Spaniel Journal

with no white other than a small amount allowed on the chest, no taller than 18 inches, weighing no more than 35 pounds. In 1984 opening day of dove season was named Boykin Spaniel Day and in 1985 the Boykin was named the state dog of South Carolina.

"As the Boykin becomes more popular, the versatility of the breed shines through."

If you could have a dog that only weighs 28 pounds yet can retrieve all of your dove, ducks, quail, pheasant, chukar, and even an occasional goose would you want one? A dog that is biddable in the duck blind yet charges into cover to flush coveys of quail. What a dog. They do exist; it's not only a dream. I have one and her name is Curlee Gurlee. Yes, she is that one in a lifetime dog but if you get a good Boykin (and most of them are good) you will never want another breed of dog. Possessing high intelligence the Boykin spaniel will push you to keep up with their abilities.

Curlee Gurlee

In the South, quail hunting as we used to know it is practically non-existent except for pen-raised birds. Since most Boykins are found in the south - North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have the highest concentration - most Boykins are used as retrievers. Some plantations use their pointers and setters to find and point the birds and use a Boykin for the flush and retrieve. As the Boykin becomes more popular it also finds its way west and north where upland game is the norm along with turkey hunting. Ironic as it may be, you cannot hunt turkeys with dogs in South Carolina.

Boykin spaniels excel in the dove fields. They handle the heat better than most of the big retrievers and are more likely to crash through the briars to find birds. There is a drawback - briars, cockleburs, sandspurs, and other such annoyances find their way easily into the Boykin coat. Most hunters will clip their Boykins all the way down to keep coat maintenance to a minimum.

Speaking of coat, there is more variety in the Boykin spaniel than in any other breed I know of. There is everything from the tight kinky and loose curly coat, heavy wave and slight wavy coat, straight with feathers, to a flat, smooth coat without any feathering at all. Hunters who use their dogs for mostly upland game or in areas with problems with briars prefer the smooth coat but this coat type is hard to find. The Boykin Spaniel Society (BSS) standard accepts all coats but prefers a more typical 'spaniel' look with a wavy coat and feathering.

Boykin spaniels are not recognized by the AKC so there is not a division between show and field bred dogs as there is with some spaniels. There is a club that is attempting to earn enough support to get the Boykin as a recognized breed by AKC. The Boykin Spaniel Society does not support that club or their efforts. One reason is that the UKC, NAHRA and other organizations offer Boykin spaniel owners everything they might want, from field to obedience and agility (even conformation) without taking over the registry.

Before you rush out and buy a Boykin, slow down and do your homework. Yes, in my unbiased opinion, they are the best little brown dogs in the world. But, like any purebred dog, they have their downside as well. The same problems

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