AKC Dog Breeds: Boerboel

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height:23-28 inches   Weight: 154-200 pounds  Color: Brindle, brown, red-brown, red, fawn, yellow-cream, white-cream, dilute, and black

The Boerboel is a large working molosser breed of dog from South Africa. The word "boerboel" derives from "boer", the Afrikaans/Dutch word for "farmer"; boerboel thus translates as either "farmer's dog" or "Boer's dog" in Afrikaans/Dutch. There is a lengthy history of breeding the boerboel in South Africa, where the dog was bred with the purpose of guarding the homestead. While it is uncertain from which breeds the dog originated, it is postulated that the dog derived from interbreeding of indigenous African species with breeds brought from Dutch, French and British settlers. The South African Boerboel is the guardian of choice in its native land. The Boerboel, or South African Mastiff, originated on the isolated farms as the family protector. Boerboels are still in use today as a guard dog and companion. In the USA, the Boerboel breed has received a huge following, and multiple clubs have been formed, of which some have remained. The USBA (United States Boerboel Association) is a stateside registry for the breed, and was the first formed in the U.S.

General Appearance
The Boerboel is a big, strong and well-balanced dog with good muscle development. The dog should be impressive, and imposing. Male dogs appear noticeably muscular and bitched feminine. The Boerboel is a perfectly balanced dog – all parts of the body should be in proportion. The dog is a heavy mastiff breed with characteristic sand coloration with a black mask, and a height that varies from 64-70 centimeters for males, and 59-65 for females. This dog is the most protective dog breed that is not aggressive. The Boerboel should be well balanced, substantial and strong in appearance, with robustness and an overall solid tight musculature. Though a heavily built mastiff breed, it is not loose limbed or jointed and has a strong topline leading to a powerful neck, it should move with purpose and control with ample agility. The head is one of the defining characteristics of the breed and should be large but in proportion to the body, with a strong and not too short muzzle and jaws, possessing tight flews, and broad between the ears. The tail is normally docked short but this is not a requirement of the breed. The dog should give the overall impression of substance, strength, power, and physical ability, and should be able to more than amply demonstrate this in his day to day work.

The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watch and guard-dog instincts. It is self-assured and fearless. The Boerboel are very playful and affectionate toward their owners. Their favorite pass time would be to play a game of fetch loving every minute they spend with their master. Their jaws are strong and they will most often pop the ball they are playing with. Not to fret, they will just play with the popped ball! They are very gentle and good with children they know. Allowing them to ride on their backs like a horse, loving every minute of the attention they are getting. Boerboel will do okay with other dogs, cats and other non-canine pets, letting birds come down and snatch from their food bowl! They will guard their family, friends and property with their life. When the owners are not home they will not allow anyone to enter the home, unless they know them very well.  When welcomed visitors arrive they will accept them after being properly introduced. This breed requires a dominant owner. The authority the owners project over the dog should be so strong that the dog will not bolt out the front door when it is opened.


The Boerboel is fairly easily to groom. An occasional brushing and a monthly bath and dip is all they need. This breed is an average shedder.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

Due to natural selection the Boerboel is a very healthy breed. They have a life expectancy of 12-13 years.

Activity Level
The Boerboel is not recommended for apartment life. They should, at least,  have a large, fenced in yard to run and play. They Boerboel can live outdoors. This breed should not be left to run on their own for they are very protective and sometimes do not take too well to strangers. The Boerboel can be exercised in a large yard with enough space to run and play, but at a minimum needs to be taken on a long daily walk. Boerboels love to play and enjoy a good game of ball.


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