10 Best Features Of South African Boerboel

    South African Boerboel- Complete Breed Guide With Pors And Cons!

    The South African Boerboel is among the few mastiff-like breeds of dogs. Some of the characteristics of these dogs include having a large body size along with impressive physical strength. They are extremely vigilant and are one of the best guard dogs that can be chosen from all other breeds. However, this can make the potential owners a bit curious about the behavior of this breed as a pet.

    Listed below are some of the essential information and facts about the South African Boerboel mastiff:

    • Health issues are very common in South African Boerboel.
    • These dogs are very active and eat a lot.
    • This breed is highly dominant.
    • The South African Boerboel is not good with other pets and usually requires a dominant owner who can command them well.
    • Training them is neither too easy nor too hard so they are pretty good with novice owners.
    • They require minimal grooming.

    The traits mentioned above are listed according to various observations and statistics give in various studies. As you know a dog’s personality is usually formed by the kind of training the dog receives from its owners. Now let us read about the interesting history of this breed along with their traits, temperament, health issues pros, and cons.

    South African Boerboel- Breed Guide

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    1. Breed History

    This species belongs to the large guard dogs which were native to southern Africa. They were originated from there and most commonly bred today in South Africa itself. It is interesting to note that they are still considered to be living relatives of Molossers, this is a breed that belongs to ancient greek tribes and is very fierce. These dogs eventually went extinct and the descenders belong to the breed were later used as guard dogs by the Assyrians.

    It is also believed that when the Assyrian empire conquered the Egyptian empire, some of the dogs were sent to South Africa, Asia, and Europe. These later evolved to become bulldogs, mastiffs, and other breeds of large dogs that we see today. mastiffs and bulldogs were later bred with African and European species such as the Rhodesian ridgeback by Africans, thus giving rise to the south African Boerboels.

    They were bred originally to protect the land by farmers because there were many ferocious predators back in those ways. Their name- Boerboel is living proof that they were bred by farmers. “Boer” means farmer and “Boel” is a term used for dogs. Hence the name Boerboel.

    They were firstborn in the mid-1600 century. No records of early breeding are to be found anywhere since they were bred initially by some farmers residing in remote areas of southern Africa. Then later they were crossbred with other dogs of similar kind in that region.

    As more time passed, they were crossbred for several different seasons. They were also bred with hounds and used for hunting purposes. They were crossbred with other mastiffs to protect from any predators attacking and for involving in dog fights which was a huge deal back in those centuries.

    This breed was used among the first-line defense again predators if there were any feuds in the region. They were really good at tracking people and objects and wounding the opponents due to which their value kept increasing. They were also considered by the mining companies of diamonds to protect their area from burglars and thieves.

    There are many counties where keeping a south African Boerboel is illegal. They cannot be sold, adopted, purchased, bred, or imported in such counties. This is because of the breed’s rarity, past incidents, and fierce nature. These counties and states include France, Bermuda, Romania, Qatar, Singapore, Tunisia, etc. Some countries like Russian and Ukraine may provide ownership given that the owner is completely fir and has approval from the court.

    Temperament Of South African Boerboel

    As you already know by their long history, they are bold and brace in nature. They possess a dominant personality most naturally but other traits they have usually grow when they grow older based on the family they live in. They were always born to be leaders so they do not get along very well with another dominant dog. If you have a south African Boerboel in your house, trespasses may have a hard time dealing with them.

    This breed is extremely fond of companionship with humans. They are too social to the point that they become irking but it totally depends on the owner enough to grow up social and playful. At a young age when the dog is a puppy, you must train them and socialize them. If raised correctly, they may become obedient, reliable, and wonderful companions to have.

    They are highly affectionate and protective of their families. They may slightly be hostile towards strangers to protect the families. Their self-confidence ad fearlessness makes them the most amazing guard dogs out there. However, they do not get along very well with dogs, cats, or any other pets. They do form an intense and unbreakable bond with the family ad care too much for everyone. Know that a well-trained Boerboel should be safe near kids but only when an adult is also there to supervise.

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    South African Boerboel is active and playful. They do not mind a good walk with their families now and then and they do require some living space to play indoors of their own. They are not only loyal to the owners but they are also loyal towards their properties. Although they listen to most of the commands and order the owner has to give them, they still may act sometimes f they feel their owner is vulnerable to they feel provoked or threatened by anything.

    South African Boerboel is not the breed you would want to leave without a leash on. They should not be allowed to roam the streets in the absence of a leash. If you are taking them to a dog park, make sure you are keeping them slightly distant from other dogs ad if you are planning to talk to a stranger, avoid bringing your pet with you or tell them about the person you are meeting.

    Structure of a south African Boerboel

    You already know these dogs are quite large in size. The average height of male Boerboels could be anywhere around 225 to 28 inches whereas a female Boerboel average height is slightly less- 23 to 25 inches. Know that I male dogs height s below 23 inches, this is due to underlying genetic disorders same goes for a female of height below 21 inches. The average weight of a south African Boerboel is 155 to 2000 pounds.

    Below given are some noticeable features about a south Africa Boerboel:

    1. The eye color f a healthy south African Boerboel should be between a yellow hue to a brown hue. You must know that blue eyes in these dogs are a result of some defect.
    2. They have a medium-sized ear in the shape of “V”, situated just below their head.
    3. They have the full set of 42 teeth which are white and leaves scissor bites.
    4. Their nose is black and well-pigmented.
    5. Their skull shape is square but the skull bone is not too prominent.

    Coat of South African Boerboel

    This dog has a dense yet short coat. Their coat is dense enough to trap the heat when it is cold outside while preventing too much absorption of heat in hot weather. If their coat is cleaned properly regularly, they are very smooth to touch. Also, their coat is non-hypoallergenic.

    Their coat comes in a variety of colors ranging from brown to yellow colors. The natural colors of the Boerboel coat include cream, red, reddish-brown, tawny, brown, and brindle.

    Reprodutction in Sotuh African boerboel

    The gestation period of a Boerboel is mainly around 2 months or 60 to 64 days. To avoid any sort of health complication, the female Boerboels are supposed to have litter only once a year. Having twice or more litter is unhealthy for the mother which may lead to neglecting all the pups and their needs. They reproduce to give birth to 6 to 7 puppies at once.

    Cost Of Sotuh African Boerboel

    As you know these dogs were initially bred in South Africa and they were later on exported to another region in the world. They are among some of the most expensive breeds of dogs. A purebred south African Boerboel puppy may cost somewhere between 1500 dollars to 2000 dollars. This price range is twice the average price of regular dogs which is somewhere near 700 dollars.

    Health issues in South African Boerboel

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    When talking about the health issues they may have, a south African Boerboel faces more health problems compared to other dogs. They must be often taken to vets for a checkup.

    However, you do not have t worry about flea problems in these dogs due to their short, dense coat but the owners may have some allergies due to their coats. These dogs also face common allergies like allergies due to pollen, abrupt weather change, etc.

    Not only allergies, but they may also develop some major illnesses which include:


    This disease abrupts the normal activity of the dog’s brain leading to serious conditions like loss of awareness, unusual behavior, and seizures. Dysplasia and epilepsy are major health issues found in this breed.


    This refers to the development of cells at an abnormal rate in the tissues. It causes the tissues to become enlarged and if it is not treated in time, it may turn into deadly cancer. It is usually found in connective tissues such as bones and the researchers are still not able to find a possible trigger of dysplasia. There are a few different dysplasias found including- joint dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and vaginal dysplasia.


    Dementia refers to the loss of the body’s cognitive functions. It is mainly seen in older Boerboels. If a dog has dementia, they will have memory loss, difficulty in staying vigilant, loss of intelligence, and difficulty following the commands of their respective owners. They may also start losing their vision and hearing abilities though these issues are found in some old South African boerboel dogs.

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    Kidney failure

    Kidney problems are not only limited to the Boerboels and are seen in almost all dog breeds. It might be possible in your South African Boerboel too! This may occur due to poor water drinking habits, ingesting toxic drinks, dehydration, or taking unhealthy diets over a long time. It may also occur as a side effect of some medications your dog is taking. Some common signs that warn you about kidney failure in dogs include abdominal pain, trouble urinating, etc. Treatment is a must if you notice any sort of disease in your dog.

    Pros and cons of having a south African Boerboel

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    Photo by 947051 on Pixabay

    There are always some pros and cons to housing any dog, no one is entirely perfect, we all have bad sides too that doesn’t mean you can ignore what good qualities this loyal dog has to offer. Let’s see what are pro and cons of bringing a south African Boerboel to your house:


    1. South African Boerboel is extremely well suited for an owner who does not have extra money, time, and skills to spend on their dog’s grooming needs as they are highly low-maintenance dogs. They do not need any haircuts or they don’t need you to get them to a professional groomer now and then. Their eyes and ear however require cleaning to prevent disease. You do not have to bathe them daily too, bathing 2 times in 3-4 months is fine. You should use flea treatment sprays once every season. They do not shed much but you do require to brush their teeth regularly which won’t take a lot of time. Regular brushing is fine as it will reduce the hair shed.
    2. South African Boerboel is friendly with elders. They get along really well with elder people as they require owners who have a lot of love and care to offer. As a dominant dog, it requires an owner who is dominant in the house which makes it a perfect match for elder people. They are great for elders who need a companion and do not have to do a lot of work.
    3. Boerboels are not extremely playful dogs they just like having fun with their owners. You can get along well with them by giving them company like playing fetch with them. Puppy Boerboels loves playing with a wooden sticks, balls, and toys. When you take young dogs for a walk, they might end up bringing some twigs at home.
    4. Boerboels makes an excellent guard dog due to their history. They were bred initially to become guard dogs as they were really good proving protection from natural predators to the farmers. Their fierce and first nature makes them excellent guard dogs. They do not hesitate even a bit to protect their family and territory from invaders. They also have incredible vigilance, great vocal cords, and a sharp hearing sense which makes them perfect guard dogs.
    5. They are highly active. Beorbles are bulky and eat a lot of food. Due to their eating habits, they do require regular exercise to avoid obesity. However, their exercise should not be a burden to the owners because a good walk for 30 minutes would be enough. Walking with them for that period of time will also help you improve your health as owners. They are not lazy and are good enough to guard their territory standing for hours.
    6. They rarely bark, unlike many other dogs. They are quiet dogs who hate barking without a reason. They make perfect pets for someone who does not want their dogs barking or making noise or people living with slightly irritated neighbors. Some common reasons for which they may bark a little include boredom, loneliness, alarms, greeting, pain, fear, anxiety, and excitement.
    7. They are less likely to bite anyone. Despite being large and having incredibly impressive bites, they rarely bite unless of course they are provoked. They may also bite if they are dealing with a lot of pain or they feel threatened by someone. They are great companions as they rarely rip their owner’s furniture in ager. They just play gently play. Some Boerboels may bite their owner playfully but training can help prevent this.
    8. They are totally adaptable to any kind of weather. Having lived in all sorts of climates for centuries, they can tolerate both cold and hot temperatures easily. They have a great coat and helps insulation of heat but also helps prevent overheating making them perfect for hot and cold weather. But this does not mean they can tolerate the most chill day of the year, they will still need some heat in the house and a good pair of sweaters to go. Similarly, they can withstand the temperature in summer but that does not mean you can allow them to stand n the sun for hours.
    9. They are great for cart-puling or sled. They are determined and powerful dogs which you already know by now. They have been bred to be ideal for drafting or pulling carts. They are great at pulling slides also. If you reside in mountains or snowy areas and you love sled racing, south African Boerboel would love to do that for you. They are also good at helping owners pull heavy slides. This can help them exercise as well.
    10. They are moderately social dogs. This is a benefit because they are not totally dependent on the owners and they won’t mind chilling for a couple of hours denying their own company, unlike other dogs that get anxious when left alone. They do not demand attention throughout the day but you still need to take some time and make them feel loved. They make a perfect dog for students who have to study or working couples.
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    african boerboel, bull mastiff, africa
    Photo by 4665562 on Pixabay
    1. A South African Boerboel is not friendly with other breeds of dogs or any other pet residing in the same house. The main reason behind this is their dominant personalities. However, they would not mind a parrot, little bird, or a couple of fishes but a south African Boerboel may cause issues if you have pets like a cat, rabbit, or any other dog. Having a submissive dog with laid back personality would still be fine but having another dog that is as dominant as south African Boerboel like pitbull or Bullmastiff is not a good idea.
    2. They are not very friendly with kids. Despite what you may have read before or heard before from owners, they are not humble or friendly towards kids. This is the reason why South African Boerboel is banned in few counties especially for families having small children. Unless you already hold an experience with these dogs or you have raised it from the time it was a puppy and trained it well, do not leave kids alone with them.
    3. They are non-hypoallergic. Unfortunately, South African Boerboel is among those dogs that have more chances of causing allergies within people who are prone to dander or dog saliva. They should not be kept with people who have either acute or chronic allergies.
    4. They are not very intelligent as some other breeds. To be honest, a south African Boerboel is not the brightest dog when it comes to intelligence. Although they are vigilant and highly focused, they still lack intelligence. It nearly takes 50 trials for a south African Boerboel to learn a trick and memorize a command. They respond pretty well for the first 2 to 3 commands but then they are not able to keep up very well and require more practice. If you want a smart dog, a south African Boerboel may not be the perfect choice to have.
    5. They are wanderers by personality and nature. When you compare a south African Boerboel with other breeds, they have a higher tendency to wander off places on their own. They have a deep drive to explore places nearby. This is the reason why you must keep them leashed at most times because a large dog exploring the area might not be safe for the dog and intimidating for the people. If you reside in wooded areas, do not leave your dog without a leash because there are chances they may wander off and do not get the way back home.
    6. They are suited as therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are those who are trained specifically to provide love, affection, and comfort to people who have mental stress or are burdens. Therapy dogs often work in nursing homes, retirement homes, disaster areas, schools, charities, hospitals, hospices, and owners who suffer from autism, depression, or anxiety disorders. A South African Boerboel is not the right match to perform such tasks.
    7. They are not suitable to become service dogs as well. Service dogs are kept for assisting people having certain liabilities. Thye helps them perform their daily task. Service dogs are also for people who have seizures, mental disorders, diabetes, visual impairments, and mobility impairment. They are not suitable for being service dogs but they are harder to train and their general nature is not what is expected out of service dogs.
    8. They are apartment-friendly. A South African Boerboel is definitely adaptable to many changes and environments but they cannot be caged in an apartment. They are big dogs who require space of their own to walk and play in the house. Even if you have a park and can take them often, they still need a house environment having a garden, porch, and backward. Plus, walking down these dogs the stairs up and down is also a difficult task to attain.
    9. A South African Boerboel loves drooling. Since they are close relatives of mastiffs, they drool a lot. They may leave their saliva stains and drops in many places which require you to wash their mouth very frequently. If you do not want a dog who drools a lot, you may not be the right owner a South African Boerboel needs.

    Final Thoughts

    The South African Boerboel mastiff is a dominant, agile, large, loyal, obedient, courageous, and territorial dog. They have inherited their brilliant dominant nature from their ancestors who were often bred for guarding the land and hunting the predators. So naturally, they make the perfect guard dogs.

    In compassion with any other dog breeds, they are more prone to having health issues and need a lot of physical activities to remain mentally stimulated. Also, they require less grooming than other dogs.

    They are good for new dog owners because of their easy-going nature and fewer attention needs. If you train them well, they come out to become excellent pet dogs. However, people having small children and other pets in the family are highly recommended NOT to go for a South African Boerboel.


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