About The Boerboel

Country of Origin: The Boerboel (‘farmer’s dog’ in Afrikaans) originates in South Africa. It is a guard dog which was created by mixing various African and European breeds, possibly including the Bulldog, Bullmastiff, and Rhodesian Ridgeback. By some reports, the Boerboel was brought to South Africa by Jan van Riebeeck, the founder of Cape Town. Boerboels were known to be used to protect diamond mines by the De Beers Corporation and for personal protection by Dutch settlers during British rule. Today, most are bred in South Africa. The Boerboel is the only South African dog breed created to defend the homestead. The most likely origins date back to 1652. The protective character of the Boerboel is still evident and is much sought after, as is the calm, stable, and confident composure of the breed. The dogs are obedient and intelligent and have strong territorial instincts.

In the 20th century, the Boerboel was nearly extinct. They were revived, and are steadily gaining in worldwide popularity with dogs being exported and bred in Australia, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, Russia, and the U.S.A.

Size: The Boerboel has a shoulder height of 64-70 cm (25-28 in) for males and 59-65 cm (23-26 in) for females. Boerboels weigh 70-90 kg (154-200 lbs). They are a big, solid, powerful breed with a distinctive broad (but not oversized), tight skinned head, a muscular neck and shoulders, and flat back. With all Boerboel registries the tail is accepted or docked. (We do not alter our dogs.) Boerboels have a broad, black muzzle, large nostrils, brown eyes, ‘V’-shaped ears, and white teeth which form a scissors bite. Their large head and filled-out face are considered their identifying feature. The Boerboel is a powerful, agile breed with a strong masculine or feminine appearance according to sex.

Coat: The Boerboel has a short, dense, and sleek coat which is brown, red, yellow, black, fawn, or brindle (light/dark stripes), with possible white markings on the head, neck, chest, and legs. A black mask is preferred. The Boerboel is an average shedder.

Character: The Boerboel is self-assured and fearless. This powerful and large breed possesses an even character and keen intuition. It is the keen intuition that enables the South African Boerboel to sense what their human companion is thinking and feeling. They are very intelligent, strong, muscular, imposing, and impressive. It is highly devoted to family and affectionate with children it knows… but can be aggressive toward strangers or unannounced company that has not been properly introduced. Friends and other pets should ALWAYS be introduced with care, preferably early in the dog’s life. The Boerboel has an unusually high requirement for human companionship—periods of isolation will result in destructive and disobedient behavior.

Temperament: The Boerboel has very strong watchdog and guard dog instincts. It has a great instinct for danger and will guard its owners and their property with its life. Boerboels are playful and devoted with those they love. The South African Boerboel is not recommended for inexperienced or first-time dog owners. This breed will do okay with other dogs, cats, and other household pets with proper introductions and training. They are calm, loving, intelligent, and obedient. They are extremely affectionate with children and make excellent playmates. The South African Boerboel is fearless, confident, and highly protective of their family, home, and territory. This breed is very sensitive and will only act aggressively upon danger if they detect hostile intentions or are asked to do so. 

Care: The Boerboel is not difficult to groom—only occasional brushing is required. Bathe only when necessary. Boerboels are generally healthy, but like other larger breeds they are susceptible to hip dysplasia and bloat. Avoid overfeeding and space meals throughout the day. The Boerboel has a life span up to approximately 12 years.

Training: The Boerboel is an intelligent breed which requires consistent, firm, positive reinforcement from all members of the family. The Boerboel should have a dominant owner who can be strict when necessary and ensure the dog’s obedience. This breed requires daily instruction, training and boundaries. They are an intelligent breed and find mischief quickly without a job / task to do. 

Activity: The Boerboel loves to play. It requires daily exercise, such as playtime in a large, fenced yard or a long walk (once old enough). The Boerboel should always be walked on a leash and watched very closely around strangers (Including other animals who are not part of its pack). Due to their size and exercise needs, the Boerboel is not recommended for apartment life or very young families.

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