The Boerboel was developed in South Africa over 400 years from Bullenbijter and Barenbijter dogs bought by settlers in the early 1600’s. These dogs were bred to indigenous breeds, original bulldogs and mastiffs introduced by English settlers in the 1800’s. Only the hardiest dogs were bred and any dog who was not tough enough did not survive. This led to the rise of mastiff type dogs used by the Boers. These dogs were bred, as its function, to protect the family but have also been used for hunting and cattle work. The name Boerboel literally means 'Farmer's Mastiff'.
The Boerboel is a confident dog who is not nervous or jumpy, and does not bite out of fear. Any Boerboel owner will be able to confirm that a Boerboel is able to recognise your fear. The Boerboel will growl like a lion when protecting from a real threat and it will fight ferociously without consideration for his own safety. Aristotle named the forefathers of these dogs: Leontix (sons of lions). The Romans believed that these dogs were created by crossing a dog and a lion.