The Boerboel is a large dog that is strong, confident and muscular with a distinctive, blocky head. Despite its size, it is the most agile of the mastiff-type breeds. The word Boerboel means “Farm Dog” and it serves as a capable working dog as well as a loyal companion in its home country of South Africa. The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under his fur, as well as the roof of his mouth, which protects against heat and sun. The coat is short, dense coat can be brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown or tawny.
- Personality: Smart, dominant, protective, confident; loving with family, especially kids
- Energy Level: Somewhat Active; Boerboels can move quickly when necessary, but they’re generally stately and watchful
- Good with other Dogs: With Supervision
- Shedding: Seasonal
- Grooming: Occasional
- Trainability: Responds Well
- Height: 24-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)
- Weight: 150-200 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 9-11 years
- Barking Level: Barks When Necessary
When Assurbanipal conquered Egypt, Assyrian dogs were also taken along and thus they were spread further into the known world.Later Alexander the Great was responsible for spreading them to Europe. Through the ages these dogs developed into two definite strains, the mastiff, which is mainly used for protection and as soldiers, and the hound, which was used for hunting purposes
When Jan van Riebeeck went to the Cape of South Africa in 1652, he brought his own dog along to protect him and his family in this wild and unknown country. This dog was known as a “Bullenbitjer”, a large, heavy Mastiff-type dog. These dogs arrived here from many different countries.Survival was of the utmost importance and it was here that the hardiness of today’s Boerboel was bred into the dog. There was no veterinary services or medicines available for dogs and they had to look out for themselves. During the Groot Trek the Boerboel had most of the features that it has today and is recognizable from old drawings.
In that period after the Trek, the Boerboel interbred further and only the biggest and strongest dogs survived. His owner required him to be versatile, a friend of the family, a worker, and protector. In short, an all purpose utilitarian farm dog in a wild an untamed land. The disobedient, moody, finicky, and sickly dog had no place in this land or time.
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.
The Boerbol, like all breeds, may develop some health issues. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Boerbols are healthy dogs.
Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own as Boerbols can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds.
What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Beyond regular weekly grooming, the occasional bath will keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
Options for exercise include play time in the backyard, preferable fenced, or taken for walks several times a day. Exercise can also come in the form of indoor activities, like hide and seek, chasing a ball rolled along the floor, or teaching them new tricks. Depending on the breed, certain outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, retrieving balls or flying discs can provide a good outlet for expending energy. If you live in an apartment even short walks in the hallways can give your dog some exercise, especially during inclement weather. Training for dog sports like agility, obedience and rally can also be a great way to give your dog exercise.