Complete Guide To The Boerboel: Personality, Exercise, Feeding and More

Poised and proud, the Boerboel is a born protector. If you’re looking for a guardian — this imposing South African mastiff could be your knight in shining armor. Read further to find out more about this massive breed!

How Big Is The Boerboel?

Male24″-27″ at the shoulder150-200 lbs
Female22″-25″ at the shoulder150-200 lbs

What Does a Boerboel Look Like?

Blocky, they’re burly-chested with a broad head, strong jaws and a powerful, muscular build. They’re similar in size to Mastiffs but appear more muscular.

Colors include:

• Brown
• Tawny
• Cream
• Red
• Reddish Brown
• Brindle

Small white patches are permissible but should cover less than a third of their coat. A black mask is desirable. In the ring, conformation matters more than color.

Medium V-shaped ears taper to a round point near the jawline. Deep brown eyes are wide-set and project an alert, intelligent expression. Easily identifiable as a Moloser, they resemble the Perro de Presa Canario and Bullmastiff.

What Is The Personality of a Boerboel?

Boerboels were bred to guard homesteads, and they retain a strong territorial instinct. Even-tempered until challenged, they’re incomparable protectors, but they have a mind of their own and will push their weight around with timid owners.

Playful, loyal and affectionate with family, they’re wary of strangers and can be aggressive toward other dogs. Territorial, they need early socialization and training to be obedient and reliable companions. The firm guidance of an experienced large dog owner is a must.

How Much Exercise Does A Boerboel Need?

Boerboels are athletic and need at least a half-hour of daily exercise. Long walks and room to roam in a secure environment are ideal. Happiest on a mission, they’ll enjoy patrolling your property, but they won’t hesitate to chase down a threat, so a leash or strong fence is recommended for safety.

Avoid visiting dog parks — Boerboels get along with pets they were raised with but may be aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Choosing activities that best fit the Boerboels’ unique personality helps meet their exercise needs while reinforcing training. Games like Tug-of-War can reinforce dominance behavior while fetch encourages obedience.

How Much Grooming Does A Boerboel Need?

The Boerboel’s short, smooth coat naturally resists soiling. Weekly brushing with a grooming mitt or hound glove controls their moderate shedding and distributes skin oils for a deep luster.

Boerboels can develop a doggy smell in humid climates without an occasional bath. Folds in their loose skin are vulnerable to yeast infections. Bathe them every 3-4 months to keep them fresh and odor-free.

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Boerboel ?

Personally I believe that most foods are fine for most dogs. Some dogs may not do well on some foods. However, as a rule I don’t blanket-prohibit any dietary ingredient from any breed at this time.

This is a breed that requires a large-breed puppy food to help control growth. Growing too fast can cause growing pains and potentially developmental orthopedic issues. For this reason, I recommend to my giant breed owners to switch to adult food at around 6 months of age.

Best Puppy Food For Boerboels:

Best Adult Food For Boerboels:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Does A Boerboel  Live?

9-11 years according to information from the AKC

What Health Problems Can A Boerboel Have?

Like any other giant breed, the Boerboel is most prone to the following health issues:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Arthritis in any joint as they age

Start these guys out with a quality joint health supplement when they are about 3 years old to keep the joints as healthy as possible.

Where Can I Find Out More About The Boerboel?

American Boerboel Club

AKC Breed Page

Where Can I Find A Boerboel?

Breeder List From The American Boerboel Club – I highly recommend going through someone who is approved by the National Breed Club.

Looking for a Rescue? The National Breed Club recommends the Giant Paws Boerboel Rescue!

Interesting Facts About the Boerboel

Rare, the Boerboel is a centuries-old breed.

• They’re Pioneers

European settlers brought mastiffs to South Africa to protect their homesteads. Interbreeding among several types in the 1600s yielded the Boer Dog, a capable protector and hunter.

The breed was further refined for speed and agility — necessary traits for battling big African game. The resulting Boerboel, or “farmer’s dog,” was both formidable and quick enough to take down leopards and baboons.

• What’s in a Boerboel?

Boerboels are Moloser-type dogs — records clearly show that mastiffs were among their progenitors. But in addition to local breeds, research suggests their ancestors may have also included Greyhounds, Terriers, Pointers and Bulldogs.

• They’re Adapted to the Sun

Boerboels lack the mastiff’s traditional pink underbelly. Their pigmented skin is an evolutionary adaptation that protects them from the hot South African sun.

• Boerboels Are Banned in Some Countries

Boerboels are banned in several countries. Named by anthropologist Carl Semencic as a “gladiator dog” in his book of the same name, they were outlawed in Denmark to discourage dogfighting. Other nations, including Russia, claim they’re too aggressive while fans point to inexperienced owners as the problem.

• They’re Velcro Dogs

The Boerboel is a so-called Velcro dog — one that prefers to stick to you. They like constant companionship and would rather work with their owners than entertain themselves.

• They’re Trustworthy with Children — and Cats

Despite their fierce reputation, Boerboels have an affinity for children and cats. No one knows why a breed known to be aggressive toward other dogs is so gentle with smaller charges. Behaviorists suggest it may be because they were bred specifically for tackling big game, and they don’t see cats and kids as threats.