Are Boerboels Dangerous?


This is a question that comes up fairly often. And worryingly, it often comes up AFTER someone has bought one.

The trend for people to buy large ‘kickass’ dogs to parade around the streets in order to look tough worries me. It actually got so bad in an area near me that the municipality began offering dog training classes for people who were unable to control their dogs. There was one guy who was terrified of his Rottweiler and I saw him once being dragged across the football pitch on his stomach by his dog during one of these lessons.

All dogs have the possibility to hurt someone. Admittedly Chihuahua less than a Doberman. Never leave any dog alone with babies or small children – ever.  There is no getting away from the fact that Boerboels are large muscular dogs (extremely large and muscular in some cases) and  were bred to guard and protect. They are not lapdogs. They are not a mass-market breed. Because of their working origins, any unstable or aggressive specimens were euthanized immediately so the breed tends to be stable and non-aggressive as a whole but bad breeders and inexperienced owners wanting a ‘trendy’ dog have caused problems, and these problems tend to be perpetuated and increase with time. More and more Boerboels are being sold, but more and more are ending up in shelters because they are badly bred and bought by people who do not understand the breed. This is not a breed for an inexperienced owner with an unsuitable home. Or for unscrupulous ‘greeders’ out to make a buck either. When properly bred and understood though, once you go Boerboel you will never go back. They are THE most wonderful dogs ever.

The Boerboel is a dominant but intelligent breed, with a strong watchdog instinct. The Boerboel should be self-assured and fearless, but responsive to the needs of the family. For the most part, responsibly bred, well socialized Boerboels are even tempered and aim to please their family. Any person interested in making a Boerboel part of their family should be prepared to spend much of the first year training the animal. Obedience classes with a reputable local trainer can greatly reduce the chances of a dog bite in the future. Even so, the Boerboel should never be left unsupervised with young children they don’t know well, or strangers. It is a very rare circumstance that a Boerboel will bite a person, and it should be said that when this (or any large breed) dog attacks, it can easily tear through muscle, tendons and, in some cases, bone. To avoid aggression, the Boerboel should be socialized with many people, children, friends,extended family members and other dogs as a young puppy, as well as throughout their lives. Only dogs of the correct temperament should be selected for breeding and should be temperament tested prior to breeding. These dogs thrive on love and attention and need companionship from their owners. As with many working breeds, they should not be left alone regularly for extended periods as they can become destructive without the opportunity to fulfill a well defined role. Always bear in mind that instinct to guard is very very highly developed in this breed so do not unnecessarily put yourself in situations where the dog feels the need to protect you.

You should choose a reputable breeder who checks the home the pup is going to. Anybody breeding and selling any large powerful dogs should ensure they are going to the right homes. The responsibility for the dog lies with the person who bred it. Boerboels are only recently being exported and are still very close to their working origins. There is still very high same-gender dog aggression and responsible breeders are more careful who they sell to. Your dog needs to be properly socialised and well exercised. They are not generally an ‘apartment’ or a ‘dog daycare’ breed. They have a very strong need to be with their family. Once again, they are an absolutely wonderful dog in the right environment. No one could ever wish for more.

A Boerboel can weigh over 200 lbs and have biting power of over 700lbs per square inch so under the right (or wrong) circumstances that is a really dangerous dog. The question is if you want that on your side or against you.

Here is an excerpt from another article on my site


Due to discrepancies in breeding practices, Boerboels are somewhat variable in temperament, with certain lines being considerably more aggressive than others.  However, carefully bred Boerboels usually have fairly predictable temperaments.  This breed is known for the intense bonds that it forms with its entire family, whom it cares for greatly.  Boerboels were greatly valued by early settlers for their intense loyalty and devotion.  Some Boerboels are openly affectionate and come to think that they are lap dogs, while others are considerably more restrained.  Almost all of these dogs want to be in the constant presence of their owner, and this breed can suffer from severe separation anxiety and boredom if left alone for long periods on a regular basis.  The Boerboel tends to be very dominant, even with those it knows best, and this breed is definitely not recommended for a novice dog owner.

 Most breed members are very good with children that they know well.  This breed is willing to put up with a great amount of rough play, and can handle a fair amount of a child’s well-meaning “abuse.” When properly socialized and trained this breed is very good with children.  However, as is the case with any dog, a Boerboel that has not been exposed to children may have an unpredictable reaction to them.

 Boerboels have a very strong protective instinct, and in fact are considered among the most protective of all dogs.  With proper training and socialization, most Boerboels become discerning and accepting of strangers, although most always remain reserved and politely aloof.  Socialization is extremely important to these dogs as without it they may become aggressive, though overly protective is probably a better description with regards to this breed.  Owners must be aware that the severity of even the mildest human aggression is greatly magnified by the massive size and power of this dog.  Although relatively slow to make friends, most Boerboels will eventually form bonds with new people such as roommates or spouses.

 Not only protective but also highly alert, Boerboels make excellent watch dogs that can frighten almost all wrongdoers with one booming bark.  This breed is also generally regarded as one of the world’s top guard dogs.  Highly protective and territorial, the vast majority of breed members will not let any intruder enter their territory unchallenged, unless that person is very well-known to them.  Although the breed prefers to use intimidation, they are willing to resort to violence if they feel it is required, and this dog is capable of catching and bringing down virtually any target with little to no effort.  Although highly skilled as a property guardian, the Boerboel most excels at personal protection.  Boerboels will absolutely not allow any physical harm to come to a family member or close friend, and this breed will unflinchingly face down any man or beast to protect its loved ones, unhesitatingly sacrificing its own life if need be.

Bred as working farm dogs for centuries, this breed generally get along well with non-canine animals.  When socialized and trained, most of these dogs live in peace with cats, sheep, horses, and other creatures, and often become strongly protective of them.  As is the case with any dog, a Boerboel is likely to pursue and potentially attack species with which it is not familiar, which can be very problematic given its size and power.  A very large number of Boerboels do have significant issues with other dogs.  Boerboel puppies tend to be very adaptable and usually fit in very well with any pack structure that they are raised in, but adult Boerboels are much less agreeable.  Boerboels exhibit strong levels of many forms of dog aggression including territoriality and possessiveness, and many have severe issues with same-sex and dominance aggression.  Few Boerboels are willing to tolerate any other dog taking a position of dominance over them, and most are unwilling to back down.  Some Boerboels do best in a home with either no other dogs or a single dog of the opposite sex, and it is probably inadvisable to take one of these dogs to the dog park unless you are very very confident of your ability to control them.  Owners must keep their dogs under control at all times, because a Boerboel is capable of seriously injuring or killing virtually any other dog with ease.

Regarded as being extremely intelligent, Boerboels are considered among the most trainable of all Molossers.  Owners willing to take the time to work with these dogs find that they are extraordinarily capable, and excel at a variety of tasks such as agility and especially Schutzhund.  This dog is also regarded as among the most obedient Molossers when trained by an experienced handler.  However, this is far from the easiest breed to train.  Boerboels are extremely dominant, and will absolutely not follow anyone whom they do not consider a true leader.  Owners who do not maintain a constant position of dominance are likely to lose control very quickly and can end up with an absolute canine monster.  Even the most successfully dominant owners will find that a Boerboel is intelligent enough to figure out exactly what it can and cannot get away with, and will life its life by those rules.  Additionally, this breed definitely has a strongly stubborn streak, and often is resistant to some forms of training, particularly if there is something else capturing the dog’s attention.  Most fanciers believe that Boerboel puppies train much, much easier than adults, making an early start important.

Extremely athletic and active dogs, this breed requires a substantial amount of exercise.  A Boerboel will not be satisfied with a daily walk, unless it is very long and extremely vigorous.  These dogs need an opportunity to run on a regular basis, either on a leash or preferably in a large, safely enclosed area.  Most of these dogs are also extremely playful, and love to play fetch for long periods.  A driven worker, the Boerboel does best when provided with complicated jobs that exercise his intelligent and active mind such as running through an agility course or going through obedience training.  It is absolutely imperative that Boerboel owners provide their dogs with an appropriate outlet for their energy, or this breed will find one on its own, one that will probably be anything but appropriate.  Bored and restless Boerboels are likely to become destructive (a major problem as possibly no dog has the destructive capacity of this breed), hyperactive, overly excitable, excessively vocal, and potentially even aggressive

Puppies are destructive – they have to be house trained and they will chew and get into things. That’s part of having a pet. As a puppy gets older they will get into a rebellious teenage phase. As in humans, adolescence is a bridge or transition between youth and adulthood. Because all dogs have their own personality and breed-specific traits, adolescence manifests somewhat differently in each. Nonetheless, most dogs exhibit at least some of these common adolescent traits: selective hearing; refusal to do previously learned commands; reversion to puppy behaviors such as mouthiness, destructive chewing, jumping and barking; lapses in housebreaking and just about anything else to drive their guardian insane. With big breeds obedience training is more or less necessary unless you have the skills and experience to do it yourself. Your dog needs stimulation and exercise.

And for me the most important thing is, if you have an animal you need to realize that it is part of your family. It will take time, money and attention and it will live for many many years. My oldest cat lived to be 24 and that was a lot of times I could not drop everything and go on holiday or stay out all night or go for drinks after work. If you want an animal that will fit round your life then maybe you need to reconsider having one at all. It breaks my heart seeing all the animals in shelters or advertised for rehoming because they were more of a responsibility than people realized. It is much harder to find a home for a huge badly bred untrained boerboel than a Maltese poodle, and they often end up being put down.

These are wonderful wonderful dogs but they are not for everyone. As much as you want one, if you feel your circumstances are not right, then it would be best to wait until those circumstances change. If and when they do and you finally get your Boelie, you will be glad you waited until you could offer them what they need to be healthy, happy and loved.

For a complete index of my Boerboel posts, click here

For more information see this wiki



Author: Janet Carr

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

82 thoughts

  1. It is important to note what these dogs were bred for, to GUARD territories from animals and humans, it is in their blood to protect and even kill threats to their territory. We live in Africa and purchased a Boerboel as we live in a remote village and need security (we live in a fenced 3 acres) as we are involved in fighting wildlife and child trafficking so… we needed some extra protection at home. Our Boerboel is such a sweetheart, completely obedient and wonderful with our family (including two toddlers) and he will immediately accept any and ALL humans and dogs we bring into the home and introduce him to. However, he immediately kills ANY animal that enters our compound “illegally” (this includes a cat, four stray dogs, a civet cat, rats and two white-tailed mongoose) to date no humans have put him to the test. One of those dogs he killed was a rabid stray that had tried to attack me as I was entering our compound- our Boerboel may have very well saved my life that day. Boerboels are super sweet and excellent dogs, but they were bred for a purpose, so be ready to handle ALL that comes with it.

  2. I was rereading the Boerboel posts and decided to comment on this.
    We have three Boerboels ranging in age from 7 months to 6 years old and as of now,have had no unprovoked aggression.
    In raising our dogs,I don’t let them do anything as a puppy that I won’t find acceptable as an adult. So often people think that what their 10 pound puppy is doing is cute but when 10 pounds grows to 130 pounds,it’s not so cute.
    My dogs as pups are not allowed to chew hands or jump on people etc. They grow up with the same rules they will have as adults. It’s much less confusing for them and they grow up much more respectful. I am a firm believer in preventing bad habits from developing in the first place.

    1. I have had 4 Boerboels all from South African Imports. My current Male was bred from a Male that came from Klein San Fontaine kennels in SA and Piet Zyn Drift kennels in SA, in the bloodline their is Spitsfur and Dopper Hitler blood. Also He is related to Nostras Zulu and Nostras Rocky and also Gladwyn Mandela, are you familiar with any of these Boerboel lines, I may have mispelled a few, sorry,

  3. I know I am very late in my comment as this was posted years ago. I am also trying to type this as my baby is trying to work her way into my arms in bed 😁 I did feel I needed to commend you on your information. My husband and I are dog lovers. March of 2017 we adopted our
    Keeva who is a boerboel. We got her at 12 weeks. She was the “runt” at 26 pounds. Our lives have been forever changed! We have 2 other dogs. And we live them all dearly but the boerboel breed has won us over. She is now 14 months old and not the runt anymore at 115 pounds. She loves and protects our 5 year old granddaughter and our new grandson. We just had her at cabelas today. I don’t muzzle her as it’s not necessary but I do error on the side of caution and if anyone asks to pet her we just tell them with caution and not near the face. I feel the most important thing to stress is you need to know your baby. Keeva is in her 4th training class and is working for her Canine Good Citizenship award. We read about the breed and the Breeder gave us all the pros and cons. We have never regretted the decision to become involved with this breed. To say they are loyal is an understatement. She doesn’t just want to be with us 100% of her time it’s more like ishe needs to. Training is a dream. She will do anything to please us.
    This breed will win you over in minutes but I do agree bringing a boerboel into your family shouldn’t be a hasty decision. Ours costs us hundreds of dollars a month in food, and entertainment for her while we work. I would not call our baby aggressive but she could have the potential if we didn’t understand and respect that. We started working on that immediately.
    And I type all of this to you as she is laying on my chest with her head laying around my neck. 😉

  4. Love all these feedbacks on the BBs…..I changed from Bouviers for many years….and absolutely love my Luna whom I rehomed at her age 2yrs. She get along well with all if us: large mix bouv-pyr-rotte (female), double Lunas age..older chi rescue and indoor cat. Did beginner training school with her…reacted fine with class mates, but would shiver at times during classes…..she is SCARED with thunder – first ever during my 50+ year life with dogs with this issue….was obviously introduced to “outside noices” during her 2 early years…but she is absolutely gorgeous …love her to bits…. hope she will muster some strength with another year in her maturity …..and what joy! 😃…no curly coat anymore ! YAY….
    Have a question: Anybody experienced the skin on BBs underjaw being extremely thin and developing “bumps” that opens up and bleeds after rummaging in the feed bowl with the kibble? (Don’t relish having to go to soft foods)!
    Have trained and owned many breeds! My Luna is a winner!

      1. Oops…..never experienced that b4…..will change immediately for Lunas meals! Thanks for the info! Will keep you posted! 😁. Any idea WHY this happens?

      2. I hope it does make a difference – it did for me! In my case the vet said my dog had an allergy to metal, but that it can also be bacteria build-up on the edge of the bowl.

      3. Just found this: The condition that is most often cited as being caused by eating or drinking from a plastic bowl is called either chin acne or feline/canine acne. It is characterized by solid or pus-filled bumps that primarily affect the chin region. The lesions can be allergy-related, but contact with plastic is certainly not the only (or even the most frequent) underlying trigger. However, since switching types of bowls is so much simpler than diagnosing or managing other types of allergies, it certainly makes sense to try a change of bowls first.

        Allergies to stainless steel have also been described (primarily in certain breeds of dogs), which leaves ceramic or other types of sturdy glassware as your best option. Whatever bowls you end up using, make sure to clean them thoroughly and regularly (daily is optimal). The bacteria-laden slime that can form on the bottom of food bowls when they are ignored for too long is another possible trigger for chin acne.

        If switching food and water bowls and keeping them impeccably clean doesn’t resolve the lesions, try cleaning the affected skin once or twice a day with over the counter benzoyl peroxide wipes that are used in the treatment of human acne. This is often all that is needed to resolve and prevent the recurrence of mild cases of chin acne. More aggressive treatment becomes necessary when the area is very itchy, painful, inflamed, swollen, and/or draining pus or blood. A veterinarian can prescribe the antibiotics, corticosteroids, and other treatments that may be needed to get the condition under control and recommend management techniques and/or maintenance therapy that will prevent it from returning.

      4. Janet, your advice was extremely good! We now eat from a Pyrex bowl, cleaned after each meal – and also use peroxide wipes 😋
        I totally hesitate getting into vets hands with antibiotics or steroids for that matter too! I’m a retired RN and we live a medicine free life!!!!! Furthermore, my Luna is a “rehomer” who had very loose poops when I got her 3mths + ago…..and I hate to mess with her insides via antibiotics! We prefer natural ways in our house!
        As for “dangerous”….Luna is a DOLL…… lacking perhaps in confidence, and we are building on that 😉 I wish she would bark lol….she now plays with a hefty rope toy….and cavorting round our large open dining/living area like a young calf…..which I am glad to see….she has got spunk! But the family protector so far is Amber….4yrs….mix bouv, pyr, rottie…..I’m hoping Luna will will eventually realise her ancestry……like I said earlier….currently she is a doll!

      5. Your responce is much valued Janet – there is not a very noticeable change as yet with the “pimples”…..As you probably already are aware of: antibiotics mess with intestinal flora, and I am hopeful that the chin condition can be rectified without an “of course very helpful vet” lol Our household lead medicine free and healthy lives – and prefer the natural approach – also for our 4-legged family!!! 😊
        Have a safe and Happy 4th!

      6. Your responce is much valued Janet – there is not a very noticeable change as yet with the “pimples”…..As you probably already are aware of: antibiotics mess with intestinal flora, and I am hopeful that the chin condition can be rectified without an “of course very helpful vet” lol Our household lead medicine free and healthy lives – and prefer the natural approach – also for our 4-legged family!!! 😊
        Have a safe and Happy 4th!

  5. I bought a boerboel hybrid from a Olympic dogs in Washington state and have had nothing but good things to say about him. Our dog Anubis is 62.5% boerboel, 12.5% dogo argentino, 12.5% great Dane and 12.5% Turkish kangal. He is fawn with a black mask and is great with our kids and our 2 smaller female dogs and cats. We decided on a mostly boerboel hybrid because of our love for the breed but heterosis means fewer genetic issues. I would love to get your take on this hybrid and our breeders website.

  6. Thank you so much , Im a trainer and have a new dog I’m training and its a Boerboels , having some issues but now know better from your information how to handle and train him better … He is a wonderful dog other wise, just dog on dog … yet your information will make training much easier and knowing… what he needs brings light into it …. I never give up on a dog and he has done very well with dogs behind fences now 🙂 but did attack my small dog while muzzled … on a walk …. this has been a experience …. and yes my little dog is male , so now I know better …. He is doing great while my dog is behind a fenced area now but wont rust him to just hang out … and there is always those that cant …and I know this … my goal in training is keep everyone safe first and fore most …YAY! now I can properly train him ! Thank you!

  7. Your article decribes “the ideal” Boerboel. They are almost non-existent now. Most don’t have the heart or the soul to actually protect anything anymore because so few breeders select for proper traits. A Boerboel is NOT a show dog, it’s a working dog plaqued with health problems like SAS, HD, ED, entropian, ectropian.
    While I don’t know STL Boerboels I did go to their website and see no health testing results, but plenty of appraisal scores. Also no temperament testing results. These things MUST be done to ensure the health and temperament of the Boerboel.
    I’ve owned Boerboels since 2008 and researched them for five years prior to owning one and have owned Rottweilers since 92. Both breeds are a mere shell of their prior working selves.
    Thankfully, one US breeder is preserving the “total” Boerboel. Fully health tested parents. Dogs worked in more venues than I can mention (Schutzhund, PP, herding, lure coursing, barn hunting) just to name a few. Last, but certainly not least temperament testing. If you want a “total” Boerboel there’s only one place to go. Dichotomy Boerboels!

    1. Thanks for this Sherri, I have also heard very good things about Dichotomy Boerboels, so it is nice to have a personal recommendation. It’s scary how quickly a breed can degenerate when it becomes popular, and so it is very heartwarming to know there is a core of breeders keeping things as they should. Thanks for your reply!

    2. Or if you want a real South African Boerboel you could go get one from África, where they are still used as working dogs, mainly for security. In Africa they are not seen as family dogs, or lap dog because they aren’t really that docile, they are guard dogs… The only Boerboel that I know that somewhat fits that description is my dog that is a mixed breed between a Boerboel and a Bullmastiff.
      The father of my dog (a full breed South African Boerboel) belongs to my parents, only respects them, me and my brother (very smart he met me when he was an adult and never showed any signs of being agressive towards me, actually is very protective of me), there are people that have known him since he was a pup, and still they are not safe from him if left unchecked.
      But every dog breed seams to be more feral in Africa, I have met very agressive labradors there so… could be the air…

  8. I really enjoyed the article, but I strongly disagree with one point, your overuse of the word dominant.
    Dogs kept together will naturally develop dominant behaviour towards certain things, for example one dog may show dominant behaviour over toys, while another may push others out the way when it comes to receiving attention from the owner, but they don’t try to dominate humans.
    They are well aware that we are a different species, they depend upon us for their survival. What is often seen as dominant behaviour is just a misinterpretation of how good a dog is trained or how a dog is allowed to behave in most cases. The boerboel is a large and powerful breed that needs a firm and confident owner, lots of socialisation and good quality training, if these criteria are not met then you may end up with a God that misbehaves, not a dog that tries to dominate its owner.

      1. The thing is, the way you explained it is probably the best way for 90% of people to understand what it will be like for them to raise a dog with such a strong will, without having to go into great detail about what dominance is and is not. This article and your others an amazing job in educating people, and are so enjoyable to read. I guess I was just hoping that people would not take away all the good information that they get from reading it and then mess up their dog by listening to celebrity trainers that call for severe action to combat what they see as dominant behaviour.
        Thanks for the great article Janet, looking forward to the next one 🙂

  9. My sister has a wonderful Boerboel, but he is very insecure and clingy. He takes a while to accept anyone else, which I understand is perfectly normal for the breed. However, insecurity is not, and he is now 4 years old and not growing out of it. He has a female Akita to play with in a very large yard, which he does at length! He is also walked daily and is very well behaved overall, but he seems to be becoming less tolerant of strangers passing by. I’m wondering if any of you good Boerboel owners have any advice. My sister loves him dearly, but is worried. He has gone through training, and you can modify his behavior temporarily, but it always comes back to the same clinginess and aggression towards strangers.

    1. I had a Boerboel who passed on. Like any breed it depends on the breeder and what the dog will be tasked with.

      Too many people get dogs to impress people. A guy where I used to live would bring his Cane Corso into town and everyone would stare at it and ask him about it. The even larger Boerboel elicits the same oohs and ahs.

      Yeah Boerboels will protect. Like many dogs which were bred to be estate protectors or livestock guardians they wouldn’t be my first choice as pets. If they get loose in suburbia, you can be in serious trouble.

      1. Sounds like you’re bragging about your dogs being aggressive. My post actually refers to an adult Boerboel who is fearful – and who wasn’t bought to impress anyone.

      2. Katie, I said I had a Boerboel. I didn’t say anything else about him except he has passed on.. I certainly didn’t talk about his aggression. You apprarently were offended by my statement that so,e people get dogs to impress other people. If the shoe fits as they say….

        I have owned a Boerboel, other molosser breeds and currently own an American bulldog. These are serious working dogs for serious people. They are good dogs with the right owner but in the hands of an immature person, they can be dangerous. With all molosser breeds you need to establish yourself as the alpha. You also don’t bring these dogs to dog parks and let them run off leash around people they don’t know. I live in a rural area so it’s totally different than living in a town.

        Unfortunately there is no requirement that people who get dogs are equipped to handle them. That’s why so many dogs are in shelters. It’s also why you hear all the time of someone being mauled by a pit bull, rottie or some other more common breed … usually the owner was irresponsible.

      3. I was responding to your comment about your dog knowing how to “get the job done” when I offered my opinion that you seem to be bragging about aggression. Bottom line is that I was asking a question (in 2015) of Janet about a Boerboel owned by my sister. Perhaps you can make your social, motivational and behavioral assessment of her. I’ve been involved with dogs, dog raising or dog training for 30 years, and I have my own theories, beliefs and practices. You are entitled to yours.

      4. I am going to add a little more and stop posting. I just discovered this website and I think Janet is doing a real service for people with Boerboels but it also applies to other molossers from working lines. These dogs need to always know who is in control. They need a job to do. My dog guards a perimeter – I have ~ 130 acres. In the house, he is restricted to certain areas and I don’t allow unrestrained play where he gets overly excited. He is always looking for a command. He knows who the alpha is. I never let him forget.

        Please understand that I love my dog. But when I say molossers I’m not talking about Newfoundlands, Bernese or G Pyrenees. The dogs I have owned are a bull mastiff, a Boerboel, an American bulldog, etc. Molosser breeds from working lines should want to work… live to work. They want to take commands.

        These kinds of working dogs should not be romping and getting overly exuberant in the living room. That’s when things go wrong. You have to remain alpha all the time even in walking near the dog. He needs to wait for you before he moves. He always needs to know you are the pack leader.

        Good luck to you all.

  10. We love our Boerboel BUT this is not a dog you can take off leash to the dog park. We socialized and trained extensively and she will still charge and attack strange dogs. So no off leash in the city. We are going to get a muzzle as well, to protect us from litigation and her from being labelled dangerous. Zero tolerance for strange dogs, little tolerance for strange people, although friendly with people she recognizes. This breed will not only die for you they will kill to protect you.

    Beautiful, loyal, protective and extremely goofy when at home. Off property this dog is all business. At about 12 months her puppy tolerance wore off and she started to chase off other dogs . She won’t go after them if they stay away but if they come close she will charge them. More rhino than dog! On leash, off leash she doesn’t care. Don’t come near us.

    1. This is really worrisome. Our female Boerboel is almost 9 months old and adores other dogs and people. She is walked, unleashed, in conservation areas. She constantly meets new dogs and interacts really well with them. Before we chose her, we met the parents and told the breeder that we wanted a big dog we could walk off leash every day, and a dog that would be friendly with people. The breeder said that if we socialized her, then she would be fine. We previously had a Rhodesian Ridgeback that had passed on. She was irreplaceable, so we opted for a Boerboel, because there seemed a lot of similarities with the breeds.

      I guess it’s a wait and see situation now. Yet just from the challenges encountered in raising her, I feel this is a breed that most people would not have the skill sets to adapt. It isn’t that people want a “designer dog”, they just aren’t informed. We are constantly stopped by people just walking by, or people driving by and suddenly stopping to see our dog. They seem to be struck by her look and obvious sweet personality. They don’t listen when I tell them that there are real challenges with raising such a strong dog. They see the dog that you’ve devoted so much time and training, and they think it comes naturally. That’s the problem. People just don’t know, and the internet information is quite biased. Anyway, I wish you all the best, and we’ll just keep the socializing going and naturally hope for the best. It must have been heartbreaking to have your dog’s apparent genetics kick in. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see.

      My best hopes go out to you.

  11. Hello. I’ve read the comments, and when
    nothing is mentioned about the biting issue, I wonder if we’re talking about the same breed. I am an experienced large breed dog owner, and I’ve never encountered the biting, attack concern that I have with my extremely well socialized, 5 month old Boerboel puppy. She is well exercised, has piles of chew toys, and is played with extensively. Yet she will suddenly and unexpectantly jump up and bite us. We have no idea what to do. There must be a proven way to deal with this and stop this behavior. What is it?

    1. For something like this, seeing as you are an experienced owner, I would contact your breeder, an animal behaviourist or perhaps ask this question in one of the Boerboel Facebook groups, where you will likely find someone who has had and solved this issue.

  12. Thanks for the wonderful website i have a boerboel he will be two in NOvember and he is absolutely friendly he os just to funny he will run towards strangers barking and he will just stand the not. Doing anything but i havent spent enough time with him but i do spend a lot pf tim with him now i want to try to get closer to him but i just have thos fear that he will bite or jump and knock me over but i have stood susde by side with him and my friend and i just had to hold a water bottel in case he jumps on me please help me to get closer to him please I NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. As he is two you will probably need some more help on this one. Boerboels need to know who is boss and leader of their pack. So showing fear of them is a bit problematic. What I would recommend is, if you are on Facebook, joining some of the Boerboel groups on there. They are people there either going through the same thing or having gone through the same thing and they are happy to help. I have written a post about the Facebook groups I would recommend here.

  13. Janet just wanted to say THANK YOU for breaking down so many questions for me!! Love my Tank he is only 5 months now but he tries to act 5 years lol! Reading your pages have helped me considerably so AWESOME HELP!!!

  14. I want to learn more about this breed. I have a 1 and half year old male boerboel very weLl fed and healthy but its too afraid of intruders. All it does is bark and retreat when approached

    1. There are some nice Facebook groups with lots of experts and helpful people in them. I will do a post with links to them in the next few days.

      1. Withe Boerboels you positively need to establish that you are the alpha. Absolutely must socialize them at a young age at the dog parks, everywhere you go,they read your emotions, if you are a quick tempered, easily angered person, don’t get one; if you are those silly dog owners that you see on the dog whisperer, forget about it; otherwise with the right training you will hard pressed to find a dog that will love you more that a Boerboel.

  15. I just love this dog I call him bull. my problem about him, he does not want to be touched some times I just want to check his ears but he will be running all over the yard[ please help]

    1. What I would recommend is joining one of the Boerboel Facebook groups – there are people with way more experience than I about behavioral issues. Though some dogs do not like their ears being touched. We had a Rottweiler like that once.

  16. My son Tatenda recently got one.. as a few weeks old puppy,, Spark has made a mark already.. neigbours now know we have a ‘protector’..!!!!

  17. My beautiful boerboel is very friendly towards my children and this is one of the best breed that i have. Train them from young and you will love them so so much. Great behaviour. Big size giant yet gentle. How i wish i can post her photo here.

    1. Additional, my group of friend owns boerboel. In total, 3 of us, we have 5 boerboel and all of us not having any disipline issue from them. I always believe the key is ‘train and socialize them from young’. Dont treat them like dog to protect house only but treat them like family members. In return, you will get surprise how this wonderful breed love you. Cheers

  18. I personally love boerboels and their intimidation to outsiders. I was at a Friend’s who has one and there were intruders trying to break into our vehicles but by the approch of his boerboel, the intruders fled and never returned. My boerboels Duke and Dutches on the other hand are extremely over protective over my family and violent when it come to visiters and other dogs. They are 11 months old.

    1. Same here our boerboels are big sweet loving loyal teddy bears with the inner circle family but if they don’t know you they have no difficulty in showing and expressing it to the point that when we have new friends over the dogs must be locked up they cannot even be introduced to them

      1. What does it take to make you all wake up and smell the coffee. Yes, Boerboels possess all the amazing fantastic qualities that you adore and admire. Yes, you have incredible and rational reasons to be besotted with them. But the question …”.Are Boerboels dangerous?” is a yes or no question. You are in denial if you say NO. Just think about it. They can’t be trusted with strangers. That includes anyone that might even be close to you, ie. sweet grandmothers, children, friends, the neighbour next door retrieving a ball from your yard, other peoples’ much beloved pets, etc. etc. It is what it is. Don’t be in denial. It’s not fair to the person asking the question. Why is the question being asked? Would you ask this question about a toy poodle? Be honest so that a potential owner makes an informed decision.

      2. Yes, Janet is correct. That’s what they are bred for. I had a Boerboel on my ranch and people took a look and stayed away.

        I have a bulldog now. He’s from a working line. No nonsense. He keeps people and animals away. He’s not theree for strangers to pet. Bulldogs are a little less exotic and smaller than the Boerboel but big enough to get the job done.

  19. Perfect information on the Boerboel, I have a 6 year old male, who is a whooping 12stone, his extremely protective of the family and property, and makes that known when a unknown visitor arrives, he has been wonderful with all the horses sheep even cats, we have a mini jack Russell who weighs around 7lb so a very big difference and we got her after Duke was here for a few years and he accepted her perfectly, didn’t even batter a eyelid as he knew straight away she was no threat, my friends can bring there dogs in even in tact males and he is fine aslong as they are well balanced, the only downside I have found to my Boerboel is he doesn’t always judge friend to foe as easy as our working German shepherds although he has been socialised properly and still everyday he meets new people and animals he still has no trust for anyone outside the immediate family or close friends which took some time before he would accept them. Overall tho he is defiantly a guardian angel with dribble and a tail!

  20. My 10 month old female maltese, Laylah and I are moving in with my fiancé and his 3 year old male boerboel, Samson. We introduced the two and so far so good. Also we are having a baby of our own . So the house will be a full one. My biggest concern is that he jumps on people and that habit needs to stop. Any ideas? Good thing is I will be home most of the time so I can give him as much time needed. Please help

    1. Tie the dog to something. Stand in front of it a few steps away. Approach. As long as all 4 feet stay on the ground you can pet. If it attempts to jump turn your back and step away. Try again. It only takes a few times of doing this before the dog understand that jumping makes to go away, but staying down makes you pet them. If it jumps SAY NOTHING, just turn away. Negative attention like scolding or yelling down is just as good to them as positive attention.

  21. I have read many different pages with information about Boerboels and many tend to just copy and past all the previous history of the breed. This sums up the breed and I can tell has been written personally by yourself. My Boerboel is 7 Months now and I have to say he is very well behaved. He was toilet trained within 3 days of being home and has only chewed through a couple of our things. He has not damaged furniture or anything our previous labrador did. I do constantly train him and he can be very stubborn but I believe he is a very good dog and I have been lucky with his temperment. He is calm but needy, always wanting to be by a member of our family. He watches out in the garden for any noises. His protective instincts have not yet been put to the test but he does seem to be verly alert and on edge if I take him for a walk once it is dark outisde. However during the day he is fine in the park with other people and dogs. He is still young and only starting to reach into maturity etc but I hope he does not change too much. He has been very well socialized and I think that is key to having a well balanced dog. I got him from Topguards Boerboel in the UK after a long waiting list but I could not be more happy with him. If anyone wants anymore information feel free to contact me on Thanks P.s, he tends to sleep alot during this fast growing phase! He runs and plays with other dogs but he is not high energy or a handfull. He has never pulled on the lead!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Your boy sounds wonderful! I have heard it said many times that the only two downsides of a Boerboel are the drooling and the clinginess!

  22. great article. sums my pup up to the tee. she is an handful, but love everything about her.

  23. We have a Boerboel. I absolutely love him and have considered breeding them to help ensure their purity and that they are raised properly and put in good homes. These dogs definitely require a lot of time, work and love. Maddox is very protective, smart and fun but he is not for everyone. Your article described the breed perfectly.

  24. we just got a new boerboel as our family first dog. Is that a good idea? we adopted the dog at SPCA.

    1. If you do not have experience with large guardian breeds, I would recommend you immediately find a good trainer, experienced with working dogs. We own 2 boerboels and currently have an available litter. I am fairly good with training and we had a rot previously. We still send ours to a working dog trainer for about a month when they hit about 16-18 months. The teenage years are a bit over the average person’s training ability. It also is nice to have a professional finish out and nip in the butt any annoying problems you are having with the dog.

      1. Hi Kirsten. How much are you guys selling your pups for? I am really experienced training dominant type breeds. Was looking into buying a boerboel sometime this year. Through my readings, I have really grown fond of this breed. I think one would make a great addition to our family.

      2. Hello, Kirsten. I just found this site today. Have you found good homes for your entire litter yet?

  25. This is HANDS-DOWN, the best break-down about the Boerboeli have seen on the internet. And i have looked just about everywhere. I own a Boerboel and loves these dogs to death. Great job!

    1. I totally agree excellent review on the Boerboel. In the hands of an intelligent, loving owner one of the greatest breeds ever …My little man is 83kg of pure joy!!!

      1. I have a Boerboel and she is my baby. Absolutely a mush, but she protects our house and family without hesitation. She also gets along with our other pets both dog and cats.

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