24 Questions То Consider Before Getting A Boerboel
Are you looking for a guard dog for your property? Or, maybe, you’ve always dreamt of having a large family pet to snuggle with? Some of you may be fans of bullmastiffs but are looking for a healthier alternative too?
If either of those is the case, you may be interested in the Boerboel. This breed is essentially a South African mastiff. As you can see from its photos, it bears a striking resemblance to the bullmastiff in both size, coat, and colors. However, the Boerboel does bring quite a lot of unique traits to the table too. To see what those are and whether this is the right dog for you, check out the 24 questions to consider before getting a Boerboel below.
1. Is the Boerboel a type of mastiff?
Indeed it is, although a lot of people forget to add it to “mastiff lists”. The breed is often called “South African Mastiff” and it is one of the largest types of mastiff dogs out there.
The English mastiff is heavier than the Boerboel with its impressive 250 pounds (114 kg). However, the Boerboel’s 200 pounds on average (91 kg) mean this South African breed is heavier than Neapolitan mastiff (
150 pounds/68 kg), the French mastiff or Dogue de Bordeaux (150 pounds/68 kg), and the Bullmastiff (~130 pounds/59 kg).
2. Do Boerboels make good pets?
A lot of people don’t associate mastiff dogs with family pets but the Boerboel can be adapted to that role. While traditionally a large working and guard dog breed, the Boerboel is smart and affectionate enough to be trained properly.
So, overall, Boerboels can make good pets for many households. You just need to be experienced enough to train them properly.
3. Are Boerboels smart and easy to train?
Yes and no. Boerboels are more than smart enough to be easily trained by an experienced owner. They are also hard-working and easily motivated with food and praise. However, their sheer size and power mean that you do need some previous experience to handle such a dog.
4. How social are Boerboel dogs?
The Boerboel is highly social and affectionate toward its family but can be distrustful and aggressive toward strangers. That’s why early socialization is absolutely crucial with these dogs**. If you take a Boerboel you are going to have to socialize it with other dogs and people of all ages, sizes, and breeds/races.**
If you want a Boerboel pet, it has to be good with people, otherwise, you are presenting a danger to your community. But – if you socialize and train your Boerboel well, it will indeed be a loving, gentle, and affectionate dog with anyone.
5. Can you have a Boerboel together with kids?
If your Boerboel is raised together with your children, it will be exceptionally loving and affectionate with them, as it is with all family members. The only issue would be the dog’s size and lack of special awareness. So, supervision is a must early on in the child’s life to prevent accidental knocks and falls.
As far as other children are concerned, however, you’ll need to be extra careful. Boerboels can be distrustful of strangers when they are not socialized properly.
6. Can you have another dog with a Boerboel?
If the Boerboel has been brought up with other dogs and is socialized with canines – yes. However, if your Boerboel hasn’t had experience with other dogs, it may be aggressive toward them.
7. Do Boerboels get along with cats and other pets?
Boerboels are not a hunting breed so they don’t have a particularly strong prey drive toward cats. That being said, this is a huge dog breed so you’d want to introduce the cat very carefully and make sure it socializes with the dog properly.
8. How long do Boerboels live?
The Boerboel has a surprisingly long lifespan for a dog of its giant size. 10 to 12 years is the expected lifespan given that you’ve got a healthy puppy and you’ve cared for it well.
9. Are Boerboels a healthy breed?
The Boerboel is quite a healthy breed, especially when compared to most other mastiffs. For example, the Boerboel has much fewer health concerns than the bullmastiff and is also at much less of a risk for Brachycephalic syndrome.
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Heart disease
- Vaginal hyperplasia
- Ectropion (eyelids sag outward)
- Entropion (eyelids roll inward)
Also, keep in mind that Boerboels are a South African breed and don’t’ fare as well in the cold as their North European and North American cousins. They, in contrast, don’t do well in heat because they are Brachycephalic.
So, if you get a healthy pup with a health certificate from a reputable breeder and if you care well for it, you can expect to have few health concerns with your Boerboel.
10. How much exercise does a Boerboel need?
Being both huge and highly energetic, a Boerboel needs a minimum of 2 hours of vigorous exercise a day, preferably more. If you can give your dog 2-3 play sessions of active outdoor playtime every day, you will have a healthy and happy Boerboel.
Suitable activities for the Boerboel are jogging on a leash and play games such as fetch in a well-fenced dog park. However, the dog must be well-socialized with other dogs for that, and letting it off-leash must be allowed in your area. Never let an off-leash Boerboel in an open (unfenced) area.
11. Does a Boerboel require a yard?
A large and properly fenced yard can be great for a Boerboel. However, the yard must be really well-fenced and this playtime shouldn’t be used as a substitute for the 2-3 horus of active outdoor exercise in the dog park.
12. Can you have a Boerboel in an apartment?
Hypothetically, you can have any dog in an apartment. As long as the apartment is large enough for your Boerboel and you give your dog plenty of outdoor playtime, it should be fine. But this is generally a yard breed so your apartment better be extra spacious.
13. What type of coat do Boerboels have?
The Boerboel's coat is similar to that of other mastiffs. It’s short and straight with a dense and soft undercoat. This means that Boerboels shed but not too much. Brushing your Boerboel with a soft brush every other day should keep its coat in tip-top shape.
14. What colors can Boerboels come in?
The standard colors for this breed include red, brown, fawn, cream, black, reddish cream, and brindle.
15. Are Boerboels hypoallergenic?
Not really. No breed is truly hypoallergenic but the presence of an undercoat means that the Boerboel is far from being even just “kind of hypoallergenic”.
16. Do Boerboels shed a lot?
Boerboels may be double-coated but they also have short and easy to manage hair. So, as long as you brush them regularly, they shouldn’t shed too much.
17. What is the difference between Boerboel and Bullmastiff?
Boerboels are very similar to bullmastiffs as they are also a type of mastiff. However, there are a few key differences:
- Boerboels are heavier despite being about as tall.
- Bullmastiffs have a flat face which may be cute but isn’t particularly healthy. Boerboels don’t have that handicap.
- Boerboels are overall healthier and live a bit longer.
- Bullmastiffs are calmer and more inactive whereas Boerboels are much more energetic.
18. Will a Boerboel bite his owner?
Not likely, not unless the owner has been mistreating the dog. Any dog can bite its owner under the wrong circumstances but Boerboels are very affectionate and loyal dogs – you need to go out of your way to make them bite you.
19. Do Boerboels bark a lot?
If the Boerboel isn’t socialized well, it may bark at strangers. However, the breed isn’t jumpy enough to bark at every single sound it hears like some other breeds.
20. How much does a Boerboel dog cost?
Purebred Boerboel pups can cost as much as $1,500 to $2,000 on average. This is a steep price but it’s worth it when it guarantees a healthy puppy.
21. Is Boerboel stronger than Rottweiler?
Boerboels are larger, heavier, and stronger than Rottweilers. They also have a more powerful bite – the average for a Rottweiler is 328 psi (pressure per square inch) while Boerboels can get up to 450 psi.
22. Are Boerboels illegal?
As of the writing of this article, Boerboels are banned in the following countries:
- Faroe islands
As Boerboels were used for dog fighting rings some time ago, a lot of their bans stem from that. Hopefully, most of these countries will allow dog owners to again adopt and buy these awesome dogs while still keeping dog fight rings banned.
23. Is a Boerboel the strongest dog?
The Boerboel is undoubtedly a mighty dog but isn’t technically “the strongest dog”. The Boerboel boasts a bite force of 450 psi. However, the English mastiff has a bite force of p to 550 psi which is even more impressive.
24. Can Boerboels swim?
Not only can Boerboels swim but they definitely love to. It’s one of the best ways to cool off in the searing heat of South Africa where these dogs have been bred for centuries.
The Boerboel is a fascinating breed in more ways than one. Essentially a cousin to the bullmastiff, this large South African dog is better in many ways than its European and American counterparts. A fantastic and natural guard dog, the Boerboel can also make a great family pet with the right upbringing and training.
A well-rounded healthy, smart, affectionate, energetic, loyal, but also independent pet, the Boerboel can be trained to suit a lot of people’s preferences. Still, this breed does present its fair share of challenges. If you’ve never looked after such a large dog, the Boerboel may be too much for you. Additionally, your home and property must be suitable for such a large companion.
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