There is a certain sleek simplicity to the Boerboel. This large powerhouse has a drive to protect his family and home. Originally bred to protect distant homesteads in South Africa, these dogs have not changed much since, and their innate sense of duty makes them excellent working dogs and loyal companions. From its thickly-muscled body to its watchful eyes and large jaw, the Boerboel makes an impressive and tough addition to the family. Read on to learn more about the Boerboel.

Description of the Boerboel

Part of the molosser family, the Boerboel has all the makings of a true guard dog. From its large, blocky head, strong jaw, and powerfully-muscled body these dogs are up to almost any task.

Their working blood means they can withstand long days and, as one of the largest mastiff breeds around, they can do more than almost any other dog. Athletic and quite agile, despite its large size, the Boerboel is the picture of strength and power. This dog’s well-proportioned body makes it quick, while maintaining the endurance of a horse.

The calm and even-keeled nature of the Boerboel is still an important quality in the breed today. They are an attentive and intelligent breed that is great with families and kids.

These dogs have a short, dense, and soft coat. Their skin is thick and loose but hangs close to their bodies. This breed is most often brown, red or fawn but can have patches of white. Many have black masks on their face, but not all do.

Life Expectancy and Size

This big breed is a hardy dog that lives an average of 9 – 11 years. They are rugged and durable but always be prepared for potential health problems that could impact the length of their life.

Working with a reputable breeder who screens for potential health problems can help prepare you for future issues.

The Boerboel is a solid dog that can be a looming presence. With males standing 24 – 27 inches tall, and females 22 – 24 inches tall, these dogs can weigh anywhere from 150 – 200 pounds. They are not your average lap dogs, but still love to be affectionate and close with their families, despite them being the size of an adult human!

Protective Ability

Protecting is the purpose of this breed. The Boerboel has an instinct to guard his family and home. Calm and reserved, these dogs do not act unless provoked, but you can rest assured knowing you are in good hands with this immense shield. They are fiercely loyal, and will do anything for their families. Expect to always be watched over by your Boerboel, he can’t help it, it’s in his blood!


Intelligent and confident, the Boerboel can begin training quite early. As puppies they are like sponges and will soak up whatever you teach them. The most important thing is consistency. You cannot teach your Boerboel one thing and not follow through. These dogs like structure, and the same goes for their training. Providing them with patient, consistent, and positive training is a must.

These dogs respond well to treats. Using them is a great way to make training more fun and effective.

The Boerboel needs lots of consistent training and requires a constant role in the family. This means that a more experienced owner is probably a better choice for this breed.

Socializing your Boerboel early is essential. Because of their natural protective instincts it is important to expose them to many different dogs, people, and situations. This will make sure your dog is calm and collected in many situations because he already has experience.

Energy Level

The Boerboel is a natural working dog, and so they are accustomed to long days. They love to play with their families, and need this bonding and mental stimulation to be happy. While they need lots of daily exercise, these dogs are quite cool and calm. They can be very playful but their sense of duty means they are always keeping a watchful eye out for any trouble.

What Living with a Boerboel is Like

This is a tough and loyal breed.

Family comes first for these committed dogs. Their innate sense of responsibility makes them an excellent watch and guard dog, but their sweet and gentle nature with their family also means they are perfect for kids.

Being a part of the family is essential for this breed. It is important to understand this before getting a Boerboel and make sure you are ready to add a new family member that is just as important as any other. This means that you’ll need to be prepared to have a very large dog with the family inside your home!

Care of the Boerboel

This dog needs a home where he is a part of the family and also where he can move around. These big dogs need lots of space so be sure they can have access to many opportunities for activity.

Environmental Needs

This breed does not have many specific environmental needs. They are tough and athletic, able to flourish in many climates. Because of their thin coats they can tolerate heat a bit better than cold. Don’t let your Boerboel stay outside too long in winter conditions, but romping around in the snow for a while is fine, and a good way for them to be active.

Exercise Needs

As a working a working dog, the Boerboel has lots of stamina and needs plenty of daily exercise to stay fit and happy. Long walks and playtime in the backyard are a good way to get your dog moving and bond with them.

Because of their protective nature, dog parks are not the best choice for this breed, as they may perceive other dogs as a threat. Keeping this breed on leash is also important to keep them and others safe.

With their strength and intelligence the Boerboel is a great dog for various dog sports like agility, and weight pull.

Shedding and Grooming

The dense, short, and silky coat of the Boerboel needs weekly brushing to stay shiny and healthy. This also keeps loose hairs from floating around. Bathing is only occasionally needed. Too many baths can lead to irritated skin.

This breed sheds some, but not heavily.

Check your dog’s ears weekly to make sure they are clean and have their nails trimmed regularly to keep them from having discomfort when walking.

Ideal Home Environment

This strong and smart breed does best in a home with experienced owners. Their protective instincts mean they make a great guard dog and their sweet nature makes them great with kids. These dogs can do well with other household pets if raised together but can be wary and unsure of other animals and usually do best as the only dog of the household.

Health Concerns

The Boerboel is a generally healthy breed, but can encounter some health problems over his lifetime. Responsible breeders will screen for the breed’s potential health concerns. The most common are hip and elbow dysplasia and heart disease.

Other issues are eyelid disorders, ear infections, and oral diseases. Regular checkups can help ensure a healthy dog.

Behavior Problems

This Boerboel’s number one duty is to family, so he does not do well if excluded. Lots of daily interaction is essential to this breed’s happiness. If left out they can become destructive and miserable.

The Boerboel is also naturally protective and can be defensive around other dogs. Early socialization is critical to teach them how to interact with other animals and people.