Are Boykin Spaniels Good with Kids?

What family is complete without a dog for rough-and-tumble games and for your kid to have a consistent canine companion? If you’ve been considering the different breeds and their suitability for a family pet, you’ve probably heard about the wonderfully charming Boykin Spaniel. When we first got our dog Marley, our kids were still young, and they were thrilled to have him as their new best friend, but how good are Boykin Spaniels with kids?

Boykin Spaniels are good with children of most ages. Their social, eager-to-please personality makes them good family dogs provided they are trained to be less rowdy around smaller children. Boykin Spaniels are energetic and unlikely to anger, making them good with kids.

Boykin Spaniels are distinctive spaniels with their gorgeous chocolatey-brown fur and soulful eyes. They are good-natured, intelligent dogs bred to be good all-rounder hunting dogs. They are often considered excellent family pets because of their friendly temperaments, but are they good pets for a family with kids?

Are Boykin Spaniels Good With Kids?

Boykin Spaniels are one of the few US-made dog breeds, and their name derives from the original family who developed them. The ancestor of the Boykin was a small stray dog who followed a banker to church from work, and the spaniel-type dog was sent to Lemuel Whitaker Boykin to be trained as a hunting dog.

This friendly little dog turned out to be an excellent turkey dog. Whit Boykin started a breeding program using Cocker and English Springer Spaniels, American Water Spaniels, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Eventually, the lovable and delightful Boykin Spaniel we know today was developed, and people are beginning to discover this stunning family dog.

Boykin Spaniels are excellent with kids thanks to their upbeat, friendly natures, high intelligence, eager-to-please attitude, and enthusiasm and agility.

If your kids love to spend all their time outdoors – especially playing by creeks or water – then the Boykin Spaniel will be their ideal dog. The spaniels were bred for the water, and they can swim easily.

These dogs tend to shed, and their medium-length fur must be brushed daily to prevent tangles. This is fine if you have an older, more responsible kid who will take their pet-care duties seriously. If you think your kids will neglect dog-grooming, then factor in the time you’ll need to spend daily brushing.

Boykin Spaniel Personality Traits

The high-energy Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog, making it an ideal size for kids. Its deep, rich coat, usually in shades of liver or chocolate, and its long spaniel ears are easily recognizable.

The Boykin is an exceptionally friendly dog who loves to make his people happy. While this amiable breed was developed to hunt, their personality type is loving and social. Like all dogs, early socialization skills are best developed from when they are puppies, and obedience training is recommended.

They have only moderate chances of separation anxiety, though this will be made worse if your family is away from home most of the time. Boykin Spaniels do not enjoy apartment living; if they don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation, they will get bored.

Bored dogs tend to indulge in negative behavior traits, like chewing, barking, howling, or being destructive. While Boykins are not known to bark a lot, a bored spaniel is far from an ideal pet.

If you have a kid who would love to show off their dog’s tricks, then Boykins make a great choice. These dogs thrive on training and become very good at advanced obedience courses.

Are Boykin Spaniels Good Family Dogs?

Boykin Spaniels make excellent family dogs for the active family. These enthusiastic spaniels love to run and play and are very energetic. They thrive with 1-2 hours of exercise daily – the more, the better. The Boykin is the perfect dog if your family loves getting out for days by the water, canoeing, or going for runs.

When the Boykin Spaniel breed was first developed, they were bred to be ideal for riding in the small boats South Carolina hunters used in the swamps. So if your family regularly goes kayaking, a Boykin will be a good family companion with no fear of the water.

They are very social and love to spend time with their human family. If your family often heads away on vacations that aren’t dog-friendly, or are quite inactive, then a Boykin Spaniel is probably not a good idea for a family pet.

Boykins are also very enthusiastic, and especially with younger untrained puppies, they might inadvertently be a little too rowdy in their play. This unruliness might be an issue if you have younger kids who are easily upset by a rambunctious spaniel or could be bowled over by even a medium-sized dog.

Boykin Spaniels are also friendly with other dogs, making them ideal for a household that already has dogs. I wouldn’t recommend a Boykin Spaniel as a first dog for families with little experience with dogs, thanks to their needs for training and activity.

Are Boykin Spaniels Affectionate With Kids?

Judging just by our own Marley, Boykin Spaniels have to be one of the most affectionate dogs you can get, and the breed is known for being a people-pleaser. They love cuddling and are best kept as indoor family pets. Relegating them to the yard all day isn’t good for them.

Because they love to please their humans and enjoy socializing with other dogs, Boykin Spaniels are well-mannered dogs when correctly trained and socialized, making them great for the kid who loves to cuddle their dog.

Why A Boykin Spaniel Might Not Be Good With Kids

If you think your kid will not have the time or inclination to look after an enthusiastic, energetic dog, then a Boykin Spaniel might not be the sporting breed you want.

They do shed, and their waterproof coat is not hypoallergenic, so they are not a good choice if your children or anyone in the family suffers from allergies to dog fur.

The breed is known to suffer issues with hip dysplasia (though the number is lowering with improved breeding standards). Another problem impacting your Boykin is exercise-Induced Collapse Syndrome, where your spaniel can lose control of its muscles and collapse. This problem is usually restricted to sporting breeds but could be traumatic for a child.


The Boykin Spaniel is an excellent choice of dog for an active family, as they require a decent amount of exercise and time spent on obedience training. They are highly intelligent and would make a great companion for a sporting kid who would like a dog they can teach to perform obedience tricks. Very friendly and pleasant, Boykin Spaniels are very good with kids and are recommended for families who already have some experience with dog ownership.


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