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She co owns Karoo with Christina Gebhard of Maryland. Last year, the AKC ranked their dog as the No. 1 Boykin in the country. He also is a grand champion and master hunter and holds several other field titles.
Parkman, the South Carolina trainer handler who says she was "destined for a career with dogs," has bred or trained more than 22 BSS National Champions, plus a number of Boykins with other sporting titles.
Male Boykins stand 15.5 to 18 inches and weigh 30 to 40 pounds. A female's height ranges from 14 to 16.5 inches and its weight from 25 to 35 pounds. A Boykin's coat, colored red brown to chocolate, is flat to wavy and curly. The tail is docked and eyes are dark yellow to brown.
Schmidt has hunted Boykins from the snowy fields of Saskatchewan to the marshes of Virginia.
A 4 year old Boykin spaniel named Karoo has achieved what few other sporting dogs have: on a Wednesday in mid February he retrieved a harvested Canada goose out of a field in Maryland. Then, on Friday of the same week, he paraded around Madison Square Garden at the Westminster Dog Show, the most prestigious conformation event in the country.
Brian Schmidt, 43, whose wife co owns Karoo, grew up hunting quail and pheasant in Nebraska with setters, pointers and labs. He thinks Bokyins, with proper training and experience, can do as much in the field as any other sporting dog.
In 2009, the AKC recognized the Boykin and placed it in the sporting group. It ranked 121st in registration out of 177 breeds in 2013.
A group Canada Goose Buy Snow Mantra Parka Australia of sportsmen in Camden founded the Boykin Spaniel Society in 1977, with members totaling 300 in 25 states the first year. Now the society has members in every state and several countries.
"A great chunk of me died with her. I've loved a lot of dogs but none like her," Parkman said. "She and I together felt like we could whip the world. We were joined at the hip. She trusted me, and I trusted her."
Parkman, at age 19, got her first retriever, a lab.
"Boykins have big hearts and try hard to flush out a bird and bring it back," he said. "They are very biddable, and each has its own personality."
This feat represents a dream for many sporting dog enthusiasts to own a field dog that maintains the breed standards. In most sporting breeds (retrievers, spaniels, pointing dogs and versatiles), a large split exists between the hunting dog and the show dog. "Right now there is very little split between the show and field Boykin. Not yet, but it's likely to happen."
"I had never heard of a Boykin spaniel at that time," she said. "Pretty soon my boyfriend (now husband) got his dad a Boykin. I've been smitten ever since . I've been a tomboy all my life, rode horses, played sports. I can't imagine life without a dog."
"I'd like to see more hunting dogs in the show ring," she said. "It worries me there aren't more. It would be sad to see a split in breed type I want to see Boykins stay a hunting dog."
The Boykin spaniel, which is the official state dog of South Carolina, is described by the AKC as a "medium sized all around hunting dog with a cheerful, energetic personality. Possessing a rich chocolate brown coat and charm to spare, the Boykin is a favorite of hunters due to its willingness to work all day as well as its smaller size, which allows the hunter to lift both dog and duck into the boat at the same time."
A hunting spaniel shows off talents
As for the future of the breed, Parkman expects Boykins to grow in popularity. She worries about a split developing between the field and show dog. That is among the reasons she registers all her litters with the AKC, BSS and UKC.
The objectives of the BSS, which sometimes conflict with the AKC, "is to maintain records of all Boykin Spaniels registered. The records shall be known as the Boykin Spaniel Registry, to urge members and breeders to use the breed standard in the selection and breeding of the Boykin Spaniel; to encourage and promote the breeding of purebred Boykin Spaniels and to do all possible to perpetuate their hunting ability; to do all in its power to protect and advance the interest of the breed by encouraging sportsman like competition."
"I try to bring out the best and develop the dog at his rate on his time schedule," she said.
She says her greatest accomplishment came with her first Boykin, Coffee, who holds the record of winning the national open four times.
L. Boykin's hunting partner gave him a stray, which he used as the rootstock. He out crossed with a Chessie, springer spaniel and American Water Spaniel.
Parkman says patience is most important when training a Boykin.
"I've taken them sea ducking from a boat, hunted upland birds and clapper rail," he said. "I've hunted them for everything possible waterfowl and geese, land and water and watched an 18 month old Boykin retrieve a 12 pound Canada goose."