The sturdy, well-balanced Labrador Retriever can, depending on the sex, stand from 21.5 to 24.5 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 55 to 80 pounds. The dense, hard coat comes in yellow, black, and a luscious chocolate. The head is wide, the eyes glimmer with kindliness, and the thick, tapering “otter tail” seems to be forever signaling the breed’s innate eagerness. Labs are famously friendly. They are companionable housemates who bond with the whole family, and they socialize well with neighbor dogs and humans alike. But don’t mistake his easygoing personality for low energy: The Lab is an enthusiastic athlete that requires lots of exercise, like swimming and marathon games of fetch, to keep physically and mentally fit. Above all, a Labrador Retriever must be well balanced, enabling it to move in the show ring or work in the field with little or no effort. The typical Labrador possesses style and quality without over refinement, and substance without lumber or cloddiness. The Labrador is bred primarily as a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.
NOTE: the only difference between an English(show) and an American (field) Lab are simply explained as a difference in body build size and temperament. English or show bred are short stocky and broadly built they are usually more laid back and easy going, their American or Field bred are usually taller and skinier built they tend to have more energy and are more forward then the English bred labs
The Labrador Retriever is the traditional waterdog of Newfoundland, long employed as a duck retriever and fisherman’s mate. The breed began its steady climb to supreme popularity in the early 1800s, when Labs were spotted by English nobles visiting Canada. These sporting earls and lords returned to England with fine specimens of “Labrador dogs.” (Exactly how these dogs of Newfoundland became associated with Labrador is unclear, but the name stuck.) During the latter half of the 19th century, British breeders refined and standardized the breed.
The physical and temperamental breed traits, so familiar today to millions of devotees around the world, recall the Lab’s original purpose. A short, dense, weather-resistant coat was preferred because during a Canadian winter longhaired retrievers would be encrusted with ice when coming out of the water. In its ancestral homeland, a Lab would be assigned to a fishing boat to retrieve the fish that came off the trawl. Accordingly, in addition to having natural instincts as a retriever, the dog required a coat suited to the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
The Lab’s thick, tapering tail—an “otter tail,” it’s called— serves as a powerful rudder, constantly moving back and forth as the dog swims and aids the dog in turning. As for the breed’s characteristic temperament, it is as much a hallmark of the breed as the otter tail. “The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and nonagressive towards man or animal,” the breed standard says. “The Labrador has much that appeals to people; his gentle ways, intelligence and adaptability make him an ideal dog.” When defining a Lab’s primary attributes, the most important might be temperament since his utility depends on his disposition. “If a dog does not possess true breed temperament,” wrote a noted dog judge, “he is not a Labrador.”
The Kennel Club (England) recognized the Lab in 1903, and the AKC registered its first dog of the breed in 1917. Labs topped AKC registrations for the first time in 1991 and has reigned as America’s favorite breed ever since.
Boykins are medium-sized spaniels, larger and rangier than Cockers but more compact than Springers. The breed’s hallmark is a beautiful solid-brown coat. Colors range from a rich liver to a luscious chocolate. The large, feathery ears hang close to the cheeks, setting off an expression of soulful intelligence. Bred to work in the lakes and swamps of their native South Carolina, web-toed Boykins can swim like seals. For years, Boykins were known only to hunters of Carolina waterfowl and wild turkey. But lately, the wider world has discovered that the Boykin is as delightful at home as he is eager at the lake. “They are very, very sweet dogs to have around the family,” a longtime owner says, “but an absolute tiger in the field.”
The Boykin Spaniel was developed in South Carolina, USA as a medium-sized sporting dog with a docked tail. The breed is built to cover all types of ground conditions with agility and reasonable speed. Size and weight were essential in development of the breed as these hunting companions needed to be lighter and smaller than their larger sporting dog cousins to fit in the portable section boats of the time period. As a result, the Boykin Spaniel came to be known as “the little brown dog that doesn’t rock the boat”. Being a hunting dog, he should be exhibited in hard muscled working condition. His coat should not be so excessive as to hinder his work as an active flushing spaniel, but should be thick enough to protect him from heavy cover and weather. The Boykin Spaniel is primarily a working gun dog; structure and soundness are of great importance.
HISTORY OF THE BOYKIN:
The Boykin Spaniel is among the handful of AKC breeds wholly developed in the 20th century. Boykin is a small South Carolina community, population approximately 100 souls, named for a founding resident, Lemuel Whitaker “Whit” Boykin. As the Boykin Spaniel origin story goes, around 1900 a man named Alexander White found a little brown spaniel outside the church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he attended services. White gave the young male spaniel the uninspiring name Dumpy. An avid sportsman, White took Dumpy out hunting with his retrievers, and to White’s delight Dumpy showed great enthusiasm and instincts for water retrieves and more than held his own with the pedigreed bird dogs.
White sent Dumpy for training to his hunting partner, community patriarch Whit Boykin, who was the area’s leading dog man. Boykin was fascinated with the brown spaniel, who turned out to be as skillful on flushing and retrieving wild turkeys as he was at duck hunting. Boykin built a new breeding program around Dumpy, utilizing crosses to such breeds as the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cocker, English Springer, and American Water spaniels. The result was the upbeat gundog we know today as the Boykin Spaniel.
From the breed’s beginning, sportsmen working Carolina’s swampy terrain were enamored of the breed’s intensity, versatility, and effortless balanced gait. The Boykin’s popularity was for years restricted to the immediate area of its birth. Eventually, though, the Boykin caught on with bird hunters around the country, especially on the East Coast. The keys to the breed’s success were its unbridled energy in the field, the ability to work on land or lake, and a sweet, gentle manner at home.
South Carolinians have made the Boykin Spaniel their official state dog and celebrate September 1 as Boykin Spaniel Day. The Boykin gained full AKC recognition in 2009, joining the elite assembly of the AKC’s “all-American” dog breeds.