The Boerboel

The South African Boerboel is the only working mastiff in the world bred solely to guard and protect. The temperament of the Boerboel is its most attractive and most important characteristic. The Boerboel is the only breed in the world bred with only one purpose, ie to guard and protect the family. These mastiffs are physically and mentally able to complete any task required of a farmer in South Africa, undoubtedly the harshest country in the world. The Boerboel is a confident dog who is not nervous or jumpy and does not bite out of fear. A Boerboel is able to recognise your fear, which any Boerboel owner will confirm. When protecting from a real threat the Boerboel will growl like a lion and fight ferociously without taking his own safety into account. Aristotle named the forefathers of these dogs: Leontix (sons of lions). The Romans believed that these dogs were created by crossing a dog and a lion. They are not dog or animal aggressive as they are often required to work together. Boerboels should not chase animals such as chickens, sheep or others farm animals as they were developed on the farm and were required to co-habitate with all forms of livestock. Because the Boerboel is primarily a family and property guardian, he is happy in the family environment where he can establish his area to call his own. He is not prone to wander or bark without reason, rather he stays close to his family home, quietly doing exactly what he was bred for. The Boerboel should qualify himself as your best friend. He should know when you approve or disapprove of a person and share your feelings. The breed has been developed to be completely at ease around friends and family, not hyper or outwardly aggressive, yet an intelligent and loyal companion who is willing to lay down his life for his family. The Boerboel will accept the whole family, not just one person, as their master because they feel their primary duty is to respect and protect all of you. Boerboels are good companions for children, he is a child’s friend and playmate. Many stories have been told about a Boerboel spending hour after hour guarding a little baby in a pram. He feels the whole family belongs to him and his sole purpose is to protect them, with his life, if necessary. The Boerboel is not just another big dog. It combines substance with soundness, athleticism and the wonderful Boerboel temperament, the ideal family dog and great home protector.

The Boerboel was developed in South Africa over 400 years from Bullenbijter and Barenbijter dogs bought by settlers in the early 1600’s. These dogs were bred to indigenous breeds, original bulldogs and mastiffs introduced by English settlers in the 1800’s. Only the hardiest dogs were bred and any dog who was not tough enough did not survive. This led to the rise of mastiff type dogs used by the Boers. These dogs were originally used for hunting, cattle work and guarding but more recently they have principally been used as guard dogs. The name Boerboel literally means ‘Farmer’s Mastiff’. The original working Boerboels of South Africa were almost lost in the early 1900’s. Increasing urbanisation caused cross breeding with any dog who would bark. In the early 1980’s a group of people came together and formed the South African Boerboel Breeders Association. The group set out covering thousands of kilometres to find the best Boerboels in South Africa to return the original Boerboel to its rightful place among pure breeds of the world. SABBA has developed the appraisal system to ensure only the best Boerboels are being bred and the breed is now well established not only in South Africa but all over the world. Throughout history Boerboels were bred foremost for temperament and function, and as a result of this very practical and careful breeding process, the Boerboel has evolved into a loving companion with an even temperament. Boerboel Europe will continue to follow this basic rule to produce the most loyal and strong Boerboels in the world.

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