The history of the Boerboel is rarely told in full, but Anamari Pretorius gives us a complete picture here: History of the Boerboel
Simply put, the Boerboels were bred in South Africa as protection of the farms and families. They were courageous in fighting off the large wild animals in South Africa. Their incredible loyalty and trustworthiness with their families is their most beloved trait.
There are many registries popping up these days with varying breed standards. We have decided to stay with the original Boerboel registry SABBS (formally SABT). We also register with AKC so that we can participate in companion/working events. The standards of the two organizations are different in that, SABBS now accepts the color black. The AKC has the original breed standard in place which does not accept the black Boerboel or decedents from them. We do not have black in our lines.
Over the years we have embraced a more holistic view of caring for our Boerboels which includes feeding them RAW. The more 'holistic' we become in our own lives as a society, the more we become aware that what we once thought was good for us and our pets is actually causing us and them harm. We have noticed that many issues such as allergies are often completely cleared up with a species appropriate diet. This is a subject that Jennifer researches often and is happy share the information she has.
Despite what you have read, Boerboels are prone to the same illnesses and diseases as other mastiff type breeds.
HD/ED/Bones/Joints/Cartilage - Giant breeds grow quickly putting strain on bones and joints. We have found that Boerboels that are reared in a species appropriate environment are far less likely to develop these issues. It is important that the pup has proper bedding, exercise and nutrition from the first day of life. Continuing with species appropriate diet and exercise once pup goes home is the best defense against issues.
Entropion - The eyelid curls inward. Ectropion - the eyelid curls outward. Depending on the severity, these conditions could require surgery.
VH - Vaginal Hyperplasia
Heart Issues - There are a number of heart issues that can occur both hereditary and non-hereditary, serious and non-serious. We are seeing an increasing number of issues in the breed and we encourage all prospective owners to ask if the breeder is doing echocardiograms on their adult dogs.
Cancer - We are seeing cases of cancer in this breed. Since instances of cancer is soaring in the human population it doesn't seem odd that is also rising in our pets. How much is environment? Food? Immunizations? We believe these all play a huge role.
Hypothyroidism - Many new studies are linking this directly to the break down of the immune system due to immunizations and chemicals that our dogs are exposed to. As a puppy buyer, we will guide you through a holistic approach to vaccinating your dogs.
Hip/Elbow x-rays are done on all of our breeding dogs. While we were set on using PennHip for many years, we have recently decided to not use this method for two reasons: 1. The dog has to be heavily sedated. 2. The hip joint is popped out of socket to get measurements. Our x-rays are available to our buyers for those not done through PennHip or OFA. Cardiac: each of our breeding stock has had a complete cardiac evaluation with an echocardiogram and puppies will have cardiac evaluations before being sent home. We do complete blood panels on the dogs which will detect if something is off with the function of major organs.
We have tried many different kibbles over the years and have found that grain allergies are very common in dogs of all breeds. Starches used to bind grain free kibbles cause swelling in the joints, affecting the growth of puppies. We ended up switching to a Prey Model Raw diet in 2011 and we are loving it. Many people believe that is costly but we have found it to be more cost effective than a high quality, grain free kibble. While we understand that most people are not accustomed to feeding a RAW diet to their pets, we ask that all our puppy owners follow our RAW protocol.
Every day I receive new puppy applications. The Boerboel is growing in popularity amongst many groups. Show, working titles, farmers, families……With more Boerboels becoming visible and excelling in different venues, it’s easy to be drawn to them. After all, they are gorgeous to look at and can be the picture of a ‘perfect guardian breed’
We should not forget WHAT the Boerboel is, what the breed was intended for and what is to be expected from that. The Boerboel is a dominant, protective breed that is expected to be protective of it’s pack, which includes human and animal members.
From the AKC breed standard:
“Temperament: The Boerboel is a dominant and intelligent dog with strong protective instincts and a willingness to please. When approached is calm, stable and confident, at times displaying a self-assured aloofness. He should recognize a threat or lack thereof. He is loving with children and family. An aggressive or belligerent attitude towards other dogs should not be faulted. Boerboels that are shown in competition should be trained to allow examination.”
The level of dominance and protectiveness varies within the breed, the gender, the environment in which it is raised, the level of socialization at an early age and many more factors. However, none of these should take away from the original purpose of the breed.
It’s easy to look at the BB’s on social media that are excelling in different venues and say ‘I want a BB just like that’. What you don’t see is the behind the scenes of what goes into making that Boerboel what it is. For instance, a Boerboel that is expected to do well at a show venue, must be exposed to that environment consistently (and early) to desensitize it to what goes on. Even then, as the BB becomes fully mature and their protective instincts become stronger, they may have a more difficult time in that venue.
I want to encourage those who are interested in the breed to ask yourself a few questions and be honest with your answers – this an 8-12 year commitment of time/effort/love.
· Why do I want a dominant, protective dog?
· Do I have the desire and time to invest in training and socialization for the life of the BB?
· What is it that I expect from my Boerboel?
There are plenty more questions to ask yourself, but I feel this a good place to start.