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Boerboel Support


1.1 Advance word Historically, the Boerboel was developed as a general farm dog for the pioneers who have been based in South Africa since the seventeenth century. These dogs were often a first line of defence against predators and were valuable in tracking down injured game. Old farmers told many a story of the strength, agility and courage of the Boerboel. The dangers and harsh conditions of South Africa meant that only the strongest survived. The protective nature of the Boerboel is still evident today and is very much in demand, as is the calm, stable and self-assured nature of the breed. It still remains the first choice breed among farmers in South Africa and is very popular for the same reasons in urban communities. The origins and purpose of the Boerboel need to be understood in order to preserve the breed's unique identity and qualities as a South African developed mastiff. Type, appearance, operational reliability and mentality are equally important when evaluating the Boerboel as a whole. The purpose of the breed standard is to provide clear guidelines for breeders and judges to promote a unique vision of the ideal Boerboel.

1.2 Race standard

1.2.1 GENERAL FOREIGN De Boerboel:

  • Is large, with a strong bone structure and well-developed muscle mass.
  • The profile of the head and body are angular. Has created an impressive posture through the combination of build, posture, confidence and powerful movements.
  • Has powerful, exuberant and unencumbered movements, despite its size.
  • Is symmetrical and perfectly balanced within the desired proportions of the breed.
  • Has developed a pronounced sexual dimorphism, with the bitch less prominent. (obvious external differences between the different sexes)


  • Is intelligent, eager to learn and manageable.
  • Has a strong protective instinct and is loyal to the members of the family.
  • Is steadfast and calm, with a balanced and self-assured nature when approached.
  • Is fearless and shows courage when they are threatened.
  • Requires training and consistent education from an early age.


  • The head is impressive and a distinguishing feature of the Boerboel.
  • It is angular, broad, deep, rather short in relation to the body.
  • It's muscular with well-filled cheeks.
  • The top of the skull is square, flat and muscular. The cheekbone is well-muscled, but not too prominent.
  • The transition between the roof of the skull and the head is clear, but not prominent, gradually descending and well filled between the eyes.
  • It should not be steep, or a nearly straight line between the nose and the occiput.
  • The muzzle is broad, deep, well connected, filled under the eyes and narrows slightly towards the nose. 
  • The top line is straight and almost parallel to the skull roof.
  • The muzzle size is just over a third of the total length of the head (approx. 10 cm for males and 8 cm for females of ideal height).
  • The nostrils are large and far apart, with the septum (vertical line) of the nose perpendicular to the lower jaw.
  • The jaws are strong, deep and wide and tapered at the front.
  • The teeth are white, strong, correctly distributed with complete teeth and a scissors bite (limited underbite acceptable, overbite unacceptable).
  • The upper lip is loose and fleshy. 
  • It falls just over the lower lip and teeth at the front but should not hide the lower jaw at the sides.
  • The lower lip is moderately tight without too many folds.
  • The eyes are medium-large, almond-shaped, forward-facing and far apart, with an intelligent expression.
  • It is well protected from nature (sunlight) by clear and black-pigmented eyelids, shows no structural weaknesses.
  • The colour of the eye preferably dark brown but all shades of brown are acceptable (preferably darker than the coat).
  • The ears are wide and high and placed close to the head.
  • They are V-shaped with a broad base tapering to a rounded tip, the tip hangs almost equal to the line of the mouth.
  • When the dog is alert, the top of the ears and skull are equal, these must form a straight line.
  • The neutral facial expression must be intelligent, attentive and trusting (not evasive, shy or threatening).

1.2.4 THE NEK

  • The neck is powerful, of medium length, strongly muscled and with a pronounced comb/quiff.
  • (In the bitch the muscles are less prominent but must remain in balance with the head and body).
  • It is set medium high, flows smoothly into the sloping withers and forms a unity with the head and shoulders.
  • The cervical lobe (skin fold on the throat) is noticeable, but disappears in the direction of the sternum.

1.2.5 THE BODY

  • The body is about 15% longer than the height and measured horizontally from the point of the shoulder to the back of the trunk.
  • (The length of the chest, loins and pelvis is approximately proportioned with a ratio of 2: 1: 1).
  • It is angular, muscular, firm and has a good depth and width. The back is broad and straight, with pronounced muscles that form an imperceptible arch in the upper line over the loins.
  • The breast reaches to the tip of the elbow, which covers about half of the total height of the withers.
  • The transitions between the chest, loins and trunk are well filled and flowing.

1.2.6 BREAST

  • The chest is long, broad and deep, with well-arched ribs and strongly developed pectoral muscles. It is filled behind the shoulder blades.
  • The point of the sternum is at the same horizontal level as the point of the shoulder.
  • The shoulder blades must be well attached (not loose).


  • It is short, straight and muscular, and slightly narrower than the chest and trunk.
  • The flanks are well filled, only moderately tucked up and the height is slightly smaller than the length of the loins.


  • The body is broad, strong, muscular and in proportion to the rest of the dog.
  • The height must not exceed the height at the withers. 
  • The upper line descends to the tail.
  • The jaws are wide and flat with a pivot point (axis) towards the powerful reach of the rear legs to provide a point of support.
  • The tail is thick and attaches quite high to the abdomen. The tail is traditionally docked but full tails are acceptable. 
  • The docking takes place after the 3rd or 4th tail vertebrae. The natural tail should reach approximately to the heels when the dog is standing.


  • Weak and deformed limbs that endanger the physical functionality of the Boerboel should be discriminated against (disqualified).


  • Has strong bones, with well-defined muscles and strong joints.
  • Must be correctly angled from the well angled shoulder blades to the wrists (wrist).
  • The forelegs should form a vertical line from the point of the shoulder to the toes, the elbows should be held close to the body and parallel to the chest seen from the front.
  • Seen from the side, the lower leg should be vertical from the elbow to the wrist. The wrist is short, thick and strong and angles slightly forward.
  • The front legs point straight forward, are large, round, strongly boned and compact.
  • The toes are well arched, with curved black toenails and protected by hair in between. The cushions are thick, tough and black.

1.2.11 HIND LEGS

  • Are strong boned, firm and muscular.
  • The joints must be healthy, strong and well angulated to support the powerful propulsion of the hindquarters during movement.
  • The upper thighs are broad, deep and muscular seen from the side and back.
  • The lower thighs are well-defined muscles up to the heels.
  • The metatarsus is broad, relatively short and perfectly upright. The front is in a vertical line with the back of the torso.
  • Seen from behind, the hindquarters should form an inverted U, with the knees pointing straight forward and the heels straight back.
  • The hind legs point straight ahead, are slightly smaller than the front legs and have the same characteristics.


  • The movement is strong, purposeful, lively and fluent and easy both at the front and at the back.
  • The legs and body must be in line during movement. The feet closer to the center line as the speed increases, these form a V-shape seen straight from the front.
  • The legs should never cross while moving.
  • On all gaits (walk, trot, run) the top line (head, neck and back) is firm and strong, without swaying, or sagging in the middle, and without rolling excess body fat.
  • Weak, unsound or toiling movement should not be tolerated (disqualified).

1.2.13 VEL

  • The skin is thick and loose, but supple.
  • A small cervical lobe (skin fold at the throat) is allowed and moderate wrinkles on the forehead when the dog shows interest.


  • The Boerboel is well pigmented, especially on the lips, palate, skin and hair around the eyes, nose, soles of the feet, toenails, anus and skin and hair around the genitals.
  • Only dogs with black (eumelanin) pigmentation are acceptable.


  • The coat is short, dense, smooth and shiny.
  • The recognized colors / color patterns are (with or without mask):
  • All shades of red, brown and yellow.
  • Brindle: Brindle is a color pattern with irregular vertical lines of some black hairs on a red, brown or yellow base.
  • Piebald: Piebald is allowed to breed, but has to be discriminated in the showring. No more than 30% white is acceptable.
  • Irish Marks: Irish Markings (white stripe on forehead and nose, white collar and white paws) are allowed to breed, but must be discriminated against in the show ring.
  • All these colours and colour patterns must be accompanied by good pigmentation.
  • No other colors or color patterns and markings are acceptable.


  • Is determined by the ideal withers height and desired ratio between the height and dimensions of the different parts of the external anatomy.
  • The ideal height for a male is 66cm (lower than 60cm is unacceptable).
  • The ideal height of a bitch is 61cm (lower than 55cm is unacceptable).


  • The males must have two normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

1.2.18 ERRORS

  • Any deviation from the foregoing points must be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault must be regarded must be directly proportional to the degree of assessment.


  • A dog that is too small (smaller than the minimum heights specified in the breed standard).
  • A dog that is too big and out of balance.
  • An overly aggressive dog.
  • A head too small and atypical.
  • A lack of pigment.
  • Excessive underbite.
  • Excessive overbite.
  • Blue eyes.
  • Pointed (standing) ears.
  • Any dog that clearly shows physical or behavioural abnormalities or has characteristics of a breed other than the BOERBOEL.