The South African Boerboel
The Boerboel is a big, strong, athletic dog. Well-balanced with good muscle development, they should move swiftly and powerfully with an impressive and imposing countenance. Reliable,
obedient and intelligent with a strong watchdog instinct, the Boerboel is self-assured and fearless, yet perceptive to the needs of the family.
Boerboels are foremost incredibly devoted dogs that form close bonds with the entire family. They are known for being protective when necessary, without being aggressive in normal interactions. Due to the emotional nature of their bond, Boerboels fare best living as part of the family. Left to live completely outside and away from their humans, they can become bored and
depressed and will likely occupy themselves by indulging in undesirable or destructive behavior.
Proper early socialization is a must. Quite adaptable and much easier to control as puppies, introducing this breed to a variety of sights, sounds, species and experiences during the formative months greatly improves their social skills.
Protecting puppies from interactions with aggressive dogs is important in preventing dog aggression. Boerboels tend to carry those experiences with them and could react in a fearful or defensive manner when presented with similar situations later on in life. Good tempered, well socialized older dogs are the best teachers, showing the young Boerboel proper play manners
and dog communication.
Positive interaction with friendly human strangers cultivates the social aspect of this breed. Some dogs are extremely social by nature and others are more reserved with new people. The more positive, enjoyable interactions they have, the more they will enjoy meeting new people.
Boerboels are typically very good with children, especially those they share their home with. The entire family should take part in training exercises to ensure the dog understands that children occupy a higher station in the family’s hierarchy. Children should be taught to respect and treat dogs with kindness and should not be left unsupervised with any dog.
Developed through the years as a farm dog, a lot of Boerboels do well with livestock, house cats and provide good protection from wild predators. They are keenly aware of the presence of wild animals. With the right introduction, they will accept new animals into the family and add them to
their list of charges. Boerboels are a dominant breed and this presents several challenges. They are not really suited
for the Dog Park. Care should be taken to introduce new dogs properly. Boerboels do not respond positively to dominant behavior from other large dogs, particularly those of the same gender. Puppies are much more adaptable and willing to work within the existing hierarchy.
Careful consideration should be given to gender selection. If a dominant dog is already in residence, choosing a pup of opposite gender is far more likely to lead to a peaceful household as the Boerboel matures.
Boerboel puppies are known for being easy to train and live with. Due to their easy-going attitude while in pre-adolescence, many people mistakenly believe training is not necessary. As Boerboels mature, their confidence, reactivity, dominance and willingness to protect increases substantially and owners need to be sure they can read their dog and maintain control in any situation. Structured obedience training and continual proofing of commands under a variety of
distractions is necessary for raising the well-adjusted Boerboel. Many owners have found incorporating a NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) protocol from the very beginning avoids dominance issues and streamlines communication.
As a Working and Utility breed, Boerboels positively thrive when presented with the challenges and rewards of structured training. Their name literally translates into “Farmer’s dog” and they possess a truly utilitarian nature and high biddability. Obedience, Rally-O, Weight Pull, Agility, Stock work, Protection Sports and Therapy work are all disciplines in which they are known to excel. As with any breed, individuals possess their own temperament and assortment of drives
and are more suited for some activities than others. Boerboels are an intelligent, sensitive, athletic breed and need the mental stimulation, interaction and energy outlet provided through focused work and training.
Research is of paramount importance when purchasing a Boerboel. After fully educating oneself on the demands and expense of owning this breed, patient and thorough research of breeders will help ensure the quality health and temperamental soundness of the puppy chosen.
To increase the likelihood of getting the healthiest pup available, look for the following criteria:
Striving to improve the breed through their choices
Health certification on breeding dogs
Third party temperament evaluations
Strong knowledge of lineage
Rock solid ethics
Asks potential puppy buyers a lot of questions
Available for advice and information in the future