A large fawn and white dog, with black muzzle and dark ears sits on a beach


19 October 2023

Considering bringing home a new family member? The gorgeous Boerboel can be a great choice for the right home!

Experience the breed with BorrowMyDoggy and borrow a pooch in your local area. Or if you’re already set on this pawsome breed and need a helping hand with dog care, find a verified and trusted borrower near you.

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Let’s talk about… Boerboels: what are they?

  • The Boerboel is a powerful and large breed that originated in South Africa.
  • They were originally bred as working dogs on farms to protect livestock and property.
  • The name "Boerboel" is derived from the Afrikaans word "boer," meaning farmer, and "boel," meaning dog. It reflects their historical role as farm dogs in South Africa.
  • Boerboels are known for their muscular build, confident nature, and protective instincts.
  • They can reach an average height of 64 to 70 cm for males and 59 to 65 cm for females.
  • Their weights range from 70 to 90 kg.
  • Boerboels have a life expectancy of around 10 to 12 years.
Boerboel  Exercise needs 4/5; Grooming ease 4/5; Trainability 2/5

What is the temperament of Boerboels like?

  • Boerboels are known for their loyalty and protective nature towards their families.
  • They are confident, intelligent, and make excellent guard dogs.
  • With proper socialisation and training from an early age, they can also be gentle and loving companions.
  • However, their protective instincts mean they can be wary of strangers and may require proper introductions.
  • It's important to provide consistent training to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and balanced dogs.
  • They are not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Brucie, the Boerboel

How much exercise do Boerboels need?

  • Boerboels are an active and energetic breed that requires a significant amount of exercise.
  • They benefit from at least 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise per day. This exercise should include activities that engage both their body and mind.
  • Long walks, playtime in a securely fenced area, and interactive games like fetch or puzzle toys are great ways to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  • For Boerboel puppies, exercise should be approached with caution. Their growing bodies are more susceptible to injury, so it's important to provide controlled and age-appropriate exercise.
  • Short play sessions and moderate walks are generally suitable for young puppies. As they grow older and stronger, exercise intensity and duration can gradually increase.
  • They should not be on full exercise levels until at least 18-24 months, but your vet can advise on your individual dog.
Dunali, the Boerboel

Do Boerboels need a lot of grooming?

  • Boerboels have a short and dense coat that requires minimal grooming.
  • They are moderate shedders and only need occasional brushing to remove loose hair and keep their coat in good condition.
  • However, they do shed more during seasonal changes, so more frequent brushing may be necessary during those times.
  • They only need bathed every 2-3 months, or if they get mucky.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Lincoln, the Boerboel

Are Boerboels easy to train?

  • Boerboels are intelligent dogs with a strong desire to please their owners. With positive reinforcement training methods, they can be trained effectively.
  • They are not recommended for inexperienced owners.
  • Early socialisation is crucial to ensure they grow up to be well-mannered and confident dogs.
  • However, due to their independent nature, they may test boundaries, so patience and consistency are key.
Ruby, the Boerboel

What do Boerboels eat?

  • Boerboel puppies require a balanced and nutrient-rich diet 3-4 times a day specifically formulated for their growth and development. At six months old, reduce their feeding to twice daily.
  • Feed them high-quality large breed puppy food recommended by your veterinarian until they reach around 12-18 months of age.
  • The specific feeding guidelines may vary depending on the brand and individual puppy's needs, so consult with your vet for precise recommendations.
  • Once they reach adulthood, continue to feed them twice daily and gradually transition to an adult dog food suitable for large breeds.

Are Boerboels healthy?

Boerboels are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some potential concerns to be aware of include:

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger, which can lead to heart failure

This list is not exhaustive, and if you have any concerns about the health of your Boerboel or want to discuss whether this breed is suitable for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Boerboels

BorrowMyDoggy has 65 Boerboel members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your vet. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

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