August 3, 2020 // 6 minute read

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Boerboels are giant-sized dogs standing at a height of 27 inches. The Boerboel features a broad head, powerful jaws, and muscled bodies, combined with a very intimidating appearance.

Despite being strong and powerful dogs, Boerboels are known to be calm and loving dogs. Their impressive strength can be matched with their strong devotion. They are born to protect their family and territory, which makes them naturally excellent watchdogs.


Boerboel Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupWorking
Breed SizeGiant
Height24-27 inches (male); 22-25 inches (female)
Weight150-200 pounds
Lifespan9-11 years

Boerboel Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Boerboel History

The origins of Boerboels can be traced back to South Africa. They were developed by Dutch farmers settling in the region who brought their dogs around the 1600s. During these times, Dutch farmers needed a dog to defend their farmlands and hunt wildlife like hyenas, baboons, and leopards.

One of the farmers named Jan van Riebeeck brought a mastiff-type dog called a bull biter. These dogs were believed to be the ancestors of the Boerboel dogs.

The bull biter was bred with other breeds to make up the Boerboel. Though the breed’s genetic composition was unknown, there is no doubt the breeding was a success. As their name implies, the Boerboel breed served as the farmer’s dogs, and they assisted them in many things.

When colonists began to protest the British rule in South Africa, the Boerboel dogs were scattered. Years later, urbanization came, and Africans began crossbreeding the breed with other dogs, disregarding its purity.

Fortunately, around the 1980s, Boerboel enthusiasts began breeding Boerboel dogs again. The dogs immediately gained back their popularity, and a breed standard was finally documented.

It is not known how the breed reached America. In fact, it’s still considered one of the uncommon dog breeds and was only recognized in 2015 by the American Kennel Club.

Boerboel Dog

Boerboel Temperament

Boerboel dogs are confident, intelligent, and calm dogs. Their size may be intimidating, but they are also playful dogs.

These dogs are happiest when you give them something to do. As working dogs, you can make them do farm work or as guard dogs. If you can’t provide them with work, make sure you keep them exercised.

This dog breed is especially loving and affectionate to family members. They are also known to be gentle with children. However, supervision is still required because their large size may cause accidents.

Boerboels can also be very protective. They are natural watchdogs and protectors, which can make them aggressive and territorial. If you want to keep them stable, you need to provide early socialization.

Every time someone new comes to your home, it’s best to introduce them to your Boerboel. This will make your dog feel less threatened so that they can behave calmly.

Training a Boerboel dog can be challenging, which is why they are not recommended to first-time dog owners. They need someone dominant and assertive to make him obey.

Though they can be stubborn and independent, never treat them harshly as this might encourage aggression more. Patience and positive reinforcements are highly encouraged.

Boerboel Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Like any large-sized dogs, Boerboels require a high-quality and well-balanced diet. It should contain all the essential nutrients like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals. These are large-sized dogs, but it’s still necessary to measure the number of calories you feed them every day. You can ask your vet for feeding guides on how to properly feed them without overfeeding. Proteins are very important for muscle growth. You can get these from animal meat. Fats are needed to maintain a healthy coat, while carbohydrates provide them energy. If you’re buying ingredients for your dogs, make sure you only purchase those of high-quality. Dog food is also great to serve for them, but it’s essential to buy only premium quality ones. It shouldn’t contain filler and additives that may be harmful to your dog.
  • Grooming: Boerboels have short coats that shed occasionally. It requires very minimal maintenance. All they need is weekly brushing to help remove dirt and any loose hair to keep him looking his best. Baths can be given occasionally, but make sure to clean out their ears regularly. You should always make sure that their nails are trimmed short because long nails can cause pain and discomfort to your dog.
  • Exercise: Boerboels are strong dogs that need their daily exercise. Daily walks on a leash or play sessions will help keep their bones and joints healthy until they mature. You can also create activities you can do together that would help stimulate your dog’s mind. It’s highly recommended to keep these dogs away from other dogs. As much as possible, don’t bring them to dog barks, but hiking is something that they will enjoy. Don’t take them off their leash as much as possible, unless you are in a secured yard with no other dogs around.
  • Health: Boerboels are generally healthy dogs. However, there are some genetic health problems you will need to be aware of as a dog owner. Your dog may not experience these, but it’s still best to be mindful of them. Bone diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia are common, which is why exercise is essential. Some Boerboels may also experience heart disease, ectropion, entropion, and vaginal hyperplasia. It’s recommended to meet at least one of your dog’s parents to be aware of any existing genetic problems your dog might have.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Boerboels is 9-11 years.

Famous Boerboels

  • Ultra Grigory: Won first prize in a National Dog Show in 2002.
  • Congo: A Boerboel dog owned by a Canadian family; a proof that these are actual gentle dogs

Boerboel Breed

Fun Facts about Boerboels

  • Boerboels originated in South Africa around the 1600s.
  • They were developed by the Dutch settlers in South Africa.
  • These dogs are descendants of the Molosser dog breed.
  • The name Boerboel means “farmer’s dog”; “boer” means farmer, and “boel” means dog.
  • These dogs were used as farm dogs, guard dogs, and hunting dogs.
  • They are considered rare and are still banned in some countries.
  • They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2015.
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