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The Boerboel is a very strong and muscular dog breed that has a massive head with a wide jaw. They are very protective and territorial by nature, which makes them excellent guard dogs. Boerboels are also known for their loyalty to their owners – they can develop strong protective behaviors and are often kept as family dogs.
The Boerboel is a very healthy breed and has no specific health problems typical of the breed. However, regular vet visits should be made to ensure the dog is in good health. Due to their size and strength, Boerboels require a lot of exercise and physical activity. Sufficient exercise promotes the health of the dog as well as his mental balance.
Even from a distance, the Boerboel’s muscular build radiates strength, self-assurance and resilience, making a big impression. The male dogs should appear particularly athletic and strong and grow up to 66 cm tall . The female dogs, on the other hand, are much smaller with a size of about 55 cm and have a less muscular body. They are also much lighter in contrast to males, which can weigh up to 70 kg.
The Boerboel has a very broad, mostly dark head as well as a broad neck. It also has short, smooth, dense and shiny fur that can come in all shades of black, red, brown and yellow. Also brindle dogs occur. While dark masks are allowed according to breed standards, colors and patterns other than those mentioned are undesirable.
Boerboels live between 10 and 12 years.
The Boerboel is a very patient, affectionate, smart, trainable and loyal dog. His former use as a farm dog he owes characteristic features such as Fearlessness, courage, self-confidence and also a very strong protective instinct. He develops a very strong bond with his family, even to children, although you should never leave them alone with the dog. He also usually gets along well with cats.
Because of the close relationship with its caregivers, the Boerboel is extremely keen to protect them from any danger. Therefore, the dogs are extraordinarily attentive. To approach the family of a boerboel without the boerboel noticing is therefore practically impossible. The dog accepts strangers only if they are introduced to him and do not pose a threat. He orients himself strongly to the appearance and reaction of his caregivers to the unfamiliar person and reacts with strong protective behavior in the case of fearful or insecure behavior. One should generally always keep an eye on the Boerboel in the presence of strangers. Although he is very alert, but he is not aggressive. With other dogs, however, this is not so easy, because the Boerboels are hardly compatible with conspecifics.
Within the family, the Boerboel behaves very calm, patient and extraordinarily loyal. He is also very willing to learn and wants to please his people. Despite his attachment, the Boerboel also brings a certain independence, so that he can also manage well on his own.
With good training and appropriate husbandry, the Boerboel is a passionate family and companion dog and in any case an excellent guard dog.
First of all, it is very important to remember that the Boerboel is suitable only for experienced hands. Due to its size and its strong protective instinct, insufficient education and not species-appropriate keeping can comparatively quickly become a problem. This has led to delicate situations in the past in various countries, which is why the keeping of the dogs is sometimes prohibited or subject to strict conditions.
However, it is very important that no dog is born a dangerous dog, but is made so by people. The Boerboel has by nature a vigilant but also patient, peaceful and calm nature, so that with consistent, experienced and loving education no aggressive behavior occurs. A certain rigor and discipline are already extremely important in puppies.
The Boerboel recognizes like no other dog the mood of its people and orients itself to this. Therefore, it is indispensable that his mistress or master radiates self-confidence and calm, which the dog can then reflect. Insecurity and fear, on the other hand, can also be transferred to the boerboel, which should be avoided urgently.
In addition, because of its past as a working dog, the Boerboel needs sufficient physical exercise. Basically, regular walks are enough for him, although he is also very happy about longer walks. Even more important, however, is that he has his own territory, not too small, which he can guard and protect. The best place for this is a highly fenced garden or a large plot of land where he can live out his guard instinct. So a city apartment and occasional trips to parks are not enough for the demanding dog.
The Boerboels also feel most comfortable around their family.
You should also challenge your Boerboel mentally, for example, by constantly teaching and training new commands with this very smart and eager-to-learn dog. He is also always happy to participate in games with the family.
When feeding the boerboel, you should keep a few things in mind. On the one hand, it is recommended to use special food for large dogs. This contains less energy, which prevents dogs from growing too fast and gaining weight, which can stress the joints.
On the other hand, boerboels tend to eat very quickly and a lot at once. Therefore, you should rather give your dog several, smaller portions of food and not all at once. Also, make sure that he can rest after eating, otherwise it can lead to dangerous gastric torsion, especially in large dogs.
In addition, it is recommended to give your dog chews on a regular basis.
Because of his size, which allows him to easily reach tables and trays, you should never feed your dog from the table and show him not to beg or steal. After all, if he catches the wrong food, such as spicy food or sweets, this can quickly become dangerous.
The coat care, on the other hand, is not very complicated. The dogs’ shiny, short coats require little maintenance, so brushing them is less necessary and more of a pleasant spa treatment. You should rather not bathe your Boerboel, because the dogs have a natural protective layer in their fur, which can be attacked by shampoo. If your dog is wet or dirty after being outside, it is best to dry and clean him with a towel.
It’s best to also keep an eye on your dog’s ears, eyes, teeth and paws and clean them as needed. To avoid injuries, you should also trim his claws regularly.
The Boerboel is generally a very robust dog. His only vice, however, as with all large dogs, is joint disease such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Therefore, it is particularly important to pay attention to good breeding, to avoid heavy stress on the joints, especially in puppyhood, and to counteract too rapid growth with appropriate nutrition.
The name “Boerboel” is Afrikaans and translated means “farmer dog“. This is exactly the purpose for which the dogs were bred in their native South Africa. There they served mainly as house and yard dogs, protecting the land and the family.
The history of the breed probably goes back to the Dutchman Van Riebeek, who brought the Bullenbijter, an ancestor of the Boerboels, to South Africa in the 17th century, which was crossed with local breeds. Then, in the 18th century, crosses with British breeds, especially bulldog-like breeds, were also created, which can still be seen today in the visual appearance of the Boerboels.
A great influence has also the crossbreeding of various breeds of Mastiff, to which the dogs have great similarities to this day.
These mixtures eventually created a breed that is excellent for protecting and guarding the house and yard, as well as defending against any predators.
The Boerboel is a very demanding comrade, which must be educated with a lot of experience, consistency and patience. Because of his size and strong protective instincts, he can quickly become overwhelmed if not experienced enough. However, if you can provide him with a good upbringing, an opportunity to protect his family, as well as mutual trust, security and respect, you will gain a loyal, patient and affectionate companion.