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Species group:

Other name(s): South African Mastiff; South African Boerboel

The basics:
The Boerboel, or South African Mastiff, may be a new breed recognized in 2015 by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but this powerful farm dog has an extensive history in its native South Africa according to the South African Boerboel Breeders Association. (Indeed, its name literally means "farmer's dog" in Afrikaans.) With mastiff and bulldog in its background, this working breed was developed to protect people and livestock on isolated farms and ranches. Because it's highly territorial, the dog is not a good fit for every household or neighborhood. The AKC strongly advises potential owners only to consider the Boerboel after they have gained experience working with another large breed.

Appearance / health:
The Boerboel is a typical mastiff: large, strong, and muscular. With a well-proportioned body, it looks impressive and imposing. The head is short, broad, deep, square, and muscular with a short muzzle and black nose. The eyes are broad and horizontally set; the V-shaped ears are set high at the back of the head and usually drooping. The neck is broad, strong, and muscular. The tail is set high and generally docked; however, long tails are also seen.

The Boerboel is an average shedder. Maintenance is easy and an occasional brushing and a monthly bath helps to keep the dog clean.

They require daily exercise in the form of walks and play sessions.

The Boerboel is generally a very healthy breed. However, the breed does suffer occasionally from common canine diseases including distemper (bad cold with a fever caused by a virus attack), hepatitis (liver disorder), leptospirosis (fatal liver disorder), parvovirus (intestinal disorder caused by a virus attack), bordetella (respiratory disorder leading to coughing), and Lyme's disease (a disease caused by ticks leading to chronic arthritis). Some of the other common diseases found to trouble the breed include rabies (disease that attacks nerve tissues, resulting in paralysis and death), diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.

Behavior / temperament:
Boerboels make an excellent guard dog, as their protective instincts are quite strong. They require a dominant owner who has the time for socialization and training. When kept alone for long periods, they may indulge in destructive habits such as barking and chewing simply out of boredom.

The Boerboel responds best to firm, consistent obedience training. Dogs of this breed respond well to praise.

The breed is not very noisy by nature. It seldom barks.

Is a Boerboel right for you?

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What owners are saying about Boerboel health

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What owners are saying about Boerboel behavior and training

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Life of "Jack Daniels"

We selected Jack from a litter of pups, all paws and happy puppy energy! He was the cutest looking dog amongst the litter, and we were adamant we wanted a male dog! On the way home my son and I debated on his name. There was a massive storm brewing at that time, and I thought ...

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