I really like Boykins and was kind of hoping that it wouldn't happen.
This is nothing new, and goes on in almost every breed seeking or recently recognized by AKC.
And to the OP, Joseph, congrats on your new Boykin pup.
On the whole I agree with Terrie, who's done right by the breed for a long time. I'm biased in thinking, inevitably, that AKC recognition is great for the Boykin if only in offering eligibility in the best retrieving venue (my opinion). But that's not the only benefit. Nor was it the intent of the splinter group that became the official parent club upstaging the Boykin Spaniel Society. However, there's more vigilance and focus now on health issues in the breed by dint of AKC status - and I hope Terrie agrees that Boykins because of it are bred better now than ever.
I'm pro-Boykin Spaniel Society and it's been my registry from the start, as I've not started a pup since the breed went AKC. (The next one will be AKC and who knows? maybe their eligibility will be not just for hunt tests but field trials too.) But it's worth noting that Boykins only got a real breed rescue organization about a decade ago through volunteers' initiative, not from any BSS motivation; until then Boykins sort of struck me, sadly, as the disposable gundog with almost as many discards as the pointer people jettison when their dogs don't "turn out."
I'm not slagging on the BSS, but my perception is Boykins have gotten "healthier" since they went AKC (in part by Boykin puppies now commanding higher prices and breeders aware that without health clearances they won't get those kinds of prices for their pups). And that's a good thing in the end. I really don't see Boykins as a showdog split, even though there is great disparity in appearance (within the same litter, as Terrie noted). The great majority of them are workers even if it's only at bringing back a tennis ball thrown by their 8-9 year old youngster, and I see them following the model of their forebears, the Chessie, into the showring as far secondary to what they do afield. Or tertiary behind what they do afield and what they do on the arm of a sofa as little brown serotonin dispensers - not a more companionable housedog out there.
Whats hurting the breed right now is people are finding out what really good all around dogs they are. The largest breeder in the nation doesn't have a single dog at the Boykin Spaniel National Field Trial this weekend. They breeds for $$$$$ only. Boykins and two or three other breeds at the same time.
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That is my biggest fear; that people are finding out what great dogs they can be and now the folks are coming out to jump on the latest bandwagon. I experienced this first-hand when someone had two dog bought over the internet and then bred them at two years of age and with no health testing, no proven hunting ability. His telling comment was that the dogs could be sold at a higher price than the Labs. I passed on that guy and several others when I searched for a dog.
I bought my two from a breeder that has been in it for many years, done health testing and hunt tests. His dogs are top ranked titled producers in the HRC and has records of health checks. I truely bought my first dog; just for a pheasant dog; but he is such a great dog I had to get another. We have done AKC hunt tests, HRC hunt tests and the Boykin upland tests. Both of mine are active but are very willingly set at my feet while I chill out at home.
My older dog is great to have at childrens parties were he delights the kids doing all sorts of tricks for them. When our HRC club had a kids camp I lent him out to a young man to run in the hunt test set up and obedience activites. My younger dog is hopefully my introduction to waterfowl hunting.
My advice to buyers is do your homework, excepect to wait a bit for your pup and when you get that adorable creature, do obedience with and sociallize him or her. They are only small in size not in heart!
I have three Boykins..... PM me if you ever get stuck on a training issue