History of The Boykin Spaniel & Breeders Association of America



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.Justin resized

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.


The much circulated story of where the first Boykin Spaniel came from is simple and without frills. It says that some time shortly after the turn of the century, a small dog was found wandering near a Methodist church in Spartanburg, S.C., and one of the people attending services there, a Mr Alexander L. White, took the dog home as a pet.

The dog apparently displayed some aptitude that might be useful in hunting, so Mr. White then sent the dog by train to his hunting partner, Mr. L. Whitaker “Whit” Boykin of the Boykin community just outside Camden, South Carolina. With the training know-how of Mr. Boykin, this little stray soon developed into a superb turkey dog and waterfowl retriever. Whit Boykin provided dogs to the vacationers to hunt the Wateree swamp areas using "section boats". This small dog filled a roll long sought after; he was an excellent hunting dog in a sizeWater Pups resized 240 smaller than a retriever. Thus the Boykin Spaniel became known as the breed that wouldn't "rock the boat".

According to best accounts, the dog was a male, the forerunner of all the Boykin Spaniels in existence today. Other early ancestors of the Boykin are reported to be the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel and the American Water Spaniel.

The fertile crescent of the Boykin Spaniel breeding must be recorded as the rural communities near Camden, Sumter and, of course, Boykin, South Carolina. These spaniels can be found today throughout the United States with a higher concentration on the Atlantic Seaboard.

About 6 decades after the first small dog was first found in Spartanburg a breed registry was formed. Their mission was to document the breed in a registry to encourage breeding of purebred Boykins, and ultimately obtain national recognition in a recognized organization such as UKC and AKC. The Boykin Spaniel in 1985 became the Official State Dog for South Carolina.

The Boykin registry applied to the AKC for recognition in the early years of formation but were unsuccessful and on further attempts to become recognized they decided to abandon the project. In the late 1990's, a group of people who still desired AKC recognition formed the Boykin Spaniel Club & Breeders Assoc. of America.

Dallas resized 240Although they remained an AKC FSS breed at that time, the AKC felt the club had made progress to the point of allowing them to begin participating in AKC events. In January 2006, the breed was allowed to participate and earn titles in AKC Spaniel Hunt Tests. In July 2006, they became eligible to compete in AKC agility, obedience, rally and tracking.

In January 2007, the BSCBAA was named the Official AKC Parent Club of the Boykin Spaniel.

January 1, 2008 the Boykin Spaniel is eligible to compete in the Miscellaneous Classes at conformation show.

December, 2009 the Boykin Spaniel became Recognized and eligible to compete in all eligible AKC Events.

The BSCBAA held there first AKC licensed event, a Spaniel Hunt Test, in March 2012 and has continued to hold two Spaniel Hunt Tests a year.  Its first sanctioned match with conformation, obedience and rally were held in May 2012 with others following thereafter.  Since 2013, as the club continues to work toward conformation, obedience, rally and other event licensing, the May Annual Meeting has been held in coordination with an AKC Supported Entry event.    Annually the club supports numerous Judges Education and Meet the Breed eventswhat style resized 240. The BSCBAA continues the process of AKC sanctioning.

Please click to review AKC Titles for Boykin Spaniels.

Please click here to view a list of our AKC sponsored events.

Please click here to see the Breed Standard.

Please click here if you would like to join the BSCBAA.

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