Buying a Boerboel

Owning a Boerboel brings with it lots of love, pleasure and joy, as well as a sense of security. It also comes with responsibilities – the most important of which is to have the necessary information to make an informed decision at the outset.

First, consider your needs and whether you have the means to care for the dog for its entire life? Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? A male or female/dog? Are you looking for breeding stock and/or a companion for your family? Do you and your family have the necessary time and inclination to give the attention to the very specific raising and training requirements of a Boerboel? Do you have sufficient space and a secure environment for a large breed dog? Do you have the necessary knowledge of canine behaviour to raise a large dog with protective instincts? Is the entire family in agreement on owning a Boerboel?

Second, obtain as much information as possible about the Boerboel and breed standards by talking to SABBS office bearers, breeders and members. Go to appraisal days or other events in your area, visit as many breeders and meet as many Boerboels as possible …. and do not hesitate to ask questions.

Owning a Boerboel, like any large breed dog, is a big responsibility, and owners must make the necessary commitment to raising a well adjusted and balanced dog. This can be more demanding and involve more time, effort and training than a small or medium-sized dog, and owners should make themselves aware of the potential for damage and injury that can be caused by any large breed dog. SABBS can accept no liability for any damage to property or person caused by your Boerboel. It is your ongoing responsibility as an owner to ensure your dog is kept safe, properly controlled and supervised in public, or when around children or people that the dog is unfamiliar with.

Formalities Checklist

Once you have decided that a Boerboel is the dog that you want to share your life with, it is time to narrow down your selection of breeders and start communicating with them your expectations for your potential new dog. The more you can tell the breeder about yourself, your lifestyle and your reasons for owning a Boerboel, the better they can assist you in making the right choices. It is in your own interests to buy a registered dog from a SABBS registered breeder, and to insist on proof of his/her paid-up membership. You may also wish to check on the status of the breeder with the SABBS Office. This will ensure that you will receive the proper documentation with your dog, and also confirm that the breeder complies with the rules and guidelines set by SABBS.

During this communication process, make sure to exchange at least the following information:

  • Make it clear to the breeder what type of dog you want, whether you have aspirations of breeding if the dog turns out to be a good example of the breed or whether your dog will be a family dog and will be neutered at a later date. A responsible breeder will ask you many questions to confirm that his precious puppy/dog will receive all it needs to become an Ambassador for the breed and for him as a breeder.
  • As a buyer, you should narrow down your choice of dog by evaluating the following: temperament and characteristics; conformation/build; general health; pedigree, bloodlines and kinship and lastly, colour.
  • Ask to see and interact with the parents and/or other siblings and relatives. Ask the breeder what his goals are in doing this particular breeding and what he hopes to achieve. Ask for references from previous buyers and/or the breeder’s vet. You should ideally be able to see the mother of the puppies and in some cases the sire. If not, ask why (there may be a good reason), and if you can see photographs and speak to the current owner.
  • Ask the breeder if any health testing has been performed on the parents of the puppies and if Hip and Elbow reports or scores are available. SABBS recommends that breeding dogs be tested for Hip and Elbow Dysplasia and Vaginal Hyperplasia (females only) prior to breeding. While testing does not guarantee that your puppy will grow up free of these painful and sometimes debilitating conditions, it may reduce the risk.

Insist on seeing (and receiving when you buy) the following documentation:

  • The SABBS registration certificates of both the sire and dam of the dog that you are interested in. These certificates contain the pedigrees of three generations, the appraisal points of the parents, as well as the type of register in which they are registered (e.g. full, development or stud register).
  • The SABBS birth certificate, if the dog is a puppy. This certificate contains the puppy’s pedigree information over five generations and allows you to have your dog appraised for registration as a Boerboel when it is at least one year old.
  • Confirmation that the SABBS has DNA profiles of both parents. This is compulsory for all breeding dogs for the birth registration of their offspring.
  • Confirmation that the dog has been micro-chipped. All puppies must have a microchip to receive a Birth Certificate, so it is important that this is done prior to the puppy or dog leaving the breeder.
  • The parents’ test results for genetically hereditary diseases (e.g. hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, vaginal hyperplasia and entropion/ectropion – eye conditions). HD, ED, and VH testing is compulsory for development and stud register dogs.
  • Veterinary certification that the dog’s inoculations are up to date.

Further recommendations:

  • Enter into a sales agreement describing any terms of sale between you and the breeder. This will detail what your responsibilities are as a buyer and the breeder’s responsibilities as the seller. This is essential in any potential future disputes, and will be used by SABBS to mediate any solutions. It is also a legal document and could be produced in a court of law. SABBS has a recommended Concept Sales Agreement that breeders may adapt for their own use.
  • SABBS recommends that puppies not be handed to the new owners, and separated from their mother and siblings before they are at least eight weeks old. The period six to nine weeks is vital for them to learn the basics of canine socialisation, and to be exposed to as many people of all ages as possible, as well as to different environments. Ask the breeder how they socialise their puppies.
  • Check the import and export regulations of relevant countries if you will not be buying locally. Most breeders will have such information available or may be able to recommend a specialist agent to assist you.
  • Ask the breeder if the puppy has or will be examined by a vet prior to you collecting or receiving it, and if the puppy has received the first or a series of vaccinations. Older dogs should be in possession of an up to date vaccination record endorsed by the breeder’s vet.

Ask the breeder for details of the deworming protocol they have followed. You will need this to determine a future deworming schedule with your vet.

Physical Attributes Checklist

Remember the importance of studying the SABBS Breed Standard. For first-time Boerboel owners selecting the ‘right dog’ is extremely difficult, but the guidelines below are helpful in looking at puppies of about six weeks (as well as adult dogs, for that matter).

  • Male puppies must have two testicles descended into the scrota. Females must have no less than eight teats.
  • The accepted colours are yellow, brown, brindle or black – with or without a mask.
  • There must be sufficient pigmentation: a black nose, black toenails, black lips, and no pink on the footpads. The skin and hair around the eyes and the genitals must be black, and the palate should be as black/dark as possible.
  • The teeth must be strong and healthy – preferably with a scissor bite. If the bottom lip protrudes forward of the top lip (under the nose) the dog will probably have an incorrect bite.
  • Check the tread. Neither the front nor the hind legs may swing in or out. Look at which way the paws turn when viewed from in front and behind when standing naturally – this is how the dog will tread in adulthood. Where possible, watch the puppy moving naturally and take note of any deviations of the limbs or any signs of discomfort or lameness. Puppies should run and play freely with no signs of stiffness or lameness.
  • The topline should be straight and level in a young puppy, although there may be some deviation in an older puppy due to uneven growth stages (many puppies go through a “rump high” stage that will resolve over time if it is not too severe). Generally, the topline seen at 6-8 weeks will return as an adult if the puppy is reared correctly.
  • The eyes should be clear and bright with no discharge and the nose should be moist and cool, again with no discharge. The eyelids should be firm and not turn in or out. The ears should be clean, lay flat against the side of the head and there should be no discernable odour.
  • The coat must be soft and dense with short and smooth hair with a high hair count per surface area, giving a plush appearance in a puppy. The coat should be clean and shiny and the skin clear of any signs of parasites or disease.

Last, but most important: Accept that the perfect Boerboel has yet to be bred. It is a young and developing breed. If you have done your ‘homework’ by following the above advice and you are confident that you will be able to have a life-long relationship with the dog of your choice, then you have found THE PERFECT BOERBOEL!

Everyone thinks they have the best dog – and none of them are wrong!” – Anon

Concept Sales Agreement

SABBS strongly advises members and prospective owners to enter into written contractual agreements in their capacity as Sellers or Buyers of Boerboels. The Concept Sales Agreement is a guideline for members who do not have such agreement in place, and should be adapted according to specific transactions. The Codes of Conduct for SABBS breeders and members to which all members must subscribe, serve as reference for acceptable conduct in respect of all transactions.

Should a dispute arise between the Buyer and the Seller, SABBS will take it for granted that the parties have entered into a written Sales Agreement (based on these guidelines).