Boerboels are large dogs, which have been used for farm and protection work in South Africa. They are obedient, intelligent, self-assured and have an extremely strong guarding instinct. Perhaps surprisingly, this does not make the dog a vicious unsociable animal, because the Boerboel was in constant proximity to the farmers and their children, a badly behaved or aggressive dog was unacceptable and would, perhaps rather harshly, have been put down. This very selective and practical breeding ethic has created a loving pet with an even temperament that is happiest in a family environment, where he can put his protective instincts into action when required.  As the dogs were bred to perform a variety of tasks for farmers they have developed with a vigorous constitution, and have few major heath problems. Due to their breeding as a flock guard / cattle driver (they do not herd) they are independent thinking dogs who can make decisions quickly. When they reach adulthood, they therefore can be steadfast & stubborn, and although generally obedient, if they feel a situation requires their attention they have the confidence to try to take charge. In the home they will guard your territory, and your family with utter devotion.



The temperament of the Boerboel is its most attractive and most important characteristic. The South Africans describe the Boerboel as the only breed in the world bred with only one purpose i.e. to guard and protect the family.

            A Boerboel should never sulk or grumble after being reprimanded. If it does, it is not a proper Boerboel. People should buy a Boerboel for its temperament only, and this should stay its most important quality. It should be your best friend, be able to know when you feel threatened, and to know instinctively if you approve of a stranger or not.

Boerboels are good companions for children, as they will accept the whole family, not just one person, as their master because they feel their primary duty is to protect all of you. This is in stark contrast to many breeds of dog who will only listen to the one dominant person in their "pack".

            The South Africans love to tell the story about the Boerboel that goes out in the field with the children during the day, to protect them and the cattle against all perils, and how it must be able to snatch a hare for their lunch. At night, it lies beside the fire with its family, again protecting them against any unknown danger that springs out of the dark. In one word: a miracle dog!!

This is a somewhat romanticized view because at the end of the day, a Boerboel is a dog, not a human being and not a miracle dog.


From The American Kennel Club

  • The docked tail of the Boerboel, according to legend, has it's origins in practicality. As a farm protector the Boerboel might encounter marauding baboons and with a short tail he could not so easily be held by the dexterous baboon.

  • Stories are told of the Boerboel killing and vanquishing lions in South Africa. Truthfully it is unlikely that a Boerboel would be able to kill a full grown and healthy lion however, they were strong and agile enough to handle the occasional leopard.

  • Boerboels are a dominant breed. New owners should have experience with large breeds prior to owning a Boerboel.

  • The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under his fur, as well as the roof of his mouth. This darker pigment was considered necessary in his country for protection against the sun and heat.

  • A Boerboel can be both a capable working dog and a loyal companion. The word Boerboel means "Farm Dog" and as such he should be mentally and physically versatile. These were dogs of the people and not merely the elite.

  • Early socialization and obedience training will go a long way to ensuring success with your Boerboel. The Boerboel is both clever and smart and is capable of learning many useful tricks.

From Dog Breed Information Center

The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watch and guard-dog instincts. It is self-assured and fearless. The Boerboel are very playful and affectionate toward their owners. Their favorite pass time would be to play a game of fetch loving every minute they spend with their master. Their jaws are strong and they will most often pop the ball they are playing with. Not to fret, they will just play with the popped ball! They are very gentle and good with children they know. Allow them to ride on their backs like a horse, loving every minute of the attention they are getting. Boerboel are protectors and can be very aggressive to people passing in the street. They will guard their family, friends and property with their life. When the owners are not home they will not allow anyone to enter the home, unless they know them very well.  When welcomed visitors arrive they will accept them after being properly introduced. They are however, guard dogs, and will keep close watch over any house guest. Owners have to be very careful when opening the gate or door so that they don't get out into the street when people are passing by. Boerboel will do okay with other dogs, cats and other non-canine pets, letting birds come down and snatch from their food bowl! This breed requires a dominant owner.

       The Boerboel is not recommended for apartment life. They should, at least,  have a large, fenced in yard to run and play. They Boerboel can live outdoors. This breed should not be left to run on their own for they are very protective and sometimes do not take too well to strangers.

SABT = South African Boerboel Association
APRI = American Pet Registry Inc. 
HBSA = The Historical Boerboel Club of Southern Africa
EBBASA = Elite Boerboel Breeders Association of South Africa Boerboel club (Nederland)
RIBC = Russian International Boerboel Club Samba Global  
SAMBA Global = international organization, whose primary goal is to aid the protection & development of the South African Boerboel
United States Boerboel Association

See Hagrid's parents at