Breed Facts

Country of Origin: South Africa

Height: Males 25-28 in (63.5-71 cm) / females 23-25.5 in (58.5-65 cm) [est.]

Weight: 154-200 lb (70-90.5 kg) [est.]

Coat: Short, dense, sleek [est.]

Colors: Brindle, brown, red-brown, red, fawn, yellow-cream, black; may have white markings; may have mask [est.]

Other Names: South African Boerboel; South African Mastiff

Registries (With Group): AKC (Miscellaneous)

History and Personality

Dutch settlers in South Africa brought large, strong dogs with them from the 1600s on, and the dogs most likely to survive the demanding circumstances were strong, hardy, loyal, versatile, and adaptable. The families had to rely on these multipurpose working dogs to protect the homestead from a variety of dangers. Isolated from the rest of the world, the dogs eventually interbred, and the Boerboel (literally, "farmer's dog") type was established.

This large, steadfast, intelligent working dog is loving and affectionate while possessing the courage and self-confidence to protect his family to the death. He needs human companionship and will automatically bond to his family; he should not be kept solitary and isolated from them. Socialization as early as possible to a variety of people and situations is essential in raising a large, protective dog like the Boerboel.

Exercise, Training, Grooming, and Health
  • The Boerboel's exercise needs are moderate; care should be taken with puppies and young dogs, so that they do not overstress growing bones.
  • He needs a firm but fair leader able to handle his dominant tendencies and should be taught his basic obedience commands as early as possible. Training should be ongoing throughout his life.
  • His short coat requires very minimal grooming; brushing every two weeks should suffice. He drools, so attention should be paid to keeping his mouth area clean.
  • Average life span is about 12 years. Breed health concerns may include bloat; ectropion; elbow dysplasia; entropion; and hip dysplasia.


Gallery of Boerboel