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Breed Group: Guardian

For full breed standards, visit American Kennel Club

Average height: 56 - 71 cms (222 - 28 in)

Average Weight: 68 - 90 kgs (150 - 200 lbs)

Coat Length: Short

Life Span: 9 - 12 years

Colours: Brown, Red, Fawn, Brindle


The Boerboel, a majestic and powerful breed, is a true guardian by nature, whose history is deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of South Africa's past. This formidable breed originated from the need to protect homesteads from dangerous wildlife and to provide loyal companionship to farmers and their families. The origins of the Boerboel are believed to date back to the 17th century, when the Dutch, French, and British settlers brought their European dogs to the Cape of Good Hope. These dogs were large, strong, and robust; bred to guard, hunt, and work. They were mixed with the indigenous African breeds, resulting in the creation of the Boerboel, or 'farmer's dog' in Afrikaans. This blend of European mastiffs and local dogs was engineered for the rugged and challenging landscape of South Africa, designed to be versatile, resilient, and formidable.

The Boerboel's history is a testament to its role as a protector and companion. They were tasked with guarding the homesteads against predators such as lions and hyenas, and as such, they developed a keen sense of territory and an unyielding bravery. Their loyalty and protective instincts made them invaluable to their human families. Over generations, these dogs were refined and honed into the breed known today.

In modern times, the breed has gained recognition worldwide, not just for its protective abilities but also for its intelligence, loyalty, and robust health.


Using the L.E.G.S.¬ģ model, our breed descriptions offer insights into typical behavior based on Genetics, Learning, Environment, and Self.¬†

Knowing¬†the¬†sort of 'job' a breed was¬†created¬†for can offer valuable insights into the type of life¬†dogs of that¬†breed would most enjoy. But bear in mind, they are all individuals, treat the following as an¬†indication of breed tendencies ‚Äď not a prediction.


minimal <> considerable


minimal <> likely to need professional grooming


relatively quiet <> very vocal

Predatory behaviour around other pets/livestock


Response to strangers

happy to greet everyone <> very wary

Affectionate with family

not at all<>very cuddly


serious<>very playful

Focus on handler (bond)

independent thinker<>very biddable


very calm<>easily aroused


laid back<>obsessive

Easy to care for

suitable for inexperienced<>challenging

Exercise needs

minimal<>hours daily

Off-lead exercise needs

happy on lead<>needs plenty of freedom

Enrichment needs

basic<>needs challenges


  • Boerboel's tend to have a confident and calm demeanour

  • Intelligent dogs, they respond well to training for a variety of activities

  • They are affectionate and enjoy spending time with their human family members


  • The need clear guidance¬†from¬†an owner who understands the breed

  • They are very large dogs with a great deal of energy

  • They can be overprotective


Bringing a Boerboel puppy into your home is an adventure filled with challenges as well as joys. These robust puppies grow quickly, displaying a curious and spirited nature from a young age. Early socialization and consistent training are crucial for Boerboel puppies, helping them develop into well-behaved and confident adults. They will exhibit strong protective instincts, even at a young age, so it's important to give them patient, consistent guidance. Your Boerboel puppy will need structured training sessions, plenty of exercise, and a lot of love. By setting clear boundaries, you'll help your puppy grow into a loyal, protective, and affectionate member of your family.


  • Ensuring your Boerboel is well-socialised and able to handle a variety of situations¬†calmly
  • Addressing any signs of excessive guarding or aggression toward strangers or other animals


Understanding and respecting the Boerboel's protective nature while providing consistent leadership and boundaries are crucial. Emphasize positive reinforcement training techniques and ensure your Boerboel is part of the family, with plenty of interaction and mental stimulation.


Raising a Boerboel requires a commitment to training and socialization. From puppyhood, introduce your Boerboel to a variety of people, animals, and environments to foster a well-rounded temperament. Consistent, positive training sessions will help your Boerboel understand your expectations and boundaries. As they grow, continue to challenge them with new tasks and training opportunities to keep their minds active and engaged.


The ideal lifestyle for a Boerboel includes a home with a securely fenced yard where they can exercise freely. They thrive in a family environment where they can participate in daily activities and have a clear role. Regular walks, play sessions, and training exercises are essential to meet their physical and mental needs. Boerboels benefit from a consistent routine and a strong bond with their owner, which can be fostered through shared activities such as hiking, training, or simple companionship.


Boerboels enjoy activities that allow them to use their strength and intelligence. Engaging them in weight-pulling, tracking, or agility can provide an outlet for their energy. They may also enjoy participating in protection sports or obedience competitions, which align with their historical roles as guardians. Interactive play, such as tug-of-war or fetch with durable toys, can also be a great way to bond with your Boerboel and keep them physically active.



Training goals for a Boerboel should focus on obedience, socialization, and impulse control..