Boerboels are generally known for their good health. But as a large dog breed, they are not superior in any way compared to other large breeds. With strict and selective breeding what has been going on for a long time, and buying your pup from a reputable breeder, for you as a puppy buyer it is at least to some point possible to try to avoid some if not most of the common health problems. The average life expectancy of Boerboel is around ten year. As with all breeds of dogs, the Boerboel may be susceptible to certain health problems, including but not limited to: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Eye problems including Ectropian / Entropian, Wobbler's Syndrome, Prolapse and Vaginal Hyperplasia. In addition, another concern for all large breeds is gastric torsion. If you are not familiar with this condition, it is absolutely necessary to learn about it and know the symptoms — This is a real emergency and a life threatening condition that requires immediate Veterinary attention.
Hip Dysplasia -Hip dysplasia means an "abnormal formation" of the hip joint. The normal anatomy of the hip joint is a classic ball and socket joint. The ball is supposed to match the socket. A good hip joint has a neat, snug fit between the ball and socket. There are variations of dysplasia - ranging from only very slight changes from normal to complete dislocation. Hip dysplasia is a progressive degenerative condition that can lead to severe pain.
Elbow Dysplasia -The term elbow dysplasia refers to degenerative conditions that affect the elbow joint. There are 3 causes of elbow dysplasia; Osteochondritis dessicans (OCD), Ununited Anconeal Process (UAP) and Fragmented coronoid process (FCP). Elbow scores range from 0 to 3.
Vaginal Hyperplasia -Vaginal Hyperplasia is an exaggerated response by vaginal tissue to estrogen during certain phases of the heat cycle. The vaginal tissue becomes swollen and may protrude through the vulva. Vaginal Hyperplasia is rated as free, stage1 to 3.
Eye problems -Entropion is an inward roll of the eyelids. It causes irritation to the eyeball and causes the eye to be “teary”. In the case of ectropion the eyelids roll outwards exposing the membrane that lines the eyelid.
Wobbler's syndrome -Wobbler's syndrome, also called cervical vertebral instability, is a condition that can affect large dog breeds that grow quickly. These growht spurts can result in spinal abnormalities that can cause painful compression in the spinal cord. If left untreated, Wobbler's syndrome may result in chronic pain and difficulty standing or moving.
Gastric dilatation volvulus -GDV (also known as twisted stomach, gastric torsion) is a medical condition in which the stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by exessive gas content. The word bloat is often used as a general term to cover gas distension without twisting and is often a normal change after eating or with aerophagia. It is sometimes used incorrectly to indicate gastric torsion. Gastric dilatation volvulus always involves the twisting of the stomach and is a life-threatening condition that requires prompt treatment. The condition occurs commonly in domesticated animals, especially certain dog breeds. Deep-chested breeds are especially at risk.
Since DNA testing is now possible and easy enough, we will test all our dogs with Genoscoper's wide health survey. At the moment (February 2015) there are only 10 tested Boerboels in total in Genoscoper's database. We have the first and only three in Finland (Tano, Shaina and Savannah), but we hope that will change in the next few years. We will do the DNA-tests to our puppies before they will move to their new homes, in order to obtain more and more widely information about the breed's hereditary diseases, characteristics and the diversity of the breed.
The Boerboels (except the brindle bitch, she's 9 months old) on the pictures are 11-13 years old, healthy and in great physical condition.