This gorgeous boy, Crazy Wolf, out of Middelpos Zoro x Pancer Tabitha achieved 2nd place in the SABT Appraisal in the Netherlands with 85.9% at the age of 14 months. Now at 19 months he weighs 75kg and has A hips, 0/0 elbows and no cruciate ligament rupture. When he was a pup he had the biggest feet and heaviest bones of any Boerboel I had ever seen (see photo above taken when he was 15 weeks old) so I have followed him and kindly been allowed to record his life on my blog by his owner Miriam Koopen of Blygedacht Boerboele.
He’s a very big (beautiful) boy! Our largest canine in residence is Talwyn, an unusually big Golden Retriever girl who weighs in at around 45Kg (breed average for a girl is about 29Kg). Wolf is equivalent to our Talwyn + Titch… Titch being 25Kg of Rottweiler/Staffie cross boy. All I need when I take those two for a walk is a pair of roller skates… or possibly an anchor, if they both decide they want to check something out. I suspect that if Wolf really wants to go and check something out, Wolf probably gets to do just that! 🙂 I wouldn’t like to upset him…
It certainly looks like he grew into those magnificent paws… but is cruciate ligament rupture common in Boerboels? Our eldest Retriever, Teg, managed to completely snap both her cruciates when she was around a year old, and now walks around courtesy of some strategically located chunks of titanium in her hind legs. Given the weight, power and leverage exerted by a full grown Boerboel I would imagine that surgery and rehab to fix cruciate failure would be *very* non-trivial – sensible breeders would do their best to avoid bloodlines with a tendency to rupture, surely?
Elbow and hip problems are more common (which is why these values are often named when mentioning well-known dogs) but cruciate ligament problems are not infrequent and as you said, are more difficult for bigger dogs. Some Boerboels are well over 200lbs which makes some problems more likely.
One thing that has always been in the Boerboel’s favor is that being a working breed, any examples that were aggressive or not able to work and work hard were immediately euthanized. That made it a stable and healthy breed.
The biggest problem now for the Boerboel when it comes to these issues is being a breed that has only recently been discovered by the rest of world. This means there are conflicting breed standards, ignorant owners and irresponsible and greedy breeders breeding from dogs that have these problems which then perpetuates it. The fashion nowadays is for mastodon Boerboels with huge heads and muscular bodies so ‘greeders’ often do anything to get that without thinking of the health of the breed.
Miriam (Wolf’s owner) knows and loves the breed and knew all the famous South African greats of the breed so she is a fantastic ambassador. Wolf’s father, Middelpos Zoro has recent hip and leg problems caused purely by ill treatment (he was flown all over the world just to breed, poor thing). He now has a lovely permanent home with Miriam and her family and is loved and look after without being a walking sperm bank.