African Boerboel Dog Breed

By: Chewy EditorialPublished: Updated:


African Boerboel Dog Breed

About the African Boerboel Dog Breed

The African Boerboel is a large, athletic dog breed with a strong watch dog instinct and strong yet manageable personality. A mastiff-type breed, the Boerboel originated in South Africa as a farm dog. In fact, the word “Boerboel” means farm dog.

African Boerboel Physical Characteristics

Like other mastiff-type dog breeds, the African Boerboel is big and muscular from forequarters to hindquarters. His head is short and broad with high and wide ear flaps. Some African Boerboels have black masks on their face, while others do not.


The African Boerboel can often be seen in brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown or tawny. The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under her fur, as well as the roof of his mouth, according to the AKC.


The coat of the African Boerboel is short and sleek with dense hair.

African Boerboel Personality and Temperament

The African Boerboel is an intelligent, reliable and self-confident dog breed with strong protective instincts.

Activity Level

Medium to High


African Boerboels typically interact well with children, especially if they share a home with the kids. However, it’s important that the entire family (including the kids) take part in dog training exercises. Additionally, children should be taught to respect and treat the dog with respect.

Things to Consider

Early socialization of the African Boerboel is a must. This is because, like other dog breeds, the African Boerboel is much more adaptable and easier to train during puppyhood.  Often the best way to teach an African Boerboel proper dog etiquette is by having him socialize with even-tempered and well-socialized older dogs.

The American Boerboel Club also says that the Boerboel is not really suited for dog parks.

African Boerboel Care

Ideal Living Conditions

Due to the emotional nature of their bond, African Boerboels fare best living as part of the family. According to the International South African Boerboel Breeders Association (SABBA), the African Boerboel can become bored and depressed and will likely indulge in undesirable or destructive behavior if left outdoors exclusively and away from people.

Special Requirements

Careful consideration should be given to selecting the gender of a African Boerboel, according to the American Boerboel Club. “If a dominant dog is already in residence, choosing a pup of opposite gender is far more likely to lead to a peaceful household as the Boerboel matures.”

African Boerboel Health

The general health of the African Boerboel is of a high standard, according to the SABBA.

African Boerboel History and Background

The origins of the African Boerboel are believed to begin with a man named Jan van Riebeeck, who went to the Cape of South Africa in 1652 with a large, heavy Mastiff-type dog known as a “Bullenbitjer.” Many other European Settlers also brought their own bull breeds, and they soon began mixing with the indigenous dogs found living with the African tribes.

By the time of the Groot (or Great) Trek, an eastward or north-eastward migration away from British control in the Cape Colony during the 1830s and ’40s by Dutch speaking colonists, the African Boerboel had already established most of the features that the dog breed is most recognized for today.

In 1990 the Boerboel breed, according to the AKC, was in danger of being lost and a group of fanciers (later to become the South African Boerboel Breeders’ Association or SABT) started scouring South Africa for eligible dogs to use as a breeding base. Of the hundreds found, 72 were evaluated and registered.

By: Chewy Editorial



By: Chewy EditorialPublished: Updated:

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