A New Book Worth Retrieving


This photo by Kim Parkman. Photos below by Mike Creel.


Every dog has his day. When September 1, 1984, was declared “Boykin Spaniel Day” by South Carolina Governor Dick Riley, it was but one episode among many on the road to making the Boykin the official dog of the Palmetto State. To be published in early December, the newly revised edition of The Boykin Spaniel: South Carolina’s Dog by Mike Creel and Lynn Kelley chronicles the colorful history of this native breed, from its origins in Spartanburg at the dawn of the twentieth century, to its establishment as our state dog in 1985.

The Boykin spaniel has proven to be a crackerjack retriever, remarkable trick artist, and a family favorite. This new edition of The Boykin Spaniel is written for all lovers of our famous little brown sporting dog. In addition to chronicling the breed’s history, the authors also profile the dog’s distinctive personality, describe its sterling abilities, and record the fond memories of a distinguished cast of trainers and owners.

A gregarious creature with an uncanny ability to switch freely from playful family pet to disciplined hunting dog, the Boykin spaniel can now be found across the United States and in numerous other countries. More than sixteen thousand Boykins have been registered with the Boykin Spaniel Society in Camden. In telling the story of South Carolina’s dog, Creel and Kelley offer an unparalleled resource for owners and devotees as well as a celebration of this home-grown hunter and companion, truly a dog for all seasons. Their heavily illustrated and updated edition also includes the breed standard, lists of award-winning dogs and owners, and a comprehensive bibliography of the breed.

Kitty Beard, cofounder and past president of the Boykin Spaniel Society, praises the book as “an absolutely fantastic compilation of well researched information about the Boykin spaniel, from its history and lore to practical matters of breeding, training, feeding, and care.”

As former Governor Dick Riley explains, “In 1985 when I signed into law the act making the Boykin Spaniel our state dog in South Carolina it was because of the fierce dedication, stalwart loyalty, noble character, and eagerness for both hard work and lively play exemplified by this native breed. These are traits we appreciate in the Palmetto State and would do well to emulate more often in our daily lives. Authors Mike Creel and Lynn Kelley expertly tell the story of the Boykin as well as the stories and recollections of the owners, trainers, and breeders who have made South Carolina’s dog increasingly popular around the world. The Boykin Spaniel is a book well worth retrieving.” 

South Carolina native Mike Creel is a retired public affairs specialist for the state’s Department of Natural Resources, a longtime writer and photographer for South Carolina Wildlife magazine, and recipient of the 1997 Harry R. E. Hampton “Woods and Waters” Conservation Memorial Award for journalism. Lynn Kelley served as a division associate director with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education until his retirement in 2009, when he was presented with the State of South Carolina’s Order of the Silver Crescent for his distinguished service. He is also the author of a children’s book, The First Boykin Spaniels: The Story of Dumpy and Singo.

Get your autographed copy Thursday, Dec 3, 5:00-8:00: at the Preservation Society of Charleston Holiday Book Signing, Charleston 147 King St, 843-722-4630.


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