Breed Standard


To my knowledge the Boerboel is the only breed that uses an appraisal system to evaluate their dogs. 


General Boerboel appearance

The Boerboel is a big, strong and intelligent working dog, which was bred in south Africa since the seventeenth century. Various mastiff types dogs from Europe as well as big dogs from Africa contributed to the development of the breed. The Boerboel is well balanced, with good muscle development and swift in movement. The dog should be impressive, and imposing. Male dogs appear noticeably masculine and bitches feminine.

Boerboel Balance

The Boerboel is a perfectly balanced dog - all parts of the body should be in proportion.

Boerboel temperament and characteristics

The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with a strong watchdog instinct. It is self-assured and fearless, but perspective to the needs of the family.

The Boerboel head

The head is the most important feature of the Boerboel, as it represents its total character. The head is short, broad, deep, square and muscular with well-filled cheeks. The part between the eyes must be well filled.

· Top-line of the head The top of the head is broad and flat, with prominent muscle development.

· Face The face should blend symmetrically with the head, and can be with or without black

· Stop The stop should be visible, but not prominent.

· Muzzle  The muzzle is black with large nostrils that are widely spaced.

· Nasal bone  The nasal bone is straight and parallel to the top-line of the head. It is deep, broad and it tapers slightly to the front. The nasal bone should be 8-10cm long.

· Lips The upper lip is loose and fleshly, and should not hang lower than the lower jaw. The upper lip (beneath the muzzle) should cover the lower lip.

· Jaws  The jaws (mandibles) are strong, deep and broad, and narrows slightly to the front.

· Teeth should be white, well developed, correctly spaced; a complete set (42 teeth), and should have a scissors bite.

· Eyes The color of the eyes can be any shade of brown, but darker than the pelt. Eyes should be horizontally set. It should be broad-spaced with firm, well-pigmented eyelids.

· Ears  The ears should be of medium size, v-shaped and should be in proportion to the head.  They are set faily high and wide against the head.  When the dog is interested, the ears should form a straight line with top of the head.


Boerboel neck

· Profile: the neck shows a noticeable muscle curve, and is attached high at the shoulder.

· Length: the neck is of medium length and in proportion to the rest of the dog.

· Appearance: the neck is quite strong and muscular, firmly attached to the head and gradually broadens up to the point where it is attached to the shoulder. The neck, head and shoulder should from a unit.


The skin of the neck

 The skin of the neck is loose under the throat and becomes taut between the front legs.

Boerboel Body

The body narrows slightly towards the loin.

· Top line  The top line should be straight.

· Back The back is straight, broad and in proportion, with prominent back muscles and a short loin.

· Rump The rump is broad and strong with good muscle development.

· Chest  The chest is muscular and strong. The chest should be broad and deeply set between the forelegs, with well-attached and curved ribs. The rib cage should be in proportion to the chest.

· Tail the tail is attached high to the body. It should be straight and preferably short (three joints). Long tails are acceptable.

· Forequarter The forequarter is strong, muscular and in proportion to the rest of the dog.

· Shoulder/withers The withers should be well attached, correctly angled and with good muscle development.

· Upper arm The upper arm should have good muscle development. Front legs the front legs should be thick, strong, and muscular and should stand perfectly vertical.

· Front pasterns  The front pasterns are short, strong and a vertical extension of the front legs and pastern joints.

· Front paws The front paws are big well padded and rounded and with strong dark and curved toenails. The paws should point straight forward.

· Hindquarter The hindquarter should be strong, firm and in proportion to the rest of the dog, with the ability for effective propulsion.

· Upper thighs the upper thighs are broad, deep, well developed with prominent muscles.

· Second thigh/gaskin  The second thighs should be well developed with prominent muscles.

· Knee stifle  The knees are strong, firm and correctly angled

· Hock joints  The hock joints are firm with correct curving.

· Hocks The hocks are relatively short, strong and thick. The hocks are parallel. (dew claws should not be present).


Hind paws 

The hind paws are slight smaller than the front paws. They should be well padded, rounded and should point straightforward. The nails are strong dark and curved.

Boerboel Movement

Movement should be easy, smoothly powerful, by means of good propulsion of the hindquarter and parallel movement of the legs. In movement, a straight top-line should be maintained.


The skin is thick, loose, well pigmented with moderate wrinkles.


The pelt is short, sleek and dense. Recognized colors are cream white, pale tawny, reddish brown, brown and all shades of brindle.

Boerboel Size:

· Male The ideal height for a male dog is 66 cm. (26 inches) at the withers. It can, however vary between 64 cm. (25 inches) and +70 cm. (+28 inches) at the withers.

· Bitches The ideal height for a bitch is 61 cm (24 inches).  It can vary between 59 cm (23 inches) and 65 cm (26 inches).


General Boerboel health

The Boerboel enjoys exceptional health, due to natural selection.


The Boerboel is well pigmented, especially on the lips, paws, toenails and genitals.

Boerboel Disqualifications :

· A dog which is too small. / A dog which is too big.

· A noticeable over bite. / An under bite of more than 1cm.

· A sharp mouth. / A narrow mouth. / A long mouth.

· Cows hocks. / Straight hocks. / Sickle hocks.

· A head which is too small and nondescript.

· An overly aggressive dog.

· A narrow chest.

· A hollow back.

· Bandy legs.

· Erect ears.

· Blue eyes.

· A liver colored muzzle.

· Any sign of another dog breed.

· Clumsy and unbalanced movement.

· A piebald dog without sufficient pigmentation.

· A piebald dog without any of the five acceptable colors around both eyes and on both ears.














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2009 SABT Breeders/Appraisers Course

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