South African Mastiff

Interested in the South African mastiff? Learn more about the Boerboel or South African mastiff, a working dog…

The South African mastiff is considered a working molosser breed and is fairly large in size. It is also known as the South African boerboel. The phrase is derived from the words in the Afrikaans and Dutch languages, which use “boer” for the English word farmer. The entire phrase means farmer’s dog.
An interesting long-standing history relates to the breeding of this dog in South Africa. Initially the dog was used as an effective guard dog and that is why it was continued as a breed. Of course the origin of the breed is unknown, but there is a common opinion that it may have come from different African and Dutch, French and British species being interbred over time.

Description of the South African Mastiff

The South African mastiff is a very large dog and heavy in size. The dog typically has a light sandy coloring with a black mask, which looks resembles a melanistic mask. The height of the male South African mastiff ranges from 64 to 70 cm while the female mastiff ranges in height from 59 to 65 cm. It is a very protective and loyal dog but does not have any overly aggression tendencies. The dog is considered to be intelligent and it is easy to train because it is a very obedient animal. Exceptionally territorial the dog has innate instincts and is very helpful in domestic settings. The dog is exceptionally dominant and has a confident nature and stride, which makes it a very impressive canine. It requires continual human companionship even though it is a dominating dog. If it is left alone it becomes a bit distracted and can cause damage to property due to anxiety.

Since they are large dogs that they can be very dangerous if left alone and caught in a tricky situation based their destructive behavior.


In terms of its appearance the dog has a very balanced and robust appearance. The muscles are very solid and tight overall. Even though the dog has a heavy built it does not become loose or sloppy. The neck is very powerful and moves purposefully. The most defining characteristic of the South African mastiff is by far its head, which is large but very proportionate as compared to the rest of the body.

The tail of the mastiff is usually docked and is short, but this is not a basic requirement. On the whole the dog should look powerful and agile and exceptionally strong. A full-sized adult dog can weigh anywhere between 100 to 200 pounds making it a large dog indeed.

The color of the coat ranges from brindle to brown, black, red, and red-brown, fawn, white cream, yellow-cream and dilute, which are all considered acceptable colors. These are accompanied by small patches of white on the legs, neck and chest, whereas the deep mask is a preference for every dog. Unfortunately the dog suffers from Wobblers disease very frequently and has had problems or heart issues along with hip and elbow dysplasia.

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