Posted by: Nicki | 2003/12/23


Hi there

I would like to know more about the temperament and personality of boerboels. We are getting our pups next year and had done quite a bit of research on them. But recently we visited friends who have 2 boerboels and they have told us a few things which have made us re-think. They said that their boerboels killed one of their cats and they now have to keep their cats and boerboels apart. They also said that boerboels would act in a similar manner with babies....i.e. if they are jealous of their cats, they would also be jealous of their babies. When we spoke to the breeder from whom we are planning to buy the boerboels, we were told that boerboels are very good with babies and kids in general....that they are protective and affectionate.

Can you give some advice on boerboels?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Nicki
Most behaviourists in SA are extremely wary of the boerboel breed at present and have seen a lot of cases of aggression as these dogs have become more popular. The problem seems to be that they have been selectively bred as protective farm dogs and thus have guard dog and fighting dog types in the "cross". It is a new breed and so is unpredictable in nature. Thus it is possible to get a really docile and even-natured dog and a vicious fear-biter from the same litter of pups. Remember that the breeders will only tell you positive characteristics of "their" breed. Owning these dogs on a farm is one thing, but I believe they are not suited to urban homes where they are part of the family and allowed in the house. I would certainly not recommend them if you have other small animals or children. There are many other "deterrent type" breeds which are more established (e.g. Ridgeback, German Shepherd, Labrador) and thus their temperaments are more predictable, so I urge you to reconsider and do some more homework. (Look in breed books or on the net at breed sites.) I suggest you get one puppy at a time, waiting a few months before getting another, as this gives you time to develop a relationship and start with training before the next one comes. They should be opposite sexes. Puppy socialising classes are a must, starting from 8-14 weeks old and can prevent a lot of behaviour problems.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil

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Our users say:
Posted by: sash | 2004/01/30

Our boerbull is the sweetest dog. I aggree with some of the tips Waka gave. Very important is that you take your boebull for a run. It is a big dog and it needs exercise. They love company so make sure you spend alot of time with it. We have cat and our boerboel loves him. I believe the reason our boerboel is so wonderfull is that we taugh him the basic ground rules of what he my and nay not do when he was still a little puppy. Rememeber they grow into massive dogs and if they are not trained at an early age you are naturally going to have problems later on.

Reply to sash
Posted by: wakka | 2004/01/08

by the way if we had a cat, the boerboel would also kill it :) they don't like other animals, unless they are introduced to each other while the boerboel is still very young

Reply to wakka
Posted by: wakka | 2004/01/08

I love my boerboel and I would never own any other dog. She is extremely careful with family but an extremely good protection dog. They are highly intelligent. I speak Afrikaans with my dog and she understands what she needs to do and what she may not do. For example, I would say to her "toe ons moet nou gaan slaap... gaan piepie buite" then she gets up, goes out of the house and does her business.

BUT I agree, a LOT of responsibility goes with owning a boerboel. If you can make a comparison, the amount of force , damage and commitment that a boerboel projects has the same impact on its environment as a soldier (no-one will risk trespassing into your house or yard). The other types of guard dogs have the impact of a police officer. So you have to assume the same level of responsibility over the movement of the dog compared with the force that the dog is able to project. My boerboel is not well socialised and I am very careful.

Some advice that I can give you. Make sure she can NEVER get out of the house or yard. If you take her out of the house ALWAYS keep the dog on a lace. If you are walking the dog, make sure the dog is securely held so that it cannot attack strangers or other animals walking near it in public. Put a good distance between you and other people when you walk in public. While walking with the dog, talk to it. Tell the dog if its behaving incorrectly. It helps.

If you have strangers visiting your house, lock up the dog in the yard. Know where it is at all times.

Clearly mark the entrances to your house with warning signs. You can actually get boerboel signs from the boerboel breeders. They look cool too!

It also helps to socialise the dog when its young. Have friends and family come over to the dog when its very young. The dog will adore them. If you need to introduce a stranger to the household, keep the dog outside the house for a day or two. Once the dog gets used to the new person, it should be fine. They never ever forget someone. After years, they will still know the stranger and adore them.

My dog is very gentle. She will never ever hurt us. She will eat out of our hands, and gently take a snack. She will never take any food from the floor until she knows that its hers to take. The dog needs to constantly feel that it has its master's approval.

My wife and I have a baby on the way. Even though we are positive that she will not hurt the new baby, we are going to look and see how she reacts. So its all about taking responsibility for the dog's actions, and never taking any chances.

Reply to wakka

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