The Boerboel is a massive dog that originated from South Africa and is also known as the South African Mastiff. The dog’s name comes from Dutch word for farmer (“boer) and dog (“boel”). These dogs were first bred by crossing large, Mastiff-type dogs in the 1600s by Dutch settlers in South Africa to protect their families, farms and livestock from hyenas, baboons, leopards, lions, and other wild animals, as well as from human intruders. Due to their strength, loyalty and protective nature, Boerboels are still used for the protection. The breed is still fairly rare outside of South Africa and one of the reasons for that is the fact Boerboel dogs are not allowed to reside in some countries (for example France, Romania, Denmark, Singapore, some U.S. states, etc.).
FUN FACT: The Boerboel was admitted to the AKC Working Group on January 1, 2015. The breed is still not registered with the FCI.
The Boerboel - breed
The Boerboel is a big dog that can reach 24-27 inches at the shoulders and usually weights around 150-200 pounds. Males are bigger than females. The Boerboel is a large, well-proportioned, and incredibly muscular dog with strong bone structure. The head is square-shaped with a short muzzle.
FUN FACT: The Boerboel’s tail is often docked.
The Boerboel - shedding
The Boerboel’s coat is easy to take care of. The coat is dense and short. Shedding is average. Weekly brushing should be enough to keep the coat clean, shiny, and healthy. The Boerboel’s coat comes in brindle, brown, cream, red, reddish brown and tawny color with black mask, or irish mask. Some can be piebald or can have some white markings. More than 30 percent of white color markings on the coat is considered a fault. Many Boerboels have dark markings on their faces and their skin color on the stomach is darker. This more colored pigment was considered necessary for protection against the sun and the heat in South Africa.
Trim the Boerboel’s nails when needed, and brush his teeth to reduce bacteria and plaque buildup. The Boerboel’s ears should be checked for debris and/or wax buildup and should be cleaned weekly, as well as the dog’s eyes.
The Boerboel - exercise
Athletic Boerboel has a lot of energy and stamina so he needs plenty of exercise. These natural working dogs don’t need only regular walks and play sessions, but also need adequate mental stimulation. This breed is best suited for people who lead active lifestyles. These dogs are not a good choice for an apartment lifestyle. The Boerboel is best suited to a home with a backyard and a high, durable fence.
The Boerboel - guard dog
The Boerboel is known as an independent and confident dog whose main purpose is to protect both property and people. The Boerboel is incredibly loyal, devoted, and intelligent dog who will do anything to protect his family. He is especially fond of children of the family. These dogs are excellent guardians. Because of the fact that they love to be around their people, Boerboels hate to be left alone. Leaving them alone for too long can result in boredom, anxiety, and destructive behavior.
The Boerboel - aggression
The Boerboel is a territorial breed and thus not recommended for unexperienced dog owners. The Boerboel needs to be handled by a firm, experienced hand. Their guarding instincts make early socialization a must. The Boerboel can be aggressive towards other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. This is not a dog to take to a dog park. Boerboels are usually reserved towards strangers. Because of their strong guarding instincts, when unknown guests are coming to your house, you should introduce them slowly to your Boerboel dog, so the dog doesn’t feel threatened.
Training a Boerboel puppy
The Boerboel dog requires an early training with an assertive trainer who will use positive reinforcement. For successful Boerboel's training it is important for the trainer to know how to set boundaries without being harsh. With an early training and proper socialization the Boerboel dog should be reliable and obedient.
The Boerboel - health issues
The Boerboel breed has a life expectancy of 9-11 years. There are some health issues these dogs are prone to and (future) owners should be aware of them. These health issues are: hip and elbow dysplasia (you can read more about hip dysplasia here), epilepsy (you can read more about epilepsy here), bloat (you can read more about bloat here), eye issues, such as eye lid ectropion (eyelids sag outward), and eye lid entropion (eyelids roll inward), vaginal hyperplasia (an enlarged and inflamed vaginal lining influenced by hormone estrogen), heart diseases, etc.
The Boerboel - breeders
Make sure to get your Boerboel puppy from a reputable breeder that will show you all up-to-date health certifications of the puppy’s parents.
FUN FACT: A well-bred Boerboel puppy will cost anywhere from $1500 to $2000.
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