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Boerboel Breed Fact Sheet

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Boerboel Breed Information

Group: Working

Energy Level: Moderate

Original Function: protection

Temperament & Characteristics: reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watch and guard-dog instincts, self-assured and fearless.

Recommended for: Experienced and knowledgable handlers. Not a Beginners Dog

Be Aware: This breed is has Recognition with the SABT, APRI, HBSA, EBBASA, RIBC, SMBA, USBA.
It is not a recognised breed in Australia with the ANKC.
Very few in Australia

Lifespan: about 10 years


Height: Dogs 25-28 inches (64-70 cm.)
Bitches 23-25.5 inches (59-65 cm.)

Weight: 154-200 pounds (70 and 90 kg.)

Colour: Yellow, tawny, reddish-brown, and all shades of brindle. We are looking for little to no white. White is accepted on chest, toes (should have black toenails) and a small stripe on muzzle. It will be considered a fault if anywhere on dog’s upper thighs or legs, back, or neck.

Coat: Short, Dense, and smooth.

General Appearance: The Boerboel is a large, mastiff type dog breed, strong dog, well balanced, with good muscle development and swift in movement. The dog should be impressive, and imposing. Male dogs appear noticeably masculine and bitches feminine



History and Background
Boerboel - a big farm dog of uncertain origins. This dictionary definition is now a thing of the past. The South African Boerboel is now a recognised "pure breed". Research has revealed that the ancestry of the Boerboel can be traced as far back as the time of Herodotus and to Tibet, Assyria and Babylon.

In Assyria the dogs were used as soldiers covered with reinforced material to protect them when Assurbanipal conquered Egypt. Later, Alexander the Great was responsible for taking them to Europe. Apparently in 326BC Alexander received a present of 156 of these large dogs that had been specially trained to fight lions and elephants.
Through the ages these dogs have developed into two definite strains, the mastiff which was mainly used for protection and as soldiers, and the hound which was used for hunting purposes. Both of these strains of dogs were large and strong typical working dogs, with only slight differences in appearance and build.
It is reputed that all dogs in the western world are descended from these two dog types. About 600 years ago, the Europeans started specialised breeding from these two basic dogs through fine selection and cross-breeding, the different breeds evolved.Some dogs were bred especially for hunting. Others had to retrieve the prey, guard and herd the livestock as well as many other uses they could be put to, however the basis for all of these dogs was still the original strong breed of the past.

When Jan Van Riebeeck came to the cape (modern day South Africa) in 1652 he brought his own dog along to protect him and his family in this wild unknown country. This dog was know as the "bullenbijter", a large heavy mastiff type dog. At this time, the original dog had been diversified and many of the western world countries had their own distinctive, specialised breed of dog.
The settlers who cam after Jan Van Riebeeck also brought along their strongest dogs to protect them against all the unknown dangers of this strange land. Thus dogs arrived from many different countries. As the pioneers moved further and further inland and settled in remote farms, the dogs were forcibly isolated and a lot of inbreeding took place which had the result that the characteristics of the original Assyrian dog started to reappear.

Survival was of the utmost importance and it was here that the hardiness of today's Boerboel was bred into the dog. There was not veterinary surgeon or medicines available for dogs and they had to look out for themselves to large extent.

During the groot trek, the Boerboel has most of the features that it has today and is clearly recognisable from old drawings. In the period after the trek, on the distant farms, the Boerboel inter-bred further and only the biggest and strongest dogs survived. His pioneer owners required him to be a friend to the family, a worker, provide protection and also to be a fighter. They could not afford to have a disobedient, moody, finicky, sickly dog. They had to be able to rely on him to protect the family, work, kill and fight.

At the turn of the century, the characteristics of the old original dog were clearly visible and the dog was generally known as the "Bole" The years that followed almost brought tragedy to the Boerboel.
Urbanisation caused cross-breeding with anything that could bark and the typical "Bole" started to disappear. It was only in the eighties that a serious search started again for the original farm dog.
A few people took the initiative and the South African Boerboel Breeders Association was formed. Their main aim was to let the original Boerboel take its rightful place as a South African dog among other dog breeds of the world.A search covering thousands of kilometres followed. Selective breeding started, many disappointments followed, but also immense joys too! At last the dog of our forefathers was ready to be registered as a pure breed.In the meantime the Breeders Association has grown to in excess of 500 members. They are widely spread throughout South Africa and Namibia. Each year in November they have a big get-together and people from all over converge at Kroonstad whereby dogs and people can look each other over.

In August 1980, the first country-wide selection tour was undertaken by Jannie Bouwer of Bedford and Lucas Van Der Merwe of Kroonstad. Lucas' wife Anneke also went along as secretary. A total of 5,550kms was covered 250 dogs were seen and only 72 were selected to be registered. The vision was taking shape.

The Character of the Boerboel
The Boerboel is the only breed in the world specifically bred to guard and protect and act as a watchdog. A cranky, temperamental dog that stays surly after being reprimanded is not a Boerboel. You should purchase a Boerboel for his even character - this was and always should be his main quality. Your Boerboel should qualify himself as your best friend. He should know what you are thinking, when you feel threatened, he should know when you approve or disapprove of a stranger and share your feeling. He should be able to recognise your fear. Any Boerboel owner should be able to confirm this. These traits should be recognisable from puppyhood.

If you allow him to attack, he will growl like a lion and fight ferociously without taking his own safety into account. No wonder Aristotle named his forefathers of these dogs: Leontix (sons of lions). The Romans also apparently believed that these dogs were obtained by crossing a dog and a lion. There are cases on record when a lone Boerboel time and again won the fight against a leopard! He is definitely a child's friend and playmate. He does not only accept one person as his master, but accepts the protection of the whole family as his duty and is affectionate to all of them.

Many a story has been told about a Boerboel spending hour after hour guarding a little baby in a pram. He feels the whole family belongs to him and his sole purpose is to protect them, with his life, if necessary.

Our forefathers required the following from their Boerboel:

During the day the dog must go to the veld with the children to guard the sheep. There, he should catch a hare for them to cook for lunch. He should also protect them against all danger that may threaten them. At night he should lie in front of the fire at home and protect the whole family against anything that may be lurking in the dark.

Grooming- easy to groom, an occasional brushing and a bath when need. This breed is an average shedder.

Exercise- The Boerboel will get a lot exercise if they have a large yard to run and play. However they need to be taken on a long daily walk. Boerboel love to play and would love a good game of ball.

Health- Due to natural selection the Boerboel is a very healthy breed.
For Diet and other general dog health information Health/Nutrition


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