The Boerboel is a giant breed of dog that is also known as the South African Mastiff. These pups are one of the most powerful breeds of dog in the world, with an ability to exert 450 pounds of pressure per square inch when they bite. Combine this with their guarding nature and you might think you’ve got an aggressive dog on your hands — but, no!
With lots of training and socialization and the right owner, the Boerboel is an intelligent, friendly dog that is known for getting on very well with children. If you’re looking for a large pup to be your companion, read on below to see whether the Boerboel might be for you.
History Of The Boerboel
The Boerboel’s name derives from the word “boer” which means “farmer”, so it is not difficult to guess what these dog’s were originally used for. A giant breed, these pups were originally bred to be guardians and protectors, although nowadays are also known for being pets and companions. They are actually known to be quite lazy and laid-back dogs, despite their size and power!
The Boerboel was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a working breed in 2015.
It is unclear where the Boerboel originated from, but it is thought that the Dutch and German settlers brought large dogs along with them to protect them when they moved to South Africa. The Boerboel was created by the inbreeding of these farm dogs to defend their homes and land, and is known to be the only dog breed originally bred in South Africa.
Characteristics Of The Boerboel
Boerboels are a giant breed of dog that are normally born in litter sizes of between 7 to 10 puppies. This large litter size is due to their mother’s large size. You can expect to pay between $1500 to $2000 for a Boerboel puppy. They normally mature around 18 to 24 months of age, by which time they should be fully trained and socialized to prevent issues in their adult life.
Like other Mastiff breeds, this is a giant dog breed has a strong and muscular appearance. They have a large head that is quite block-like. The Boerboel will stand between 24 and 28 inches tall and will weigh between 140 to 200 lbs for a male and 120 to 160 lbs for a female.
The Boerboel’s coat is short and smooth and they are a relatively low-shedding dog. This means that they are a good dog for those with allergies and you won’t get too much of a “doggy smell” in your home. Their grooming needs are also minimal, although we will go into more detail about that later on.
The Boerboel can come in a range of colors including fawn, red, brown and brindle. They normally have a black mask and can also be piebald or have white markings.
The Boerboel is an extremely loyal dog and with their guarding history, it is no surprise that they love people. As a working dog, they understand that it is their duty to protect their home and their family, yet they have a very gentle temperament and know how to do this calmly and confidently. This is one of the reasons they are so popular as guard dogs and watchdogs.
The Boerboel’s love for their family means that they don’t like to be left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety. You shouldn’t be thinking about getting one of these dogs if you are going to be out for hours at a time. As we mentioned above, these dogs are extremely powerful and if they feel distressed or anxious they can do a lot of damage to your home!
As an intelligent breed, the Boerboel is easy to train and this is very important. They must be both trained and socialized from a young age because if they are left to their own devices, this large and powerful dog can cause havoc. Their intelligence also means they need to be kept mentally stimulated and can become bored easily, again resulting in unwanted behaviors, so make sure you can dedicate time to them to play with them.
Unfortunately, the Boerboel does not have the longest life expectancy. They generally only live between 8 and 10 years on average.
Known Health Issues
Boerboels are generally healthy dogs, despite their short lifespan. However, like all dogs, Boerboels are prone to some health problems. We have laid out the main health concerns below.
- Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
- Elbow Dysplasia — this is a common condition in large breed dogs. It can be caused by different growth rates and can cause lameness. It can be fixed with surgery.
- Ectropion — this is the rolling out or sagging of the eyelid, leaving the eye exposed and prone to irritation and infection. It can be fixed with surgery.
- Entropion — this is the rolling in of the eyelid which can irritate or injure the eyeball. It can be corrected with surgery.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parents and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any severe issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Boerboel, we can take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
Being a giant breed, it is no surprise that the Boerboel eats a lot. These pups need around 2000 calories a day, which is around five cups of food a day. Of course, you should always check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding your dog based on their weight.
Make sure that the food you feed the Boerboel is high-quality kibble and meets all their nutritional requirements. You may want to look for a dog food that is specially formulated for large dog breeds, so you know they are getting the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy.
Ensure that you do not overfeed your Boerboel. Obesity is dangerous is any dog, but none more so than large and giant breeds. Obesity can be detrimental to their skeleton and cause many health issues. It is also important to remember that the Boerboel grows at such a fast rate that their skeletons are normally weaker. For this reason, they do not need a lot of calcium in their diet.
Best Dog Food For The Boerboel DogBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural dry dog food for the Boerboel Dog. This food is formulated for large breeds and therefore contains all the nutrients your pup will need to stay strong and healthy. With real chicken, your Boerboel Dog will get the protein they require to keep their muscles lean, while also giving them the energy for their high activity levels.
There is also a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in this recipe to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance, as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. With no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, this mix provides your Boerboel with a healthy, balanced diet.
Unsurprisingly, the Boerboel has high exercise needs. You should be aiming for around 60 to 120 minutes of exercise a day and you must make sure you can give them this time. It is a good idea to keep them on a leash while you are walking in public, because the size of this dog can be quite intimidating to others!
These big dogs will also love to have an area at home to run around in. Make sure you have space in your yard for them to exercise and it must be securely fenced.
As a large breed that grows very quickly, extra care must be taken when these dogs are puppies to ensure they are not overexercised. This can cause a lot of health issues. As a puppy, stick to the five minute rule — five minutes of exercise for every month of age. For example, if your pup is four months old, they shouldn’t be exercising for more than 20 minutes.
The Boerboel makes an excellent family dog, but they must be raised in the right family who understand the needs of this giant and powerful pup. These dogs love people and are very loyal to their owners, and do not like to be left alone. This means that they won’t do well in a household where the owners are out for the majority of the day.
Boerboels are intelligent and playful dogs who get on very well with children and other animals. Of course, they will need to be socialized with them properly but can live happily alongside them once done so.
With their high energy levels, the Boerboel will love to be a part of a family that they can exercise with, joining you while you are hiking and running. However, they’ll also love to curl up next to you on the couch at the end of the long day for some love and affection.
The Boerboel will thrive in a home with a backyard that they can run around in, too. It is not advised that you think about adding a Boerboel to your home unless you have experience with another large breed of dog and what it takes to care for a pup of this size.
Training is extremely important for the Boerboel. This is not because they are an aggressive dog, but because of their size and power, when not trained properly, then can be dangerous out in public if not under any control.
The Boerboel responds best to positive reinforcement training and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats. You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
Socializing your Boerboel is just as important as training them. They are a large dog and if not socialized properly, they can be very intimidating to other people and dogs out in public, especially with their guarding nature.
You should always start socializing from a young age. This could start with introducing your Boerboel to other family pets or children. You should introduce them to different sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a controlled and calm way so they learn there is nothing to be worried about.
The Boerboel does not have high grooming needs due to their short coat. You will need to brush them once or twice a week to keep their coat looking tidy and to loosen any hairs. They also do not shed very much, so you don’t need to worry about this!
Unfortunately, these dogs can suffer with both eye and ear infections, so you must keep checking these areas for any signs of infections. You should clean them too when necessary and take a trip to your vet if you notice anything is different.
Brushing your Boerboel’s teeth daily is important to help prevent dental decay and disease. If this is too difficult, then you can always use dental sticks.
Start grooming your Boerboel from a young age. This will help them to understand there is nothing to be afraid of!
Boerboel Dog FAQ’s
How much does a Boerboel cost?
A Boerboel puppy can set you back between $1500 and $2000. This high price tag means that these dogs have less chance of getting into the wrong hands, and therefore there are less Boerboel rescues. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable Boerboel breeder.
However, if this is out of your price range, always check your local shelter — there might be a Boerboel waiting for their forever home!
Is the Boerboel aggressive?
The Boerboel is not aggressive. Often, these dogs may look aggressive because of their giant size and their powerful jaw, but really they are very friendly! Of course, these dogs must be socialized and trained properly from a young age so they learn that there are no threats, but the Boerboel loves people and is very loyal, so you do not need to worry about them being aggressive.
The Boerboel is a giant breed of dog that makes an excellent guard dog. These loyal working dogs love people, especially their families, and do not like to be left alone. With the right training and early socialization they can make the perfect family pet, joining in as an exercise buddy and making a great playmate for children. They’re also known to be a lazy dog, happily relaxing as long as you are nearby. Although they eat a lot and require a lot of activity, the Boerboel is certainly worth it. Do you think this dog could be right for you?