Boykin spaniels were initially bred for hunting purposes. They were used to aid hunters in America and are now popular household dogs. However, how did Boykin spaniels assist hunters? Do they point or flush?
Boykin spaniels are used for flushing ducks and other birds during a hunt. By flushing, they scatter the birds and let them take flight, giving the hunters the chance to shoot. In addition, Boykin spaniels can also retrieve the prey once shot, but they are not usually used as pointers.
What is the difference between pointing and flushing? What do their hunting habits say about their temperaments? We will discuss what you should know about a Boykin spaniel’s hunting habits and character.
Why Do Boykin Spaniels Flush?
Boykin spaniels are a newer breed, originally from South Carolina. Boykin spaniels are a mix between Cheapskate Bay retrievers, American water spaniels, springers, and cockers. Boykin spaniels are the perfect breed for waterfowl hunting because they are smaller than other retrievers. They can therefore be used when hunting from a small boat.
Boykin spaniels belong to the dog group known as sporting dogs or gundogs. This means that Boykin spaniels are perfect hunting companions, as they remain calm around loud noises like gunfire. Gundogs are dog breeds that mostly accompany hunters. These breeds have different ways of helping hunters catch and retrieve prey.
These gundogs can be divided into four categories: pointers, flushers, retrievers, and setters. Pointers, setters, and flushers are mainly used to locate prey and alert their owners of where to find prey. Retrievers are used primarily to retrieve prey once it has been shot. The characteristics that define each of these groups vary slightly.
Boykin spaniels are flushers, meaning they charge into a flock of birds when they spot it. This causes the birds to take to the sky, which allows the hunters to shoot them. This is a helpful tactic when hunters are in swamps or grassy areas, where the birds can be hard to spot.
However, you’ll notice that Boykin spaniels also have some retriever ancestors. This allows them to retrieve waterfowl or ducks from ponds and rivers. In addition, Boykin spaniels have a soft grip and, therefore, won’t damage your bird when they retrieve it.
You might now wonder what makes a Boykin spaniel suitable for flushing and retrieving. What skills should you teach your Boykin spaniel so they can flush in a hunting situation?
What Makes A Boykin Spaniel Good For Hunting?
There are a few character traits that make Boykin spaniels ideal hunting partners. First, they are a great size. They are small enough to fit on boats and light enough to move around quickly. However, they aren’t too small that you may lose sight of them in the field.
Boykin spaniels are also a dark brown color, allowing them to blend into their environment in swamps, making it easier for them to stalk prey. Like all spaniels, Boykin spaniels are excellent swimmers. Therefore, they are ideal hunting partners in Carolina’s wet, grassy landscape.
Finally, Boykin spaniels are easy to train and obedient. As a result, they become attached to their owners and will stay close to them in a hunting situation. This ensures that the Boykin spaniel won’t get distracted in an open environment and will keep following and listening to its owner.
As mentioned before, Boykin spaniels are also good at retrieving prey. Therefore, they are often used for both flushing and retrieving prey. If you train them correctly from a young age, they can easily learn to do both and will be a great asset when you next go hunting.
Although Boykin spaniels are bred for flushing and retrieving, they will not do so without proper training. An untrained Boykin spaniel or an inexperienced hunter can lead to disaster when you first go hunting. Therefore, you should train your Boykin spaniel to flush and retrieve from a young age.
Expert dog trainers recommend starting with basic commands, such as sit and stay. Then, you can move on to commands more specific for hunting. Combine field training with isolated training, so your Boykin spaniel knows what is expected when you first go hunting.
You mustn’t forget to drill the basic commands in addition to training your Boykin spaniel in more complex commands. Training a Boykin spaniel to go hunting is a full-time task. You cannot stop its training for a few months and expect the dog to behave perfectly when you return to the hunting grounds the following season.
However, with continued training and patience, a Boykin spaniel can make the perfect hunting companion and will do a great job flushing and retrieving your prey.
You might wonder how you can teach your Boykin spaniel to flush or if it will flush by nature without any training.
Teaching A Boykin Spaniel To Flush
Although Boykin spaniels are bred to flush, they still require training to flush and retrieve birds and other animals effectively. If you take an untrained Boykin spaniel hunting, it won’t know what to do. As a result, it may get in the way during a hunt or be accidentally shot or injured. Therefore, training your Boykin spaniel to flush is imperative.
As we have explained, you start to teach a Boykin spaniel basic obedience first, then progress to more complex tasks, such as flushing and retrieving. A well-trained Boykin spaniel will leave you when told, sit when told, and return to you when told.
You need your Boykin spaniel to remain calm under pressure and upon hearing loud noises, such as gunfire. They must also be obedient and know what you expect them to do. Then, if your dog has had the proper training, you can take it out for a hunt.
A well-trained Boykin spaniel will not only flush the birds but can also retrieve them if instructed. Teaching a Boykin spaniel to retrieve a bird also takes some training, as they must do so gently to avoid harming the flesh.
Overall, flushing dogs are easier to manage in a large group of hunters. However, if you have a Boykin spaniel, you can go hunting with a partner who has a pointer dog. If both dogs have proper training, they will help each other to find the prey. It’s crucial to ensure that both dogs are obedient, however, and that they get along well.
The best way to see if a flushing dog can work with a pointer dog is to try it out. Give both dogs plenty of positive encouragement if they work together towards the hunt’s success.
Boykin spaniels flush when hunting prey. They were initially bred to hunt waterfowl and other birds. However, their size, breeding, and training make them perfect for hunting from boats and in grassy or swampy areas. Boykin spaniels are also used to retrieve prey once shot.
While some hunting dogs don’t make good pets, the same cannot be said for Boykin spaniels. Their breeding ensures they have an excellent temperament for a house dog. They are easy to train and become attached to their owners.