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The Boerboel is a big, powerful, and very intelligent dog. It can make a great family pet, although it needs a lot of space to exercise and expend its high levels of energy.

The Boerboel is often selected as a good guard dog for those looking for some extra protection for their home and family. If you are wondering how to make a Boerboel aggressive, you need to be aware that this dog breed carries this trait naturally and you will need to commit to working with your dog from the time it is a puppy in order to teach it to restrain its aggression.

Although it is known to interact well with children, and some even describe it as a gentle giant, it is important to train your Boerboel well while it is still very young in order to prevent it from becoming aggressive, or inappropriately aggressive. The power associated with this breed makes it very imposing and dominant.

Some Boerboel owners may want to train their dog to be aggressive so that it can serve as a guard dog. Even if you want your dog to display some aggression, it’s still important to train your dog to recognize situations where some level of aggression may be appropriate and situations where it must restrain its instinct.

We’ll discuss how to safely train your Boerboel as a guard dog later in this article, but you should also always consult a professional dog trainer (and your vet) when doing so.

As the owner, unless you assert authority, a Boerboel will take over and rule your whole household, and you will be left to deal with the unfortunate Boerboel temperament problems that can plague owners of this breed.

Because of the Boerboel’s challenging temperament problems and its propensity toward aggression, this breed may not be the most appropriate for a first-time dog owner.

However, just because it can be challenging to train, this doesn’t mean that a Boerboel can’t be trained to restrain its aggression and be obedient. If you are committed to training and letting your pet know who the boss is, this dog could do very well in your home.

Boerboel’s Origin

It is a big working molossoid whose origin is from South Africa. Its name in Afrikaans means farmer’s dog. It was also kept to guard homes. Although the true origin of this breed is unknown, it is believed that it was an interbreeding of native African species with other breeds that came with European settlers.

The breed is still undergoing refining, and it’s important to train your dog well, as a result. Prospective dog owners considering this breed frequently ask questions like, “Are Boerboel dogs aggressive?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes: they can be aggressive and they require proper training in order to safely keep them as pets.

Boerboel Size and Strength

The Boerboel is a bulky mastiff breed whose height goes up to 28 inches in males and between 23 and 26 inches in females. It can weigh between 100 and 200 pounds. A Boerboel is rough and has a naturally strong build. With strong and intimidating looks, this ample-muscled dog can appear very menacing.

This dog has a very powerful neck, and despite its large, bulky size, it moves with purpose and speed. Its head tends to appear big, but it is proportional to the body. The overall look of this dog is power, agility, command, dominance, and extreme physical ability.

Commonly, they have sand-colored coats with black masks. However, their coats may differ in shades, ranging from brown, red, brindle, yellow-cream, fawn, dilute, white-cream, and black. Most people prefer a deep mask.

Boerboel Temperament Problems and Tendencies

These dogs are always willing to follow commands. They also tend to be overconfident and very imposing. Nevertheless, they will need your companionship and leadership. Some of the Boerboel’s temperament problems are that, if neglected or ignored, they can become destructive, headstrong, and perilous.

Boerboels are both very protective and full of aggression. They also safeguard their territories adamantly, making them great guard dogs, especially for home-owners. With such a dog, you can rest assured that you are well guarded by a fearless warrior. This does not mean that this furry friend is all work and no play; they enjoy playing a game of fetch.

How to care for and train a Boerboel

A Boerboel is not a pet that is used to being contained in a small area like the indoors. It will require a big fenced yard where it can play and display its masculine characteristics. Do not leave this pet alone for too long either. Due to their overprotective nature, they don’t appreciate the presence of strangers.

If you want to tame the aggression of this dog, make sure you socialize with it very much. Do not leave them alone with strangers as their watchdog instinct might kick in.

Related: What’s the best food to give a Boerboel puppy?

The sole aim of training this dog is to take the leadership mantle from it. For any dog, they live according to the rules of a group, and each dog has its position in the gathering. When a human comes into their life, they get introduced to the group, and there is a need to for the dog to know who the leader is. Rules and boundaries need to be set. Dogs will always obey and cooperate with their leaders.

As the owner, you need to incorporate play and exercise time for your boerboel. They require being taken for long walks on a daily basis. As these dogs thrive on attention and love, they will require your companionship as their owner. They also don’t require extensive grooming. Brushing their fur once in a while and giving them a monthly bath is generally enough. This breed tends to be an average shedder.

Ease of Training the Boerboel

Due to its high level of intelligence, this breed will need repeated, emphasized, positive reinforcement. Do not use harsh training methods. Just be consistent and always exert dominance while training your dog.

The fact that these dogs are big, muscular, agile, and very vicious makes them a dangerous choice for any inexperienced owners. This is not an ideal breed for a first-time dog owner.


This is what these dogs do best. They are even willing to sacrifice their lives to save their owners. With such a quality, you can never go wrong with a Boerboel as your guard dog.

However, owners should know that with such a dog, a fight can easily break out, putting strangers like visitors and even other dogs at risk. If you wish to have two such dogs, ensure they are of a different sex as dogs tend to fight with others of the same gender.

Read on to find out some general tips for owning a Boerboel as a guard dog.

How to make a Boerboel aggressive?

We do not advocate intentionally training your Boerboel to be aggressive or to attack. However, some owners select this breed for the primary purpose of raising a guard dog, and in this case, it is possible to safely train your dog to appropriately display aggression when serving as a guard dog. This is particularly appealing to those living in rural areas.

If you should choose to use your Boerboel to perform guard dog functions, proper training is vital and you should consult a professional.

Train your Boerboel as a Guard Dog

The Boerboel is naturally aggressive and its aggression can get out of hand if left untrained. It should, therefore, not be trained on how to attack since it already has that killer instinct. However, if you live in an area where there are cases of insecurity, it would be wise to train it on how to attack unwanted intruders.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, guard dogs are not trained to attack. They are usually trained non-confrontational methods like standing guard as well as using their bark to let you know the presence of an intruder or potential danger. This kind of training will require a lot of perseverance and time, but the results will be worthwhile.

Know the Difference Between a Guard and Attack Dog

A guard dog’s work is to alert you whenever there is a stranger or intruder within the vicinity of your compound by barking or growling. Such dogs are not trained to attack or become overly aggressive towards any stranger. This makes such pets less desirable attack dogs.

Attack dogs are mostly used by law enforcers and are usually trained to launch vicious attacks as soon as they are given the command to do so. Such dogs are fully trained to only act aggressively only when given the command. If not properly trained, they can pose serious danger to people or even other animals by attacking them without warning.

Average owners will not likely require an attack dog. However, if you live in an area where there are higher chances of getting attacked by intruders frequently, you might need to train your dog to attack under certain circumstances.

Know the Personality Traits of an ideal Guard Dog

Unlike what many people believe, this type of dog should not act out of fear or aggression. It has to be territorial and quite protective of its owner and his property just like a boerboel; still remaining very obedient to your commands.

A great guard dog is always confident about its surroundings. This means that your dog will be curious about new things, people, and surroundings and not act timid. For a boerboel, they are born with this trait, but they do require a lot of socialization to boost their confidence.

A good guard dog also likes to assert authority. For a boerboel, they can be too aggressive is not properly trained. They like getting what they want, which is why you should let them know who the boss is as you train them on how to adapt to new surroundings or get used to new people or animals.

Loyal dogs make the best guard dogs. Their loyalty makes them more protective towards their owners.

Socialize Your Dog as a Puppy

If you want to train your dog to be a good guard dog, it needs a lot of socialization. This will make it feel comfortable and needed in its normal environment. A socialized dog appears less fearful and more at ease. Such a dog will still retain a suspicious instinct towards any unfamiliar and probably dangerous situations.

Dogs should be socialized when they are 3 to 12 weeks old.

Failure to do it at this age makes puppies more difficult to socialize and eventually train. Your puppy should be comfortable socializing with new people and being in different environments. Since this might be a big deal, go slow and expose your dog to different situations in bits.

Reward your puppy for every successful socialization experience. This can be through treats, extra play time, or petting.

If you have an adult dog that you have already trained and is sociable, it should be easier for it to become a great guard dog.

A Boerboel can make an excellent guard dog. However, they should not be left alone for too long as they tend to get stressed and destructive. You should always socialize with him by being the best companion. As a result, you will have the best guard dog around.

Ensure Your Pet Can Obey Basic Commands

Before you can even start guard training your dog, it should be ready and willing to take commands like sit, stay, and down. With these basics, your dog will be able to learn defensive methods like standing guard and alert barking with ease.

These commands can be taught to the dog by its owner or by signing the dog up for obedience training classes. You should do obedience training to your Boerboel at an early age. This will help make the dog consider you as the alpha person in the line of power. Without this, the dog will grow to dominate you and your family.

If you are looking for a guard dog, the Boerboel is one of the best for that job. These dogs’ protective instincts are very strong, and they will guard you and your family with their lives. But be sure to take the time to properly train them so that you can keep your pup, your family, and your community safe from your dog’s potential unrestrained aggression.

Be sure to consult your vet and a professional dog trainer before attempting to train your Boerboel to become a guard dog.

Featured image credit: @JanDix

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