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AKC Meet the Breeds®

The Boerboel is a large dog that is strong, confident and muscular with a distinctive, blocky head. Despite its size, it is the most agile of the mastiff-type breeds. The word Boerboel means "Farm Dog" and it serves as a capable working dog as well as a loyal companion in its home country of South Africa. The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under his fur, as well as the roof of his mouth, which protects against heat and sun. The coat is short, dense coat can be brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown or tawny.

A Look Back

Jan van Riebeeck went to the Cape of South Africa in 1652 and brought his own dog along to protect his family in the wild and unknown country. This dog was known as a "Bullenbitjer," a large, heavy Mastiff-type dog. This dog bred with the indigenous, domestic dogs of South Africa, eventually creating the Boerboel we know today. In addition to their farm work, these dogs were often the first line of defense against predators and were valuable in tracking and holding down wounded game.

Right Breed for You?

The Boerboel is an intelligent dog with strong protective instincts and a willingness to please. When approached, the breed is calm and confident, and at times, aloof, but it loves its family. Early socialization and obedience training as well as daily exercise are important for this larger breed, but grooming needs are minimal. It is not the dog for the first-time owner. Potential owners should work with a reputable breeder when adding a Boerboel to the family.

If you are considering purchasing a Boerboel puppy, learn more here.

  • Working Group; AKC recognized in 2015.
  • Ranging in size from 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • General farm dog; guardian.

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