Can Boykin Spaniels Live Outside?

Boykin spaniels are intelligent, charming dogs designed to work. They are the state dog of South Carolina.  Boykin spaniels are used for hunting purposes and are therefore classified by the American Kennel Association as working dogs. Many people feel that as working dogs, they should be capable of living outside all the time. They would prefer to use the dogs only for hunting and leave the dog in the yard or kennel in between. The question is whether Boykin Spaniels are suited for this kind of lifestyle.

Boykin spaniels should not live outside. They need their human’s company, and leaving the Boykin Spaniel to live outside will make the dog unhappy and cause countless problems for the owner.  A Boykin Spaniel living outdoors will be at risk of escaping and may give rise to behavioral issues.

Boykin Spaniels are friendly and want to please their owners. They were developed from crossing several types of spaniels and pointers. These breed types are all very affectionate and require extensive interaction with owners.  This article will explore the factors which affect keeping a Boykin Spaniel outside. It will look at Boykins’s physical characteristics, their temperaments and emotional needs, and the consequences of keeping Boykins spaniels outdoors.

Boykin Spaniels – Environmental Factors

Boykin spaniels have a double layer coat. The undercoat consists of short, dense fur, and the topcoat is medium length and has a slight wave. This double coat allows them to cope with moderate cold and heat.

They cannot, however, cope with extremes of temperature. Boykins are busy dogs who may continue running and hunting despite the weather. Continuous exercise can be hazardous at high temperatures. Boykin spaniels who spend a lot of time in the sunlight may have lighter coloring as the coat bleaches.

Boykin Spaniels – Yard Living

Boykins are natural hunters, and anything which enters the yard will be a target.  Suppose the owner is a bird lover or wishes to keep other animals, such as chickens. In that case, it is not ideal to leave the Boykin outside unsupervised.

A large yard is best as Boykins have high energy levels and require space to exercise and play. Boykins may destroy the yard if left alone for extended periods. They are intelligent dogs who need stimulation. If that is not given, they will start to entertain themselves in ways that will not be pleasing to the owner.

Boykin Spaniels – Kennel Living

Boykin Spaniels do not do well in kennels of any size. Their natural energy levels would result in frustrated dogs. They will experience severe kennel stress due to being kept contained and away from their family members. A Boykin kept in a kennel will possibly develop aggression and anti-social behavior. It is vital that kenneled dogs receive consistent socialization.

Boykin Spaniels – Escape Artists

Boykin spaniels have brilliant problem-solving abilities. If they are left outside, they are quite likely to use their intelligence to find ways to escape. The natural athleticism of Boykins results in dogs that could be difficult to keep contained.

Any bird that flies over could spark his hunting drive, which will trigger the need to follow the bird – out the yard if necessary. Local animal control officials can impound dogs that wander in the streets.

Pounds are only required to keep a dog for a short time, typically three to five days before rehoming or euthanizing the dog. Owners who claim their lost dogs from a pound may be liable for a fine. Owners will be responsible for any damage the dog causes while wandering.

Boykin Spaniels – Injuries

Boykin Spaniels are prone to injuries because they approach hunting with great enthusiasm and little regard for their welfare. Boykins left to their own devices can easily injure themselves in the yard or surrounding area if they escape. These can include broken bones and lacerations from hooking themselves on fences, branches, and fences.

Boykin Spaniels – Natural Pack Behavior

Boykins, like most other dogs, have a natural inclination to want to live in a pack. A pack mentality means that the dog will want to spend time around other pack members and feel safe when there is a pack. Boykins regard their human family as part of their pack. They feel safest around their people and want to spend time with their people pack.

Velcro Dogs and Separation Anxiety

Boykins are affectionate dogs and bond closely with their owners. The intense desire for human proximity is a common trait in all spaniels. Suppose the dog is forced to spend long hours away from his owners.

In that case, he will likely develop separation anxiety. Extreme anxiety can give rise to undesirable behavior such as excessive barking and destruction of plants, dog beds, and even chewing doors, etc. Separation anxiety can also cause the dog to lose weight.

Boykin Spaniels – Nuisance Barking

Boykin spaniels are used for flushing and retrieving birds. Part of flushing behavior is barking, so dogs’ natural reaction is to bark when their hunting drive is triggered. A Boykin left out in the yard for extended periods will undoubtedly be exposed to birds, which will trigger his need to bark.

Barking And The Law

Laws related to barking dogs differ across states and municipalities. Some towns only allow for ten minutes of continuous barking during the day and five minutes of barking at night.  To prevent nuisance barking, keep the dog in at night.

Toys and chew items will help to distract the dog during the day. Companion dogs may also help prevent barking, but ultimately the best cure is to let the dog have as much time with his owners as possible.

Boykin Spaniels – Fence Fighting

Boykin Spaniels need to be socialized with other animals when they are puppies. A Boykin left unsocialized can have many issues with other dogs as he matures. Even a well-socialized Boykin Spaniel may indulge in bouts of fence fighting.

Fence fighting is a peculiar behavior seen in dogs. The dogs will fight ferociously with dogs on the other side of a fence, wall, or gate, even if they are not aggressive to other dogs in normal circumstances. Fence fighting can result in neighbors complaining and injuries to the dogs from being bitten through the fence or being cut by sharp parts on the wall.

Boykin Spaniels – Exercise Needs

Although Boykins need to spend time with their humans, they are not lazy couch dogs. They have a very high need for exercise. Boykin’s exercise needs are not always met by being left in the back yard.

Boykins do best when they can be part of an active family. They love to take part in any exercise with their owner. They are very good at agility. The best training exercises for a Boykin involves both their bodies and their minds.

Boykin Spaniels – Poisoning

Dogs who are left outside in their yards, especially at night, are at risk of malicious poisoning. Dog poisoning is more common in some countries or areas than in others. It is easy for criminals, nasty neighbors, or other disturbed individuals to throw poisoned food over into the yard. The consequences are devastating and heartbreaking.

Boykin Spaniels – Theft

It is becoming increasingly common for dogs and even puppies to be stolen from their yards. Dog thieves are more motivated to acquire pedigreed dogs. Boykins are highly prized as hunting dogs. It is a risk that unscrupulous criminals will steal puppies and adult dogs to sell them on as hunting dogs or breed them to sell the puppies.

Boykin Spaniels – Socialization

It is vital to socialize Boykins when they are young. A puppy left outside with little interaction with people will develop an unpredictable and possibly aggressive response to humans. Boykins should have positive exposure to children when young to become reliable, safe companions.


As can be seen, although Boykins can survive outside when temperatures are moderate, they should not be left to live outdoors as yard dogs. Boykins need the companionship and stimulation provided by an active family to fulfill their potential.

Leaving them to live outside can cause numerous behavioral issues, resulting in difficulties for the owner. It is safest for Boykin Spaniels to live with their owners, sleeping inside at night and having access to the yard during the day.

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