder's reputation, lineage of the sire/dam, breed popularity (supply & demand), training and socialization efforts. Look for Preservationist Breeders (ones that are purposeful breeders, only selecting sire/dam on generations of documented health tested individuals and only breeding the dogs with well-adjusted character and hunting instincts that represent the Boykin’s heritage. Also look for AKC Breeder of Merits and Breeders that have demonstrated the Boykin’s many talents, abilities and performances through multiple generations of titles. A Quality Boykin Spaniel may range in price from $1000 upwards to premium price of $4500 for a quality “show dog”, quality “performance dog” with AKC registration & titles. Price also depending on the quality of the litter, the quality of the pedigree and the quality of the Breeder. Expect to pay a premium price for full breeding rights. We do not recommend the “backyard breeder” nor the “puppy mill breeder”. Be very careful and do your homework or you will end up with a breeder who lacks knowledge or worse one who doesn’t really care about the quality!
What health problems do they have?
Overall, this is a very healthy breed. The most common health problems are hip dysplasia, eye cataracts and bloodlines exhibiting patella luxation and skin problems and EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse). With constructive and thorough breeding, many of the earlier problems (hip & patellla) have dissipated, but superior breeders continue to be diligent and forever watchful of new genetic problems. There has recently been an interest in the genetic gene of DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) and is a part of the genetic panel for Boykin Spaniels. Also, more research is ongoing for LDD (Lumbosacral Disc Disease) & IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease). Spaniel ear problems are not uncommon in the breed; breeders and veterinarians can give puppy owners instructions to help keep ears healthy. See our Health Education page.
How long will it be before he acts like an adult dog?
Boykin Spaniels are fun loving and playful dogs for most of their lives. They may vary with their progression of maturity, but most settle into adulthood around 2-4 years of age.
How long is their span of life?
Boykin Spaniels are similar to other spaniel breeds concerning lifespan. If they have lived a normal life and in a normal environment, they live approximately 10-15 years of age. There have been know to be a few that have lived as long as 17 years.
Can I train my Boykin Spaniels or will it have to be sent to a professional trainer?
Boykin Spaniels are highly intelligent and can learn relatively quickly. However, it does take time and dedication when training. Boykin Spaniels have a natural ability and desire to learn, but you must make the commitment to invest the time and patience it takes to train a Boykin Spaniel to his full potential. If you desire a good “started” dog for hunting purposes or a finished, polished dog for hunting events and/or competition, then a professional trainer is the way to go. Please, as like with anything else, do your research first. It would be best to have a trainer that has had experience with training Boykin Spaniels.
What health certifications should the parents of the litter have had before being bred?
All parents should receive an exam from their veterinarian prior to be considered for breeding. A general practicing vet can examine the Boykins for patella luxation, skin conditions and run blood work for a thyroid exam. After they have turned 2 years old they should be x-rayed to rule out hip dysplasia; alternately some specialized veterinarians offer PENN HIP at any age to rule out hip dysplasia. All Boykin Spaniels should receive a yearly OFA eye test. All parents’ status of the EIC gene should be disclosed. The BSCBAA Code of Ethic for breeders include DNA testing for eye, hip, patella, EIC, CEA (Collie Eye Anomaly) and DM (Degenerative Myelopathy) and optional are Congenital Cardiac and Elbow Dysplasia. Please see our Health Education page and our Code of Ethics.
Which breeder should I choose?
Buy your puppy from a respected and responsible breeder. This cannot be stressed enough! Responsible breeders are concerned with the betterment of the Boykin Spaniel breed. Responsible breeders work on breeding healthier dogs with the appropriate temperament for Boykin Spaniels. Before you make your final selection of a breeder, screen the breeder and ask plenty of questions concerning their Boykin Spaniels, their breeding program and their health checks. Ask to see at least one of the parents (the dam or the sire) of your puppy if not both. Visit the breeder’s home or facilities and see how the breeder’s dogs interact with the breeder and yourself. Also, observe the cleanliness of the facilities and whelping area. The responsible breeder will also be screening you, looking for the best home for each puppy. Do your research and ask the breeder all the appropriate questions concerning the Boykin Spaniels. Also, ask if they are a member of the BSCBAA (AKC parent club of the Boykin Spaniels); which is governed by a Code of Ethics, some may claim membership but are not (please feel free to verify at this link: Contact the BSCBAA). See our Breeder Directory List.