Life span: 10-12 Years
Height: 64-70cm (Male); 59-65cm (Female)
Weight: 110-200 pounds
This strong and large dog may have an intimidating appearance, but it’s far from dangerous, especially with the right training, socialization, and amount of love given. This breed is extremely loyal to its family and love playing with kids!
Its large body is strong and full of muscles, with a medium length tail that is carried high and can be cut, although this is not recommended due to its cruelty. Its ears are set high atop its head and are short and folded down, although not quite falling. Its eyes can be any shade of brown with a black nose. Their coat is short yet dense and smooth to the touch and can be any shade of brown, red, or black. The snout remains black.
Much of the history of the Boerboel is unknown, but it is believed they are descendants of dogs brought to South Africa by British, French and Dutch settlers. Their name is thought to have come from the words “boer”, which means farmer, and “bul”, which means big, in Afrikaans. The English brought Bulldogs and Mastiffs, and the De Beer (a mining company) brought Bull Mastiffs to guard their diamond mines. All of these dogs were crossbred with the Boerboel to give them the appearance we now see. They were spread in the Great Trek by the Voortrekkers, who bred them. In the 1950s, the Boerboels were crossbred with the Mastiffs and the English Long-legged Bulldogs. They became especially popular in what we now know as Zimbabwe, but as more people crossed the border with South Africa, these dogs became popular in other places as well. They became accepted into the Working group of the American Kennel Club in 2015.
This loving dog is known to make a great guard dog. It will protect its family and household above everything. When strangers approach the household, they must be properly introduced, or the Boerboel might not let them into the house. Once they are properly introduced, it will become its loving self with them as well. They adore children and other pets and will not harm them unless it believes they are in some way harming its family. They are very intelligent and easily trained, however, they need an owner that establishes dominance as the leader in a firm way, otherwise they might not be able to control the dog. When training, they need to be taught rules about guarding the household, such as not barking at guests.
Although generally a healthy breed, the Boerboel can suffer from:
Gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat, is a mortal disease in which large chested dogs are affected by eating quickly, drinking lots of water and exercising after. This causes the stomach to inflate with gas and twist, making the dog unable to get rid of the excess air through vomiting, which impedes the normal blood flow to the heart. Its blood pressure then goes down and the dog goes into shock. Without proper, and immediate, medical attention, this could be fatal. Its symptoms may include: retching without vomiting, bloated abdomen, excessive salivation, restlessness, depression, rapid heart rate, weakness, etc.
Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
Ectropion, a rolling out of the eyelid that exposes the eye to infections and can be corrected through surgery.
Entropion, which affects both lower eyelids, is an inward rolling of the eyelid and is treated through various surgeries to prevent ectropion (a rolling out of the eyelid).
Epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can produce seizures.
Vaginal hyperplasia, in which the vaginal tissue may become inflated and bulge out through the vulva, appearing like a tumor. This is due to an exaggerated reaction of the vaginal tissue to estrogen during some phases of the heat cycle.
Their short coat does shed, although not in large amounts, and only needs weekly brushing. They should only be bathed occasionally and their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as its teeth brushed and its ears checked for dirt to prevent any infections. They need daily exercise either on a fenced backyard or on a leash. They should never be taken to a dog park or let off their leash, as they have very strong protective instincts. Training must be done by an owner that has established dominance as the leader. Once that has been accomplished, training should be relatively easy. Boerboels need early socialization and obedience training.