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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.