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Celebrating The Boykin Spaniel

September 1 2023

September is a special day for some special pups: it’s Boykin Spaniel Day! This one is definitely near and dear to our hearts: Fido is our official state dog! Read on as a local Carolina Forest, SC vet offers some insight onto this Very Good Boy.  


The Boykin Spaniel originated in South Carolina. The breed traces its origin back to a stray named Dumpy. The little dog charmed a banker named Alexander L. White, who adopted the pooch and then noticed he was quite skilled at retrieving. At the time, many people hunted ducks and wild turkeys along the Wateree River. Many of those early hunters used larger retrievers, which weren’t exactly a great fit for small, already-loaded boats. Dumpy’s small frame was quite appealing, as he wouldn’t take up as much room or weigh boats down the way the bigger dogs did. In fact, the Boykin has often been called “The Dog That Doesn’t Rock The boat.” The pooch was then sent to Whit Boykin, White’s friend and hunting buddy. Boykin bred the former stray, thus creating the first Boykin Spaniels. According to Boykin’s grandson, some of the other pups in Fido’s family tree include the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Springer Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, and American Water Spaniel, along with some pointers.


It’s not uncommon for purebreds to be susceptible to specific health conditions. That is the case with the Boykin. Some of the conditions the Boykin Spaniel is at high risk of include exercise induced collapse, collie eye anomaly, degenerative myelopathy, juvenile cataracts, and hip dysplasia. Consult your vet or the official Boykin Spaniel Society for more information on recommended tests.


Fido has a wonderful personality. The typical Boykin Spaniel is cheerful, affectionate, good with kids, and tends to get along well with other dogs. These loyal and lovable pooches are quite active, and need a decent amount of exercise and playtime. They are somewhat prone to separation anxiety, and often thrive in homes with other pups. Unsurprisingly, Fido loves to explore creeks and rivers.


Those considering adopting a Boykin will likely be happy to know that Fido doesn’t have a high-maintenance coat: weekly brushings and occasional baths will keep his fur in good condition. Like any other pooch, your canine pal will need a good diet, proper veterinary care, and, of course, lots of love.

Please contact us, your Carolina Forest, SC animal clinic, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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