The South African Boerboel is a breed with a long but uncertain history. While records of this breed show up as early as 1652, its history is not well-documented. Originally a fierce guard dog for South African farmers, this large, athletic dog was a common pet in the region for hundreds of years.
While family photos in South Africa featured these dogs prominently for many decades, this large, protective dog remained a regional secret throughout much of the 20th century. In the 1980’s, researchers began tracking and recording the breed’s population in the region. Since then, the Boerboel has been declared an indigenous land race of South Africa and is now protected under a British Act of Parliament.
The breed did not exist in the United States until after the turn of this century. The Boerboel was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2015 and categorized in the Working group.