Boerboel Breed Standard

I.  General Appearance
The Boerboel is a large, robust, and smooth coated mastiff type dog. The Boerboel should be powerfully built and muscular, and should also be agile and dynamic in movement. The dog should not be long-limbed nor squat but have a skeletal and muscular structure that allows for maximum degree of power and agility.  

II.  Weight
Weight is not a definite measure of a Boerboels fitness.  A Boerboels general shape, size, and contour are the focal points.  The correct proportion of these attributes is paramount to the dogs working ability. 

 III.  Sizes, Proportion and Substance
Size In line with present day requirements, a full size, well balanced dog should ideally measure in height from the withers to the ground, Male 26 inches, Female 24, but in any event should not be shorter than 23 inches – The bitch being proportionally shorter with an ideal height of 25 inches, but in any event not being shorter than 21 inches – height being related to weight.

 IV.  Balance
This may be defined as the correct proportions of certain points, when considered in relation to certain other points. It is the keystones of a Boerboels anatomy. The main points for consideration are the relative proportions of skull and foreface; head and back; height at withers and length of body from shoulder point to buttock – the ideal proportion being reached when the last two measurements are almost the same (9:10 ratio). It should be added that, although the head measurements can be taken with accuracy, the height at withers and length of back and coat are approximate, and are inserted for the information of breeders and exhibitors rather than as a hard-and-fast rule.

Proportion – In proportion, the length of back (length from point of shoulder to tail set) is not equal to distance from withers to ground, or slightly longer than tall, in a ratio of 10 to 9. The Boerboel must not evolve towards a square conformation.

 V.  Head
The head is a very 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 Boerboel should have an alert and intelligent expression. The top of the skull (occipital area) is broad and flat, and from the side the muzzle and head are square. The skull must gradually decrease in width to the eyes and the stop should be visible but not prominent.

 a.  Eyes
Eye color ranges in all shades of yellow and brown, but 90% of dogs' eye color is lighter than the pelt. The eyes should be horizontally and wide set and looking straight forward, with firm well-pigmented eyelids. Eyes should not be protruding or set too deep, and haws should not show. Blue eyes must be seen as a serious fault. (Disqualification)

 b.  Ears
The ears should be of medium size, V-shaped and of moderate thickness. The ears are set high and wide against the skull. Ears should drop side ways close to the cheek. When the dog is interested, the ears should form a straight line with the top of the skull. The ideal length is when the lower tip of the ear is in line with the eye.

 c.  The muzzle
The muzzle is black with large nostrils that are largely spaced.

Disqualification:  Liver colored, white or spotted nose.

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

 e.  Jaws
Upper and lower should be strong, broad and muscular. The jaws should not be flat or snipey.

 f.  Teeth
The teeth should be white, well developed, correctly spaced, a complete set of 42 teeth and should have a scissors bite- a bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors.

Penalization:  Badly overshot and badly undershot i.e. more than 1 cm.

 g.  Disqualification
Rose, tulip, pricked or full drop is a serious fault.

The nasal bone is straight and as near to parallel as possible to the top line of the head, and should taper slightly from eye to muzzle, with or without a black mask. The nasal bone should be in proportion to the skull (approximately 8-10 cm long). The ratio between skull and nasal bone being 1/1.5:1

 VI.  Neck
The neck is muscular and clean in outline, with no dewlap (the skin must be loose under the throat and stretched taut between the forelegs). The neck shows a noticeable muscle curve and gradually widens toward the shoulder. The neck must be in proportion to the rest of the dog. An over long or short neck should be considered a fault.

 VII.  Body 

 a.  Forequarters
Front legs are thick, strong and muscular to support overall balance of dog. The forelegs viewed from any direction must be straight as possible and stand perfectly vertical, without knees or feet turning either in or out. The front pasterns should be short, strong and a vertical extension of the front legs and pastern joints. The distance from the knee (stifle) joint and pastern (wrist) joint must not be too long to ensure a well-balanced dog capable of fluent movement.

 b.  Shoulders
Shoulders should be well laid back, with good muscle development. The upper arm should have good muscle development.

 c.  Chest and ribcage
The chest must be strong, wide and deeply set between the fore legs, with well attached and curved ribs. The ribcage should be in proportion to the chest.

 d.  Front Paws
The front paws are big, well padded and rounded with strong, dark and short toenails. The paws should point almost straight forward. Most large breeds' front paws however turn slightly outward

 e.  Top line
The top line should be straight.

 f.  Back
The back is straight, broad and in proportion, with prominent back muscles and a short loin. A straight “tabletop” back is however not ideal for efficient movement, a very slight dip behind the shoulder ensuring better overall movement. The back sloping slightly toward the loin is sometimes seen in young Boerboels.

 g.  Hindquarters
The hindquarters should be firm, strong and muscular and enhance effective propulsion. The hindquarters should be free from droop or crouch. The upper and second thigh (gaskin) should also be well developed with prominent muscles.

 h.  Knee (stifle)
The knees are strong, firm and correctly angulated. The hock joints are strong and firm with correct curving (45°)

 I.  Hocks
The hocks are relatively short, strong and thick. The hocks are parallel. (Dewclaws, if any are generally removed)

 j.  Hind Paws
The hind paws are slightly smaller than the front paws. They should be well padded, rounded and should point straight forward. The nails are strong, dark and short.

 k.  Tail
The tail is attached high to the body. It should be straight and is generally docked at three joints, however long tails are also accepted.

 l.  Faults
Faults are defined, as a prominent dip behind the shoulder, a round back, and a sloping loin, is a sign of poor rib- and or back development. Loose shoulder blades are also considered a fault. A large male has a “saddle” behind his shoulder blades, and behind this “saddle” is a slight “dip”. This “saddle” consists of muscles.

 VIII.  Coat
The coat is thick, smooth, short and loose, with dark pigmentation on the skin under the hair. Moderate wrinkles on the forehead when the dog is interested. The belly and underside of the thighs should be bare. Long hair is a definite sign of another breed.

 IX. Color
All colors are accepted, although poor pigmentation is penalized.

 X. Gait / Movement
A smooth, powerful ground-covering ability must be seen. Movement is the crucial test of conformation.  Hind legs furnish the principal propulsion power.  Perfection of action being found in the Boerboel possessing long thighs and muscular second thighs well bent at the stifles.  When approaching, the forelegs should form a continuation of the straight line of the front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows.  At a trot, both front and rear legs tend to converge toward the centerline of gravity.  The Boerboel must show good extension both front and rear.  Viewed from the side, the top line is firm and parallel to the line of motion – in other words in movement a straight top line should be maintained.

XI.  Temperament
From past history of the Boerboel, the modern dog draws its character of remarkable courage, high intelligence, and tenacity. The Boerboel is also reliable, obedient and has a strong watchdog instinct. This coupled with its affection for its friends, and children in particular, its off-duty quietness and trustworthy stability, makes it a foremost all-purpose dog. The Boerboel has a quick and intelligent mind and is easily trained. He is outgoing and shows a tremendous willingness to please. He makes an excellent family dog as well as a trustworthy hunting companion.

 XII.  Disqualifications / Penalizations

A dog that is too small (D)

A dog that is too big (D)

An overly aggressive dog (D)

A too small and nondescript head (D)

A livered colored muzzle (D)

An under bite more than 1 cm (P)

A noticeable overbite (P)

A narrow, long or sharp mouth (D)

Blue eyes (D)

Erect ears (D)

A narrow chest (P)

Bandy legs (P)

A hollow back (P)

Cow hocks (P)

Sickle hocks (P)

Clumsy and unbalanced movement (D)

Poor pigmentation (P)

Any sign of another dog breed (D)

 Old scars and injuries, the result of work or accident, should not be allowed to prejudice a Boerboels evaluation, unless they interfere with its movement or with its effectiveness for work or stud.


Back to the top



Puppies     Home     Our Dogs     Photo Gallery     Boerboel Art     Dog Funnies     Links

      © Copyright, Cammie, 2002