Boerboel African mastiff

  • Quote

    I didn't quite get why it was important for the dog to defend himself, I just knew that's what made him pet quality :)

    I don't understand and am curious what you meant by this?

    BTW thanks for sharing your pics in the gallery. You have cool dogs.

  • I noticed there was emphasis on having a dog defend himself and that a special importance was placed on that. I didn't understand why if a dog would defend it's owner that was important, but what you said made perfect sense. You'll have to excuse my ignorance :) I appreciate you taking the time to answer what probably seems like a trivial question.

    Thank you Dan :)

  • All animals will defend themselves. Taken literally though defending itself is not the motivation we look for in a dog to make use of in protection.

    We are looking to develop and/or harness the dog's offensive drives. There should IMO be an element of defense in a serious dog because once it's involved in a fight it must perceive the risk to itself. But it's not the same defense as a dog that's saying stay away from me or I'll bite. It's a trigger for the dog to fight harder if pressure increases. Defense should be present when a dog is sent to bite. It should also be present if the dog is to protect its home, a temporary location it finds itself in like a car, or the area around it's master. Defense should also trigger the protection dog into action in the first place.

    I think of defense as pressure or a push from a challenger. The pressure can be felt by a dog and by a person and a normal reaction is to give way to the push/back off from it. Strong dogs will not give way, the pressure can trigger them to shift into an offensive drive depending on the context within which this is happening. For example if a dog is in a strange area and is challenged it may avoid the situation whereas if the same thing happened near its home it may not. For dogs who are not predisposed to do this naturally but still possess the capacity to learn to do it we use agitation to give them confidence building experiences. The dog learns that it will win against a human adversary by shifting into aggression. Some dogs live this without training, they are very confident and simply don't perceive a man challenging them as anything that would stop them from doing what they need to do. This is the kind of dog I like the best. All they need is control and reasons to protect such as bonding with their master, family and home. Attacking and biting a man as a drive outlet is a different story IMO. This is the motivation used to get a dog to bite a passive man for example. But there should be an element of defense in that too only that it surfaces once the dog is on the bite.

  • Thanks for sharing the vid Zeb.

    When I was looking for info on boerboels this is one of only a couple of videos I was able to find that give some insight about the breeds capabilities. I'm discounting the videos of prey work that I've seen. They say this dog is 2 years old, mature enough, although I don't know how much or what kind of agitation it received. What he's showing in the vid though is familiar to me. You're looking at a dog that lacks prey and will never develop fight drive in my humble opinion. You can tell by the vocalizations the moment he's on the bite.

    On a side note the boerboel I sold is doing well with her owners, she's almost a year old now. I was told she weighs 105lb.

  • You're looking at a dog that lacks prey and will never develop fight drive in my humble opinion.


    No offense but I don't see how you can ever tell that in a short video like this. This dog was being tested for handler, not being trained nor tested for prey. He could well have a ton of prey drive, certainly other videos of him suggests that he does have prey. And IMO there is no reason why prey training could not be incorporated to make him a complete protection dog, should his owners choose to pursue more training.

  • No offense but I don't see how you can ever tell that in a short video like this.

    I can tell because I've agitated this temperament type before. Listen carefully to the vocalizations. This kind of dog is always ready to spit out the sleeve.

    Additionally I wouldn't test that dog in that manner. I would approach that situation as a chance to develop the dog correctly, very important with a dog of that temperament type. If those guys call it a test it's because they don't expect more from the dog and are not interested in giving it the best chance to succeed. They just want to show what the dog has. The dog has enough to be a deterrent but is not a good biting dog.

  • Hi Dan,

    I realize that your post is one from a while back, however I hope you don't mind me stepping in and sharing some of my information regarding the Boerboel as a protection dog in my limited ability. Please forgive me if I am using incorrect lingo... still learning all that I can :)
    With all the Boerboels that we have brought into my home life, some of them have showed far too much of a " mastiffiy " influence to be of any good as a working dog. However within this breed there are two distinct types of dogs i.e. the mastiff vs. the hound and each one was originally bred to complete a different job.
    My personal preference is the houndier of the two... they are athletic, drivey, still substantially built, easy and eager to train once you have found their drives.. further endurance, and better bidability.
    With regards to the mastiff of the two... for the majority of those dogs.. I would consider them to be " plugs "... I have only met, worked with, lived with one that was not a lazy plug. I do always have to keep reminding myself that of the two styles of the breed, the boerboel that carries the mastiff influence was originally created to be imposing in appearances and SHOULD carry the willingness to protect but that is about it. Where as the hound of the two will do the work that is needed within the farm life situation ( herding in short bursts, hunting in packs, personal protection at your side, pulling heavier weighted objects, and protection of the livestock and family )
    What would you say that your boel resembled more? i.e. hound or mastiff...


  • I can't really say. Here are some pics of her at about 1.5 years of age at the new owner's. The other dog is also a boerboel. I understand that he got the male as an adult with the idea of a companion for the bitch and possibly breeding. The male turned out to be great with the kids and family but too guardy with strangers. He actually bit/nipped? a couple of people and last I heard the owner was looking to rehome him.

  • The biggest problem within the breed as of the last few years is that no one can agree on a typical temperament and therefore everyone who has a couple of grand can make their own decisions on what a correctly tempered boerboel should be!

    I am sure that this is not an issue solely with the Boerboels, however.. what MANY people are assuming as a correct guard dog is the simple fact of they can bark and are imposing.. we know differently!
    There are quite the numbers of dogs out there within the boerboel community right now in which their owners are breeding softer to softer and trying to get a therapy dog or something of the sort... long gone for the most part are the days of the well rounded working boerboel... they are out there but far and few between...

    When looking at the boerboel to determine what influences their drives... bone structure is a huge factor.. the more mastiffy boerboels have incredible bone structure and decent athletism for the most part... large thick pads and feet... thicker lips, etc etc etc... here is a picture of some of the dogs that used to be within our kennel

    At the right hand side of the picture the first dog, red male ( 4 years old )and the third dog, fawn male with white socks ( 6 months old )are good examples of a mastiffy boerboel. The red male went on to live with a great family as his temperament was very soft and skiddish around certain men.. the young fawn male with white socks stayed here and produced some great examples of well rounded boerboels. So from left to right I will go over what is what... dark female is hound, red male is a mix of the two, apricot fawn female is a hound, fawn male is mastiff, red fawn female is a hound, red male is mastiff... the only dogs out of these boerboels that went on to reproduce are the fawn female ( smallest in the group) third from the left, fawn female standing beside her and the fawn mastiff male. Everyone else has left in many ways....
    I have continued to read through your posts and again.. I am discouraged, even after all this time that there are breeders out there who are portraying themselves as a working breeder when they are obviously not..
    If I were to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that sometimes genetics just don't work together properly.. then okay.. but this is not the case in all situations.
    Boerboels are just like any other dog out there within the guardian breed world... they need training and testing...
    The female in your pictures resembles a houndier female with a mastiff influence in her.. maybe not the correct balances for drives and working abilities.. the male in your pics absolutely is much more mastiff influence..
    I don't know that I personally would have been looking for another home so quickly for him ( but that is me ).... he is a guard dog through and through... or potentially that is... and in the wrong home from the sounds of it.
    The dogs/puppies that I produce out of tested parents, are sound of mind.. they will absolutely give you 100% when it comes to loyality, training, willingness to protect and capable of being around a family situation without issues... however.. having said that... they are also not for the average handler either. My guys will give you about 10 minutes of saying hello and then they do not NEED your companionship or approval as you are not their "people"... they will and HAVE step up to the plate in different scenarios both real and set up when there is a need. In comparison to a herding breed... that is like comparing apples to oranges.. .you can't!

  • I believe the boerboel suffers from the same problem as so many other working breeds. The wrong people are breeding it with no thought or regard as to it's original purpose. Americans seem to be of the mindset that "bigger is better" and rely on history and say their dogs will protect without doubt. Yeah, I know there are working dog breeders, and damn good ones, but overall they are the minority.
    After long conversations with former SA police and military who have owned these dogs on their farms I am definetly considering one if I can find a kennel that is breeding for working ability.
    There seems to be quite a bit if difference between what is expected from a dog in our country and what is expected in S.Africa still.

    I could be wrong, won't be the first time,. but it will be fun investigating this breed further.

  • Thank You,

    I enjoyed reading this thread. I raise Boz Shepherds, and am investigating their potential in this line of work. I feel much of the results will be the same, as they are a molosser type working dog.
    But, we will see.
    Thank You,

  • Hello and congratulations or having this beautiful which is one of my dream to have one .
    please tell me the differences between boerboel and tosa inu in size and other .

  • Dan don't know if you read my rather scathing comments on the BB in another thread, was a bit of a rant. i don't like generalising too much on breeds and will look at any individual dog as just that an individual dog.

    i was more talking about the people breeding and marketting the breed.

    hope i didn't offend anyone, don't even know which thread the rant was on.