Ask The Dog Guide: Question about South African Boerboels

January 27th, 2009 by Dan

You provide a very interesting site with a lot of useful information. However, I couldn’t find anything on the Boerboel. I find plenty of good comments on this breed but always from breeders, who
aren’t unpartial. After the death of my old dog from cancer on january 5th, I’m now preparing for a new dog, but I really need objective information. Thanks for considering my mail.


I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your old friend. It’s a great thing that you are thoroughly researching the South African Boerboel before getting your heart set on this breed. As a mastiff owner myself, it took me a while to settle on which type to own and I did consider a Boerboel.

Photo by Wiard Gorter | Unitedlight Photography

South African Boerboels are a giant breed (ranging from 150-200 lbs) of molosser that was bred in South Africa to guard homes and property. Breeders aimed to make the ultimate watchdog with this breed and have succeeded. The Boerboel is a master at guarding his family and his territory. However this dominant breed is not a good choice for novice owners or those who feel they can’t handle, train and properly socialize a very powerful dog. Due to its protective nature care must be taken when introducing guests to a Boerboel, as they may be mistaken for intruders. Early socialization with many people and other animals can aid in preventing aggressive tendencies. With their families, this breed is playful and extremely loyal. They are known to be gentle with “their” children, but can knock over a toddler easily given their large size. They are athletic and require a long daily walk as well as room to romp. Boerboels require tough toys, as they will most likely destroy anything that isn’t durable. They often like to participate in games of fetch.

Photo by Kingsgurl

When you are researching breeders make sure that the parents of their pups have their hips tested (OFA or PennHip). Breeders should be active in showing their dogs and ideally have a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title on their dogs. Ask to socialize with their adult dogs to get a better idea of the temperaments within their lines. Other athletic giant breeds to consider: The Bullmastiff and The Cane Corso
Good Luck!

4 Responses to “Ask The Dog Guide: Question about South African Boerboels”

  1. sleepy dog Says:

    why do you need to check the parents’ hips again? Is hip dysplasia hereditary?

  2. Dan Says:

    The answer is, somewhat – If one of the parents has hip dysplasia, then the puppies are at a greater risk for developing the condition.

    It is debated among researchers weather genetics play the primary role with this issue, as feeding and activity can also contribute to the problem. However, it is commonly fair to say that if no dogs within a line have hip dysplasia, a puppy born of the line will not develop the disease. On the other hand, if the line contains dysplastic dogs, it is more likely that the puppy will develop the same issue. This is why careful, selective breeding is needed. Responsible breeders understand that genetic testing is not an option.

  3. CGC Comic Books Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  4. Alan Says:

    Actually, the Boerboel’s max weight ranges from 110 (f) to 160 pounds (m)according to the standard of the breed. Large females top out at 130-40. Males do not reach 200 pounds except on rare occasions and these dogs should not be bred. Dogs of this size usually contain another breed such as a St. Bernard.

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