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Kathryn Copeland

Boerboel outdoors

Height: 22–27 inches
Weight: 150–200 pounds
Lifespan: 9–11 years
Colors: Brindle, brown, cream, red, reddish-brown, tawny
Suitable for: Active families, experienced dog owners, house with a yard
Temperament: Calm, protective, confident, intelligent, loyal

The Boerboel is a mastiff breed that had its origins in South Africa in the 17th century. The name “Boer” was given to the Dutch/German settlers in South Africa who brought large dogs to help hunt game and protect their families. After breeding and interbreeding over the years, these large dogs became the Boerboel (translates to “farmer’s dog”), guarding their owner’s territory against the very imposing African wildlife.

Boerboels are large, strong, and muscular dogs with short, thick coats. These dogs come in several colors such as red, cream, brindle, brown, and tawny and can sport white markings and have a black mask. The Boerboel can also be piebald or Irish-marked.


Boerboel Puppies – Before You Buy…


The Boerboel requires a fair amount of exercise but is generally a calm and very healthy dog. They are somewhat easy to train thanks to their devotion and intelligence. Boerboels are not the most social dogs, and while they love spending time with their families, they are quite wary of strangers.

What’s the Price of Boerboel Puppies?

Boerboel puppies might range in price from $1,200 to $3,200 or possibly more. Always look for a breeder that is responsible and reputable, and be sure to avoid puppy mills.

When you do find a breeder, use the following tips:

  1. Meet the breeder in person: It’s best to go to the breeder’s location before investing in a puppy. This way, you can check the dog’s living quarters and the puppies in person. Is everything well-kept and clean? Are the animals all happy and healthy? What kind of relationship do they have with the breeder? If visiting in person isn’t in the cards, ask to meet with video chat.
  2. Medical background: A good breeder will willingly provide you with their dog’s medical history and will be open about any health issues that might be present.
  3. Meet the parents: If you want any insight into how your puppy might turn out when she grows up, it’s a great idea to meet her parents. This will give you some comprehension of your puppy’s temperament and physical appearance as she gets older.
  4. Ask questions: Ask the breeder as many questions as you feel are necessary. An excellent breeder will have no problem answering all of them.

Once you’ve brought your puppy home, however, there are additional costs to consider.

Some of the items necessary for a new puppy will include:
  • Puppy food
  • Food and water dishes
  • Treats
  • Puppy training pads
  • Toys for chewing and playing
  • Collar, leash, and harness
  • Bedding and crate
Other expenses that might be required include:
  • Spaying or neutering surgery
  • Vaccinations
  • Veterinarian appointments
  • Grooming
  • Obedience/training classes
  • Microchipping

You could also think about adopting a puppy or adult dog through a rescue organization, in which you can expect to pay around a $300 adoption fee. Adopting a rescue dog is probably one of the most rewarding acts you will ever do as you’ll give a dog a chance at a happier life. Many rescue groups will also waive or lower the adoption fee if you take home a special needs or senior dog.


3 Little-Known Facts About Boerboel

1. The Boerboel Has Dark Skin

Regardless of the color of the Boerboel’s fur, they have dark skin that is thought to help protect them from the African sun.

2. The Boerboel Guarded Against African Wildlife

The massive size and strength of Boerboels, in addition to their steadfast courage, made them perfect guard dogs against baboons and even leopards.

3. The Boerboel Needs An Experienced Owner

The size, strength, and personality of these dogs will need someone who has experience training and dealing with a dog that is highly territorial and protective.

Image Credit: Asonia, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Boerboel

Boerboels are very devoted and protective of their families and territory and need a firm but gentle hand to guide them. They make fantastic watchdogs and guard dogs because of their temperament, and they are quite wary of strangers.

Boerboels are highly intelligent and are exceptionally devoted to their families. So much so that they need to be an essential part of the family in order to flourish. Boerboels are calm, loyal, and confident dogs that might try to run things themselves unless they have an owner who is firm, confident, patient, and, of course, loving.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Boerboel makes an excellent family pet but would do best in a home with older children. Their loving and protective nature makes them an integral part of the family, but they shouldn’t be left alone with young children due in part to their large size. Children need to be educated to respect all dogs.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Boerboels need a lot of early socialization and introductions to family pets while young. They will treat any family pet as a part of the family, particularly when they feel protective. However, it would be better to opt for the opposite sex if you have any other dogs to prevent same-sex aggression. It’s also recommended to avoid dog parks with your Boerboel to avoid any challenges with other dogs.


Things to Know When Owning a Boerboel:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

You should feed your Boerboel a diet that’s appropriate for her size, age, and activity level, and it should be a high-quality food. Keep an eye on how much food and treats you give your dog every day. It’s usually best to follow the guidelines on the back of the food bag when determining the right amount of food you should be giving your dog. And consult with your vet if you’re ever concerned about your Boerboel’s weight or overall health.

young boerboel
Image Credit: Leoniek van der Vliet, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

While the Boerboel is very calm and easygoing, she requires long walks and playtime every day. Because of their size, dog parks aren’t recommended. A house with a yard that will help them get their required exercise might be necessary. Boerboels should never be taken out without a leash because of their protective nature.

Training 🎾

Boerboels are relatively easy to train because of their devotion and intelligence, and training should start at a young age. Because Boerboel puppies are docile and passive, don’t take this as a sign that they will grow up into manageable and obedient adults. Training must be consistent well into adulthood. Enroll your Boerboel into obedience classes and ensure you socialize your pup as often as possible.

Grooming ✂️

The Boerboel has a thick and short coat that will need brushing about once a week with a hound glove, a rubber grooming mitt, or a soft bristle brush. This will help keep their skin and coats healthy, and you’ll end up with less dog fur flying about your home. They only need the occasional bath, usually no more than once every 1 to 2 months, with a high-quality dog shampoo.

You should brush your Boerboel’s teeth around 2 to 3 times a week, trim her nails about every 3 to 4 weeks, and clean her ears approximately once a month.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Boerboels are solid, robust dogs and are a very healthy breed overall. A good breeder will check their dogs for any conditions that this breed tends to inherit.

The vet will check your Boerboel’s elbows and hips and will run tests on your dog’s heart, which might include radiographs and echocardiographs. Your vet will give your pup a comprehensive physical exam and will thoroughly check your Boerboel’s eyes.


Male vs Female

The first significant difference between male and female Boerboels is in the physical size. Females tend to stand at 22 to 25 inches and males at 24 to 27 inches, and overall, they can be 150 to 200 pounds.

The next noticeable difference is in what kind of surgery your dog will need. Spaying the female Boerboel is a more complex surgery and is typically more expensive, and requires a longer recovery time as compared to neutering the male. However, if you have your Boerboel spayed or neutered, it will decrease your dog’s more aggressive tendencies, and experts say that it can also help prevent any future serious health conditions.

Lastly, some believe that there are definite personality differences between male and female dogs. It has been said that female dogs can be more affectionate and less territorial than males, but this is a generalization that isn’t always true. A dog’s personality is formed through socialization and training while a puppy and how she has been treated throughout her life.


Final Thoughts

Boerboels are giant, steadfast companions that will not only look after your family but will become an essential part of it.

There are quite a number of Boerboel breeders out there that you can find by just searching online or posting on social media. If there aren’t any breeders close to your location, you need to be prepared to pay a fair amount for airfare. If you’re considering adopting one, there are rescue organizations dedicated to the Boerboel, such as the Giant Paws Boerboel Rescue, or just keep a close eye on any rescue groups around your location.

If you are looking for a new family member to add to your household that will love you unconditionally and protect you without hesitation, the Boerboel might just be the perfect fit.

Featured Image Credit: Asonia, Shutterstock

Kathryn Copeland

Kathryn was a librarian in a previous lifetime and is currently a writer about all things pets. When she was a child, she hoped to work in zoos or with wildlife in some way, thanks to her all-consuming love for animals. Unfortunately, she's not strong in the sciences, so she fills her days with researching and writing about all kinds of animals and spends time playing with her adorable but terribly naughty tabby cat, Bella. Kathryn is hoping to add to her family in the near future – maybe another cat and a dog.