Boykin Spaniel

  • Overview

    September 1st is a holiday of sorts in South Carolina. On this day, hunters in South Carolina celebrate "Boykin Spaniel Day" in honor of the first day of dove hunting season. These dogs are smaller than other spaniels, standing just about 16 or 17 inches tall and weighing between 30 and 40 pounds, so hunters can lift their little hunters up out of the water along with their catch. Boykin Spaniels make friendly and energetic companions for active families and self-confident, conveniently-sized field companions for hunters who prize their desire to work and please.

  • Personality

    Boykin Spaniels are enthusiastic workers and sweet, affectionate family companions. Boykins are willing workers who are committed to both their tasks and their owners. They should be eager for activity and happy to play outdoors, but also docile and relaxed in the home. Although some Boykins are shy without proper socialization, they should always be friendly and accepting of other dogs and people.

  • Coat Care

    Boykin Spaniel's coats vary widely in texture and appearance because many different dogs contributed to the Boykin's recent background. Coats should be about 1-2 inches in length and have a moderate wave. Most Boykin Spaniels have under coats and over coats, but some do not. Some Boykin Spaniels have long, curly coats and others have shorter, smoother coats. Most dogs have feathering throughout the ears, chest and body that turns a golden color in the sun. The coat is liver, deep brown or chocolate colored. Some hunters recommend spraying the Boykin down with PAM before a hunt so that their coat is slippery and resists mud, brambles and underbrush.

Boykin Spaniel
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Brush your Boykin with a metal rake comb or a large pin brush to remove mats and debris that the coat picks up outdoors.

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With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but it's generally best to bathe dogs with silky coats more often. The coat should end up fresh smelling, light and shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.

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Hair Clipping

Trimming the Boykin Spaniel's coat helps maintain the Boykin's natural shape and helps them function in the field. Trimming around the head, throat, ears and feet helps them stay comfortable outdoors and gives them a functional, sporting appearance. After grooming, dogs should look slightly shaped around the head and ears. Field dogs who function solely as hunters are often shaved down almost completely so that the hair stays just long enough to protect the skin. If the hair is clipped or shaved excessively, it can grow back discolored, faded or thin.

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Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

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Eyes / Ears

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Silky coated breeds often have hanging pendant ears covered in feathered hair, which means their ears need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face.

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Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.