History of the breed

 
 

The following definition can be found in the dictionary for Boerboel: a large farm dog of unknown origin. But this is a thing of the past. Boerboel is now a full-fledged registered breed and one big pride to South Africa.

Stone Age long-term studies have shown that the Boerboel ancestors were already in place to Herodotus region of Tibet, Assyria and Babylon. For example, before the conquest of ancient Egypt, Assyria was used dogs that were dressed in armor. These dogs were included in the long hikes, and so they gradually had spread all over the world. Later, thanks to Alexander the Great, these dogs appeared in Europe. A statement has been discovered that in 326 B.C. he recieved a gift of 156 huge dogs that were trained to fight against the lions and elephants. Over the centuries, the appearance of the dogs changed and the dogs gradually formed two types: Mastiff-type and hunting dogs. Mastiffs were used in protection and as fighting dogs and hunting dogs to gathering food, ie hunting.

Both of these types were working dogs and there were certain differences in looks and in characters. It is believed that all known breeds of western countries that exists today, are descended from these two types. About 600 years ago, Europeans began selective and purposeful breeding and the result of this breeding is many modern breeds. Some of these breeds were bred only for hunting, others for herding, thirds for watchdogs and protectors to the farms and households, as well as for many other purposes. But one thing was clear -these dogs differed from ancestors with their excellent health.

In 1652, Ian van Riebeeck, one of the pioneers of the South African continent, brought with him his own dogs to protect his family and home from wild animals and other dangers which were waiting for them on their every step of this inhabited part of the world.

It was a big and heavy mastiff-type of dog, which is known as "Bullenbeisser." At that time a variety of mastiff-type breeds had already been developed with a special features that were specific to the residential areas of these dogs. The settlers who arrived to South Africa after Ian van Riebeeck, brought their own dogs with them too. Gradually, the settlers moved to live deeper and deeper in the South African mainland and created their own farms and homes. Inbreeding and isolation caused the dogs to get more and more characteristics of their Assyrian anchestors.  Living in difficult conditions was the main factor Boerboel breed development. There were no veterinarians or medications for dogs and in order to survive they had to rely solely on themselves. Only the strongest of working dogs survived, those who were able to defend and assist in obtaining food.

At the turn of the last century, Boerboels were able to restore the previously lost characteristics of the ancient Assyrian dogs and the locals called them "boels." Boels were very friendly to their owners and they were fearless defenders of the home. They did not want the sick, stubborn or disobedient dogs.  Urbanization of the country drove the breed nearly to the brink of extinction because of the typical "boels" began to lose little by little. And until the 1980s, a few brave breed enthusiast met and in unison, they decided to start to revive this old farm dog breed. This resulted the creation of the first South African Boerboel breeders association, SABT.

Today, Boerboel is very popular and a big numbered breed in South Africa, and many are trying to breed them without the knowledge of the Boerboel breed characteristics, which often has a negative impact on the quality of the dogs. So before you are buying a puppy, ask the breeder if the puppy's parents are registered in any of the South African Association. It is really good if you ask for a puppy breeder to send the photos of the parents together with parents pedigrees and ask from any of the breed association or club of your choice the quality of that spesific litter.

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