Different kinds of Boerboels


The Boerboel is being touted as a working dog.  True working dogs seem to have a greater diversity in type and size.  The Boerboel has a few different types of shapes due to the old influences that formed the breed. For a complete index of all my Boerboel posts, click here

Hound Type

  • Many Boerboels can be tall with a pronounced tuck up underneath, these dogs are often narrower in the chest, they have flatter sides, they have well constructed fronts that are straight, nicely shaped feet and have good rear angulation.  They have longer ears and muzzles which taper inwards towards the end.  The circumference of the male’s head is usually 2 to 3 inches less than the height at the shoulder; this type of Boerboel is displaying a lot of the hound influence.  I owned a bitch like this and I used her for hunting Boar.  I found her to have a good nose on the ground and good stamina and speed for her size.  Quite a few dogs of this type have been widely used in modern times eg. Piona Rampai, Caberet Klein Buks.
  • Caberet Klein Buks
    Caberet Klein Buks

Bulldog Type

  • The opposite of the hound type is the Bulldog type.  These dogs are shorter and broader; they have more concave lines showing more spring or roundness to the ribs, this also carries to the front of the dog as they usually have bigger chests so the elbows are sometimes slightly out to accommodate the chest.  The front legs move slightly towards the centre line and pasterns and front feet turn slightly out to balance this heavier front.  The front feet are often large and open, the Bulldog type tends to have a lot of volume in the body, shorter muzzles and are undershot.  The head is usually equal to or greater in circumference than the height at the shoulders up to 3 inches greater in some cases.  The ear set is high in this type, examples of this type of Boerboel is Avalonia Waldor and Dreifontien Grootpraat.
  • Avalonia Waldor - the most beautiful Boerboel I have ever seen
    Avalonia Waldor – the most beautiful Boerboel I have ever seen. RIP boy

Terrier Type

  • Next type is the Terrier type.  Most likely Bull Terrier influence as I have seen stud book entries from 1950 that shows the Bull Terrier being bred into the Boerboel.  The Terrier type has thinner legs and is shorter in back length.  Can be hyper-active and more prey-driven than most other Boerboels.  They have tight feet and the musculature can appear more prominent because of the smaller bone, shorter coat and tighter fitting skin.  The head is usually clean of wrinkles, they have scissor bite and good teeth, and they are usually long lived.  Examples that have been used a lot are Ysterberg Storm and Mouzer Adolf.
  • Mouzer Adolph
    Mouzer Adolf


Mastiff Type

  • The last type is the Mastiff type Boerboel.  These dogs have thick legs, broad muzzles, usually an excess of lip and wrinkle.  The head is large and usually equal to the height of the dog at the shoulder or a little more.  They are quite heavy dogs; the Mastiff type has thicker skin.  It is tall and flat sided and usually doesn’t live as long as the other body types.  Modern examples are Dandaloo Mack and Ysterberg Troffel.
  • Dandaloo Mack - RIP boy
    Dandaloo Mack – RIP boy

These are all extremes that have been talked about; most dogs are a combination of the types, just as human bodies are a mix of Endomorphic, Mesomorphic and Ectomorphic body types.

If we keep moving towards unifying the Boerboel’s body type and conformation, which of the extremes of variation do you think we should cull?  By limiting the diversity within the breed we lessen its appeal and its range of functions in the community.  How in the future do you increase volume in your dogs if nobody has the Bulldog Boerboel type anymore? And if you only have the Bulldog type Boerboel how do you straighten your fronts and get rear angulation without Terrier or Hound type?  Where will you bone and muzzle thickness come from without the Mastiff type?  The farmer who wants a dog that can cover ground has no need for a big 80kg bucket head; he needs a Terrier or a Hound type.  Every type has its place and they are all of equal importance, sometimes I breed combinations that will produce large Mastiff Bulldog type Boerboels, the males are prized for their imposing structures and are bred on with, the bitches can sometimes be too masculine and are often poor mothers.  I also breed Terrier/Hound type combinations, the females are great athletes and have good construction, and both the males and females have drive and are good for working pursuits as long as they don’t get too much over 55kgs.

The source for the above text (not photos) is http://www.boerboelaustralia.com – where the lovely t-shirt above is also available for purchase.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

33 thoughts

  1. I believe I have a terrier type she’s 110lbs brindle she was the runt of the litter very very active huge prey drive but agile wish I could leave a picture had a DNA test run and said only 78% was boerbeorl the other 22% split between bull terrier and bull mastiff which i was told is common for american boerbeorls

  2. The foor types of boerboel listed in this link are they the only four types of boerboel we have ?

  3. I owned a American akita he was my best friend but unfortunately he past away due to old age. It has taken time, for me to even think of owning another dog but i have fell in love with the boerbel mastiff breed. Would very much appreciate your advice an knowledge of this breed on helping me purchasing my new best friend. Thk u for your time…. Hope too hear back from u.

  4. ThanksbJanet for this exposé. I sure have the terrier type. Very hyperactive, smart looking, highly prey driven, very straight forehinds, very excellently padded feet’s, superb angulation st the rear. Of course will be bred in June if scored well at the appraisal in April in Nigeria. I need a bit of volume and larger bone and chest. So I have selected few males but preferably, Africa Hades. I will update you on this project. I don’t want a mastiff mix for now because, I cherished the motion and fitness.

      1. Cool I was thinking about getting one. They seem like great dogs I was looking for a dog to protect my house when I’m not there. I was thinking either one of these or a Caucasian Shepherd dog but they seem really aggressive. Boerboels are’nt too aggressive are they? I’m not looking for a dog that will maul somebody for know reason. Haha

      2. We own a 6 year old bich,her name is BJ Femme Duka,mother BJ Bruceline,father Groot geluk cobus.
        She is really massive thick bones huge chest approx.76cm height big head but not fat
        She weighs 195 lbs….not the most active dog,but super sweet.
        greetings from holland,Barry.

  5. I love boerboels and with this analysis, I want to believe i own the hound type. Max is just five months and his very tall. Thx a lot Janet for the analysis.

  6. I think the hound and terrier type are by far the best looking of the breed.
    I want to see an athletic dog with good drive, not a huge muscular dog that has no agility.

    1. I do too – I think they are the most true to the working origins of the breed as well. I like big dogs but muscular and not with huge heads and hanging jowls.

    2. I have both hound and bulldog/mastiff types. Let me assure you there hasn’t been one thing that the mastiff type can’t do agilty wise…and better in some cases, than my hound type. Both had the same champion grandfather….same father. Just FYI.

    3. I have the Mastiff looking type and he’s about 200 lbs or a little over. Just turned 3 years old. I’ll tell you what, he as agile when he wants to be as the smaller ones. He can stop on a dime, jump and while facing one direction completely twist his torso in the other direction. He’s awesome when he moves, so much so I’ve 2 entire restaurants empty as they were eating to see what he was.He’s a really laid back dog but sticks to me like Velcro and doesn’t care about barking dogs or even aggressive ones. But if they get off leash and come at him, I’ve seen him turn that other side on and it’s imposing. Then as quickly as he started once the owner gets a hold of their animal, he stops like nothing happened. I used to breed Warlock Dobermans, really big about 140 lbs or so, huge heads. This dog is on par with the dobeys for smartness. Never had to house break him. Everyone want to take a selfie with him and the big goofball just sits there. Loves the camera. One of a kind animal.

      1. I have two female boerboels, after the first heat I crossed one of it and the boody structure changed and I was happy that my bitch will deliver of some pup.

        When it was more than 63days I began to have. A rethink that probably is a SUDO PREGNANCY…..Is it possible?…Kindly advise.

  7. If this is so then I have a bulldog type, because my boy Dutch has huge front feet,I mean huge! He’s still a puppy though only 5 months old so I guess time will tell.

  8. I love dogs and I got a very happy Kangal . Thx a lot Janet for all these détails. I’d like to introduce a Boerboel in my home 😉 and i noticed that u some huge ones in your pics ( a mastiff type…). so please tell me Jane, what exact breed is it? Mastiff*Bulldog you said somewhere else, but what exact mastiff or what exact bulldog? Thx for replying, you are doing a great job

    1. A Boerboel is a South African Mastiff. But Boerboels also have several different body types so some of them look like bulldogs and others look more like mastiffs – but they are all Boerboels. Myself I prefer the smaller hound types as they are better working dogs. It all depends on the breeder. Glad you like my blog!

  9. in fact there are only two types of Boerboels one type for function and or economy of motion and the other for the marketplace.

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