Are Boykin Spaniels Good Inside Dogs?

Boykin Spaniels are bird dogs that have been used for hunting wild turkeys and waterfowls since the development of the breed in the early 1900s. A few decades ago, bird dogs were purely hunting dogs, not pets, and they lived outside in kennels. However, bird dogs, including the Boykin Spaniel, have transitioned from hunting only dogs to hunters and pets, and even pet only dogs. But are they adapted to an indoor life?  

Boykin Spaniels are attached to their humans and happiest when allowed inside. They are good inside dogs but not good inside-only dogs. With sufficient exercise and a yard, they make excellent household companions. Boykins are mostly clean unless they have free access to a body of water; they can be noisy but aren’t predisposed to chewing. They are easy to train, learning inside dog manners quickly. They are good with kids and most other pets.

The requirements for inside dogs and outside dogs different. Are Boykins happy to be inside, and do they have the manners and behaviors that make it easy to live with them indoors?

Are Boykin Spaniels Happy To Be Inside The House?

Boykin Spaniels are friendly, affectionate, and loyal, so they are happiest when they are allowed inside with their families. However, a Boykin Spaniel is not a happy indoor-only dog. By indoor-only, we mean a dog that has no access to an outdoor area except when on a walk or run with their owners.

Boykin Spaniels have high energy levels that are not satisfied by a short bout of exercise, even if it is vigorous exercise. Remember, they are bred to hunt in fields for hours at a time, so they have tremendous stamina.

Boykin Spaniels are not suited to apartment living unless their owners are extremely dedicated to their exercise requirements and have the freedom and the time to take them out for walks and runs whenever these dogs require an opportunity to work off their energy.

As with most dogs, Boykin Spaniels can turn to destructive behavior if they are bored, frustrated, or have excess energy from lack of exercise. A poorly exercised or bored Boykin Spaniel can race around the house as an outlet for their energy. They can knock items over and break them in these wild runs. They may also turn to chewing, digging, and scratching, which does not bode well for your property. This means that keeping a Boykin Spaniel as an indoor-only dog only might turn them into a bad inside dog.

How Much Exercise Do Boykin Spaniels Need?

As mentioned earlier, Boykin Spaniels have high energy levels. Well, their exercise requirements are equally high. They won’t be satisfied with a game or two of fetch, even if the games are rousing. You will need to make sure that your Boykin Spaniel gets one to two hours of good exercise once or twice every day and has access to a yard in which they can run and play.

Hunting excursions will obviously provide excellent exercise for your Boykin Spaniel, but you don’t have to take up hunting to keep them exercised. Boykin Spaniels are wonderful the perfect pet companions for active owners and outdoor adventurers such as cyclists, hikers, kayakers, and runners.

You need to be careful with exercising Boykin Spaniels; they can suffer from exercise-induced collapse. Not all Boykin Spaniels have this disorder, and you can test your dog for the genetic markers. If they do not have the markers, they will be fine.

Are Boykin Spaniels Clean Dogs?

Boykin Spaniels are relatively clean dogs. Their coats are medium length with light feathering on the ears, chest, belly, and legs. When outside, they might pick up a few twigs or leaves in these feathers, but they are not likely to come home covered foliage.

Boykin Spaniels are bred to aid in hunting waterfowl. They are adapted for the water with a thick undercoat that staves off the cold in frigid water, a powerful body, and webbed toes. Because of this heritage, they have a high affinity for water and will climb into any pond, swimming pool, lake, and river to which they have access.

If you have a body of water on your property, beware the wet Boykin! They can come into your house dripping with water and mud, making the floors and furniture dirty and wet. When dogs like the Boykin Spaniel are in the water often, their thick undercoats never have the chance to dry properly. This can create an unpleasant odor.

It can help to towel-dry your Boykin at night or even get them used to the hairdryer when they are puppies. Frequent baths with a good shampoo will also help to kill any germs that may be breeding in the damp coat and adding to the odor.

Boykin Spaniels have long ears, which can be prone to infection, especially if your Boykin has access to water and swims frequently. If you become aware of a funny smell, it may be that they have an ear infection, and you should take them to the vet.

The medium coat and light feathering mean that they are unlikely to struggle with dingleberries, although you should make sure their hindquarters are clean if they have been ill with diarrhea.

Apart from the potential musty smell of a wet Boykin and the occasional ear infection, Boykin Spaniels do not typically smell. Unlike dogs such as Bloodhounds, Boykin Spaniels are not prone to any digestive disorders that cause chronic flatulence.

Boykin Spaniels can drool, but they are not such prolific droolers as are Clumber Spaniels.

Sometimes, dogs who are relatively clean in most ways are difficult to have as inside dogs because of all the fur that they shed. Boykin Spaniels are seasonal shedders. Their coats become thicker for winter, and as the summer months approach, they will start to shed this excess fur. You can mostly control this shedding by increasing their grooming during these months.

Grooming Requirements For Boykin Spaniels

Boykin Spaniels are not high maintenance when it comes to grooming. They need a brush every two to three days, more during the shedding season. Special attention should be paid to the feathers on their ears, chest, belly, and legs as these can become tangled and matted. If you are not showing your Boykin Spaniel, you can trim these feathers short.

They need to be bathed once a month, but you can bath them more often if they become very dirty from fieldwork or if they are frequent swimmers.

As mentioned earlier, Boykin Spaniels are prone to ear infections. To prevent these infections from occurring or becoming problematic, you should check your Boykin Spaniel’s ears daily and clean them out once a week with an appropriate and vet-approved cleaner.

Keep their nails trimmed for their comfort and for the sake of any of your hardwood floors, upholstered furniture, and bedclothes, and keep their teeth clean to stave off bad breath.

Are Boykin Spaniels Noisy Dogs?

Boykin Spaniels will bark if they see a strange person approaching the house as a warning to you that someone is coming and also as a warning to the stranger, although the Boykin Spaniel is not otherwise protective. This is normal barking; however, Boykin Spaniels are also prone to excessive and nuisance barking.

Barking, or more accurately, yapping, is a relatively common trait in most Spaniels, and Boykins are no exception. Training Boykin Spaniels from puppyhood can help to prevent this behavior from developing.

If they are locked up in a house for too long, Boykin Spaniels can bark out of boredom, frustration, or distress. If they are left alone too frequently, this may become a learned behavior. If your dog barks excessively every time you are away from home, your neighbors can start to complain.

Do Boykin Spaniels Chew A Lot?

Chewing is not a vice for which Boykin Spaniels are specifically known.

Boykin Spaniel puppies chew things when they are teething and also because they are exploring the world around them. Everything is new to them, and chewing an item gives them information about it. At this stage, you need to start training your puppy about what is okay to chew (their toys) and what is not okay to chew (furniture, clothing, and the cat!).

If chewing is not guided at this stage, it can remain a behavior into the Boykin’s adulthood. Adult vice chewing (excludes chewing on toys, bones, sticks, etc.) is harder to stop but not impossible. You need to use the correct training methods; avoid negative punishment (smacking them, locking them in a crate, etc.). Your Boykin Spaniel is a smart little dog who thrives on the mental stimulation provided by training.  

Another reason for adult vice chewing in a Boykin Spaniel is boredom and frustration. If you leave your bouncing Boykin at home alone for too long, you may come home to a certain degree of destruction. Give them a good exercise session and lots of toys before leaving them at home alone for a few hours.

Are Boykin Spaniels Easy To Train?

Training is essential for dogs who are allowed inside. They need to learn ‘inside manners’. Happily, Boykin Spaniels are easy to train. They are intelligent and easy to please, a winning combination, which has made them excellent hunting companions for all these years, and which now also makes them great pets.

Boykin Spaniels need obedience training. They can also be trained in various canine sports such as agility, field events, hunting, rally, and tracking. There are two additional areas of training that are very important for inside dogs: house training (crucial) and crate training (highly recommended).  

Crate Training A Boykin Spaniel

Crate training is not cruel; dogs naturally look for a cosey protective shelter for times of stress. It is imperative that you don’t lock your Boykin Spaniel in the crate as punishment. The crate also has to be the right size for your Boykin. Four benefits of crate training you Boykin Spaniel are:

  • Crates provide a safe place in which to shelter if your Boykin Spaniel is overwhelmed or upset.
  • Crate training is valuable in emergencies. If you need to move your Boykin Spaniel suddenly, you can signal them to climb in the crate, close the door and transport them where you need to. You don’t want to be trying to fight them into the crate before you can move them to safety.
  • Crate training is useful if you are going out for a few hours and you don’t want your Boykin Spaniel running free in the house. You can give them a good exercise then close them in the crate with some water and toys. But don’t leave them in the crate for longer than is strictly necessary; the crate needs to be their special spot and not a prison.
  • Crate training is incredibly useful for house training your Boykin Spaniel puppy. Dogs are den creatures, and they naturally do not urinate or defecate in their sleeping areas, so they will wait until you take them out of the crate and to the lawn before they do their business.

House Training A Boykin Spaniel

Boykin Spaniels are not particularly difficult to house train, but they don’t train themselves like some breeds such as the Shiba Inu. Crate-train your Boykin Spaniel puppy and use this to your house-training advantage. Keep the crate somewhere where you can hear them if they wake up and carry them directly outside. They will probably have a few accidents; they are puppies after all, but this is an effective way to house train your Boykin Spaniel, adding to his good inside dog status.

Are Boykin Spaniels Family Dogs?

Socialization is important for all puppies. It involves exposing them to a variety of situations and stimuli, which allows them to grow up into well-balanced dogs.

Well-socialized Boykin Spaniels are great family dogs. They get along happily with other dogs, and the two dogs can ease your burden a bit by exercising each other. However, you should watch them with senior dogs or small puppies as they can become too boisterous for them.

If they have been exposed to cats during the socialization period, Boykin Spaniels should be just fine sharing their home with a feline friend but always supervise these introductions and initial interactions.

Pet birds are a different matter; Boykin Spaniels are not ideal for homes with pet birds. Remember, these are bird dogs, and their hunting instincts have been ingrained into them for centuries.

Boykin Spaniels do well in multi-person homes. They have enough love to go around, and the more people there are in the family, the more people there are to help exercise the Boykin! They may attach or at least gravitate towards one person, this is a trait common to most dog breeds, but this attachment will not be to the exclusion of the rest of the family.

Boykin Spaniels that have been exposed to children during their socialization period are usually great with kids. They are not small and delicate dogs that become snappy as a defense against rough toddlers. If a Boykin Spaniel has not been exposed to a small, pull-and-poke-happy child, they may take an understandable exception to this treatment. It is always wise to supervise interactions between dogs and small children.

Boykin Spaniels can be excellent companions for older kids who have lots of energy and who can be taught the proper way to treat a dog.


Boykin Spaniels adore their families. They are happiest when they can be fully a part of the lives of their humans, sharing their homes. They are easy-going inside dogs when they receive enough exercise and have a yard in which to burn off extra beans. They are easily trainable, so teaching them inside manners is easy. Crate training is very beneficial for these dogs and can also help them during house training.

They are relatively clean, although they love water, so easy access to a swimming pool, pond, lake, etc., will make them a bit messier and possibly smellier. They are not big shedders or droolers, and their grooming requirements are minimal.

While they are excellent inside dogs, their energy levels and exercise requirements mean that they cannot be inside-only dogs. If locked up inside for hours on end, they can develop bad and destructive behaviors, including chewing and nuisance barking.

If you are an adventure-loving family, the Boykin Spaniel can be the perfect addition to your clan. They love everyone and certainly have enough energy to keep up with anything you throw their way.


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