boerboels are large and powerful dogs that derived their name from the Afrikaans word meaning “farmer’s bulldog”.

The boerboel is known for being good with children, very obedient, smart, confident – and very territorial, say animal behaviourists.

“Boerboels were originally bred to be watchdogs on farms, so they are very brave, protective and confident,” said animal behaviourist Les Crompton. “They are not even scared of attacking an animal as huge as a cow.”

She said they preferred an open space rather than the confined space of a typical house, but once they got used to it, they generally became overprotective of that territory.

“The most critical aspect of owning a boerboel is that you need to start training it as early as possible, because without proper socialisation, they can become a problem,” Crompton said.

“Unless the owner becomes a leader from the beginning, this breed will take over and rule the roost


Her message to would-be boerboel owners? “Don’t get one if you are not willing to train it properly, because if the dog causes damage to someone, it will not be the dog’s fault. You are responsible, because you have failed to socialise it well.”

Dr Glynnis Jones, a vet at Kloof Animal Hospital, agreed with Crompton, saying that without proper training a boerboel can become a “hooligan”.

“They are very large, very powerful dogs, which can create serious damage. They don’t just bite, but they can crush the skin tissues,” she said.

“An owner of the boerboel needs to be responsible with the dog from a very young age, so as to not lead the dog to become a hooligan


Jones said a boerboel can weigh more than 40kg and a male boerboel can cause more harm than females.

A study by the School of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University in the US had found that the breed has strong jaws and large dogs can exert more than 450 pounds (200kg) of pressure per square inch.

This is relatively close to the bite force of a lion and a great white shark.

National Geographic presenter, Dr Brady Barr, on his show, Dangerous Encounters, found that the lion and the great white can exert more than 600lb (272kg) of pressure per square inch.

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