Boerboel Dog Breed Profile

by Luke Blaise

Breeds Not AKC Approved

The Boerboel dog is a large mastiff dog breed that was developed in South Africa. The term "Boerboel" comes from "boer", the Afrikaans/Dutch term for "farmer."It's a very friendly dog, that can make a great family dog.


The Boerboel, the sole South African dog to protect the homestead, carries a long background of breeding in South Africa. Regardless of this long background of breeding, there's now uncertainness as to the number of and which breeds it had been bred from.

Probably the most likely roots started when Jan van Riebeeck came to the Cape in the year 1652 and brought mastiffs along. Van Riebeeck delivered a Bullenbijter with him. Some others with him also had strong, large dogs, and it's believed that the breeds introduced by British, Dutch and French settlers were bred with native breeds of local African dogs to generate the Boerboel.

Subsequently, in 1928, diamonds mining firm De Beers brought in Bull Mastiffs to South Africa to protect the mines. This dog has also been crossbred with Boerboels in the area.

Physical Features

The Boerboel is a heavy, large mastiff breed. The height varies from 23 to 27 inches when completely developed, and the weight of the mature varies between 50 to 80 kilograms. To compare, a Boerboel usually is bigger than a Doberman or a Rottweiler. The coat is dense, shiny, short and smooth. The accepted colors/color patterns are: shades of brown, red and yellow.


The dog is intelligent, manageable and trainable. Has a strong defensive instinct and is devoted to family members. He is calm and steadfast, with a confident and balanced nature when greeted. Is fearless and displays bravery when in danger. The dog needs training and strong managing from a young age.

Common Health Problems

The Boerboel dogs are usually renowned for their good health. Nevertheless, Boerboels can have problems with elbow and hip dysplasia, entropion, and vaginal hyperplasia.

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