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When Assurbanipal conquered Egypt, Assyrian dogs were also taken along and thus they were spread further into the known world. Later Alexander the Great was responsible for spreading them to Europe. Through the ages these dogs developed into two definite strains, the mastiff, which is mainly used for protection and as soldiers, and the hound, which was used for hunting purposes. Both these dogs were large and strong and typical working dogs, with only slight differences in appearance and build.

When Jan van Riebeeck went to the Cape of South Africa in 1652, he brought his own dog along to protect him and his family in this wild and unknown country. This dog was known as a "Bullenbitjer", a large, heavy Mastiff-type dog. These dogs arrived here from many different countries. Survival was of the utmost importance and it was here that the hardiness of today's Boerboel was bred into the dog. There was no veterinary services or medicines available for dogs and they had to look out for themselves. During the Groot Trek the Boerboel had most of the features that it has today and is recognizable from old drawings. In that period after the Trek, the Boerboel interbred further and only the biggest and strongest dogs survived. His owner required him to be versatile, a friend of the family, a worker, and protector. In short, an all purpose utilitarian farm dog in a wild an untamed land. The disobedient, moody, finicky, and sickly dog had no place in this land or time.

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