The annual puppy issue certainly reminds us that the Boykin Spaniel breed is truly special. It also reminds us that they depend on us to protect their future. Among the photos in these pages are pups that will bring great joy in homes across America, excel as hunting companions and succeed in a variety of competitive environments. They are also the dogs from whom future generations will be bred.

A principal purpose of the Boykin Spaniel Society is to establish and maintain the Boykin Spaniel Registry and in fulfilling that mission we have become the principal registry for the breed. Our registration statistics speak for themselves, as the number of litters and dogs registered each year continues to grow. In 2013 we registered 1214 dogs and 419 litters, while in 2012 there were 1,071 dogs registered along with 360 litters. Registration revenues and Society memberships have had a corresponding increase as well.

Results of this nature are not universal. The American Kennel Club registered approximately 1.5 million dogs in 1992. By 2010 AKC registrations had plummeted to 563,611 dogs with a correlative loss of revenue. The decline was attributed to 30 other all-breed dog registries whose combined registrations exceeded those of the AKC. The AKC is not alone. A similar situation exists in the United Kingdom. The Kennel Club reports that in 2012 there were 229,230 dogs registered. That number dropped to 223,770 in 2013. Gundog registrations were 99,660 in 2004 but deteriorated to 87,996 in 2013.

Presumably the Society should declare victory and pat itself on the back. Other data suggests however that such a celebration would be premature. The 1,214 dogs registered in 2013 are drawn from a universe of 2,457 registrable pups. That is roughly 50% of the potentially registrable pups. While there are timing differences that undoubtedly skew the data, we can be pleased that we have done so well. Nonetheless, our goal is to markedly improve that result. Of greater concern is our effort to encourage health clearances. Data available to the Society indicates that so far this year 51% of the litter parents had no OFA hip clearances; 97% had no CERF clearances; and 70% had no heart clearances. We are confident that the OFA hip data is correct due the reporting processes of the OFA. The process of reporting the other data is not as trustworthy because the results are not always reported. In short, while those results are likely not as bad as they appear, room for improvement does exist.

I apologize for assaulting you with all these statistics but it seems clear that we can do better and with that in mind the Board of Directors recognizes the need to emphasize increasing individual dog registrations and health clearance testing. One has to ask, why is that effort strategically important? What is the value added for the Boykin Spaniel owner or breeder?

Let me try to identify some of that value:

1. As the popularity of the Boykin Spaniel increases, it is imperative that we continue our status as the breed's principal registry if we expect to maintain the Breed Standard;

2. Registration gains access to our field trial and hunt test programs where the next generation of exceptional dogs is identified;

3. Participation in those programs also introduces participants to a way of life a community of like-minded folks whose dedication to their dogs is overwhelming;

4. Registration opens the door to the Boykin Spaniel Foundation and its program of providing free or reduced-cost health clearances;

5. Registration is the gateway to other all-breed organizations that host an expanded menu of programs that allow our dogs to compete and excel;

6. Registration and health clearances increase the genetic pool of dogs that are breedable within the Breed Standard;

7. Owners of registered dogs often become members of the Boykin Spaniel Society and gain access to the educational and informational resources of the Society;

8. Lastly, we owe it to the dogs.

In the end, it remains the responsibility of the Boykin Spaniel Society, its board, members and breeders to establish that registration and health clearances are truly valuable in the eyes of the new puppy buyer. In a perfect world all Boykin Spaniel litters and pups would be registered and all their recommended health clearances secured. That is a goal worth striving for.

William J. Rundorff, Jr.


The Boykin Spaniel was first bred by South Carolina hunters during the 1900's to provide the ideal dog for hunting ducks and wild turkeys in the Wateree River Swamp. Hunters on South Carolina's Wateree River needed a small rugged dog compactly built for boat travel and able to retrieve on land and water.

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