The South African Boerboel dates back to the 1600s when Dutch, French and English settlers brought their large dogs with them to Africa. These dogs interbred with the African breeds. The name Boerboel derives from the Afrikaans words boer which means farmer, and boel, a shortening of boelhond, which means 'bulldog’. The Boerboel descends from an old Colonial cross-breed of mastiffs and bulldogs used both as a guard dog on remote farms and estates and for big game hunting.
The Boerboel is a big, strong and intelligent working dog. It is well balanced with good muscle development and buoyant in movement. The dog should be impressive and imposing. Male dogs appear noticeably masculine and females feminine. The Boerboel is reliable, obedient and intelligent, with strong watch and guard-dog instincts. It is self-assured and fearless. The Boerboel is very playful and affectionate toward its owner.