Breeding Boerboels – Temperament & Character

The SABBS breed standard defines the Boerboel as manageable, reliable, obedient & intelligent with strong protective instincts. The Boerboel is self-confident and fearless. Overly aggressive and fearful Boerboels are unacceptable for breeding.

Temperament in Boerboels

A very clear and compelling definition of temperament is the sum total of all inbred and acquired physical and mental characteristics and talents that determines, forms and control behaviour in the environment. 

Temperament is the most important characteristic of a breeding Boerboel because you cannot train out shyness or over-aggressiveness in your dog in one mating. Thus Boerboels can be disqualified and classified as pet quality if they show signs of aggressiveness or fearfulness on appraisal day. A large breed dog like the Boerboel must be reliable, confident and obedient to carry out its protective functions to the lives he stays with.

The Boerboel Temperament is the result of:

  • Heredity (if you mate an overly aggressive/fearful male or female, you have a 65% chance of those traits being passed on to the pups).
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  • Handling/training/education (if you do not expose the Boerboel to different scenarios esp. during the puppy stage, it will not learn and thus may affect its temperaments. Thus, activities like walking, playtime, socializing with children, crowd and different scenarios in the environment are learning curves for your puppy to know what is normal and abnormal).
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  • Environmental factors & socialization (Your dog is a social being that craves attention and thus must not be left in a small cage and only fed. You need to bond with him, once you let him feel loved, his confidence will shore up)

Ideally overly aggressive or fearful dogs should not be bred as they have undesirable traits, however, you can use the tool of selection to take out those undesirable traits over generations of careful selective breeding. So, for instance, you may breed out aggression by carefully selecting a partner which is well balanced and self-confident. The F1 generation from that combo can further be positively impacted through deliberate puppyhood socialization and training to channel the excess energy built up in aggression by converting your dog into a working line to perform a particular task. This however requires years of selective breeding and experimentation

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