Breed of Dog: Boerboel

Breed of Dog: Boerboel

Dublin with Judge Richard Paquette and owner Henry Jabo. Image by: Canine Association Uganda

You must have seen a large brown dog with a huge, mean head around many homes in Uganda. This is the Boerboel, a dog originating from South Africa and registered as an indigenous South African breed. The Boerboel breed was developed from Mastiffs and Bulldogs taken to South Africa in the early 1900s by European settlers. 

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The deliberate breeding of Boerboels started in the 1950s and is controlled by the South African Boerboel Breeders Society, or SAABS, who jealously guard the global registry of this magnificent breed.

The South African Boerboel

Boerboel is a family guard dog. But make no mistake with the word ‘family’ because Boerboel’s character is far from a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. A Boerboel knows who his family is and is not keen on loving new people. Incredibly loyal to his own people, Boerboel is a protective, disciplined, and highly intelligent dog. Boerboels have strong guarding instincts; in the past, they were used for protection from wildlife. Boerboel will gladly enter a fight with a baboon or a leopard and will likely emerge as a winner. The strength of this dog should never be underestimated.

According to the breed standard, Boerboel is a large dog of Mastiff type, with a large head and well-defined muscular body. Adult males are 60-78cm tall in the withers, while females are 55-70cm tall. The dog should be pleasantly proportioned, longer in relation to its height, not square as a table. The real beauty of the Boerboel is in the head, which should be broad, strong, muscular, short, and with a slight frown on the forehead when the dog is alert. The head shows the dog’s character, so a strong, determined, alert, and confident appearance is desirable. Well-pigmented, dark areas around the eyes and the nose are a must. Boerboel’s head can be the same colour as the body or have a black mask, making the dog look even more serious and authoritative. Boerboels come in all colours, making the breed so interesting.e import and export of dogs, finding the right mate for breeding, and finding suitable dogs for new owners. Registration of pedigree dogs is free, so I encourage dog owners to reach out and register their dogs with CAU and join in showing their dogs, while making new friends in Uganda.

A typical strong female Boerboel of quality breeding
A typical strong female Boerboel of quality breeding

Purebred Boerboels

Boerboel has yellow to brown eyes. Dogs with blue eyes do not qualify as purebred. Eyes are horizontal, not slanting, firmly hugged by the eyelids that must be well pigmented. The jaws are strong, and the lips are fleshy but not loose on the face. Overall, the head of the Boerboel must be well put together, pleasing to the eye and commanding respect.

 

Boerboel’s body appearance is that of a very fit wrestler: full, muscular, proportional, balanced, with straight legs and topline, deeply set, with a wide and muscular chest. Boerboels, on average, weigh just under 60kg, with some males reaching 70kg and more. Thanks to their short hair, they don’t look that heavy. But having a dog made of pure muscle comes with a string of responsibilities, particularly in training to promote obedience and discipline. A Boerboel that can not be recalled by the owner is dangerous. Some countries limit ownership of Boerboels by law, and others require court permit to keep them. They are banned in Denmark, Bermuda, Mauritius, France, and Qatar. Still, we must accept that the dog, whatever the breed, is almost never at fault. The undesired behaviours in all dogs come from a lack of attention, care, training, engagement, and socialisation. Similarly, there is no bad Boerboel, just a lack of experience and knowledge on training and socialising such a powerful and self-assured animal.

Boerboel breed puppies
Boerboel Puppies

Uganda has some of the most prized Boerboels outside South Africa

SAABS recently did an appraisal, which gives high-scoring dogs the permit to breed. The two-time National Dog Show winner, Majingilane Dublin, is also the highest appraised male, scoring 84.7%. Sterling Brussels is the highest appraised female, beating the other dogs with 85.2%. Uganda is also the home of La Boela Berlin,  SABBS appraised at 87.4%, and currently ranked 30 worldwide on the Active Stud register. If you decide to own a Boerboel in Uganda, you can certainly get the best.

Majingilane Dublin at appraisal 2023
Majingilane Dublin at appraisal 2023
La Boela Berlin the only dog in East Africa on SABBS Stud Register
La Boela Berlin the only dog in East Africa on SABBS Stud Register
Sterling Brussels highest appraised and Ugandan bred Boerboel in 2023
Sterling Brussels highest appraised and Ugandan bred Boerboel in 2023

Get in touch with CAU

Tel: +256 77 0996 059

Address: 48 Kanjokya Street Kololo, drop-off only

Email: registration@cau.ug

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