When Assurbanipal conquered Egypt, Assyrian dogs were also taken along and thus they were spread further into the known world.
Later Alexander the Great was responsible for spreading them to Europe. Through the ages these dogs developed into two definite
strains, the mastiff, which is mainly used for protection and as soldiers, and the hound, which was used for hunting purposes. Both these
dogs were large and strong and typical working dogs, with only slight differences in appearance and build.
When Jan van Riebeeck went to the Cape of South Africa in 1652, he brought his own dog along to protect him and his family in this
wild and unknown country. This dog was known as a "Bullenbitjer", a large, heavy Mastiff-type dog. These dogs arrived here from
many different countries. Survival was of the utmost importance and it was here that the hardiness of today's Boerboel was bred into
the dog. There was no veterinary services or medicines available for dogs and they had to look out for themselves. During the Groot
Trek, the Boerboel had most of the features that it has today and is recognizable from old drawings. In that period after the Trek, the
Boerboel interbred further and only the biggest and strongest dogs survived. His owner required him to be versatile, a friend of the
family, a worker, and protector. In short, an all purpose utilitarian farm dog in a wild and untamed land. The disobedient, moody, finicky,
and sickly dog had no place in this land or time.
Boerboel Did You Know?
The Boerboel has been assigned the Working Group designation in the American Kennel Club (AKC-FSS).
The Boerboel has been recorded in the AKC Foundation Stock Service since 2006.
The docked tail of the Boerboel, according to legend, has it's origins in practicality. As a farm protector the Boerboel might encounter
marauding baboons and with a short tail he could not so easily be held by the dexterous baboon.
Stories are told of the Boerboel killing and vanquishing lions in South Africa. Truthfully it is unlikely that a Boerboel would be able to
kill a full grown, healthy lion, however, they were strong and agile enough to handle the occasional leopard.
Boerboels are a dominant breed. New owners should have experience with large breeds prior to owning a Boerboel.
The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under his fur, as well as the roof of his mouth. This darker pigment was
considered necessary in his country for protection against the sun and heat.
A Boerboel can be both a capable working dog and a loyal companion. The word Boerboel means "Farm Dog" and as such he should be
mentally and physically versatile. These were dogs of the people and not merely the elite.
Early socialization and obedience training will go a long way to ensuring success with your Boerboel. The Boerboel is both clever and
smart and is capable of learning many useful tricks.
The Standard of the Boerboel
1. General appearance: The Boerboel is a big, strong and sturdy dog with powerful muscles. His movements should be agile and his
body should be sturdier, heavier and bigger than the boxer, but shorter in the leg than the Great Dane. The dog should not measure less
(at the shoulder) than 66cm and the bitch not less than 61cm.
2. Character: The Boerboel must be good natured - intelligent, with a steadfast, well-balanced character and loyal to his master, even if
it means losing his own life. He must show good watchdog qualities from a very early age and must love all members of the family,
especially the children.
3. The head: This is one of the most important features of the dog, as the whole character of the dog is reflected in the head. A) the
head must be big, strong and broad between the ears. B) the upper jaw must be strong and broad at the back, with only a slight
narrowing to the front. C) the lower jaw must be broad with only a slight narrowing to the front and should not protrude in front of the top
jaw. D) the lips must be loose and fleshy and the top lip flaps must not hang over too low or appear too coarse and thick. E) the nose
must be black - not liver colored. F) the nose or bridge of the nose should not be too long between 8-10 cm, measured from the tip of the
nose to a straight line between the eyes, where the eyes start.
The nose bone must be straight, with very little or no tilting up like the boxer - no longer nose like a Great Dane.
The head must definitely be a â€œboleâ€� head with a strong mouth which melts symmetrically with the head. No teddybear look. The
head of the bitch would naturally be slightly smaller and appear more feminine than the male dog.
4. Build of the body:
A) The neck - strong and thick with sufficient length to go with the body, also strong and muscled with loose skin. The top of the neck
should be straight and blend well into the shoulders.
B) The back - strong, broad and straight, slightly hunched over the haunches is acceptable.
C) The chest - broad and strong with loose skin of the neck blending in and tautening between the front legs, which should be widely
spaced to accommodate the broad chest.
D) The legs - strong, straight and able to carry the body well, with well-shaped paws.
E) The tail - should preferably be cut short (but non docked is perfectly acceptable within the standard)
F) The coat - short and smooth.
G) The ears must be floppy and of medium size and fit the head.
5. Color: Brindle, yellow/fawn (lion color), red, red-brown, brown, with or without white markings, with or without black muzzles, will be
acceptable. We are trying to achieve a single colored dog with no or very little white.
6. Eyes light brown, yellow brown and dark brown is acceptable. Blue or blue-grey is unacceptable.
DON'T BE FOOLED BY "APPRAISAL SCORES"! Although they have their place in South Africa due to the harsh environment and
arid and dangerous living conditions, in western countries this type of environment is not an issue as there are not 300 pound lions or
packs of hyenas running around. In America, the appraisal score is sadly used as a marketing tool by too many breeders, wrongly
making their potential puppy buyers think their dogs progency are worth more money. This is not the case. Go back not too many
generations, go back as little as 15 yrs is all, and you clearly see that ALL Boerboels have the exact same ancestors/lineage!!! So,
score or no score, any puppy any Boerboel produces has THE SAME blood. Just be a savvy puppy buyer. Get a good quality dog at a
Boerboels by the "Score" (Taken from http://boerboelfarmdog.blogspot.com/2011/06/boerboels-by-score.html?m=1)
In my opinion, the appraisal system for Boerboels is being over-used to sell puppies. If you are looking at Boerboel puppies, don't get
caught up in the arbitrary score assigned by an appraisal system, a hip score or health score. These are only numbers, and are not
indicative of the dog that you will be getting. At the end of the day, assess your requirements for a dog. You won't be living with a piece
of paper or a score sheet. The Boerboel was meant to be a working dog, not a score.
A quick Google query of "Boerboel Puppies for Sale" shows the heavy advertising of Boerboels based on their score. The score
doesn't make the dog, it's a way to advertise puppies and brag that your puppies are better than the next guys. Form follows function,
not the other way around.