The Boerboel is an impressive working dog. For experienced dog owners, it is the ideal guard dog and a loyal companion. Due to its intelligent nature, it requires consistent leadership and sufficient exercise. Anyone looking for an intelligent guard dog will find a good friend in the Boerboel.
The Boerboel is a large, muscular dog. The breed originates from South Africa and was bred there as a guard and protection dog. At the same time, the dog is characterized by its affection and patience, which it shows above all towards its family.
These independent and alert dogs are unsuitable for inexperienced dog owners. They need consistent but loving training.
Both the build and the head are angular and expressive. Overall, the Boerboel is well muscled and strong. Males should be at least 60 cm tall, ideally 66 cm. Females are smaller and lighter. Ideally, they should be 61 cm tall, but at least 55 cm. Due to their size and build, males weigh up to 70 kg.
The Boerboel has a particularly broad head, which is often darkly pigmented. Its gaze is alert and intelligent. The muscular build, the large, angular head and the broad neck give the dog an imposing appearance.
When breeding, it is important that the appearance of males and females is clearly different. While the males look athletic and strong, the females should appear feminine.
A special feature of the Boerboel is its calm and intelligent nature. The guard dog is on guard, but not aggressive towards people. Many Boerboels are closely bonded to their family. While they are playful and patient here, they guard their family and home vigilantly against strangers.
If you keep a Boerboel, you should not underestimate its vigilance. Even visitors will only accept the dogs if you introduce them to them. Nevertheless, you should always keep an eye on your Boerboel.
Many dogs of this breed are difficult to get along with and are sometimes aggressive towards other dogs. This is not the only reason why these powerful dogs are unsuitable for inexperienced dog owners and for keeping indoors. Their sometimes headstrong character is difficult for inexperienced dog owners to handle. Many Boerboel owners appreciate that Boerboels are very fond of children and patient. Of course, children should never be left unsupervised with the dog.
Among the guard dogs, however, this breed is characterized by its loyalty and sense of family. The breed is considered playful and obedient. You should train your young Boerboel lovingly and consistently. The adult dog is strong and should master all basic commands.
Like every dog, the Boerboel needs exercise and mental exercise. Keep him busy to encourage him in a way that is appropriate for his species.
He can live out his guarding instinct on a large property. If you want to keep a Boerboel, you should fence your property securely. Even if your dog is allowed in the garden regularly, you should take him for a walk every day.
The right food
The Boerboel is a healthy, robust dog. Health problems occur mainly in the area of the joints. Diseases such as ED and HD can be partially prevented with the right diet.
You should feed your young Boerboel a suitable puppy food for large dog breeds. This will prevent your dog from growing too quickly, which can lead to joint disease.
It is best to feed your Boerboel puppy 4 to 6 times a day. The number of meals should be gradually reduced so that he gets 2 meals when he is fully grown.
After eating, he should be able to rest to reduce the risk of gastric torsion. Dangerous stomach torsions are particularly common in large dogs. If your Boerboel eats too quickly, you can offer him the food in smaller portions.
Follow the food manufacturer's recommendations for the amount of food. In addition to dog food, you can regularly offer your dog something to chew on, e.g. dried beef skin and similar chews. You will find a large selection in pet shops. Never give your Boerboel anything from the table, as this can tempt him to beg or even steal.
Always let your Boerboel eat in peace and instruct your children not to disturb the dog while it is eating.
Health & Care
The Boerboel has a smooth, fine coat that requires little grooming and has hardly any hair. Therefore, brushing the Boerboel is more of a massage than a necessary grooming measure.
The Boerboel likes to spend time outdoors and is sure to get dirty and wet. However, it should not be bathed, as the natural protective layer of the coat can be destroyed by shampoo. Irritation and skin diseases can be the result. You should only shampoo your Boerboel in exceptional cases. In most cases, it is sufficient to dry it with a towel and brush out the remaining dirt with a brush.
The Boerboel definitely needs daily exercise to keep it happy and busy. An important aspect of keeping a Boerboel is an escape-proof area that the dog guards carefully. The territorial behavior of the dog should not be underestimated when keeping and caring for it, as it is innate in every Boerboel.
However, caring for the Boerboel also involves integrating the affectionate dog into the family. This includes, for example, regular games and obedience exercises that challenge the dog mentally.
The Boerboel is only suitable for dog sports to a limited extent, as it is playful but not necessarily obedient.
In principle, nothing special is required to keep a Boerboel. However, you should be aware that the dog is very strong and heavy. It should therefore wear a sturdy, well-fitting collar. Chains and collars with spikes are not suitable as they can cause the dog pain. Depending on how well the Boerboel walks on a lead, it can also be walked on a harness.
The lead must also be sturdy. The popular soft leads are unsuitable for very large and strong dogs and should not be used. A short lead is sufficient for everyday use. A trailing lead can be used for training. In the beginning, however, it makes sense to have a dog trainer show you how to use the lead.
Your dog needs a food bowl and a large water bowl that should always be filled and within reach. The bowls should be made of easy-care and sturdy material, for example stainless steel.
It is also important that your dog has a fixed place to sleep. You can offer him a basket or a large dog mat. It is important that the dog is not disturbed while resting, which your children should also respect.
Your Boerboel will probably enjoy spending time in the garden. You should offer him a dry place to lie down from where he can observe the area. He is not suitable for keeping in a kennel only.
Origin & History
The name Boerboel means "farm dog" in Afrikaans. The dog was bred in South Africa for precisely this purpose: It is a house and farm dog that protects the family from strangers. The breed standards were only established in the 1980s. Prior to that, the Mastiff was bred without any specific purpose and used as a working dog.
An ancestor of the Boerboel is the "Bullenbjiter". The Dutchman Van Riebeek brought one of these dogs to South Africa in 1652, where it mixed with the common working dogs found there. The descendants of this dog were kept by the settlers to protect their farms. He was very popular because of his versatility and affection. As well as protecting their own property, they guarded children and livestock and hunted small animals.
The breed was later crossed with mastiffs brought by British immigrants in the 1820s. Various bulldog-like breeds mixed with the existing working dogs. These ancestors can still be seen in the Boerboel today. Its character is also similar to the well-known mastiff breeds. The crossbreeding of Bullmastiffs had a major influence. These dogs were introduced in 1938 as guard dogs.