boerboel standard


Boerboel Breed Standards: SABT :


Also read my comments hereunder.

Any serious deviations and/or combinations of deviations from the Breed Standard that affect
the dog’s health and/or performance negatively are considered unacceptable and can lead to
disqualification in the appraisal ring, at the discretion of a senior appraiser.

Temperament and character

The Boerboel is manageable, reliable, obedient and intelligent with strong protective instincts. The
Boerboel is self-confident and fearless. Uncontrollably aggressive and fearful Boerboels are unacceptable.

General appearance

The Boerboel is a large dog. The Boerboel has prominent and well-developed musculature over the
entire body with buoyant movement – an impressive and imposing figure of strength.

Males are distinctly masculine, whilst bitches are clearly feminine.

* The ideal size of a male dog is 66cm – lower than 60cm is unacceptable.
* The ideal height of a bitch is 61cm – lower than 55cm is unacceptable.

Important body proportions

The Boerboel is a perfectly balanced dog with all body parts being in proportion with one another.

The head is large and typically Boerboel.

* The head is short, broad, deep, square, is muscular and has well-filled cheeks.

The plateau is wide and flat with prominent musculature.
The face gradually blends with the scull and may be with or without a black mask.

* The stop is visible but not prominent.
* The section between the eyes is well filled.
* The nose is completely black with large, widely spaced nostrils.
* The nasal bone is straight and parallel to the line of the cranial roof.
* The nasal bone is deep, broad and tapers slightly towards the front.
* The nasal bone is between 8 and 10cm long and is in proportion to the head.
* The top lip is loose and fleshy and does not hang past the bottom jaw.
* The top lip (under the nose) covers the bottom lip.
* The bottom lip is not too loose and fleshy, with no excessive lip.
* The jaws are strong, deep and broad and taper slightly towards the front.
* The teeth are white, well developed, correctly spaced and complete, with an obvious
* An obvious excessive under- or over bite is unacceptable.
* The color of the eyes can be any shade of brown.
* The eyes are set on the same horizontal level.
* The eyes are widely spaced.
* The eyelids are firm and well pigmented and have no structural deviations
* The earflaps are medium sized, obviously V-shaped and in proportion to the head.
* The earflaps are set quite high and wide. When attentive, the top of the earflaps must
form a straight line with the plateau.
* The bottom edge of the earflap is in line with the dentition.

The neck forms a noticeable muscular arch with a high attachment at the shoulders.

* The neck is of average length and in proportion to the rest of the dog.
* The neck forms a unit with the head and shoulders.
* The neck is strong and muscular with a firm attachment at the head. This attachment
gradually broadens towards the shoulders.
*The dewlap is loose from under the chin and becomes taut between the forelegs.
*Bitches appear more feminine due to supple musculature.

The forequarter is strong and muscular.

* The shoulders are well attached, with well-defined musculature and correct angulation.
* The chest is strong and muscular.
* The chest is broad and placed deep between the forelegs.
* The upper arms are muscular
* The elbows are parallel with the body.
* The forelegs are thick, strong, with well-defined musculature and are perfectly vertical
as seen from the front and the side.
* The front pasterns are short, thick and strong and are in proportion to the length of the forelegs.
* The front pasterns are a vertical extension of the forelegs as seen from the front and the side.
* The forepaws are large, well padded and ball shaped with strong, curved, black toenails.
* The forepaws point straight forward.

The center piece

* The body of the Boerboel narrows slightly in the loin area.
* The topline is straight without deviations.
* The back is straight, broad and has prominent back muscles.
* The loin is short and strong.
* The ribcage is well sprung and well filled behind the shoulder blades.

The hindquarter is strong, sturdy and muscular; it is in proportion with the rest of the dog and has the
ability to propel movement effectively.

* The croup is broad, strong and has well-defined musculature. Seen from the side, it drops slightly.
* The tail is set high
* It is straight and preferably short (three segments).
* Long tails are permissible.
* The upper thighs are broad, deep, well shaped and muscular – as seen from the side and from behind.
* The secondary thighs are well developed with prominent musculature.
* The stifles (knees) are strong and firm with the correct angulation as seen from the side.
* The hock joints are strong and firm.
* Straight hind legs are unacceptable.
* The hind pasterns are relatively short, strong, thick and are parallel with one another as seen from behind.
* Seen from the side, the hind pasterns are vertical.
* The front of the hind pastern is in line with the back of the haunch.
* Dew claws may be removed.
* The hind paws are slightly smaller than the forepaws.
* They are well padded and well shaped and point straight to the front.
* The toenails are strong, curved and black.

The skin is thick, loose and well pigmented with moderate wrinkles on the brow when the dog is attentive.

The coat is short and sleek with dense hair coverage. The recognized colors are all shades of yellow, brown or brindle.


The Boerboel is well pigmented, especially on the lips; palate; the skin and hair around the eyes;
foot pads; toenails; the anus and the skin and hair around the genitals.

General health

The general health of the Boerboel is of a high standard.

The reproductive organs are well developed.

Male dogs have two well-developed testicles, each in their scrotum.
Bitches have at least 8 teats.
The vulva is firm.


* The movement of the Boerboel is easy, smooth, strong and purposeful with good propulsion by the hindquarters, and parallel movement of the legs.
* During movement the straight topline remains fixed.



Brown nose puppies have a boerboel pedigree but the SABT and EBBASA don't register them. Unlike the Association for the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which is also an African Mastiff, the wise men of the Boerboel Associations decided to only accept black noses as boerboels.
"The boerboel appears to feature all the best attributes of the mastiff breeds: immense power combined with great faithfulness, physical stature combined with admirable tolerance and a temperament capable of placidity or ferocity when it's family is threatened.
The Boerboel looks to be a magnificent breed, developed since 1652 in a hard school by tough farmers who were threatened by every kind of dangerous predator, in testing terrain and a challenging climate. Hard-pressed pioneer farmers however resourceful, didn't have the circumstances which exactly encouraged the conservation of rare breeds of dog. They had a need for brave powerful virile dogs and bred good dog to good dog until they obtained the desired result. Performance directed every breeding program. FUNCTION RULES. Pure-breeding, handsomeness and a respect for heritage doesn't usually feature highly in a pioneer hunter-farmer's priorities. It should be a matter of pride that the boerboel was developed from the best mastiff-type dogs available in South Africa and brought here by soldiers, colonists and settlers from Europe. It is a breed to be proud of for that reason alone.
How virile they must be to survive the climate; how robust to survive the terrain and fearsome wild opponents; how dependable in remote locations to inspire their owners to continue with them and how strong the genotype to triumph after a century of anything but pure-breeding. This information accounts for the fact that the boerboel has a structure far superior to any other mastiff-type breed. Perhaps the biggest threat to the Boerboel in the long term is misuse, MISGUIDED IN THEIR FUTURE DESIGN BY SHOW BREEDERS and a closed gene pool, which they have managed well enough without in their whole history.
These pressures face all pure breeds once recognized; the closed gene pool receives undeserved worship and sickly, un athletic dogs, quite unlike their ancestors, are perpetuated in so many pure-bred dogs in far too many developed allegedly civilized countries."
We should respect the heritage of the boerboel breed and then honor it by breeding healthy, virile, physically powerful but mentally stable dogs, for that is the historic mould of the boerboel. Boerboel breeders have to conduct very careful breeding programs if the real breed characteristics are to be preserved. Characteristics should never be second to make-up.
Brown nose boerboels have the most beautiful color eyes - lion type yellow. Their character, temperament, conformation and genes are boerboel. There is a big difference between brown nose boerboels and liver color nose dogs with blue eyes which I agree is no boerboel.

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