boerboel dog breed

Boerboel At-a-Glance

Boerboels were originally bred to protect farmlands in South Africa from wildlife such as hyenas, leopards, and even lions. They are seriously large, at up to 200 pounds, and are fiercely protective.

At the same time, they are loving companions to their families and have a great fondness for children. Properly socialized, these are gentle, loyal, and even-tempered dogs that make great family pets.

Weight (pounds)
Male: 150-200
Female: 110-160
Height (inches)
Male: 24-27
Female: 22-25
Lifespan (years)

Dog Breed Group

Characteristics Ratings

We rate 19 characteristics for each breed, divided into three categories:
Highest Rated – Characteristics for which this breed is rated 4 or 5 stars (on a 5 star scale).
Neutral Rated – Characteristics that rated 3 stars.
Lowest Rated – Characteristics that rated only 1 or 2 stars.

Highest Rated

  • Good Family Dog
  • Kid Friendly
  • Protective Nature
  • Easy to Train
  • Tolerates Hot Climate
  • Good General Health
  • High Intelligence

Neutral Rated

  • Low Shedding
  • Low Drooling
  • Friendly to Strangers
  • Likes to Play
  • Handles Change Easily
  • High Energy Level
  • Low Amount of Barking
  • Tolerates Cold Climate

Lowest Rated

  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Suitable for Small Yards/Apartments
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone

General Overview

The Boerboel has an intimidating appearance, given that they are very large and powerful. However, don’t be misled by this – they love their family, especially the children.

That said, they are not particularly good with other dogs. Dog parks are not a good choice because they will not back down to any dog. Oddly enough, if they are properly socialized they don’t mind cats!

Boerboels are extremely protective over their family and especially any children. The risk here is unless they are properly trained and socialized, they can be overprotective, even to the point of being vicious to anyone they view as a threat. They will do whatever is necessary to make sure their family is safe.

This can be a real risk, as these are extremely powerful dogs. In fact, a Boerboel has 800 psi of bite force, whereas a lion only has 650 psi!

Boerboels seldom lose fights.

However, if you properly socialize and train your Boerboel early, you will have a gentle, affectionate, and loyal companion. But intruders should still beware!

Boerboels have light grooming needs. Their short coats don’t shed excessively and only require weekly brushing.

They also don’t bark a lot. When they do bark, you know that someone is wrong. Remember, these are highly protective dogs.

Boerboels are excellent companion dogs and always want someone around them. As fearless as they are, they have separation anxiety and don’t do well alone.

They also need regular exercise and mental stimulation, as they are easily bored and can become restless if they don’t have an outlet for their energy. You’ll need to devote at least an hour daily to walks and play.

Boerboels need lots of space to run freely, so they don’t do well in apartments or houses with small yards. They also enjoy canine sports and excel in many of them.

Boerboels rank high on intelligence and are very trainable. However, they have an independent streak. So training must be gentle, but firm and consistent. Socialization is also important so they learn to behave around people and other animals.

Because of their protective and territorial nature, Boerboels are not a good choice for a novice dog owner. They are best suited for an experienced owner who knows how to deal with the challenges presented by this large and powerful breed.

Fortunately, Boerboels are a naturally healthy breed. They have few health issues, although a higher than average rate of canine cancer. They do best in warm climates but can tolerate moderately cold temperatures.  

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