At first glance, you might think the large, intimidating Boerboel would make an excellent guard dog, and you’d be correct, but this breed is equally known for being loving, calm, and family-friendly, especially towards human children. These gigantic protectors were bred to help farmers in South Africa defend their homesteads from hyenas, lions, and all manner of deadly wildlife while also providing invaluable companionship. The Boerboel, pronounced “boo-r-bull,” gets its name from Dutch/Afrikaans words that roughly translate to “farmer’s dog.” It is also known as the South African Mastiff, South African Boerboel, Borbull, or Bole. Although Boerboels are generally docile, easy to groom, and have few health problems, don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re an easy breed to handle for first time owners. These dogs are confident, territorial, and prone to pulling and chewing. They need an assertive, experienced owner with plenty of space for a massive dog that needs to exercise. If you’re interested in adopting a Boerboel, make sure you and your home are ready for the challenge. If you are, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal, protective friend for life.
Dog Breed Group:Working Dogs
Height:22 to 28 inches
Weight:110 to 200 pounds
Life Span:10 to 12 years
- The Boerboel is a massive dog and incredibly muscular. They weigh as much as Great Danes, even though they are significantly shorter in stature.
- There is much speculation about which breeds were bred together to make the modern Boerboel, but their exact ancestry is not well known.
- Dutch settlers brought dogs to South Africa to defend farms from big cats and other wildlife. Only the strongest dogs were able to survive the harsh climate and conditions in South Africa, and they became some of the ancestors of the modern Boerboel.
- After the World Wars, breeding wasn’t regulated, and the Boerboel almost completely disappeared. It has made a resurgence after breed enthusiasts began an effort to restore the Boerboel in the 1980s.
- Boerboels are known to be especially loving and protective of their human children. They are excellent guardians, though they can be overprotective.
- The Boerboel has minimal grooming needs and few health concerns, though their need for training and socialization makes them a poor choice for novice owners.
- Since Boerboels have been revived in South Africa, they have grown in popularity and have been exported around the world. Even so, they are still considered to be a more rare breed.
- Although they average between 110 and 200 pounds, it is not unheard of for Boerboels to weigh well over 200 pounds.
- The Boerboel is considered to be the most agile of the Mastiff type dogs.
- Socialization is necessary for Boerboels, as they can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially those of the same sex and breed.