Boerboel: All You Need To Know About This South African Mastiff


Last Updated on August 14, 2023 by Fumipets

Boerboel: All You Need To Know About This South African Mastiff


The Boerboel is a large and powerful breed of dog that originated in South Africa. It was originally bred for guarding and protecting livestock on farms.

Boerboels are known for their imposing size, strong build, and protective nature. They have a distinctive appearance with a muscular body, a broad head, and a short coat.

While they are loyal and affectionate with their families, they can also be wary of strangers and make excellent guard dogs. Proper training and socialization are essential for ensuring their well-being and well-adjusted behavior.


Boerboels may be kind and devoted family dogs while still carrying out the working function for which they were originally bred: maintaining a vigilant eye on people they love, if properly taught and socialized from a young age.

Boerboel (pronounced “boo-r-bull”) is an Afrikaans name that means “farmer’s dog.” And in South Africa, the breed’s birthplace, it was how these dogs were portrayed as having started off as farm guards.

This breed, which can weigh up to 200 pounds, is best suited to knowledgeable dog owners. Although keeping a Boerboel in your home is like feeding an additional adult person due to their size, they are intelligent, easily trained, and like human interaction. But the cost of feeding these adorable dogs is definitely worth it. 


The large, heavily muscled boerboel may weigh as much (or perhaps more) as its owner. The boerboel is a large dog that may reach a height of 27 inches and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. However, compared to other dogs of similar size, it is far more nimble. 

In addition to brindle, cream, brown, rust, and red, the short, smooth coat of the boerboel may have a number of distinctive markings.

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Although they shed quite a bit, taking care of their coats is simple. Brown and horizontally placed eyes contribute to the boerboel’s distinctive alert and perceptive appearance. 


The temperament of a boerboel is that of a devoted family pet. Although a well-adjusted boerboel cannot be trusted with novice owners, with the correct training, they may become devoted companions.

Despite being drawn to the breed by their astounding size, Danny Jones, an AKC-registered breeder and owner of D & K Boerboels in St. Louis, Missouri, says his favorite aspect of the breed is their disposition. They are devoted to their family, have huge babies at home, and are amazing with kids, according to Jones. They show a lot of love. 

Although not all boerboels make the best pets for children, a well-socialized dog can get along with any and all members of the family, both two- and four-legged.

Larger dogs, like boerboels, “tend to be very calm and very docile in general if they’re treated with love and brought up nicely,” says Margaret Coffey, DVM, a former hospital director of the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University.

Breeders are looking for animals with consistent temperaments since it is important when breeding a large animal. You must begin socializing and teaching your boerboel early and consistently, just as you would with any other large dog breed.

According to Jones, boerboels require limits and may be trained easily with positive reinforcement. Boerboels may not get along with novice dog owners because of their intellect and propensity to test limits. 

Living Needs

Although Boerboels don’t have a high level of activity, they still need daily exercise, whether it be lengthy leashed walks or plenty of playtime in a fenced-in yard, just like any other breed. 

The optimum environment for these dogs is probably a house with a large (enclosed!) yard where they can play with their owners, although Coffey thinks this isn’t necessary. 

“Many people will respond, ‘Well, they’re just so big; I couldn’t possibly have them in an apartment,'” she says. However, bigger dogs often exhibit some laziness at home, even when their activity requirements are met, according to Coffey. “Big dogs can make great apartment pets and require way less attention than something like a Jack Russell.”

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Boerboels and other household pets may get along well, particularly if they were reared together. This boils down to socializing and training, as it does with all dogs. Boerboels dislike being apart from their family for extended periods of time, particularly from their uniquely selected person. 

Boerboels formerly roamed vast farmlands in South Africa. Therefore, this breed can easily keep up with you on demanding walks, and Jones reports that his dogs like swimming.


It’s simple to groom your boerboel. Weekly brushing with a soft-bristled brush or grooming mitt can assist remove any loose hair and distribute his natural oils to give his thick, short coat a shiny, healthy appearance.

Only on rare occasions, if he rolls in something nasty or goes for a muddy romp with you, would you need to give him a wash? The nimble boerboel need daily activity, but a few excellent, long walks or some fun in your garden should be plenty to keep him content.

The remainder of the day, he would lazily sleep all day. Your dog will enjoy competing in agility, weight-pulling, and stock events if you have the desire; these are the kinds of challenges that a clever working dog excels at. 

Before taking home a boerboel puppy, keep in mind that these dogs grow enormous. like, very large. And because kids require a lot of food to stay satisfied, the prices may pile up rapidly. Make sure your pocketbook can manage the expenditures in addition to ensuring that you have the time to devote to socializing and training these puppies.


Similar to other large dogs, the boerboel has a 9–11 year lifetime. Despite being a typically healthy breed, they are susceptible to the same diseases as other big puppies, including cancer and hip dysplasia.

Coffey adds that although all dogs may get cancer, bone malignancies are significantly more common in bigger breeds. “It doesn’t seem fair that the giant breeds don’t live very long, and can be more susceptible to cancer,” Coffey says.

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Bloat, a disease where the stomach twists and shuts off blood flow, is another big-dog problem you should be aware of. It may kill a dog in hours. “It occurs so swiftly that most owners are unaware of what is happening. And by the time they reach the doctor, he or she is unable to rescue them, according to Coffey. 

When having your dog spayed or neutered, you may choose to undergo a quick prophylactic procedure in which the stomach is sewn to the wall of the body cavity to prevent it from rotating. We now recommend this for all big barrel-chested dogs, according to Coffey.


According to the American Boerboel Club, the history of the boerboel dates all the way back to the Assyrian invasion of Egypt in 677–663 BC. Mesopotamian mastiff dogs migrated to Africa around this time.

The breed organization claims that in 1652, Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck introduced this mastiff to South Africa. The boerboel developed into a fearless, powerful working dog after mating with other settlers’ security dogs. These puppies were mostly utilized for security, protecting anything from home farms to diamond mines.

These strong and proud canines eventually gained recognition outside of South Africa. The boerboel gained recognition from the American Kennel Club in 2015, which boosted the breed’s popularity in North America.

Questions and Answers:


What is a Boerboel?

The Boerboel is a large breed of dog that originated in South Africa and was developed for guarding and protecting livestock.

How would you describe the appearance of a Boerboel?

Boerboels have a strong and muscular build, a broad head, and a short coat. They have a distinctive appearance that reflects their role as guard dogs.

What was the original purpose of Boerboels?

Boerboels were originally bred to protect and guard livestock on farms in South Africa.

What is the temperament of a Boerboel like?

Boerboels are loyal and affectionate with their families, but they can also be wary of strangers. They have a protective nature that makes them effective guard dogs.

What is important for raising a well-behaved Boerboel?

Proper training and socialization are crucial for Boerboels. Early exposure to different people, animals, and environments helps them develop into well-adjusted and well-behaved companions.

Remember that each individual dog can have its own personality and characteristics, so it’s important to get to know your specific Boerboel and provide the appropriate care and training.


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