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Bullmastiffs versus African Boerboels: The Similarities and Differences.

The Bullmastiff and its history in South Africa

Bullmastiffs served as the gamekeeper’s night dog. The gamekeepers and their Bullmastiffs would patrol the grounds at night, looking for poachers. They took along hunting dogs such as Bloodhounds, Fox Terriers, and Beagles to pursue poachers. If they didn’t find a poacher they would return home to rest for the next night’s outing. The fearless night dog saved many gamekeepers’ lives.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel

Both breeds developed to be good-natured, good with kids, and protective of property.

The dogs were used to catch people who hunted illegally. The people who trained the dogs made sure that the dogs wouldn’t hurt or kill the poacher when they caught him. These dogs were first used in England on large estates where poaching was not allowed. If someone was caught poaching, they would be killed. The wealthy estate owners hired people Wealthy estate owners hired the gamekeepers to protect the game and watch over the estates.

The original bullmastiff was 40% bulldog and %60 mastiff.

The English Mastiff too big and slow lacked the drive necessary to keep up with the crafty poacher. Bulldog was too vicious and would tear up the poacher too bad often causing severe injury and death.

What the gamekeeper needed was a big strong dog powerful enough to knock down a man and hold them without viscously mauling them or killing them. So they crossed the two breeds out of need rather than to create a distinct look.

Only Two dog breeds make up the Bullmastiff: Breed History

The Original Bullmastiff breed was a cross between 2 dog breeds the They were all-purpose estate dogs. Duties of the dogs included herding farms animals, protecting the farm from strangers, and being family companions at night. The dog was known as a ‘great athlete’ but they worked hard for their masters with great loyalty no matter what kind of job they were given.

The mastiff type breeds are some of the oldest dog breeds in the world. They were developed for centuries to be working dogs, and their impressive size and strength have made them perfect for guarding property and protecting people. T

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Appearance

When one examines their history it will be obvious that Boerboel dogs came to life through breeding mastiffs hounds and bulls. And so the similarities are obvious. However, there is a major difference.

Boerboels can be twice as tall as the Bullmastiff and nearly double in weight. Boerboel is frequently referred to as “South African Mastiff ” due to its large appearance similarity with Bullmastiff influence.

There is very little difference in appearance among the modern African Boerboels and the working Bullmastiffs. Fawn is the most common color. Both have deep chests, very muscular, large bones, black mask dark round eyes, and flat ears. But there are a few breed differences that include weight, size, coat colors, and temperament.

Coat Colors

Bull Mastiff: Fawn, Brindle, Apricot, and White Red Brindle Fawn Brindle

Boerboel: Brown, Red, Wheaten, Black Reddish Brown

In some lines, you can see the resemblance in others you will not. Bullmastiffs were the dog breed of choice in South Africa for guarding the diamond mines. At the time these dogs were fierce protectors and highly valued guardians. These dogs later fused with other breeds better suited for farm life and farming purposes. Boers would use any dog they thought could enhance their farm dog breed.

It is essential to mention the Bullmastiff when talking about the Boerboel is because of the heavy influence in creating the best dog breed. The Bullmastiff is integral to the foundation of the South African Boerboel breed. The Boerboel encompasses over 14 dog breeds. They are dog relatives and more similar than they are different.

African Boerboel vs Bullmastff: Fitness

The African Boerboel is a fit dog because of its ability to work hard and excel at many different tasks. They are used for guarding, herding, and protecting livestock on the farm. They are also used as family companions and protectors.

The Boerboel is a versatile dog, with more energy that is able to adapt to any situation. They are strong and agile and have a high level of endurance. They are able to work in all types of weather conditions and can handle any terrain.

New owners should note Boerboel’s exercise requirements of the parents before selecting a pup from the desired litter. Because the breed is not far removed from the farm average exercise for large breed dogs will not suffice. Proper fitness training is also key to developing a healthy breeding program

  • South African Boerboels have a moderate to high energy level

In South Africa, the Bullmastiff was later mixed with many other breeds including English Bullterrier, Great Dane, Bulldogg, Rhodesian Ridgeback Bullmastiff English Mastiffs African Synomones and Africanis dog among other canines ) and evolved into the ultimate protector, the modern Boerboel. Neither breed has an intense prey drive.

Purebred Bullmastiff’s genes are locked and rarely does fresh DNA enter the pool. The result is a less functional large dog mainly bred as a pet for looks rather than for its ability to perform.

Bullmastiffs have a low to very low energy level

Exercise Requirement: Daily Light Walk

The Boerboel’s gene pool was not solely confined to E M and Bulldogs. It also included Rhodesian Ridgeback, Cynemone dog, African Wild Dog, St Bernard, Great Dane, English Bull Terrier, Canis Panther, and Africanis (basenji). The result is added robustness and functionality of the dog. By adding these crossbreeds into the gene pool the Boerboels has become more diverse in its abilities making it stronger.

Bullmastiff suffers from inbreeding depression

Inbreeding depression is the decrease in the genetic diversity of a population due to consanguineous matings. This can lead to an increase in the incidence of harmful recessive alleles. Hip and elbow dysplasia are heritable conditions.HD is when the head of the femur does not fit snugly into the pelvic socket. This can cause lameness and arthritis. Elbow dysplasia is a heritable condition in which the radius and ulna, the bones of the front leg below the elbow, do not fit together properly. This can cause lameness and arthritis. More common in the BM.


Along with the likes of the Baltimore Ravens and Georgia Bulldogs, The Cleveland Browns have a live mascot, a Bullmastiff who goes by the name of Swagger. I think that the Browns could have done much better by picking up a South African Boerboel as the new mascot. Some people think that the Bullmastiff is the best dog for protection. But the South African Boerboel is even more athletic and can be a better guard dog.

Bullmastiffs have become nothing more than show dogs. More or less bred to be supermodels.

If the Cleveland Browns are finally, looking to make a statement that they are a new style team under owner Jimmy Haslam, then I would suggest they scrap the idea of swagger the Bullmastiff and get and real Dawg worthy of representing the Dawg Pound and the best fan base on earth.

They need one of my dawgs born and bred in Cleveland.

The Browns fans deserve a mascot that will symbolize power strength and attitude with the ability to match. If they want to look good Boerboels fit that bill too. With the hopes of having a winning season, the Browns need to have a Championship Caliber dog. Other local African Boerboel breeders would agree that no other Dog will fit the bill of championship mascot like a Boerboel.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Temperament

Both the Bullmastiff and Boerboels have very similar personalities, but with slight differences. They both have strong protective instincts towards each other’s families. Aside from their natural affectionate features, neither breed would be good for first-time pet owners. Neither of these breeds should develop aggressive behavior especially if they are fully trained. Bullmastiffs are more gentle on the couch and less active when it comes to protecting their families. Unlike a Bullmastiff, the Boerboel’s calm is constantly alert.

It should be noted that large breeds, in general, tend to be affectionate with their own humans.

Though they’ve all done their best in the family defense, Bullmastiffs are typically less defensive.

The Bullmastiff has a temperament that is best described as lazy and calm. They are not prone to being active or aggressive, making them perfect for families who want a passive pet that just wants to lounge around on the couch all day. They may be a better choice for first-time pet owners, they are perfect for those who want a dog that is low-maintenance and easygoing.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Activity level

The Boerboel is more active and intelligent. They need exercise

They are known as the “thinking” dog, as opposed to a Bullmastiff, which is more of a laid-back type of pet. Boerboels have been used for years as companion protectors, so they have a strong drive that causes them to be more active than the average canine companion. On Boerboels have the capacity to be a great therapy dog.

Most Bullmastiff dogs just want to relax and lay around all day. These dogs are called lazy dogs. They may not be the best for families who are looking for an active pet, but they make great companions for those who just want a dog to lounge around with.

Having an active dog breed is definitely a benefit for a healthier lifestyle, as they have high exercise requirements are always up for a good game of fetch or tug-of-war. However, there can be some cons to having an overly active dog. For one, they can be quite a lot of work to take care of, as they need plenty of exercise and activities to keep them occupied. Secondly, they may be too much for some people or families to handle, as they can be quite energetic and rowdy. Ultimately, it is up to the individual dog owner to decide if an active dog breed with a big exercise demand is right for them.

Boerboel vs Bull mastiff Comparison Chart

Breed Characteristics Boerboel The South African Mastiff is a large, lean breed with short hair. Known for being intelligent and easy to train, very self-assured, confident, and outgoing.

  • Boerboels are more, watchful of their domain but not overly aggressive.
  • Both recognized by AKC
  • Bullmastiffs are more prone to deleterious genes and health defects like progressive retinal atrophy
  • Boerboels sheer size makes them clearly stand outBullmastiff vs Boerboel: Grooming

Both Boerboel and the Bullmastiff share a similar coat so grooming needs are the same. The coat is short and sleek and requires only one brushing biweekly for the entire year. Grooming more regularly during shedding season helps control the shedding and helps prevent the fur from everywhere. Wash the skin with the appropriate shampoo for a clean appearance with no dirt and grease. Make use of gentle dog shampoo to keep their hair from getting irritated.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Price of puppies

Its puppies cost are somewhat more affordable than Bullmastiffs. That’s because it’s a little more rare. Is that correct? Expect to travel in search of good breeders. Do not be surprised when you have people asking you if your business will meet this challenge.

Be careful with backstreet breeding businesses that charge a little more for a pup. Even though it may seem attractive, you can be certain your dog is probably unhealthy and has never experienced love. This can cause more expensive vet bills and potentially behavior troubles later on.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Training

Both are required to undergo intense training at the time of their return, and no one of the two will be suitable to novice dog owners. If necessary you should also enroll them in puppy obedience classes immediately. It is important for owners to grasp the dominant character and assume a leadership role in their homes. Do not underestimate either breeds power. However, people that are fair and firm will have happy relationships with dog friends. Boerboel is the less stubborn of the two breeds since he developed on the farm cooperativity is key.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Dominant dog breed considerations

The breed of dog is dominant. Both dogs do not particularly like other dogs, and men are very afraid of dogs. If one is allowed into your family you will want to have the other dogs be of the opposite gender. Due to a strong hunting instinct, neither breed is suitable for cats nor other small animals. However, the dog is permitted to bring pets that are not canines. The Bullmastiff makes a perfect puppy, just like most Boerboels. It’s not necessarily that dogs who are comfortable with their children are ok with odd children.

Effective guard dogs Bullmastiff vs Boerboel:

The farmers in Southern Africa raised the “Boerboel” as a protector of animals and as a working dog. He then worked to control diamond mines at his home. The Bullmastiff was born in England as a guard dog on big estates and to prevent poaching. He doesn’t reveal a definite lineage as the dog comes from a cross between mastiff and bulldog.

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel: Final Thoughts

Both Bullmastiffs and Boerboels require a moderate to high amount of exercise. The Bullmastiff-Boerboel comparison shows more similarities to each other as the training requirements are very similar. You may be surprised how both breeds are different in size and have huge blockheads with brown and red coats. But we can go deeper and see the characteristics and traits of the breed. A better comparison than the Bullmastiff vs the Boerboel would be the Boerboel vs the Cane Corso

  • The Boerboel is much Bigger than the Bullmastiff?
  • The Boerboel is the strongest of all the mastiffs?
  • What dog is bigger than a Boerboel?

They are both square in shape but have different personalities that set them apart from each other. While the South African Boerboel is known for being extremely protective of their family or master, they are not usually aggressive towards strangers. They will get along with outsiders given time to adjust to them though they can be very territorial about their property especially

Boerboel vs Cane Corso

A stronger similarity to the Cane Corso breed. without the prey drive. Boerboels won’t chase cats. The Boerboel and the Cane Corso are both agile. A fundamental difference is the fact that the Boerboel is more muscular than the Cane Corso. The Male Boerboel vs any of the mastiffs whether it be the Cane Corso or the Bullmastiff the male Boerboel is the most powerful. Even as a puppy the Boerboel is more muscular.

Cane Corsos are Italian mastiff dogs. They are used as guard dogs and are very protective of their family and property. They are not usually aggressive towards strangers, but they will bark and growl to warn them off. Likewise, South African Boerboels are extremely protective of their family.

Their average tendency is to be very territorial about their property and may even attack anyone who they feel is a threat to their family or territory.

The dog is allowed to bring pets that are not canines. He will make an excellent family dog, just like most Boerboels. It’s not necessarily that dogs who are comfortable

Cane Corso has more prey drive than the Boerboel as they have a background in herding Corso has a deep, loud bark. His bite is known to be worse than his bark. This development in temperament to breeding practices began when breeders in England started selecting for a particular look

The Cane Corso also comes in similar coat patterns like fawn black tan apricot yellow buckskin, chestnut, brindle, red brindle, reddish-brown blue, and brown.

Males’ and females’ size difference among the three breeds favors the Boerboel. Cane Corso females should not weigh more than 90 lbs according to the AKC breed standard. Males ideal weight is 110 pounds and no more than 120 pounds. The Bullmastiff and Cane Corso are more along with the same size in weight. The Boerboel is said to range in size from 200-140 lbs depending on sex, but this is disputed.

The AKC breed standard says that a large male Boerboel can weigh as much as 200 lbs