Spaniel Journal

that affect a lot dogs, CHD and cataracts, are also found in the Boykin breed. Backyard breeders exist (who don't know better or don't care) will breed a dog with skin or temperament problems. Heart conditions have been diagnosed in a very small section of the population and the source or sources is/are being researched at this time.

Boykin Spaniel

While there isn't a split between show and field, there are many Boykins that are never hunted since these little dogs also make super house pets. And, since the Boykin has only been bred 'pure' for a little over 20 years there is definitely a lot of variety. You can find some that are over 50 pounds and over 18 inches tall. Another breeder may have pups that weigh in under 25 pounds and under 14 inches tall. Some Boykins make great housedogs, others are high maintenance requiring daily exercise and training.

Since Boykins have primarily been used for dove and duck hunting in the South, retriever training has superceded upland training. All spaniels can be trained to do non-slip retriever work, just as all spaniels are natural quartering dogs for upland game. Therein lies the difference - 'can be trained' vs. 'natural quartering dogs'. Curlee loves it when I buy and release quail or chukar for her. She's much happier working a field for upland game than sitting (sort of) quietly in a duck blind waiting for me to shoot something for her to retrieve.

Because of the non-slip retriever focus in the South, The Carolina Boykin Spaniel Retriever Club was formed in 1982 to give Boykins and their hunters somewhere to go to showcase their dog's talents. The CBSRC holds six (placement) hunt tests a year. The competitors earn points and the high point dog in each class - Puppy, Novice, Intermediate and Open (Gun Dog) earns Dog of the Year trophies.

Handlers also found the North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA) and later, the United Kennel Club (UKC)'s Hunting Retriever Club. Through these venues the Boykin found a place to play retriever games and earn titles. HRCH UH Curlee Gurlee was only the fifth Boykin to earn UKC's Hunting Retriever Championship (HRCH) and the youngest at 3 years of age. That was in 1998. Only one more Boykin has earned the HRCH title since then. There are over 25 Boykins who have earned their Hunting Retriever (HR) title and countless more coming up the ranks with their Started Hunting Retriever (SHR).

Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel Society holds a National Hunt Test annually. This hunt test started out as a picnic trial (with bumpers being used rather than birds) in 1980 to a 3-day event today with over 100 Boykins competing for the top honors. Retriever tests are held on Friday and Saturday and the upland test is held on Sunday. Since so many Boykin owners are working their dogs on upland game, starting in January, 2003 the BSS will hold their first Upland Hunt Test separate from the retriever test in the spring. This will be a two-day event with 3 classes - Novice, Intermediate and Open. Placement ribbons will be awarded to the top four dogs.

As the Boykin becomes more popular the versatility of the breed shines through. Several Boykins are competing in the National Bird Dog Challenge Association 'games' and doing very well. One rescued Boykin that I know of has excelled

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