South African Boerboel

Type: Mastiff

Height: Males: 25 - 28 inches; Female 23 - 25.5 inches.

Weight: 154 - 200 lbs.

Life Span: 7 - 10 years.

Litter Size: 6 - 10 puppies.

Country of Origin: South Africa

Activity: Medium

Watch-dog: High

Guard-dog: Very High. This breed is very aggressive to strangers outside, unless they have been

Description: With a name in Afrikaans meaning "farmer dog", the South African Boerboel doesn't sound like the massive, protective Mastiff that it is. They have thick, stocky bodies that are brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown and tawny colored with a black mask and ears. South African Boerboel's are of Mastiff stock, large animals, and act like the typical Mastiff. They are protective of their family, but can be discerning as to whether a stranger is a threat or not. They like to be with their people, and are friendly and affectionate to their own. South African Boerboels originate from a tough and dangerous land, which has worked to their advantage to create a truly tough and sturdy dog. South African Boerboels are strong, intelligent, and territorial. They are protective of their families, and are thought to have been used to defend against leopards. Although they can be confident and dominant, the South African Boerboel needs human companionship throughout the day. They are not good to leave alone, and they may resort to destructive instincts if this is done. Said to have a sixth sense about people, this breed can distinguish a threat from a friend.

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Other Names: South African Mastiff, Boerboel

Colors: Fawn, yellow, brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown and tawny. Often they have a black mask and possibly some white on the legs, chest, head and neck.

Coat: Short, dense and sleek.

Temperament: South African Boerboels are protective, territorial, and judging of strangers. They are aggressive towards people walking by on the street, and should be confined constantly unless on leash and trained. The South African Boerboel is, however, very friendly and affectionate with its owners. It loves to be around people and hates to be alone. If left alone for a long period of time, this breed may become destructive. They are surprisingly gentle with children they know, and will even give them rides on their backs! The Boerboel is obedient, intelligent and self assured. They can be rather dominant and need a dominant owner. They are surprisingly good with other pets including cats and other dogs.

With Children: Yes, gentle and very good with children it knows.

With Pets: Yes, gets along with other pets.

Special Skills: Guardian and pet.

Care and Training: The South African Boerboel needs little maintenance compared to other breeds. The fur is short and needs little grooming, but brushing every once in a while is sufficient. They can also get their exercise from playing in their own backyard. They love to play with balls, and love to go walking as well. Either solution is good exercise for the Boerboel. Be sure to check the nails, ears and teeth periodically.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. They can be obedient, but can also be dominating. Problem Solving - Medium.

Special Needs: Fenced yard, leash, training, and socialization.

Living Environment: The South African Boerboel can live in an apartment, but it is not suggested. They need lots of space to run and play for exercise, such as in a yard that is fenced in. This breed also needs to be kept safely from strangers, as they are very territorial. The South African Boerboel would do best with a mastiff-experienced owner who is dominant, living in a suburban or rural environment.

Health Issues: This breed is relatively healthy and has no health issues specific to this breed.

History: Assyrian dogs have spread out to the rest of the world, including Africa, since the conquering of Egypt by Assurbanipal. They were further spread to Europe by Alexander the Great. Over the centuries, these Assyrian dogs eventually developed into two categories of dog: hound and mastiff. The Mastiffs were used mainly for protection and guards, while the Hounds were mainly used for hunting. Of these, a mastiff-type breed made its way to South Africa. When Jan van Riebeeck landed on the Cape of South Africa, he brought with him his protective dog, called a Bullenbitjer. These dogs were big, heavy dogs that largely resembled mastiffs. Riebeeck landed on the Cape in 1652, but many other of these types of dogs are thought to have arrived on the continent from many other countries around 1820. These breeds had to be tough to survive the dangers of South Africa, there was no place for a stubborn, weak or ill dog. Due to survival of the fittest, the African Boerboel was developed through these tough mastiff dogs. The history of this breed is rather clouded, so there is no certainty in which dogs bred with which. Many were used to guard diamonds at Africa's diamond mines. The breed is also said to have the blood of the dogs of the Hottentots in them. During the Groot Trek, or Great Trek, Voortrekkers and Boere (as the Dutch were called), were scattered about in the land, thus scattering their dogs as well. By the Second Boer War in 1902, the breed had been developed to become very tough to withstand all of the trials of the time. They have been depicted in paintings and drawings from the time period. In the 1950s, the breed was bred with long-legged English Bulldogs and Bull Mastiffs. Today the breed is rare and relatively unknown. It has only recently been placed on the AKC Foundation Stock Service list in 2006.

First Registered by the AKC: 2015

AKC Group: Working Group

Class: Working