Boerboel Dog Breed Information | Dogs 101 Boerboel

Dogs are said to be man’s best friends. No matter what size they are, they can be great companions and amazing friends. One of the most feared dogs of this generation is the Boerboel. Many are intimidated because of its size and appearance, but it’s actually very sweet and protective.

Boerboels may be large dogs that have a strong, confident, and muscular appearance. But if you get to know them, you can see how charming they really are. They are known as one of the most loyal and obedient dogs that ever walked the planet. Boerboels can lay down their life for their master if needed. But these are not the only traits that make them unique.


The Boerboel is a member of the Mastiff family that originated in the mid-1600s in South Africa. Its name comes from the Afrikaans/Dutch word “boer”, meaning farmer and “boel”, meaning dog. Indeed, they were bred as farm dogs to protect their homestead, and handle wild animals such as hyenas, baboons, and leopards.

The breeding of the Boerboels started when European settlers brought large domestic dogs to South Africa. This includes Bulldogs and Mastiffs. These were often crossbred with Boerboels to generate the characteristics they have today.

Until now, the ancestry of the Boerboel remains a mystery. But there’s one thing experts know for sure. These are some of the strongest dogs that can survive extreme weather and various encounters with wildlife. In the 1800s when colonists began to protest the rule of the British in South Africa, Boerboels scattered around the world. People found how effective they were in hunting, herding, and guarding. Hence, they gained their popularity instantly. Then, in the 1980s, a group of enthusiasts wanted to perfect the Boerboel breed which created the tenacious dogs we have today.

Other names

The Boerboel, pronounced “boo-r-bull” came from the Dutch/Afrikaan words that translate to farmer’s dog. Because of its long history, enthusiasts came up with more used names such as the South African Mastiff, South African Boerboel, Bole, and Borbull. In every culture, this dog may be called a variety of names but its strength and tenacity remain.


The Boerboels seem very intimidating because of their compact and massive size. The average height for a male Boerboel is 24 to 28 inches while females appear to be between 22 to 25 inches. They usually weigh between 150 to 200 pounds. If you observe the bodies of Boerboels, males are noticeably masculine in appearance while the females are smaller and lighter. Regardless of their gender, these dogs can live up to 10 to 12 years. Can you imagine how amazing it is to have these dogs to protect your home?


These dogs are big, courageous protectors. But what lies beneath their powerful appearance is a companion who loves children and other animals. Boerboels are playful, smart, and enthusiastic. They are happiest when they are given a job to do whether it’s farm work or training. What matters to them as they can expend their energy and agility. These dogs are very independent but need a great deal of attention from their owners.

The Boerboel needs daily exercise and mental stimulation. Otherwise, it will get bored. Without training and socialization, these dogs can grow up to be aggressive and destructive. The effects include chewing, digging, growling, and biting. They can give you such a headache if you don’t teach them dog etiquette.

The challenge in training Boerboels is their tendency to be lazy and stubborn, especially during warmer months. But don’t let their gooey eyes fool you. Taking them out for a long walk at least once a day is important to the dog’s wellbeing. So, don’t let them command you. You need to command them.

Pet Compatibility

Boerboels are usually kind-natured and caring especially if they are trained and socialized as early as possible. Without it, they can be aggressive to other animals such as cats and rabbits. Due to their high prey drive, it is not a surprise that they love to hunt. If you want to suppress this behavior, proper training is essential so they can unleash their sweet and caring personality for other animals.


This breed loves the company of its master however it can be overprotective. You should know, these dogs are not for novice owners. They need ample time and effort to unleash their positive traits. If you don’t have time to provide for their needs, the Boerboel might not be for you.

Without training and socialization, they can be fiercely territorial. This is why it’s important to establish discipline early on for Boerboel puppies. If you wish to have a Boerboel pet, you need to show your assertiveness and power over them. This makes them submit to your commands without doubting your credibility as their master.

Family Life

The Boerboel is a warm, industrious, and protective family dog. These creatures enjoy playing and spending time with their owners. At the same time, they embrace their responsibilities in the household. As a watchdog, the Boerboel will sacrifice its life for the sake of its owners. That’s how much they love them. This is why you’re one of the luckiest people if you have a Boerboel. You’ll never feel terrified in a dangerous neighborhood.

Children Compatibility

Boerboels love infants and children. However, like any other dog, Boerboels shouldn’t be provoked. Before leaving your child with this dog, instruct your children never to play rough with them. Do not tug their ears, tail, and coat because it can hurt the Boerboel and might cause it to retaliate. Teach your children to care for their dogs gently and kindly. With this behavior, you can see how loving and caring Boerboel is.

Owning A Boerboel

These dogs are considered a healthy breed. They only have a few known hereditary conditions such as dysplasia, heart disease, and bloating. Some are even diagnosed with epilepsy, allergies, and kidney diseases. To prevent these health issues, it’s important to have a veterinarian on call so they can advise the healthcare procedures to ensure the well being of your Boerboel.

Other than that, caring for this dog is simple. Of course, they need regular baths. You also need to have their nails trimmed and their teeth brushed once in a while. Plus, you need to keep watch on the wax buildup on their ears. Clean these weekly to avoid infection and ear mites.

The average cost of owning a Boerboel is 500 to 800 dollars. This includes their vaccination fees, dog food, licenses, consultations, and other supplies. Costly as it sounds, it does not amount to the protection and love they offer you once you let them be a part of your family. Do you think you have what it takes to get a Boerboel? If so, there’s no stopping you from raising one of the most loyal and protective dogs today.

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