Updated 08-08-2023

Boerboel Characteristics, Facts & Traits

A Boerboel would seem like an obvious choice for a guard dog, and on the face of it, that's exactly what it is. For the most part, though, this breed is recognised for being affectionate toward humans and their families, especially when it comes to youngsters.

They were raised in South Africa to protect farmers' homes from hyenas, lions, and other dangerous animals, while also providing companionship and a sense of security. The term "Boerboel," which means "farmer's dog" in Dutch and Afrikaans, comes from the Dutch/Afrikaans dialect. The South African Mastiff, South African Boerboel, Borbull, and Bole are also other names for this breed.

There are many misconceptions about Boerboel temperament, so don't be fooled into thinking they are an easy breed for first-time dog owners. These dogs have a strong sense of self-assuredness and a tendency to pull and chew. As a large dog that needs a lot of activity, they require an owner that is confident and experienced.

A complete list of Boerboel characteristics and facts is provided below.


  • In terms of size, the Boerboel is a huge dog with a lot of muscle. Despite their diminutive stature, they are equally powerful as Great Danes when it comes to weight.
  • The actual genealogy of the current Boerboel is unknown, but there is a lot of speculation regarding which breeds were crossed together to create it.
  • Dogs were imported to South Africa by Dutch settlers in order to protect farms from big cats and other predatory animals. South Africa's tough temperature and surroundings only allowed only the strongest dogs to thrive, and they became some of the ancestors of the contemporary Boerboel.
  • The Boerboel almost disappeared after World War II because breeding was not regulated. Efforts to rehabilitate the Boerboel began in the 1980s by breed lovers.
  • It is well-known that Boerboels have a unique fondness for and vigilance over human youngsters. Even though they can be too protective, they are terrific caretakers.
  • The Boerboel is a low-maintenance breed with few health issues, but their training and socialisation requirements make them an unsuitable pet for first-time dog owners.
  • After being resurrected in South Africa, Boerboels have become increasingly popular and have been exported to other countries. Even so, they are still regarded as an uncommon breed.
  • Boerboels can weigh well over 200 pounds, despite their normal weight of 110 to 200 pounds.
  • Boerboel is regarded as the most agile of the Mastiff-type canines.
  • They can be aggressive toward Boerboel dogs of the same gender and breed unless they are socialised.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


110 to 200 pounds


10 to 12 years


22 to 28 inches


The history of the Boerboel may be traced back to the year 1652, when Cape Town's founder, Jan van Riebeeck, brought a dog to the Cape. For safety and big-game hunting, the Boers brought enormous guard dogs with them to South Africa as their numbers increased.

A Boer Hunting Dog or Boer Dog was created in the early twentieth century when a Mastiff and a Bulldog were crossed. A variety of breeds, including the Bullmastiff, the Rhodesian ridgeback, the English bulldog, and even the Khoikhoi or Khoisan dog were crossed with Boer Dogs over time to produce the Boerboel dog we know today.

Dogs of the Boerboel breed have long been prized for their guarding abilities, whether it is against wild animals or crooks intent on robbing diamond mines and farms. Legend has it that these dogs have even engaged in combat with lions, but in reality, when hunting, these dogs choose to restrain their prey rather than fight.

As of 2015, it has been accepted by the American Kennel Club as a working breed. This group includes dogs who were born to do a specific task, such as guarding or search-and-rescue.) No. 123 out of 197 on the list of most popular dogs, they are nevertheless dearly loved by their owners and admirers.

Are you up for the challenge of owning a Boerboel? The American Kennel Club maintains a list of recognised breeders. Where can I find the average price of a Boerboel puppy? Puppies can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000, which includes everything from health and temperament testing to possible pedigree documents. Contact the American Boerboel Club if you're interested in adopting a Boerboel.

Personality and Temperament

All in one, the Boerboel is both a watchdog and an affectionate family member! One of the best things about this breed of dog is that it is extremely loyal to its family members and is often considered as a terrific playmate for children because it will allow them to crawl all over it! Even though these dogs are playful, they are strong animals, and any encounters with children should be well monitored. This is especially true when there are children from the neighbourhood involved. An overly protective dog will safeguard your youngster when they misunderstand a friend's behaviour as a threat.

There is always a Boerboel on duty. While having fun with you, they're always keeping an eye out for trouble. They are suspicious of outsiders and won't let them into your house if they don't know them. When meeting new people and your pup for the first time, you'll need to ensure correct introductions are made. Emily Post would be overjoyed. But if your dog realises that you treat them like a buddy, they will, too.

Your Boerboel will be hostile if the stranger is not welcomed, and you may be grateful for their powerful biting force. For the sake of their family, they will risk their own safety to protect you.

Ideally, a mastiff-type dog like this should live in a home with only one other dog or cat, although this can happen if the dog is socialised from an early age. Starting as a puppy, good socialisation is essential to acclimate your dog to new people, canines, and settings.

Because of their strength and intellect, Boerboels require a confident and patient pup parent to help them learn the ropes of puppyhood. Because of its size and power, the Boerboel is best suited to someone who has already owned a dog previously, rather than someone searching for their first pet.


Every day, this giant dog breed needs a large area to run around in. Its grooming requirements are rather simple. In addition, a well-behaved dog requires consistent and early training and socialising.


Like many dog breeds, Boerboels are susceptible to a few health concerns. You can help your dog live as long as possible by being aware of these health issues.

Hip Dysplasia

When a dog's hip joints are misaligned and rub against each other, it's known as hip dysplasia. Limping or "rabbit hopping" is a common symptom, as is a decrease in activity and difficulty rising. Weight loss, physical therapy, and surgery are all options for treatment, depending on the severity of the condition.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia, like hip dysplasia, is brought on by rubbing of the elbow joint. Swollen elbows and a limp are two common symptoms. In most cases, surgery is recommended.

Eyelid Issues

Both ectropion (the outward turning of the eyelid) and entropion (the inward turning of the eyelid) are frequent in the breed and should be checked by an ophthalmologist (eyelid turning inward). Surgery or specialised ointments and eye drops can be used as a treatment option.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Elbow Evaluation
  3. Ophthalmologist Evaluation


Feed your Boerboel a high-quality diet that is appropriate for her size and age, as well as her level of exercise. Always keep an eye on the amount of food and treats that you offer your dog each day. When it comes to deciding how much food to feed your dog, it's usually best to follow the instructions on the back of the food bag. If you have any concerns about your Boerboel's weight or overall health, don't hesitate to see your veterinarian.


Basic grooming is all that's required for a boerboel. Groom it once a week with a soft-bristle brush or grooming mitt to remove loose fur and to distribute skin oils.d: To keep up with all the loose hair, you'll have to increase your brushing frequency during the spring and fall.

Depending on how unclean it becomes, give your dog a bath every month or two. The ears may need to be cleaned at least once a week, however. Once a month, trim its nails with a pair of scissors and brush its teeth with a soft toothbrush.


At least an hour a day should be set aside for your boerboel's exercise. Dogs can burn off some of their excess energy by taking long walks, jogging, trekking, or engaging in intense play. Even simple puzzles can be a mental strain for this sharp-minded breed.

The only time you should let your boerboel loose is in an enclosed location outside. Strangers and other dogs should be kept at a distance from this dog. If you plan on taking your dog to a dog park, you should think twice about it.


To inculcate excellent habits in your boerboel, begin socialising and teaching it as a puppy. An unruly full-size boerboel can be a real challenge to handle. When it comes to training, positive reinforcement is a great tool for this clever breed. Treats and praise are two of the most popular approaches. It is, nonetheless, capable of being obstinate and self-reliant. Because of this, you must enforce your rules strictly and not tolerate negative behaviour.

It is possible that the protective instinct of boerboel puppies can be lessened by exposing them to a wide variety of people, other dogs, and environments. Key to making friends with strangers is to have a lot of great encounters. However, kids will almost certainly always be wary of strangers.

Children and Other Pets

Boerboels are recognised for their devotion to and fierce defence of their human family members, especially children. As a result, a child could be accidentally knocked over by one of these enormous, playful canines. To further reduce the likelihood of mishaps, educators should focus on teaching children appropriate ways to interact with animals. It doesn't matter how well-trained or placid a Boerboel is, no poking or prodding is allowed.

Play time should be monitored as with any other dog. Since the Boerboel is prone to misinterpreting children's play as hostility, it may act to protect its family if they invite their friends around. As a result, the Boerboel has a well-deserved reputation as a family pet who adores and protects the human children in the household.

When it comes to other dogs, Boerboels get along well with those they've known their entire lives, but they can be wary of those they've never met. Boerboels of the same sex can also become aggressive and competitive with each other. Early socialisation can help control the breed's aggression, but they may be better suited to a family where they are the only dog.


The Boerboel is a quiet and healthy dog, but it needs a lot of activity. Because of their loyalty and intellect, they are quite simple to train. Even though they enjoy spending time with their families, Boerboels are apprehensive of new people.

From $1,200 to $3,200 or perhaps more, Boerboel puppies are available for purchase. Puppy mills should be avoided at all costs. Instead, look for a reliable breeder.

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