Although the actual origins of the Boerboel remains a little uncertain, it is thought the breed came about when settlers from Holland, Germany, France and England took their dogs with them to South Africa where they were bred to various local dogs. In the early 1900’s, DeBeers, the largest diamond mining company for the region, bought over Bullmastiff type dogs to guard their valuable mines and it is thought that these dogs contributed to creating the Boerboel. Their name actually means “farmer’s Mastiff” in Afrikaans.
Whatever their true origins, the Boerboel was bred to be a strong, robust and heavy dog that was suited to the harsh, dry and arid South African climate. They were bred to be large enough to scare thieves and robbers off which these dogs achieve very well thanks to their imposing looks.
Today, the Boerboel remains a very popular choice of watchdog in their native South Africa both on farms and as working watchdogs. However, they have also become a popular choice as family pets thanks to their kind and loyal natures paired to the fact they are renowned for their guarding abilities. These large dogs are also gaining popularity here in the UK although the breed has not yet been recognised by The Kennel Club. The Boerboel is however, recognised by the American Kennel Club and other international associations
Interesting facts about the breed
- Is the Boerboel a vulnerable breed? No, they have fast become a popular choice of family pets and companions in the UK and elsewhere in the world
- The Boerboel is renowned for having a strong perception of any impending threat which is an instinct for which the breed has always been highly prized in South Africa
- A Boerboel with a strong prey drive is thought to be a “true working” dog thanks to their “threat perception instinct”
- In times past the Boerboel was thought of as the “farmer’s mastiff” in their native South Africa and their name literally means just that
- Traditionally, a Boerboel’s tail was always docked, but since the law banning the procedure came into effect in 2007, tail docking is now illegal with the exception being for some working breeds and if a dog suffers from some sort of health issue that requires their tails to be docked. The procedure must be agreed and authorised before being performed by a qualified vet