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Boerboel Breed Summary

Confident, Intelligent, Protective, Alert and Out-Going

The history of the Boerboel remains a little blurred, but it's thought that they probably came about when settlers from some European countries, including Holland, France, England and Germany, took their dogs over with them to South Africa where they mated with local doggies. Additionally, DeBeers, a very large diamond mining company, bought over their Bullmastiff dogs to guard their mines and it's thought that they may have also been used in the development of the Boerboel during the 1900's. This is no surprise due to the fact that the breeds name translates to 'farmer's Mastiff' in Afrikaans. They were bred to be large in size so that they could scare off any potential thieves. They were also extremely strong and robust. Even now, they remain a very popular choice of watchdog in their native country of South Africa but also as family pets. They've even gained a small fan base in the UK!

Kennel Club Group N/A
Lifespan 9 - 11 years
Height (at the withers) 23 - 28 inches
Weight 68 - 90 kg
Coat Short, dense and sleek
Colour Tan and Fawn
Eye colour Amber and Brown
Common health issues Hip Dysplasia
Other Names African Boerboel, South African Boerboel, South African Mastiff

These doggies are extremely confident and out-going, well-known for showing little to no fear in any situation, no matter what it may be! So, it's no surprise that they are highly prized in their native country, often discussed as being wired differently to other dogs. They are very intelligent so training is a fairly easy task however, in order for them to mature into well-rounded dogs, they must have plenty of socialisation. These doggies are very trustworthy which is what makes them so different to other breeds and they will always strive to protect their families from potential danger, making them fantastic doggies to live with.

The name Boerboel is believed to have come about because “boer” is Afrikaans for the farmer, and “bul” is big. In other words, the name simply stands for farm dog. While a lot is not known about the early origins of this breed, they are believed to have developed from dogs that the British, French and Dutch settlers brought with them to South Africa. Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck was confirmed to have bought a bullenbijter to the Cape (this dog is similar to a Mastiff type of dog) and with the arrival of more settlers in 1820 they brought the Bulldog and the Mastiff, along with other dogs.

The De Beer mining company imported a Bullmastiff to guard the diamond mines in 1938, and it is acknowledged that they purchased a champion from the Hottentots, who played a part in the development of the Boerboel. The Boer dogs as they were known, were spread out by the Voortrekkers during the Great Trek and the breeding continued with them during this time. The records state that after the Anglo Boer War of 1902 the Boer dogs were cross bred with the English long-legged Bulldog and the Bullmastiff in the 1950s. In Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) the  Boerboels were very popular with the settlers. Because South Africa shares a border with the Zimbabwe state, the dogs became widespread as people moved back and forth.