A Guide to Boykin Spaniel Shedding and Grooming

Boykin Spaniel Shedding

The volume and frequency of shedding are among the top considerations when selecting a dog breed. That’s because shedding corresponds with grooming and overall care.

If you’ve been planning to adopt a Boykin Spaniel but are wondering how much the breed sheds, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve prepared a handy guide to Boykin spaniel shedding, with a special focus on how much this breed sheds and how to go about maintaining his coat.

But first, let’s start by familiarizing ourselves with what a Boykin spaniel is.

What Is The Boykin Spaniel?

The Boykin Spaniel is a sporting dog breed originally bred for hunting wild ducks and turkeys in South Carolina’s Wateree River Swamp.

The breed goes by several other monikers, including Boykin, Swamp Poodle, and LBD (which stands for Little Brown Dog or Little Brown Devil.

Origin and History

The Boykin Spaniel was developed in South Carolina by Lemuel Whitaker Boykin, around 1900.

Lemuel developed the current Boykin Spaniel breed from a cross between a rescued stray dog named “Dumpy” and several pointing breeds, including the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, etc.

The resultant breed demonstrated a tremendous aptitude for hunting. He excelled in various hunting aspects, including flushing, retrieving, and even pointing.

Size and Appearance

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized dog breed. Adults measure between 14 and 18 inches (36 and 46 centimeters) at the withers, and weigh 25 to 40 pounds (11 to 18 kilograms).

Boykin spaniels sport three distinct colors – solid, dark chocolate, and rich liver. The dog also stands out for his floppy ears, bright eyes, and a medium-length tail that’s traditionally docked.


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Temperament and Intelligence

The Boykin Spaniel is a friendly and social dog. The breed is great for families with small children and other pets. However, bear in mind that the Boykin is highly energetic and eager to work. So, the dog requires plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Boykin spaniels are also well-suited for apartment living. The dog doesn’t bark a lot but is highly alert and can be a bit aggressive to strangers.

The Boykin Spaniel is also one of the most intelligent dog breeds. Coupled with his sociability, this breed is incredibly easy to train.

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Registration and Recognition

The Boykin Spaniel is the state dog of South Carolina. The breed gained mainstream attention in 1985 when the United Kennel Club formally recognized it.

In 2007, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Boykin Spaniel Club and Breeders Association of America (BSCBAA). BSCBAA is an organization previously formed to champion full recognition of the Boykin Spaniel breed.

Do Boykin Spaniels Shed?

The best way to answer this question is to begin by understanding what a Boykin spaniel’s coat looks like.

Now, most Boykin spaniels have both an undercoat and an outer coat. The undercoat is short and dense, whereas the outer coat is medium in length and can range in shape from flat to slightly curly.

On average, the length of a Boykin spaniel coat is 1 to 2 inches throughout the dog’s body. Some bloodlines may have shorter and straighter coats than others.


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Boykin spaniels also sport feathering on various areas of their body, including the legs, chest, ears, and belly. The feathering is generally classified as ‘little-to-moderate in density and length.’

The feathered areas on a Boykin’s body may appear in a different color from that of the dog’s overall color. Most feathering patterns range from sun-bleached golden to tawny color hues, particularly on the ears.

Nearly all double-coated dog breeds shed. In fact, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-shedding’ dog breed. All dogs shed to a certain extent. The only difference is that some breeds shed more than others.

So, if you’re wondering whether Boykin spaniels shed, the answer is that these dogs actually do shed. Perhaps the more pertinent question should be, ‘how much do Boykins shed?’

The following sections expound further on that.

Do Boykin Spaniel Dogs Shed A Lot?

Since we’ve established that Boykin spaniels shed, we can now proceed to determine the breed’s shedding level.

So, how much do Boykin spaniels shed?

According to many dog experts, Boykin spaniels score three out of five in the shedding scale. In other words, these dogs are moderate shedders.

A Boykin spaniel’s medium-length coat sheds moderately throughout the year. However, the breed tends to shed more intensely during spring and fall. That’s especially true for Boykins with a double coat.

But What Exactly Does Moderate Shedding Mean?

The term “moderate” can be quite relative, especially when discussing a dog’s shedding levels.

So, what does it mean by a Boykin spaniel shedding moderately?

Well, moderate shedding simply means that you’ll notice some hair in your house throughout the year. The hair will appear on surfaces and objects that your Boykin spaniel mostly interacts with. That includes your furniture, the dog’s crate, outdoor posts, etc.

But while you can expect your Boykin spaniel to shed throughout the year, the shedding will be less intense compared to heavy shedding dog breeds like the Labrador Retriever. For comparison’s sake, Boykins shed to a similar extent as other common spaniels, including the English Springer Spaniel, American Water Spaniel, and Cocker Spaniel.

What Causes a Boykin Spaniel to Shed Excessively?

Boykin spaniels are classified as moderate shedders.

Shedding is a natural process whereby the coat of a Boykin (and that of dogs in general) loses hair that’s old, detached, or damaged. Discarding older hair creates room for the regrowth of newer and healthier ones.

However, certain factors could cause your Boykin to shed excessively. Common causes of excessive shedding include;

1. Coat Characteristics

While Boykin spaniels are generally considered moderate shedders, some Boykins may shed more than others, depending on the features of their coat.

According to the AKC, Boykins can come in either a single coat or double coat. The implication here is that single-coated Boykin spaniels have a single layer of hair, whereas double-coated Boykins have both an outer coat and an undercoat. Double-coated Boykin spaniels will definitely shed more than their single-coated counterparts.

2. Seasonal Shedding

Seasonal changes determine the amount of hair a Boykin spaniel loses. As already indicated, Boykin spaniels will shed more intensely during spring and fall.

The reason Boykins shed more during spring is that the warmer weather stimulates the dog’s hair follicles to release the winter coat. The same happens during fall as the dog molts in preparation for the season ahead.

If your Boykin is a double-coated variety, then you can expect even heavier shedding around these seasons.


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3. Hormonal Imbalance

Excessive shedding may also be indicative of hormonal imbalance.

For instance, hypothyroidism may cause your Boykin spaniel’s hair to dry up, making it brittle and more prone to breaking. Other hormonal problems could result from the over- or under-production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Hormonal imbalance in dogs is more common during the following periods;

  • Puberty
  • Mating
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • After spaying or neutering
  • After surgery, particularly operations that affect the hormone-regulating glands

4. Imbalanced Diet

Poor diet ranks among the top causes of excessive shedding in Boykin spaniels and dogs in general.

Ideally, dog food should be high in proteins, low in carbohydrates, and contain moderate levels of fat. Foods that do not meet these dietary conditions may trigger excessive shedding.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert in pet nutrition to feed your Boykin spaniel a balanced diet. Just ensure you’re buying all your Boykin’s foods from reputable stores.

Also, discuss with your vet before introducing your Boykin to homemade foods. That’s especially if planning to feed the dog homemade meals regularly.

5. Allergic Reactions

Some Boykin spaniels may shed excessively due to exposure to allergens in their environment.

Common allergens include;

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Certain food ingredients, particularly spices
  • Certain drugs
  • Certain shampoos, especially human shampoos
  • Weather changes

6. Parasites

Excessive shedding, coupled with compulsive scratching, is a tell-tale sign of parasites on your Boykin spaniel’s skin. Common skin parasites that may plague your Boykin include ticks, fleas, lice, and mange mites.

It’s important to move with speed and arrest the situation, regardless of the parasite causing your Boykin spaniel to lose hair excessively. Without prompt interventions, excessive scratching could cause skin lesions which may consequently open the dog up for full-blown infections.

7. Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety might also cause uncontrolled hair loss in Boykin spaniels.

Like most dogs, your Boykin could become stressed due to a routine disruption occasioned by activities such as moving homes or home renovation.

Other common factors that may trigger stress in Boykins include;

If untreated, stress may degenerate into anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and separation anxiety. Boykins suffering from any of these disorders may shed even more than those who experience occasional stress episodes.

8. Underlying Medical Conditions

Certain underlying diseases may cause your Boykin spaniel to lose an abnormal amount of hair. Examples of such conditions include;

  • Tumors
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections like ringworms
  • Thyroid disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Genetic skin issues

Hair loss triggered by underlying medical conditions is usually more intense in specific areas on a Boykin’s body. In some cases, the shedding may affect various parts of the body.

Besides, this kind of hair loss normally follows erratic patterns. It may also be accompanied by skin discoloration, appetite changes, fatigue, and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

The following are other potential causes of excessive shedding in Boykin spaniels;

  • Fevers
  • Spinal issues
  • Sunburns
  • Immune problems
  • Self-induced trauma as a result of compulsive licking

Can You Stop Boykins from Shedding?

Technically, you cannot stop a Boykin spaniel from shedding. The dog will lose hair moderately throughout the year.

However, you can prevent your Boykin from shedding excessively. And there are several ways to go about that.

First, you’ll need to uncover the reasons your Boykin is losing hair excessively. The solution you adopt should address the underlying cause of the problem.

Wondering how to stop Boykin spaniel from shedding? The following tips may come in handy;

1. Groom Your Boykin Regularly

Grooming a Boykin spaniel regularly is arguably the most reliable way to manage the problem of excessive shedding. And the good news is that there are numerous resources on how to groom a Boykin spaniel.

Brushing is the one grooming technique that almost all dog owners are familiar with.

Regular brushing helps to keep dead Boykin hair off your furniture, clothing, and the floors. Fortunately, Boykin spaniels are relatively easy to brush. That’s due to their medium-length coat, which sheds moderately.

When it comes to brushing frequency, experts recommend daily brushing for between 10 and 15 minutes. That’s especially during periods when shedding is most intense. And to make the most of it, consider bathing the dog at least 3 days a week.

However, keep allergies in mind. That begs the question, is a Boykin spaniel hypoallergenic?

Now, there’s no such thing as a non-hypoallergenic dog. So, being in contact with your Boykin’s hair may trigger a series of allergic reactions, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, labored breathing, and skin reactions.

Note that dog hair is not necessarily an allergen. However, the hair may collect substances that could cause allergic reactions, such as urine, saliva, and dander.

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2. Vacuum Regularly

Regular vacuuming is nearly as effective as regular brushing.

Since you’re probably already vacuuming your house routinely, you’ll find this technique easy to implement.

All you need to do is get an excellent vacuum, preferably one designed with strong suction to remove excess Boykin spaniel hair.

3. Feed Your Dog a Healthy Diet

There are numerous benefits to feeding your Boykin spaniel a balanced diet.

In this case, a healthy diet can mitigate the problem of excessive hair loss.

Insist on dietary supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to supporting your Boykin’s heart, joints, and immune health, omega-3 fatty acids also promote healthy hair growth.

4. Increase Water Intake

Drinking prevents dehydration, which further reduces the risks of hair loss caused by dry skin.

The conventional wisdom is to ensure your Boykin drinks an ounce of water for every pound of body weight per day. To break it down, a 10-pound Boykin requires a little over one cup of drinking water per day.

If your Boykin spaniel is struggling to meet his recommended daily water intake using plain water, you can always supplement with broth and other flavored drinks. Just ensure the flavor used is dog-safe.

5. Visit Your Veterinarian

If your Boykin spaniel is shedding due to an underlying medical condition, the only solution is to schedule a visit to the vet.

Your vet will examine the dog and recommend the right treatment course.


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Boykin spaniels are moderate shedders. Although these dogs lose some hair throughout the year, they do not shed as much as heavy shedding breeds like German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Shiba Inus, and Siberian Huskies.

However, certain factors may cause your Boykin spaniel to lose an abnormal amount of hair. Fortunately, there are various tips you can implement to stop your Boykin from shedding excessively.

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