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The Boykin Spaniel Colors: Do They Only Come In Brown?

The Boykin Spaniel Colors: Do They Only Come In Brown?

The Boykin Spaniel is considered to be a relatively new breed. They were first bred by a man named Lemuel Whitaker Whit Boykin in Spartanburg. He needed a hunting dog that would fulfill all of his needs. He mixed a stray dog called Dumpy with other breeds, which included a Cocker Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Springer Spaniel, and American Water Spaniel.

This happened in the early 1900s in South Carolina, which is why this breed is considered to be a state dog of South Carolina. This medium-sized dog makes an amazing hunting partner, they are also called gun dogs because of this.

These working dogs like to hunt wild turkeys and ducks, among many other animals. They are highly intelligent and need to be mentally stimulated on a daily basis. Because of their high energy levels, they are categorized into the sporting group of dogs.

You will never see this dog not wanting to walk. They are always on the move. However, there are also times that they will love to be beside you and have a cuddle session.

They are amazing family dogs and they will do anything for their owners. Keep in mind though that they need a lot of positive reinforcement and by giving them that, you will have a loyal companion for life. Another thing that makes these dogs so special is their coats.

In this article, we will look through the Boykin Spaniel colors. So, buckle up and let’s start with the mesmerizing colors of a Boykin.

Boykin Spaniel Color Chart

cute Boykin Spaniel

As we already mentioned, this breed is fairly new. They were accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2009. Not a lot of people are familiar with this breed, and they are often mixed up with other Spaniel-type dogs.

Most people that are in the hunting world are familiar with this breed. But if you ever lay eyes on one, you will probably be mesmerized by their beautiful brown coats. The Boykin Spaniel dog breed is recognizable by its color.

They are often called the little brown dog. We will now comment on their coat palette, which isn‘t really that extensive.

Standard Coat Colors Of A Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel breed comes in one main color, and that color is brown. This brown color can come in two shades: dark chocolate and rich liver. What is interesting about these dogs is that their ears often look like they have visited a hairdresser.

This isn’t just because of their luscious curls, but also because of their highlights that can be either blond or red. And this is the trait of their coats that I personally like the most and think it makes them even more beautiful than they already are.

The American Kennel Club has breed standards for every dog that they accept, so a Boykin Spaniel has a standard as well. Within that standard, it is said that they can only come in a brown color, which can have different shades.

Another acceptable coat trait is a white spot on their chest. When you look at other breeds, you can say that most of them come in a variety of colors. But besides their standard colors, they have colors that aren’t accepted by the AKC and that are very rare.

One of those examples is the Rottweiler’s coat colors. You may have read that they can come in a blue variant. This color is super rare, not accepted, and can also mean that this Rottie is either mixed with another breed or that it has some genetic anomalies.

Since a Boykin is a new breed, not a lot of people have experimented with their coat colors. An interesting fact is that there are no examples of colors that are not within the breed standard but if people start experimenting, you may find them somewhere.

This means that we can not state that, for example, a blue Boykin Spaniel is super rare and that this color is not accepted, because there is no example of what a blue Boykin Spaniel looks like.

Dark Chocolate Boykin Spaniel

Dark Chocolate Boykin Spaniel

Photo from: @reecetheboykin

This is the most recognizable color of this breed. Sometimes, especially if they are wet, you might think that they are black. Their soft coats, combined with this color, give the impression of their coats being really shiny.

Not only is this color beautiful, but it serves a purpose. These dogs are hunting dogs, and when they come in this darker brown shade it is easier for them to hide. By hiding, they don’t scare the animals that they need to hunt.

This is especially good when they are hunting and the sun goes down a bit. They merge with the dirt. This dark chocolate shade can have some reddish reflections too.

This is a rare color, and there are just a few other breeds that can come in this dark chocolate shade. Another dog that comes in this shade is a Labrador Retriever. Labrador Retrievers come in a couple of colors and one of those colors is brown. But, a Retriever has a bit of a rougher and shorter coat, so they don’t look as smooth as a Boykin.

Rich Liver Boykin Spaniel

Rich Liver Boykin Spaniel

Photo from: @agoodboykin

This shade is a bit lighter than the previous one. This one can also be called milk chocolate. This is a beautiful shade that isn‘t always the same tone. It is almost like a symphony of lighter and darker shades.

When they get wet, they look just like the dark chocolate Boykin Spaniels. Even if the shades are really close to each other, they can easily be recognized as different. This lighter shade has the potential to become even lighter.

This is especially true in the summertime and if they spend a lot of time outside, hunting for example. The sun can sometimes make the coat lighter too, but this is usually barely recognizable and it returns to its natural shade once the summer ends.


Highlights Boykin Spaniel

Photos from: @beau_the_boykinspaniel

This breed has something that is called feathering. This term is used for the longer and softer hairs that can be found on their coats. They are mostly on their ears, paws, tails, and bellies. These hairs tend to be lighter than the rest of the coat.

This can be very visible in dogs with darker coats. The feathering is mostly located on their ears. Since these hairs are thinner, the sun makes them lighter than the rest of the body. But they stay that way, once they are lightened they don’t go darker.

This is something that makes these dogs, alongside their brown color, extremely beautiful. They can be either blond, ginger, or a reddish shade.

White Spot

The AKC has given the standard that the Boykin Spaniel can have a white spot on its chest. It shouldn’t be anywhere else on their bodies. What is a big no-no is multiple spots on their bodies.

These aren‘t as common as the solid colored dogs, but there were some examples and because of that, the AKC has approved it as a breed standard.

White Boykin Spaniel

This is extremely rare. There are two reasons why a Boykin can be white or have white spots. They are canine vitiligo and albinism. We will give you the difference between these two.

Canine vitiligo causes dogs to have white spots all over their coats, or better said, only small portions of their coat turn white. These white portions of the coat are usually irregularly shaped, which is a characteristic of vitiligo, even in humans.

This sometimes isn’t visible with Boykin Spaniel puppies. It can gradually pop up as the dog grows up. Patches show on the dog’s face first, and after that, spread to the whole body. Adult Boykin Spaniels that have vitiligo are sometimes called white, even if they aren’t purely white.

When talking about albinism in dogs, it means dogs that aren’t usually white, like a brown Boykin, end up being white. Besides white coats, they can have red around their eyes and light noses.

Unfortunately, albino Boykins are considered to be a flaw, and they aren‘t within the breed standard according to the AKC. Some think that albinism comes with some other health issues too, which can be true in some cases.

Boykin Spaniel Coat Characteristics

These dogs have medium-length coats that can be either double coats or single coats. When talking about double coats, there are some things that you need to know. Firstly, they are made up of inner and outer layers.

The inner layer is dense and shorter and it protects the dog from sun, bug bites, extreme heat, and cold weather. The outer layer is long, soft, and silky. The outer layer is the coat that is visible to us humans.

This is the coat that we are mesmerized by. When it comes to dogs with double coats, you need to know that they shed much more than single-coated dogs. Especially during their shedding season.

Their coats can be wavy or straight throughout their whole body, or a mix of wavy ears and straight bodies. However they end up looking, we can all agree that every option is equally beautiful.

Genetics Behind The Coat Colors

Boykin Spaniel dog and puppies

The color that your dog gets is not an accident. Dogs get their colors because of specific gene combinations. There is a gene for every color, for example, there is a gene for black, a gene for harlequin color, etc.

Not all of these genes have been explained to a T just yet, and there is still a lot more that needs to be discovered about them. But, there are some things that are known about the genes and colors of dogs’ coats.

Dogs, just like us humans, have genes that are located in a specific place on the chromosome and that specific location is called the locus (loci for plural). Each of these genes has two alleles, which are responsible for specific physical traits.

Phenotype is the term for the manifestation of these physical traits. There are two types of pigments that are connected with the color of a dog‘s coat. Those two genes are pheomelanin (red color) and eumelanin (black color).

Depending on the combination of these two pigments your dog will be a certain color. There are eight loci with genes that can determine the color of a dog’s coat.

Those eight loci are:

– E locus: black facial mask and yellow coats

B locus: brown, chocolate, and liver

A locus: coat patterns

K locus: dominant coat colors—brindle, black, and fawn

M locus: merle pattern

D locus: dilution of the existing color

S locus: parti and piebald patterns and white spots

H locus: harlequin pattern

These are dominant genes and they express themselves more than recessive genes, which only influence the appearance when they are paired with another recessive gene.

Every parent dog has these genes and can pass them along to their puppies, but the combination of these genes determines how a puppy will look.

Grooming Your Boykin 101

Boykin Spaniel sitting outside

When it comes to a Boykin Spaniel, their grooming needs are not that high maintenance. They do have longer coats but the most important thing for them is a good brushing session, which we will explain a bit more. You can always take them to a professional groomer too.

The frequency of grooming appointments depends on you and what you want for your dog. You can take them once a month, or even once every two or three months. But, we will give you some tips and some things that you can easily do yourself at home.

Some things, if you don‘t feel comfortable doing yourself, you can always go to the groomer for, but some of these tips are just the basics and they can help your dog‘s coat immensely.

Brushing. This is the most important thing for your Boykin. You should brush them at least three times a week, but when the shedding season comes, you should brush them once a day. A good tip is to brush them before going out, so things will be less likely to get stuck on them. By brushing them, you are keeping the shine of their coats and you are preventing any matting.

Nail clipping. This is important as well, but since your dog will probably spend a lot of time outside, nail clipping does not need to be done that often. If you don‘t feel comfortable doing this by yourself, you can always take them to the groomer or vet. It can seem scary but we are sure you can do it.

Ear cleaning. Since these dogs have droopy ears, you should check them and clean them regularly. Especially if they spend a lot of time in nature, as you never know what will sneak into their ears. Checking and plucking the hair out of their ears is important. By doing this, you can avoid black gunk collecting in their ears.

Bathing. Your dogs spend a lot of time outside and maybe even in water, so baths may be required more often than they are for other dogs. But it is important not to overdo this because it can damage their coats. You can always take odorless wipes and clean them a bit, but if they get really dirty, you will need to give them a bath. If you think that baths are becoming too frequent, try to water down the shampoo.

Haircuts. These dogs don‘t need a lot of haircut appointments. You can always trim their ears, paws, belly, and tail yourself. It is not recommended to completely shave these dogs because their coats protect them from nature.

Teeth cleaning. It is best to ask for advice from the vet on what toothpaste is the best, but brushing their teeth daily is a good idea. If not, once a week at least is necessary to maintain their oral health.

Boykin Spaniel Health Issues

Boykin Spaniel puppy

The Boykin Spaniel is generally a healthy breed. With regular vet visits, your dog will be sure to live a long and healthy life. But just like any breed, Boykin Spaniels have some health issues that are commonly associated with their breed.

Their life span is anywhere from 12 to 16 years. But usually, they live for around 14 or 15 years.

Some of those health problems are:

– Patellar Luxation: This means that the dog‘s knee cap becomes dislocated. This can be fixed by itself, but sometimes surgery may be needed.

– Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition and means that the hip joint hasn’t developed properly.

– Collie Eye Anomaly: This is also a genetic condition, in which the eyes don’t develop properly. It can result in blindness.

– Exercise-induced Collapse: This is a genetic issue that is also associated with Labradors.

– Allergies. Your dog spending a lot of time outside may cause some allergic reactions. They might sneeze a lot, or get itchy.

– Degenerative Myelopathy: This disease impacts the spinal cord and can cause the dog to become weak and paralyzed.

– Pulmonic Stenosis: Congenital heart defect.

– Juvenile Cataracts: Can cause blindness.

This doesn‘t mean that your Boykin will suffer from these health issues. Now that you know what they are prone to developing, you can do all the necessary tests to see if they have predispositions for any of these.

We are sure that you will find a reputable breeder who does tests on the puppy‘s parents and your puppy.

Dogs That Are Similar To The Boykin Spaniel

There are a lot of similar dogs out there and a lot of them are easily mixed up. This is also the case with the Boykin Spaniel. We will list the breeds that look similar to this breed and those that some people think are the same dogs in different colors.

These dogs are in the same breed group, so that is why there are similarities. Some of these dogs are:

English Cocker Spaniel: These dogs are a bit smaller than a Boykin and can be found in various colors, while the Boykin is only brown in color.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever: Both of these dogs love the water and have amazing swimming skills but this dog is bigger than a Boykin.

American Water Spaniel: These dogs are super similar, but the Water Spaniel has a bit of a curlier and shorter coat than a Boykin, but the color is the same, so we understand why they easily get mixed up.

English Springer Spaniel: These dogs do look alike but the Springer Spaniel can never be a solid brown color, instead, they have a brown pattern mixed with white, or black and white coats.

Facts About The Boykin Spaniel

– They are one of only two breeds that were born, or in other words “created”, in America and they are named after the family that created them.

– These are the best dogs for hunting. They became popular for hunting ducks, to be more precise, hunting Waterfowl. This is why they were created, to be good hunters that can get along both on the land and in the water.

– Camden, South Carolina, calls these dogs their little brown dogs. Which we find really cute.

– These dogs make amazing family pets. They are loyal and protect their owners and all the people that they love. They are amazing with kids and other animals. They can flourish in any environment.

– They are trainable dogs, or better said, they are very hard working, easy to train, and dogs that love to please. They need mental stimulation and daily exercise to be fulfilled.

– They need high-quality dog food because they spend a lot of time on the go. They need appropriate food that can fulfill their nutritive needs. This can also affect their coats, if the food is bad quality, it can deteriorate the quality of their coats.

– There is a Boykin Spaniel Club and they have a website, which we recommend that you visit if you own, or just love, this breed.

– In 1977, a Boykin Spaniel Society was founded. They have a site as well and we encourage you to visit it.

In Conclusion

black Boykin Spaniel

The Boykin Spaniel is one beautiful and intelligent breed. They are amazing for any type of family, but keep in mind that they need a lot of exercise. They are full of love and zest for life, and they will be your best friend for life.

When buying this breed, try to find a reputable breeder. One of the indicators that can determine if the breeder wants to scam you, is the Boykin Spaniel colors. We have learnt that they only come in a brown color, and it can vary between two shades.

If you see a Boykin that is a different color, you will know that they were either mixed with another dog or that they have potential genetic or health issues. But besides their beautiful coats, their personalities are the thing that will win your heart.

Read Next: Whippet Colors: Everything You Need To Know!