Back to Homepage


SABT Boerboel Breed Standard (Constitution)



 The Boerboel is a big, strong and intelligent workers dog, which was bred in Africa since the 17th century.  Various mastiff type dogs from Europe as well as big dogs from Africa contributed to the development of the breed.  A typical Boerboel’s characteristics are very similar to that of the Assyrian dogs of the period up to 700BC


General Appearance

 A big strong dog, well balanced with good muscle development and buoyant movement.  The dog should be impressive and imposing.  Male dogs appear noticeably masculine and the bitches feminine.


 The Boerboel is a perfectly balanced dog all parts of the body should be in proportion.


 The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watchdog instinct.  It is self assured and fearless.

 The Head

 The head is the most important feature of the Boerboel, as it represents its total character.  The head is short, broad, deep, square and muscular with well defined cheeks.  The part between the eyes must be well filled.

 Top-Line of the Head/Occiput

 The top of the head is broad and flat, with prominent muscle development.


 The face should blend symmetrically with the head, and can be with or without a black mask.


The stop should be visible, but not prominent.


 The muzzle is black with large nostrils that are widely spaced.

 Nasal Bone

 The nasal bone is straight and parallel to the top line of the head.  It is deep, broad and it tapers slightly to the front.  The Nasal bone should be 8-10cm long.



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.


 The jaws (mandibles) are strong, deep and broad and narrows slightly to the front.


 Teeth should be white, well developed, correctly spaced, a complete set (42 teeth) and should have a scissors bite.


The color of the eyes can be any shade of brown but darker than the pelt.  Eyes should he horizontally set.  It should be broad spaced with firm, well-pigmented eyelids.


The ears should be of medium size. V-shaped and should be in proportion to the head.  They are set fairly high and wide against the head.  When the dog is interested, the ears should form a straight line with the top of the head.

Neck Profile

The neck shows a noticeable muscle curve, and is attached high at the shoulder.


The neck is of medium length and in proportion to the rest of the dog.


The neck is quite strong and muscular , firmly attached to the head and gradually broadens up to the point where it is attached to the shoulder.  The Neck, head and shoulders should form a unit.

The Skin of the Neck

The skin of the neck is loose under the throat and becomes taut between the front legs.


The body narrows slightly toward the loin.

 Top Line

The top-line should be straight.


The back is straight, broad and in proportion, with prominent back muscles and a short loin.


The rump is broad and strong, with good muscle development.


The chest is muscular and strong.  The chest should be broad, and deeply set between the forelegs with well attached and curved ribs.  The rib cage should be in proportion to the chest.


The tail is attached high to the body.  It should be straight and preferably short (3 joints).  Long tails are acceptable.


The forequarter is strong, muscular and in proportion to the rest of the dog.


The withers should be well attached, correctly angulated and with good muscle development.

Upper Arm

The upper arm should have good muscle development.

Front Legs

The front legs should be thick, strong, and muscular and should stand perfectly vertical.

Front Pasterns

The front pasterns are short, strong and a vertical extension of the front legs and pastern joints.

Front Paws

The front paws are big, well padded and rounded with strong, dark and curved toenails.  The paws should point straight forward.


The hindquarter should be strong, firm and muscular and in proportion to the rest of the dog, with the ability for effective propulsion.

Upper Thighs

The upper thighs are broad and well developed with prominent muscles.

Second Thigh/Gaskin

The second thighs should be well developed with prominent muscle.


The knees are strong, firm and correctly angulated.

Hock Joints

The hock joints are strong and firm with correct curving.


The hocks are relatively short, strong and thick.  The hocks are parallel. (dewclaws should not be present).

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 curved.


Movement should be easy, smooth powerful and purposeful, by means of good propulsion of the hindquarter and parallel movement of the legs.  In movement, a straight top line should be maintained.


The skin is thick, loose and well pigmented with moderate wrinkles on the forehead when the dog is interested.


The pelt is short, sleek and dense.

Recognized Colors

Creme white, pale tawny, reddish brown, brown, piebald and all shades of brindle.



The ideal height for a male dog is 66cm (26 inches).  It can vary between 64 and 70cm.


The ideal height for a female is 61 cm (24 inches).  It can vary between 59 and 65cm.

General Health

The Boerboel enjoys exceptional health due to natural selection.


The Boerboel is well pigmented, especially on the lips, paws, toenails and genitals.


1. A dog that is too small.

2. A dog that is too big.

3. An overly aggressive dog.

4. A head that is too small and nondescript.

5. A liver colored muzzle.

6. An under-bite more than 1cm.

7. A noticeable overbite.

8. A narrow mouth.

9. A long mouth.

10. A sharp mouth.

11. Blue eyes.

12. Erect ears.

13. A narrow chest.

14. Bandy legs.

15. A hollow back.

16. Cow hocks.

17. Sickle hocks.

18. Straight hocks.

19. Clumsy and unbalanced movement. 

21. Black and skewbald.

22. Any sign of another dog breed.