Boerboels are large dogs with males averaging 24 to 28 inches in height at the shoulder, while females tend to be between 22 and 25 inches in height. Boerboels usually weigh between 110 and 200 pounds, though some can be larger or smaller of course with a big Boerboel puppy and a grown South African Mastiff you are guaranteed to get a supersized personality. Boerboels are playful, intelligent, and eager to please. They are happiest when given a job to do, whether it’s tough farm work, guard dog duty, or preparing for a competition where they can show off their agility and strength.
This breed loves companionship and its family members, especially children from the time your puppy meets them since they themselves are so playful. Like most ups there are downs and although they can be great playmates they can also be quite overprotective at times. The same instincts that make them good watchdogs, protectors, and new family members can also have their downfalls. When some Boerboels are so protective of their family it ends up resulting in them being territorial and aggressive if they aren’t trained or socialized properly. When having guests over, it is important for a family member to introduce them to the resident Boerboel, so the dog doesn’t feel threatened or on guard.
Usually, Boerboels are welcoming of guests that they’ve met and trust, though they may still be on their guard. When it comes to training, Boerboels need an alpha personality to lead them. By alpha mentality we mean the owner needs to be clear and assertive and act without questioning her/himself. Of course, it’s all a learning experience but these dogs will feed off of your energy, confidence, and uncertainty and will do what you allow them to. Boerboels tend to be dominant and require an assertive trainer who will use positive reinforcement and set boundaries without being harsh.
Generally, this is not a dog for first-time owners. Patient, consistent training, and early socialization to prevent aggression are great places to start. Plus keeping a constant routine to make things easier is also a great step too. Boerboels should get plenty of mental and physical stimulation, as they can get bored and anxious, which will lead to destructive behavior if given the opportunity. Long walks play sessions, and even challenging devices like puzzle feeders can help them get the activity they need to burn off some of that Boerboel energy and personality That the South African Mastiff is full of.
Being a large dog breed with moderate exercise demands, Boerboels require space. That being said an apartment is not typically their ideal environment but if you’re an active person and you are committed to daily walks and exercise routines then they should be fine if it’s spacious. After all, some people take their pups everywhere they go, including me. So, to wrap it up from our experience they do best in a home with a backyard and a high, durable fence that will give them plenty of space to safely run around. While these dogs are not for beginners typically, they will reward the right owners by being adoring family companions that will defend their homes and the humans they are familiar with at all costs.