AKC Group: Working

While the Dutch were traveling through Africa, the Boerboel was developed. Boerboel are considered a Mastiff type of dog, though they are smaller. These “Mastiffs” were bred with local African dogs. When the English arrived in the early 1800s, they brought their English Mastiff type dog and Bulldogs. These dogs were then bred into the fold. The English Bulldog and Bull Mastiff were the key influences to the Boerboel breed. All Boerboels have to be vet checked and pass health tests to be registered with the South African Boerboel Breeders Association. (The Association was formed to prevent continued crossbreeding.)

Size: 23 to 28 inches tall, 154 to 200 pounds.

Color: Reddish brown, cream, brindle, tawny. Boerboels can have black masks (or not) and possibly white on the chest.

Life span: 12 to 15 years.

Health problems: The selective breeding and little veterinary care led Boerboels to be naturally healthy dogs. Their large size leaves them vulnerable to hip or elbow dysplasia. Vaginal hyperplasia occurs with females bred with abnormal tissue in the vaginal area.

The Boerboel is an extremely large, muscular, imposing looking dog. The head is large and square with a thick muzzle. Triangular ears fold down and lay close to the head. The skin around their eyes is always dark. Noses are black and a dark mask can cover the muzzle and top lip. Boerboels have an arched neck and shoulders. Chests are deep and broad. The back is straight and long. Tails are often docked, but, if not, a Boerboel has a long tail. Energetic, Boerboels walk with purpose and a spring in their step.

Intelligent, loyal and protective, a Boerboel makes an excellent companion. They bark loudly to announce an arrival and are quick to learn who is a friend and who is a foe. Boerboels prefer to use their size and strength first to protect their territory and only resort to violence when necessary. For a harmonious life, your yard needs to have a fence. They love to be with their family and will play with children for hours. They tolerate rough housing and the overzealousness of young children; a Boerboel is a friend to children of any age. The Boerboel quickly learns when to be gentle with children and other small companion animals. Boerboels are sensitive and will reflect your mood, so be careful. Proper socialization will aid a Boerboel in determining friends from threats. If you won’t be walking your Boerboel, it’s a must that your Boerboel is familiar with the pitch hitter. Boerboels do better with an experienced dog owner. He is not the dog for you if he’s your first ever dog.

Grooming is easy thanks to their short (but thick) coat. Brush once or twice a week and trim the nails if you don’t give your Boerboel exercise on hard surfaces. Training will be useless until he understands that you’re the boss. This shouldn’t be taught via harsh, punitive or violent methods. A Boerboel that doesn’t learn he isn’t in charge will become a domineering nightmare! Firmness and consistency is your way to success. When left in too small an area for too long, a Boerboel becomes destructive. A combination of exercises and playtime interspersed with training will help him concentrate and stay motivated.


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