Boerboel Information

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(African Boerboel) The Boerboel is a large-sized working breed with a powerful presence and a strong, sturdy build. They have good balance and a body that is well-muscled. Male Boerboels are significantly more masculine in appearance than their female counterparts. All parts of the Boerbel’s body are well in proportion. The head of this breed is said to be a representation of the dog’s character. It is short, wide, deep, and square-shaped, and it is well-muscled and features a well-filled pair of cheeks. The face should blend properly into the head for an overall symmetrical appearance. The stop is visible, but it is not prominent. The muzzle is black and features a large set of evenly-spaced nostrils. The Boerbel’s teeth are well-developed and close in a scissors bite. Their eyes are horizontally set and exist in many different shades of brown. Their ears are medium-sized, v-shaped, and are proportionate to the size of the dog’s head. The Boerbels’ muscular neck curves noticeably and is attached high at the shoulder. The skin is loose around the neck and becomes tighter between the front legs. The breed’s body is narrower towards the back than at the front. The rear is strong and broad, and the chest is muscular, well-developed, and sturdy. Tails of this breed are straight and short, and they are attached high to the body. The limbs are perfectly straight. The short, dense coat of the Boerboel comes in a variety of colors including cream white, pale tawny, reddish brown, brown, and all shades of brindle.

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Any shade of color is acceptable as long as there are white markings on the chest. The Boerboel is not a working breed. They were bred for guarding.

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The Boerboel is reliable, intelligent, and obedient. They have strong protective and territorial instincts, and they make excellent guarding and watchdogs. They are courageous and confident, and they are affectionate and playful towards their owners. They love to play fetch and bond with their master(s). While aggressive towards strangers and other dogs, the Boerboel is very kind and gentle with his family and the people he knows. They will guard their families and home with their life, and they will not let anyone enter the home if their owners are away. They will get along well with most people after they are properly introduced. As long as this breed is properly socialized, they will get along with other animals and pets, and they will be friendlier with strangers. This breed needs firm training from a dominant owner.

They love children and spending time with their owners.

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23 – 28 inches
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154 – 200 pounds

Females: 90-150
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General Health

Due to the natural selection of this breed, the Boerboel has no reported health issues or concerns.

Boeboels are not prone to hip problems if they are bred properly. Hip dysplasia is a result of inbreeding. Poorly bred Boerbulls will be prone to hip dysplasia.

The Boerboel is often prone to ear infections because of its floppy ears. Take precautions to keep its ears clean. Some Boerboels have sensitive stomachs and may require agreeable food. This breed is also prone to bloat.

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The Boerboel is a result of significant dedication and efforts that were made in South Africa towards the development of this breed. The honing of the Boerboel is still in its progressive stages. Much has been written in regards to the breed’s descent, but no one can be absolutely certain that the Boerboel is a result of one, two, or more different breeds. What is known, however, is that a man by the name of Jan van Riebeeck brought a “bullenbijter” with him on his arrival to the Cape. This “bullenbijter” was a large, strong Mastiff type dog, and those who followed Jan van Riebeeck brought similar dogs with them. Over the decades, only the hardiest and most capable dogs survived in what is now a desolate area. In 1938, the Bullmastiff was imported to South Africa by De Beers so that it could guard the diamond mines in the area. A champion dog that had been obtained by the Hottentots was imported to South Africa around this time, and this dog played a significant role in the development of the Boerboel. The “Boerdogs” (as they are called in Africa), were scattered during the Great Trek by the Voortrekkers. They were cross-bred with the English Bulldog and the Bull Mastiff throughout the early and late 1950’s.

Boerboels have Saint Bernard and Great Danes ancestors.

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The short-haired coat of the Boerboel is easy to groom and take care of. This breed should be brushed occasionally and given a monthly bath and dip. The Boerboel is an average shedder.

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Ideal Environment

The Boerboel isn’t suited for life in a small household or apartment. They are happiest with at least a large, fenced yard. They need plenty of exercise and lots of room to run and play. They enjoy walks and love to play ball. This breed can live happily outdoors, but they shouldn’t be left to run around on their own because of their propensity to be protective and leery of strangers.

Boerboels do just fine in small homes and apartments as long as they are properly exercised on a daily basis. Boerboels are most happy when they are doing what are meant to do, which is protect their families. They are fantastic indoor dogs and love to be around families.

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Dog Training!

If you're having problems training your dog or getting control, you should read our review of Adam will do whatever it takes to help you whip your dog into shape. I've used them to help with my Great Dane as well as help friends train their dogs. It's the first place I go to help answer users Questions. Many training issues are too extensive to answer in this forum, which is why I refer a lot of the load to his site. Update: I've been using and recommending DogProblems for three years now. I, as well as my users, value the techniques we've learned. I get weekly emails from users who have become better owners from the information they received.

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Boerboel Q&A

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I have a borbel puppy that is 3 months old, and growls when he doesn't want to move. Does this mean that he is going to be an aggressive dog?

It means that he feels dominate, or like he’s the one in control. Thus the “don’t bother me” growl. It doesn’t mean that he will grow up to be aggressive as long as you train it out of him and let him know that kind of behavior is not ok. When you want him to move tell him, don’t ask. It’s very important to think dominance. For the immediate while, you could leave a short leash on him with a light choker. When you want him to come use simple commands, “come” and give a slight jerk on the leash. He will get the idea soon and the growling should stop. He will also end up being more obedient.


I plan on purchasing a Boerboel puppy for a family dog, but also for protection at night. I just need to know what kind of training they need to be more sociable. I also have a 6yr old with a lot of little friends that come and go, should I be worried with the children and is it only when we are not home that the dogs are more protective? I need help deciding if this breed is right for our family. I dont want to be sued for our dog bitting a child.

If your 6yr old friends come over all the time you couldnt ask for a better social exercise. Nothing is better then your puppy being around childern to help make sure your puppy will always be comfortable around all childern.


Hi my parents are planning on getting a boerboel pup, they live in west africa. But right now I am in Canada and will only be able to see them later in the year, if they get a a puppy now it will be 8 months by the time i see it, can you please tell me if that would be of a problem to adjust with a big puppy, I mean are they friendly to family even if they are introduced at a later age? I really need some advise, thanks.

Like all dogs that can be aggressive if they are socialized from puppy to adult there should not be any worries. Just remember to tell your parents to socialize, socialize.


im getting two boerboel puppies at the same time from the same litter and both are males. Someone told me this would be a problem and they would end up fighting one another when they got this true?

If you sociaize them correctly,you wont have a problem with them.


I have a 9week old boerboel. Is okay to give it milk? i also found a small lump on its stomach which disappears sometimes is this normal?

Your puppy may have a hernia on the tummy. It can happen in any breed. What kind of milk? Cow milk is not good for dogs. I'd just avoid giving it milk all together. At that age it should be solid food.


is it acceptable for brindle pups to have white tips on their paws?

My brindle puppy also has white tips on her paws and one on her chest. From what I have seen, I think it is common.


Hi, I purchased a male boerboel puppy, he is now 16 months old however he does not have a bulky build like our two year old female, he eats well and he is dewormed can anyone help ( he was purchased from a reputable breeder and both his parents are the same build as our female)

hi,i had douge de bordeaux male that was about 104lbs 23in at the withers,his mates where quit large but what dose this mean?it's like in a family 1 son short the other tall etc,it dose not mean your dog is bad its his make up he might of skip a genertion or two large and thick dose not make a dog better or worst some times having to much dog could mean more problems on there joints,back hips ,elbows enjoy your dog ask your dog if he thinks you are to thin, to tall,or anything else and guess what? your dog will love no matter what.


I researched the Boerbel breed for sometime before I purchased my female. I saw the red, brindle, etc. I was contacted by a breeder who had a cream white (not albino) female and I purchased her. Are they more rare than the other colors and do they have more skin issues than the other colors other than dirt?

I have seen many,many creamy/white Boerboels and would say they are not a rare color of the breed. I don't know that the coloring would make any difference on skin complaints either.


Are boerboels like pitbulls?

No, not at all. They outweigh a pitbull, have a noticeably different structure, and they are not aggressive but they are highly defensive of their territory and their family.


I have a male boerboel that weighs 70kg and is 10 months old, but bunny hops at the moment, due to a hip problem. We had him at the vet, who gave us two options: 1) To put him down 2) To take tablets for the rest of his life ( which he gives 3 -4) years to ease the pain. One is not an option, does anyone know of any exercises, therapy that we can give him to ease the pain or heal it?

Has this dogs' hips been x-rayed? Boerboels will hop as pups and yours is still a puppy. Most north american and european vets are not familiar with the breed enough to know all the quirks of the breed. Feed him a low protein diet, slow his growth down and keep him lean. He will not mature until 2-21/2 years old. Do not put the dog down or have surgury unless you have absolute proof of a hip joint (x-ray/MRI) issue. Mine hopped up til about a year old but stopped once he developed the musclcular build of the breed.

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