|A registered Boerboel in profile|
|Other names||South African Boerboel
South African Mastiff
|Country of origin||South Africa|
|Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Boerboel [burbul] is a large, mastiff dog breed from South Africa, bred for the purpose of guarding the homestead. These dogs were often a first line of defense against predators and were valuable in tracking and holding down wounded game. Old farmers tell many tales of the strength, agility, and courage of their Boerboels.
Breed history 
The word "Boerboel" derives from "boer", the Afrikaans/Dutch word for "farmer". Boerboel, therefore, translates as either "farmer's dog" or "Boer's dog". The Boerboel is the only South African dog breed created to defend the homestead.
Despite the Boerboel's long breeding history, there is great uncertainty as to how many and which breeds were used to create it. It is generally believed that the breed was created from interbreeding native African canine species with breeds brought into South Africa from Dutch, French, and British settlers.
The most likely origins are claimed to date back to Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival to the Cape in 1652. Van Riebeeck brought a "Bullenbijter" with him. Those with him, and later European settlers, also had large, strong dogs, that almost certainly bred with the indigenous, domestic dog breeds of South Africa.
Boerboels today 
Today, Boerboel breeding is both a hobby and an industry in South Africa. These dogs are now exported from South Africa to other parts of the world.
The protective character of the Boerboel is still evident and is much sought after, as is the calm, stable, and confident composure of the breed. The dogs are obedient and intelligent and have strong territorial instincts. The Boerboel remains the guarding breed of choice amongst current day farmers and is very popular for the same reason in urban communities.
The name boerboel is commonly misspelled as boerbul, boerbull, and borbull.
The Boerboel is an average shedder and easy to groom. The occasional brushing and a monthly bath and nail trim is all that is needed. The breed has an outer coat that is normally coarse and straight, and an undercoat that is soft and dense.
Its coat is short, dense, smooth, soft, and shiny. Their coat color can be various shades of red, brown, or fawn. Many dogs have a black mask around their mouth that sometimes extends to their eyes and ears. The coat patterns that Boerboels can have are piebald, brindle, and Irish markings.
They are quite charming when not being lazy, and will not hesitate to defend their loved ones to the death.
Boerboels are generally known for their good health. However, Boerboels can suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, vaginal hyperplasia, ectropion, and entropion. Recently, juvenile epilepsy (with attacks brought on by metabolic changes or stress) has appeared in the boerboel breed. The average life expectancy is ten years.
Prospective owners must recognize that owning a boerboel requires a significant commitment in time and energy as they need to be trained and properly socialized in order to be happy, well-adjusted family members.
These dogs thrive under positive reinforcement training techniques and require human companionship and structure. If left isolated, Boerboels will digress and may become destructive. Owners should be wary of trying to forcefully control the dog as it is detrimental to their psychological health and could cause potential behavioral backlash in the future. These dogs benefit from an owner who views them as their equal and not as an organism in need of punishment or domination. Due to their sensitive throats it is recommended to use a front clip harness while leash training these animals as opposed to harsher methods, such as prong collars and choke chains.
If you are considering adding a boerboel to your family or already own a boerboel and are thinking of moving (to a smaller home), remember this – bored boerboels are destructive boerboels and at 150 lbs, can do a lot of damage. Although more suitable for large yards, Boerboels are adaptable and can live in small environments as long as they receive regular exercise and a lot of attention. Whatever the amount of space available, they need to have plenty of physical and mental exercise. The Boerboel can be exercised in a large, securely enclosed yard, but at a minimum this type of dog needs to be taken on a long walk every day. According to the vast majority of Boerboel breeders, this dog should only be off leash when on its property.
Breeding and registration 
In 1990, when the Boerboel breed was in danger of becoming extinct, a group of fanciers, the South African Boerboel Breeders’ Association (SABT), started looking for eligible South African dogs to use as a breeding base. Of the hundreds of dogs found, 72 were evaluated and registered. A development register was also maintained for several years to widen the gene pool.
The Kennel Union of South Africa (KUSA), which is the FCI recognized South African authority on breed standards and pedigrees has recognized the Boerboel and given it full breed status. Although the SABT was the first breed organization founded for the Boerboel, many other Boerboel breed-specific organizations now exist. The Boerboel is not a breed recognized by the UKC or [[Irish Kennel Club]and swedish club's
Boerboels may be registered at birth with one or more breeders' associations. Here are a few: the South African Boerboel Breeders' Association (SABT), Boerboel International (BI), World Wide Boerboels (WWB), the Elite Boerboel Breeders' Association of Southern Africa (EBBASA), or the Kennel Union of South Africa (KUSA).
In order to be registered, a Boerboel must have its birth recorded as having been bred from registered parents and/or must pass an appraisal by a qualified assessor. Many potential owners do not know that SABBA will register a Boerboel only after it has been appraised on individual merit, and not pedigree. The more comprehensive appraisal control sheet, read in conjunction with the terminology sketch, will also help owners understand the appraisal process and pre-assess the qualities of their dogs. SABBA hosts appraisal days in South Africa, as well as in the USA and Europe throughout the year.
Breed standard 
Like other dog breeds, the boerboel has a breed standard. Unfortunately, the exact specifications of the boerboel's breed standard vary depending on the registry. There are, however, several features that are undisputed.
"Type, conformation, functional efficiency and mentality are equally important in the evaluation of the Boerboel as a whole. The aim with the Breed Standard is to provide clear guidelines for breeders and judges to promote a singular vision of the ideal Boerboel."
The Boerboel is a large dog with well-developed and well-defined musculature. The profile of his head and body is "blocky." His movement is naturally powerful and graceful, despite his size. His grace and confidence create a majestic impression. He must not exhibit any fearful, shy, overly-submissive, threatening, or aggressive behaviors, but needs to be obedient and responsive to his handler. Females are noticeably smaller and less-muscled, but should still exhibit musculature and give the impression of strength and confidence. (See sexual dimorphism)
The head is impressive and a distinctive feature of the breed. Any eye color other than brown is considered a minor fault, except blue which is a major (disqualifying) fault. Their expression should always be confident, intelligent, or alert (or a combination, thereof).
The body is blocky, muscular, and solid. The chest is broad and deep with well-developed pectoral muscles. The back, broad and straight. All joints must appear sound (sturdy and well-attached to the body), and must actually be so when the dog is physically examined. All parts of the body should meet and connect smoothly and each area should flow naturally into the next (ex. head to neck to chest).
There should be profuse pigmentation on the skin (and surrounding hair) of : the lips, palate, eyes, nose, paw pads, toenails, anus, and genitals. Only the black, eumelanin pigmentation is acceptable. It is only acceptable for a dog to possess more than a small amount of pink or salmon-colored skin, if the dog also has white marks, especially on the head.
The legs are strong-boned, sturdy, and muscular. The paws must have curved, black nails and tough, black pads. There should be hair between the toes. The legs, paws, metatarsus, stifles, and hocks should point straight up (Leg,Paw,Meta.), straight forward (stif.), and straight backward (hock).
The ideal height of a male boerboel is 66 cm (26.5 in), and a female is 61 cm (24.5 in). Males shorter than 60 cm (24 in), and females shorter than 55 cm (22 in) may not compete. Height is measured at the withers.
In the show ring, the Boerboel should appear confident and fearless. It should be easily controlled by the handler, however protective behavior of its handler directed towards judges is permitted.
Some automatic disqualifications are severe underbite or overbite, blue eyes, excessive amounts of pink skin, overly aggressive behavior, small head, insufficient musculature, abnormal and/or undescended testicles, asymmetric form, too short, a weak, unsound, clumsy, or plodding gait, any obvious physical or behavioral abnormality, and any trait that jeopardize the physical functionality of the dog or would severely hinder or prevent the dog from guarding and protecting.
How to start 
For the average boerboel owner thinking of competitively showing his dogs or wanting to breed dogs that conform to the breed's standard, it is important to remember that most professional breeders only sell their pet-quality puppies and either keep their show/breeding-quality puppies for themselves or sell them at a higher price (usually to other breeders). Determined, owners should consult the dog's original breeder, if possible. Other resources are local boerboel breed-specific, molosser-specific, or mastiff-specific breeders, clubs, and rescue groups. Many breed-specific rescue groups leave their contact information with local animal shelters and veterinarian offices. Also, keep in mind that the average house pet will not contain enough muscle mass (and perhaps too much body fat) for dog show breed standard without an exercise routine.
See also 
- Animal Socialization
- Boerboel International
- Fédération Cynologique Internationale
- Guard dog
- Kennel Union of South Africa
- Obedience training
- "Breed standard (Appendix A)". Sabt.co.za. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Breed Description[dead link]
- "Know the Boerboel sabt.co.za" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Preamble of Official Breed Standard of Boerboel International Boerboel International Breed Standard". Boerboelinternational.eu. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Lance Rose. "This South African Boerboel site is intended to be your resource to everything Boerboel-related on the internet. The Boerboel is a rare breed, it is not recognized by the AKC or the CKC and finding quality information can be difficult. If you're looking for Boerboel puppies, studs, breeders, message boards, books, kennels, health information, shows, registries, or anything else Boerboel, you'll find it here! South African Boerboel Directory and South African Boerboel Breeders". Dogresources.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- 16:49, 03. jun 2010 (2011-01-19). "Ekstra Bladet - 13 kamphunde forbydes". Ekstrabladet.dk. Retrieved 2012-09-18. Text " Ritzau /Nyheder, Mette Pedersen " ignored (help)
- "Boerboel Dog & Puppies Boerboel – Dog of the Boers". Dog-names.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Buying a Boerboel sabt.co.za 10 March 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "New Hip Dysplasia Grading System sabt.co.za 3 June 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Vaginal hyperplasia sabt.co.za 12 July 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Epileptic research Dr Quirine Stassen, veterinary surgeon, research worker, internal medicine – neurology university clinic for household pets". Babelfish.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Lynne Berridge copyright 2004. "Accolade Boerboels". Boerboels.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- "Registration – All Boerboels must be Assessed by a WWB Assessor (in person or by Video) in order to be registered". Worldwideboerboel.com.
- "Appraisal and registration" (PDF).
- "Appraisal Chart - Main Division: Color, General Appearance, Head, Face, Neck, Forequarter, Center, Hindquarter, Skin/coat, Health, Temperament, Movement; Sub-Division: ... ; Characteristics 1, 2, 3 ; Deviations; Value; Total; Percentage" (PDF). Sabt.co.za.
- "Boerboel International is an internationally representative association of breeders, members and owners of one of the most spectacular breeds to have ever emerged out of South Africa". Boerboelinternational.eu. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- WorldWide Boerboel (WWB) is a USA based, International Boerboel Association & Registry. WWB was formed with the intent of providing a welcomed and much needed alternative for Boerboel lovers everywhere, especially in the USA. ... is committed to providing worldclass service, communication, and guidance to its members, while striving to improve and promote the Boerboel with responsible and ethical policies & practices WorldWideBoerboel.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Boerboel|
- World Wide Boerboels
- Boerboel International
- Boerboels UK
- The UK Boerboel Club
- SABBA USA
- Kennel Union of South Africa
- Boerboel Breeders Australia
- Russian Boerboel Site
- Russian Boerboel Board
- The Norwegian Boerboel Assosiation