south African boerboel

Are you seeking a large, devoted, and strong-boned family guard dog? Or do you want an affectionate and lovely companion for your home? – If yes, then Boerboel is the perfect fit for your requirements. The Boerboel is a South African breed known for its intelligent and caring nature. In the former times, the South African Mastiff was bred to protect farms from predators, hyenas, and lions.  

However, Boerboel can be gentle and loyal family dogs apart from their working capabilities of being farm guardians.

So, if you plan to pet a Boerboel, this guide will help you understand every aspect of Boerboel. Further in this guide, we will discuss: 

South African Boerboel Dog Overview

Breed Group : Guardian Dog

Height: 22 to 27 Inches 

Weight : 150 to 200 Pounds

Lifespan: 9 to 12 Years

Coat: Short, Smooth, and Dense

Color: Brown, Red, Chocolate, liver, Cream 

Vocal Level: When Necessary 

Temperament: Loyal, Friendly, and Outgoing 

Needs of Grooming : Low

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin : South Africa


History of Boerboel

Boerboel originated from the Dutch word “Boer,” meaning farmer. Further, boel is a shortening of Boelhand, meaning “Bulldog.” Thus, the combination of Boerboel is a farmer’s Bulldog employed to guard and protect the farm, livestock, and families from deadly animals. 

The Colonial Dutch farmers who settled in Africa brought many European breeds, including Mastiffs, Bulldogs, and other large work dogs with them. These dogs interbred with indigenous African dogs, creating a breed that could help farmers thrive and serve as capable guardians in the demanding climate.

About its recognition and standardization: 

  • The efforts to make Boerboel standardized were first made in the 20th century. 
  • The breed standards were written in 1928. 
  • In the 1980s, the first Breed Society in South Africa was formed to recognize the Boerboel as a breed.
  • On January 1, 2016, the Boerboel was recognized by the United Kennel Club.


Boerboel has a distinctive appearance with a broad head, strong jaws, and a muscular build. Further, due to their mighty muscled breed, they can weigh as much as 150 to 200 pounds, which may be more than their owner. 

The Boerboel are as tall as 27 inches in appearance and have medium-sized V-shaped ears.  

Their eyes typically have large, round, and dark eyes that help them recognize things quickly and convey alertness. 

Additionally, their neck is muscular, strong, and of moderate length, blending smoothly into their shoulders. 

Boerboel’s distinctive and traditional feature is its black face mask that covers the muzzle and may extend to the eyes. Moreover, the black mask on Boerboel has become a common recognition trait for people. 

Due to their muscular appearance, Boerboel has a deep and broad chest, reflecting their physical power.  

Their tail is set high and is traditionally docked, though when the tail is undocked, it is typically thick and tapered to the tip. 

Here are the Official Standards of the Boerboel as per the American Kennel Club:

Gender Weight Height 
Male 150-200 Pounds24-27 inches
Female150-200 Pounds22-25 inches 

Coat and Color 

Coat and Color of Boerboel

The Boerboel has a dense, short, and soft coat that lies close to the body. Such a soft and sleek coat requires minimal maintenance. 

Additionally, the coat is weather-resistant, which helps Boerboel stay comfortable in various climates, especially in the warm conditions of its native South Africa. 

About Boerboel color, they come in various colors, which include:

  • Brown
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Chocolate
  • Brindle

Characteristic and Temperament 

South African Boerboels are playful, intelligent, and loving by character. They are the happiest when they are assigned to do a job. 

Boerboel has an excellent temperament for challenging farm work regardless of weather conditions, guard dog duties, and preparing for a competition. 

This dog breed loves family members, especially children, and can be great companions if trained well.  

Well, these dogs are highly alert and vigilant. Hence, proper and consistent training makes them learn things quickly. 

Further, make a list of things to avoid when training your dog to bring the most out of Boerboel, and make sure you avoid such mistakes. 

Historically, Boerboel were working dogs on the farm, serving as a protector. Hence, they have a good work ethic and can be your best companion when given a sense of purpose.  

Additionally, their quick adaptability nature makes socializing them  crucial. Exposing them to different people, places, and cultures can make them well-behaved and well-balanced Boerboel.  

A few notable qualities of South African Boerboel are as follows:

  • Intelligent and quick learner 
  • Familiar with family members, especially with kids
  • Fearless and courageous
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Loyal and strong protector
  • Hyper attentive

Health and Nutrition

Health and Nutrition of Boerboel

Boerboels are large and robust breeds of dogs that require a well-balanced diet for their specific nutritional needs. Thus, high-quality commercial dog food designed for large dogs is recommended.  

A well-balanced diet that includes proteins, Vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates is necessary for Boerboels as it supports their overall health. 

A healthy adult Boerboel requires approximately 4 to 8 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day. However, you can divide it into two meals that consist of 3 to 4 cups in the morning or afternoon and 2 to 3 cups at night. 

It is important to note that Boerboels can vary based on their height, weight, and age. Hence, consulting a vet is preferable before making a Boerboels diet. 

Consulting a vet will help you manage your pet’s diet and ensure they develop without nutritional deficiencies, longevity, and optimal health.  

Here is the table with the estimated feeding plan 

Boerboel Types Number of Cups Number of Times 
Puppies 1 to 2 Cups Multiple times a day
Adults 3 to 4 Cups Two times a day
Seniors Adjustable feeding Two times a day
  • Boerboel Puppies require multiple feeding due to their higher energy needs for growth and development. 
  • Adult Boerboels typically require two meals per day. 
  • Due to senior age, Boerboel’s metabolism may slow down; hence, to prevent obesity, adjustable feeding is recommended.  

Common Health Problems of Boerboels 

Generally, Boerboels are healthy and strong, but like all breeds, they may be prone to specific common health problems. A few of the common health issues of Boerboels are:  

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Bloat (Gastric Torsion)
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity
  • Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer)
  • Entropion (Eyelid Folding Inward)

Kindly note that not all Boerboels will experience these health issues. However, regular checkups, a balanced diet, proper exercise, and prompt attention to discomfort or illness are critical components of maintaining Boerboels’ health.

Behavior and Training 

Behavior and Training of Boerboel

The South African Boerboel is a high-devoted and care-loving character you can add to your family. Boerboels are known for their unwavering loyalty to their families and often dedicated protectors. 

As natural guardians, Boerboels have a strong protective instinct. They can be reserved or aloof with strangers but are generally affectionate with their families.

Despite their imposing size, Boerboels are often described as gentle giants. Proper socialization allows them to be patient and tolerant, especially with children.

However, early socialization with your Boerboel is essential to make them well-mannered and well-adjusted pets for your home.

Boerboel needs a consistent and confident leader to get trained; hence, establish yourself as a confident leader through positive reinforcement and clear boundaries. 

If you are a first-time pet parent, then to be honest, Boerboel will not be your great choice. If you desire to pet Boerboel, you should hire a trainer or adopt a Boerboel puppy and train it. Make sure you know about the things to train a puppy

Additionally, Boerboels are an active breed of dogs; hence, they make exercise, daily walks, and play sessions a part of their training. Boerboels are proactive and, hence, excel in guard dog training.

Grooming Needs 

Boerboels have relatively lesser grooming needs compared to other dogs due to their soft, short, and dense coats. But regular cleaning and care is important to keep them healthy and comfortable. 

Here is the table that you should follow to groom your Boerboel:

Brooming NeedsNumber of times 
Brushing At Least once a week
Bathing 2 times in a week 
Ears Cleaning Regularly once in a week
Teeth CleaningEveryday 
Nails CleaningTrim them when needed
Skin and Coat InspectionRegularly twice a month 
Eye Care Wipe and clean eyes everyday 
Wrinkles Gently wipes wrinkles on face regularly

While Boerboels are generally low-maintenance in terms of grooming, these routine care practices contribute to their overall health and well-being.  

Are Boerboel Hypoallergenic?

No, Boerboel are not Hypoallergenic dogs. Hypoallergenic dogs are breeds that typically produce fewer allergens, making them a better choice for individuals with allergies. Like many other breeds, Boerboels shed dander, skin cells, and saliva proteins, which can be allergenic for some people. 

However, with regular brushing, bathing, and caretaking, you can prevent shedding, which helps you maintain good health and hygiene of Boerboel.


As per the famous dog breeders’ price, the Boerboel can cost you around $1500 to $ 2000. However, if you find Boerboel for sale, you expect to pay a lower price, between $800 and $1200.

Importantly, you ensure and check the dog’s health certificates before purchasing. The health certification ensures the dog’s good health and that the dog you purchase has no genetic health issues. 


Lifespan of Boerboel

The average lifespan of Boerboel is 9 to 12 years, depending on their health, diet, and care they get across their lifespan. Regular checkups, healthy food, and a good atmosphere can help increase your dog’s lifespan.


Is Boerboel a Good Family Dog?

Yes, Boerboel is a perfect family dog and can be your best companion for your family. Boerboel’s robust and muscled body structure and care-loving nature make them the best choice if you are looking for a proactive and family guardian.

Is a Boerboel Stronger than a Pitbull?

Yes, Boerboel can play pitbull with this muscular bite strength of 800-psi compared to a Pitts 230-psi. At the same time, Boerboels are more weighted than pit bulls by 80 lbs or more.

Is Boerborl One of the Strongest in the World?

Boerboel is an impressive breed employed to guard farms, livestock, and families from deadly leopards and lions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Hence, they are among the most robust and powerful dog breeds globally.


So here we conclude this article. We hope our information will help you make an informed decision about Boerboel– whether Boerboel is fit for your choice, family members, and needs. Nevertheless, if you have made the decision to add Boerboel to your family, then make sure you choose the right breeder for your dog. 

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