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The Boerboel used to be the ideal family, home and farm protector, combining substance with soundness and athleticism and the wonderful Boerboel temperament developed over generations on the family farms of South Africa. The Boerboel is a large dog with a strong-boned structure perfectly balanced within the desired proportions for the breed.

The UKBKC SA Boerboel Breed Standard is a guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of the breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. The aim of this Breed Standard is to provide guidelines to breeders, appraisers and judges, who should at all times be vigilant to avoid obvious conditions or excessiveness, that would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or absolute soundness of the Boerboel. Due to the evolution of the breed from specific working backgrounds in South Africa to the more show and companion oriented examples in the UK, our standard takes into consideration slight differentiations in the growing yet small genepool available to our breed enthusiasts throughout the UK and Ireland.



Average of 10-12 years


Height Male 24-27 “ Height female 22-25 “

Weight approx 150-200 lbs, with deviation given to larger examples displaying correct balance of function to form mass.

Head and Skull

The shape and size of the head is a typical feature of the breed. The head is large and typically Boerboel with no signs of another breed short, broad, deep, cube shaped – seen from all angles muscular and has well-filled cheeks in proportion with the rest of the body components and the circumference equals the height to the withers (upper point of scapula) Head characteristics are defined in terms of Skull . The skull is like a cube seen from all angles, large, and well muscled. The width of the skull is equal to the length and depth there the length of the cranial roof (measured from the middle of the eye to the end of the occiput) must be relative to the length of the nasal bone in a ratio 2:1. Nasal bone should be third of total length of head. The plateau is wide and flat with prominent musculature. When the dog is alert, the upper level between the ears appears flat.


The eyes are defined by Size and setting . Medium sized, rounded, forward facing, and widely spaced set on the same horizontal level and not protruding or deep set. Eyelids Firm, well pigmented no structural deviations such as entropion, ectropion, distichiasis or signs of surgical intervention and not slanted.

The third eyelid (haw) should not be visible. Colour The colour of the eye is any shade of yellow or brown.


The ears are defined by Setting: The earflaps are set high and wide. The earflaps are carried close to the head. When attentive, the top of the earflaps must form a straight line with the plateau.


Obviously V-shaped; no creases and a broad base.

Size: The earflaps are medium sized and in proportion to the head. The bottom edge of the earflap is in line with the dentition. Type, conformation, functional efficiency, mentality and composure are equally important in the evaluation of the Boerboel as a whole. The protective character of the breed is evident, as well as its impressive demeanour, good temperament, controllability and mobility.


The nasal bone is defined by Shape Deep, broad, cube shaped, and tapers slightly towards the front, but not snipey Straight and parallel to the line of the cranial roof. Well attached and filled below the eyes. The nostrils are large ,black and widely spaced. The nasal bone is in proportion to the head, and measures approximately a third of the total length of the head, i.e. approximately 10 cm for a male of 66 cm and 8 cm for a female of 61 cm.


The upper lip (under the nose) just covers the top of the lower lip and teeth. The upper lip does not extend below the lower jawline. The lower lip is moderately tight (not too loose and fleshy), without open or excessive lip.


Dentition is complete Teeth are correctly spaced. Teeth are ideally in a scissor bite.


The jaws are strong, deep and broad and taper slightly towards the front.


The neck is defined by shape which forms a unit with the head and the shoulders muscular and ideally with a discernible crest. The neck is of medium length and in proportion to the rest of the dog. The length equals about 1/3 of the height at the withers. The scruff is loose. The dewlap is noticeable and loose from under the chin. The dewlap becomes taut between the front legs.


The forequarter is well muscled and correctly angulated from the well-sloped shoulder blade down to the elbow at an angle of approximately 90° – 100̊°. The forequarter characteristics are defined in terms of...


The chest is strong, muscular and broad well pronounced and placed deep between the front legs with good volumethe point of the prosternum is level with the point of the shoulder.


The shoulder blades are well attached with an approximate 70 mm space in between.


The elbows are stable, parallel to and carried close to the body when in a stationary position and during movement, not limiting the optimal volume of the centre piece/torso.

The height of the elbows is equal to 1⁄2 of the height at the withers.

Font Legs

The front legs have a substantive bone structure are thick, strong and sturdy have a well-defined musculature on the in- and outside of the upper legs and are vertical, as seen from the front and the side.


The front pasterns are short, strong and of adequate girth as seen from the front and the side and are a vertical extension of the front legs as seen from both the front and the side, but slanting forward at a slight angle.

Front Paws

The front paws are large in circumference and well padded, ball shaped and tight strong, curved, with dark pigmented toenails.


The ribcage (the area from the first chest vertebrae to the last rib bone is well sprung with a deep, rounded brisket. must ideally have a length proportion of 2:1 to the loin, the depth is equal to 1⁄2 the total height of the dog at the withers, descending slightly below the elbow is filled behind the shoulder blades and elbows.


The loin (from the last rib bone to the front of the primary thigh) is of adequate depth (slightly less than the length of the loin,short (ideally 1⁄3 of total torso length wide as seen from the top flat as seen from the side strong and muscular and moderately tucked up.


The top line (from a point behind the withers to the beginning of the croup) is straight without any deviations. A very slight, non-flexible dip just behind the shoulders is normal.


The hindquarter is broad, of substantial depth, well muscled, in proportion to the rest of the dog and correctly angulated. The croup is of adequate length, broad, strong/muscular , correctly angulated and slightly sloping, the height should not exceed the height at the withers.


The tail is a natural extension of the spinal cord; therefore it is set fairly high, of adequate girth and straight. Docked tails should ideally be docked at the third caudal vertebrae, leading to an ideal adult tail length of about 8 cm.

Long tails are permissible and are sabre shaped and should reach approximately to the hocks when the dog is standing.

Primary Upper Thighs

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

Secondary Lower Thighs

The lower thighs are well developed and display adequate, visible musculature down to the hock.

Stifles (Knees)

The stifle joint is strong and firm.

The angulation between the femur, tibia and fibula must be approximately 90° – 100̊ as seen from the side.

The hock joints are strong and stable correctly angulated as seen from side without lateral deviation when standing or moving; and parallel with each other when viewed from the rear.


The hind pasterns are relatively short, strong and of adequate girth. When viewed from behind, they are parallel with one another. When viewed from the side, they are vertical. The front of the hind pastern is in line with the back of the haunch. Dewclaws may be removed. The hind paws are as the front paws but should be slightly smaller than the front paws The hind paws point and tread straight to the front.


The skin is moderately thick and loose, should show black eumelanin pigmentation. There are moderate wrinkles on the brow when the dog is attentive.


The coat is short and sleek with dense hair coverage. The recognised colours are brindle, fawn, brown and black.

All the colours and associated patterns should be accompanied by good pigmentation. Undesirable colours are:
Excessive/large white areas in all colours are undesirable, and must be eliminated.

More than a third white of the total body surface is unacceptable as it may influence pigmentation

(Definitions: “Unacceptable” means: Disqualification)


The Boerboel is well pigmented, especially on the lips; nose; palate; the skin and hair around the eyes; footpads; toenails; the anus, the nipples and the skin and hair around the genitals.

General Health

The general health of the Boerboel is of a high standard. Animals presented for appraisal must be in a good general condition and weight must be in relation to the size of the dog. Physical handicaps and former surgery must be supported by acceptable certification.

Reproductive Organs
Both females and males should have at least eight nipples.



Male dogs must have two well-developed testicles, both in the scrotum. The penile sheath is short and firm and holds the penis close to the body. Castrated males, monorchids or cryptorchids, may be taken up in the Pet Register.

Castrated males, monorchids or cryptorchids are not allowed in the show ring.

Sterilised females are not allowed in the show ring.


The movement is balanced, effortless, though powerful, purposeful, buoyant and fluent with comfortable reach in the front and powerful drive from the rear.

The stride is sufficient, long, free and unrestricted.

The legs move on parallel planes at all times. Whilst converging to the centre line of travel, the legs should never cross.

At all gaits the top line is stable (fixed), without any swaying, dipping or excessive body roll. Limited, weak or unsound movement shall be severely penalised.


Any serious deviations and/or combinations of deviations from the Breed Standard that affect the dog’s health/performance/functionality and/or mobility negatively are considered unacceptable and is a disqualification at the discretion of a senior appraiser in order to retain breed integrity. The dog will be PET registered without any breeding rights.

Traits that shall lead to disqualification are any indication of another dog breed Any behavioural abnormalities, an overly aggressive and/or uncontrollable dog. A timid or insecure dog.


A dog not meeting the prescribed height. A dog with insufficient bone structure.
A petite dog.
A clumsy/unbalanced dog.

Unacceptable proportions of body components.



A head that is not typically Boerboel.
A too small or nondescriptive head.
Serious erect ears.
Serious structural deviations of the eyelids.

Any other colour than yellow or brown eyes.

A nose leather that is not black

Excessive deviations of dentition.

A narrow, too long or sharply pointed muzzle.


Long and/or curly hair.

Excessive skin.

Insufficient pigmentation of skin around key areas (lips; nose; palate; the skin and hair around the eyes; footpads; toenails; the anus; the nipples; and the skin and hair around the genitals.


All dogs competing at events will be judged on the constructive outline and the above breed standard.
All colours that are historically in the breed will be accepted.
No new colours will be accepted e.g Merle.

Further Disqualifications

  • i.  Insufficient pigmentation
    ii.  Reproductive organs

  • i.  Males without two natural and well-developed testicles.

  • ii. Females with grade 2 vaginal hyperplasia or a prolapse.

  • i.  Mobility
    i.  Clumsy or unbalanced movement.
    ii.  Any visible impairment that seriously affects mobility.

Due to The Animal Welfare Act 2006, dogs with a docked tail will not allowed to be show at our events. 

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