Boerboel Standard by KUSA

(Kennel Union South Africa, full Member of FCI)






PREAMBLE: The Boerboel was developed through natural selection and utilised as a farm dog by the South African farmers. The influence of other dog breeds in the initial formation of the breed (± mid 17th century) until the breed was defined through phenotype selection in 1983 is recognised. The origin and purpose of the Boerboel should be well understood in order to maintain the unique identity and qualities of the breed as a South African developed mastiff.

Type, conformation, functional efficiency and mentality are equally important in the evaluation of the Boerboel as a whole. The protective character of the breed is still evident today as is its impressive demeanour, good temperament, controllability and mobility.

The aim of the breed standard is to provide guidelines to breeders and judges, until formal, breed specific, training can be attended. Although the Boerboel has become an international breed, the centre for breed specific knowledge remains in South Africa as this is where its character is imbedded in the culture of the nation.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Boerboel is a large (not giant), well balanced dog with well developed musculature. The Boerboel has an impressive demeanor created by a combination of conformation, carriage, confidence and powerful, buoyant and unencumbered movement notwithstanding its size. The shape and size of the head of the Boerboel is a typical feature of the breed.

SIZE, PROPORTION and SUBSTANCE: A mature Boerboel should display proportionate major body components, a strong bone structure and slightly longer than tall (10:9). Dogs: Not less than 60 cm, measured to the top of the withers, with an ideal height of 66 cm; Bitches: Not less than 55 cm, measured to the top of the withers, with an ideal size of 61 cm. Height must always be in relation to weight, overall balance and conformation of major body components. Sexual dimorphism must be clearly evident.

HEAD: The head of the Boerboel is large, but in proportion with the rest of the body components.

Skull: The skull is large and cubed in appearance with well developed occipital and cheek musculature.

Stop: The stop is moderate and well filled between the eyes.


Muzzle: The muzzle is broad, deep and tapers slightly to the front. The nasal bone should be on a parallel horizontal plane to the roof of the skull and in an ideal relation of 2:3 with the roof of the skull. The jaw is strong, deep and broad and tapers slightly to the front.

Lips: The lips are loose and fleshy whilst the upper lip covers the top of the bottom lip and does not extend below the underline of the lower jaw. The bottom lip is moderately tight without excessive jowls.

Teeth: Dentition is complete, strong, correctly spaced and ideally in a scissor bite.

Eyes: The eyes are not protruding, slanted or deep set and are defined by:

Colour: Any shade of yellow or brown and not lighter than the lightest shade of the pelt of the dog.

Size and Position: Medium sized, rounded, forward facing and widely spaced.

Eyelids: Firm, well pigmented and not showing any structural deviations.

Ears: The ears are set wide and high, carried close to the head, V-shaped with a broad base and in

proportion to the rest of the head. When alert, the top of the ears and the skull in between should appear level.

Nose leather: The nose leather appears black with large, widely spaced nostrils.

Fusion of the skull to the muzzle: The muzzle blends gradually with the skull and the face is well filled under the eyes.

NECK: The neck flows smoothly into both the head and the shoulders, is of medium length, strong muscled and ideally with a discernable crest. The scruff is loose, the dewlap noticeable but not excessive and the skin is tight across the sternum.

FORELIMBS: The forelimbs should be correctly angulated and well muscled

Shoulders: The shoulder blades (scapula) should be well attached and not loose


Front legs: The front legs should be straight, sturdy, with a substantive bone structure, well developed musculature and ideally vertical to the ground in front and side view

Elbows: The elbows should be stable, parallel to and carried close to the body

Pasterns: The pasterns should be short, of adequate girth, slant forward at a slight angle and aligned on a line parallel to the spine.

Paws: The paws should be large, well padded, tight, ball shaped and ideally in parallel alignment to the spinal column. Dewclaws may be removed.

TORSO: The torso must have adequate width and depth with a level, straight appearing top line and a slight abdominal tuck-up.

Chest: The chest should, when viewed from the front, be broad but not excessive to the extent that it impairs mobility.

Ribcage: The ribcage is well sprung with a deep, rounded brisket.

Back: The back is broad, ideally flat and straight and well muscled.

Loin: The loin is short (ideally ⅓ of total torso length) with adequate depth and width.

HINDQUARTER: The hindquarter is broad, of substantive depth, well muscled and correctly angulated

Croup: The croup is broad and correctly angulated

Tail: The tail should be strong at the insertion, not be inserted too high or too low and of adequate girth. The tail may be entire or docked.

· Entire tails should be carried with a slight curve upwards, never curled over the back or carried upright and taper gently towards the end.


· Docked tails should ideally be docked at not less than the third caudal vertebrae, leading to an ideal adult tail length of not less than 8 cm.

Upper thighs: The upper thighs are broad, deep and with well developed muscular definition when viewed from the side and the rear.

Lower thighs: The lower thighs should be equal in length to the upper thigh and display adequate, visible musculature down to the hock.

Stifles: The stifles are strong and firm with correct angulation between the tibia and the femur.

Hocks: The hock joints are strong, stable and correctly angulated

Pasterns: The pasterns are short, of adequate girth and vertical when viewed from the rear. The pasterns should be aligned on a line parallel to the spine.

Hind paws: The hind paws are as the front paws but should be slightly smaller than the front paws.


REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS: Reproductive organs must be well developed. Dogs must have two well developed testicles fully descended into the scrotum and a short, firm penile sheath that holds the penis close to the body. Female dogs must have a firm vulva and ideally eight functional nipples.

SKIN and COAT: The skin is thick, loose and should show dark (melanin) pigmentation. The coat should be short and dense.

COLOUR: Brindle and all shades of yellow and brown are accepted. Patterns of white on any acceptable colour are allowed. No other colours or small spotting (ticking) are acceptable.

GAIT: The movement of a Boerboel is strong, purposeful, buoyant and fluent, with comfortable reach in front and the rear. Propulsion must come from the hind limbs and the legs should never cross. At all gaits the back is held level and the top line firm and strong, without swaying or excessive body roll. The stride is efficient, long, free and unrestricted.

GENERAL HEALTH: Presented animals must be in a good general condition and weight must be in relation to size. Any physical handicaps must be supported by certification.

BEHAVIOUR and TEMPERAMENT: The Boerboel is biddable, manageable, obedient, stable and courageous, with a strong guarding instinct.

IDENTIFICATION: Only adult dogs identifiable through an acceptable form of identification being an ISO compliant microchip, will be accepted for appraisals or shows.


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.


In addition, a Boerboel might be disqualified for:

1. Temperament

a. Aggressive and uncontrollable behaviour

b. Exceptionally scared or timid behaviour

2. Build and conformation

a. Any sign of another dog breed

b. Any fault that hampers proper mobility

c. Bandy or disproportionately long or short legs

d. Dogs or bitches not meeting the minimum height standard

e. Any serious deviation from the breed conformation

3. Pigmentation

a. Inadequate skin pigmentation

b. Unacceptable coat colouration

c. Small spotting (ticking)

4. Head


a. Not displaying a characteristic Boerboel head

b. Blue, green and eyes of a lighter shade than the lightest shade of the pelt of the dog

c. Serious structural deviations of the eye, ear, nose or palate

d. Excessive deviations of dentition

e. Poorly pigmented nose leathers

f. A narrow, too long or sharply pointed muzzle

5. Excessively long or short neck

6. Body

a. Unacceptable proportions of body components

b. Long or curly hair

c. Kinked, corkscrew or deformed tails

d. Males without two well developed testicles

e. Females with visible signs of vaginal hyperplasia

7. Physical handicaps which was not the result of an earlier injury.