As previously stated the name “Boerboel” comes from Afrikaans/Dutch words for a farmer (“Boer”) and dog (“boel”), and indeed they were farmers’ dogs. They were bred by Dutch settlers in South Africa starting in the 1600s primarily because they were needed to defend the homestead. These magnificent animals would hunt dangerous wildlife such as hyenas, baboons, leopards, and other big cats. How it all came to be was the European settlers brought large, strong dogs with them to South Africa when they departed. Upon arrival, they bred them with indigenous domestic dogs and a variety of other breeds over the course of several centuries. Bulldogs
and Mastiffs were also brought by the English and crossbred with Boerboels. To add to the fire even the Da Beers diamond mining company imported Bull Mastiffs to guard their mines, which also was bred with Boerboels to help better them by making them more desirable and agile for their purpose, and that is the gist of how they continued to evolve to what is around today. It is uncertain exactly which breeds make up the Boerboel’s ancestry, but only the strongest dogs were able to survive the hot weather, encounter wildlife, and maintain their status as an efficient and obedient specimen intern which contributed to the Boerboel’s tenacity and strength throughout the years.
During the 1800s, colonists began to protest British rule of South Africa and moved inland. As a result, their dogs were scattered and often taken in by isolated communities. This was one of that fortunate, kind of not-so-fortunate situations. It was fortunate for the communities because Boerboels became necessary for hunting, herding, guarding, and protection from dangerous people. It was unfortunate because, after the World Wars, South Africa became more urbanized, which resulted in the Boerboels starting to be crossbred with other dogs.
Such disregard for the integrity and purity of the breed led to it losing the traction in popularity that it had secured across the centuries. In the 1980s, however, a group of breed enthusiasts sought to begin breeding pure Boerboels again. Due to their efforts, the South African Boerboel Mastiff gained back its popularity in South Africa and started to be exported around the world. The breed, but with our help and yours hopefully we can continue to spread love, education, and Boerboels all over.