Temperament: Confident, Intelligent, Calm
- Height: 24-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)
- Weight: 150-200 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 9-11 years
- Group: Working Group
Boerboels are intimidating but discerning guardians of home and family who learned their trade while protecting remote South African homesteads from ferocious predators. They are dominant and confident, also bright and eager
Historically the Boerboel developed as a general farm dog for the pioneers who settled in South Africa since the seventeenth century. These dogs were often the first line of defense against predators and were valuable in tracking and holding down wounded game. Old farmers told many a tale of the strength, agility and courage of the Boerboel. The dangers and harsh conditions of southern Africa allowed only the fittest to survive. The protective character of the Boerboel is today still evident and is much sought after, as is the calm, stable and confident composure of the breed. The origin and purpose of the Boerboel should be understood in order to preserve the unique identity and qualities of the breed as a South African developed mastiff. Type, conformation, functional efficiency and mentality are equally important in the evaluation of the Boerboel as a whole. The Boerboel is a large dog that is strong, confident and muscular in appearance with powerful, free-flowing movement. When observing a Boerboel at play or work, standing or moving, it should show strength, suppleness, nimbleness and agility.
About the Boerboel
There’s a no-frills, no-nonsense quality to this sleek-coated avenger, who might stand as high as 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh as much as you do. A broad and blocky head, powerful jaws, and thick muscles from neck to rump mark it as a descendant of the ancient “molloser” dog family, the foundation of today’s mastiff-type breeds. In motion, the Boerboel just might be the most agile of all mastiff types.
The imposing Boerboel is devoted to protecting the people and places he loves. Training and socialisation should begin early, before a pup becomes a dominant adult. This is a trainable, versatile breed, eager to spend time with their adored humans. Still, a Boerboel might be way too much dog for the novice owner to handle.
NUTRITION The Boerboel should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING The Boerboel has a short, dense coat that sheds a moderate amount. Weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt, or a hound glove will help to remove any loose hair and keep the dog looking his best. A good brushing also promotes new hair growth and distributes skin oils throughout the coat to help keep it healthy. Boerboels need a bath only occasionally. As with all breeds, the Boerboel’s nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog pain as well as problems walking and running.
EXERCISE The strong, athletic Boerboel needs daily exercise, such as long walks on a leash or play sessions in a securely fenced area with his owner. Boerboels need mental stimulation and interaction with their owners along with physical activity. They will not take kindly to challenges from other dogs, and visiting dog parks is not recommended. Because of their protective instinct, the Boerboel should never be allowed off leash. The breed often enjoys participating in obedience, rally, weight pull, and agility competitions, as well as protection sports and stock work.
TRAINING The Boerboel is a protective, territorial breed—not a breed for a novice dog owner. He is steadfast, calm, highly intelligent, and incredibly loyal. Boerboels must be with their people and will not thrive unless kept as an integral part of their human family. Their inborn guarding instincts make early socialisation a must, as is structured, long-term obedience training, started at a young age. Boerboel puppies are easygoing and pliant, and inexperienced owners may be lulled into thinking the dog will remain that way, when in fact consistent training must be well underway before those qualities fade.
HEALTH The Boerboel is typically a healthy breed, and a responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, heart disease, and two disorders that affect the eyelids: ectropion and entropion. As with all breeds, a Boerboel’s ears should be checked regularly, and the teeth brushed often.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Elbow Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation