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Bullmastiff vs Boerboel – Truthful Breed Comparison

Are you stuck with the grueling task of choosing between two dog breeds?

Why grueling, you ask?

Well, both the Mastiff from Great Britain and the Mastiff from South Africa are great dog breeds and I have been there.

Before I finally decided on my Rottweiler puppy, I looked at several breeds, especially Mastiffs (the group that the Rottweiler technically belongs to).

Did you know that there are a total of 22 Mastiff breeds?

I have spent countless hours researching their history, training needs, size and even coat colors.

It certainly doesn’t help that many of them look alike.

But if you limit it to the Bullmastiff vs. Boerboel, well then…

I can certainly help shed some light on this breed comparison.

Bullmastiff compared to Boerboel

Both the Bullmastiff and the Boerboel are powerful dogs that require moderate to high levels of exercise, plenty of mental stimulation, and are quite protective of their families yet calm around them and very affectionate.

In fact, the Bullmastiff vs Boerboel comparison will offer many more similarities than differences because their working purpose, training needs and health requirements are quite similar.

Boerboel standing in a forest.
Photo by photosounds on Shutterstock

You may have noticed that both dog breeds are similar sizes, have large block-shaped heads, brown to red coat colors, and are giant lovebugs.

But let’s delve deeper into what these breeds specifically have in common in terms of appearance, exercise needs, and temperament.

Bullmastiff vs. Borbeol Colors and Care

Both the Bullmastiff and the Boerboel call a smooth and short coat, ranging from brown to reddish shades, their own.

While this makes caring for them relatively easy, they shed twice a year during the shedding season.

I own a Rottweiler that falls into a similar category in terms of shedding; Not too shabby, but perhaps not the best breed if you or someone else in your household suffers from severe allergies.

When it comes to care, regular brushing and an occasional bath a few times a week should suffice.

Try to keep nasty chemical shampoos out of your household and keep baths to an absolute minimum, as it will only remove their layer of oil.

With a natural shampoo that contains no additives and very few ingredients, you should be fine if you use it when absolutely necessary (i.e. your pup has rolled in poop or is very dirty).

These breeds date back quite a while. The breeds involved in their creation, such as the (English) Mastiff, date back even further and are truly ancient breeds.

Today, our busy city lives can clash with these dogs’ bond with nature, sometimes to our disgust.

That said, I guess if you’re looking at these drooling dumbasses, you’re not the type to take a dog to a groomer for a fancy haircut along with the obligatory pink ribbon for the show ring.

Both breeds are not the heaviest droolers out there, but finding a little drool here and there is bound to happen.

If you’re interested, here are all the AKC recognized coat colors for the Bullmastiff versus Boerboel:

FawnBrown
Fawn BrindleBrindle
RedRed
Red BrindleReddish brown
Red fawnTawny
Red Fawn BrindleCream

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel exercise

The Bullmastiff and Boerboel are both large dog breeds with huge skulls, wide chests and muscular bodies.

But does that also translate into a greater need for exercise?

Dog owners report very differently when it comes to their dog’s exercise needs: one group describes them as lazy couch potatoes, while the other says they are bundles of energy.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Two Boerboels sit next to each other, one scratches her neck.
Photo by JFJacobsz on Shutterstock

Yes, the Bullmastiff and the Boerboel both have some slower individuals with moderate exercise needs, while Bullmastiffs in the working line can be quite energetic (not as much as a Border Collie or working Malinois).

So where does the absolute sloths-in-Mastiff-clothes myth come from?

Well, breeding and exercise regimen play the biggest role.

If a dog is poorly bred, overweight and not used to exercise, it is clear that owners will view their dog as “lazy” when their pet simply does not have the opportunity to do so.

I have found that most Mastiffs at a healthy weight and diet are perfectly suited to longer walks in the mountains, cycling (once fully grown) and other outdoor activities.

However, they don’t need to be on 24/7 and, apart from some fun obstacles, are probably not even suitable for sports like Agility.

Bullmastiff vs. Boerboel temperament

Both Bullmastiffs and Boerboels can very well be described as wonderful guardians with a gentle and affectionate nature around the family.

Training comes more naturally to them than it does to some stubborn breeds, but it’s far from a piece of cake if your dog has an incredible desire to please.

You will certainly have to spend a lot of time training your dog, but once you get there, his calm demeanor will come in very handy in everyday life.

Whether it’s exercise or temperament, never forget that these dogs were bred to be caregivers.

While the Bullmastiff is mainly specialized in guarding property (originally against poachers), the Boerboel also defended its farms against wild animals and was therefore also used as a big game hunting dog.

Is a Boerboel a Bullmastiff?

No, a Boerboel is not a Bullmastiff, but their similarity stems from a similar genetic makeup that Mastiffs and Bulldogs have contributed to.

Many potential dog owners may confuse these breeds due to their similar coloring, both names starting with “B”, and the fact that both are Mastiffs.

It doesn’t help that many photos on the internet incorrectly label some dogs as breed X, when in fact the breed is a completely different breed.

Especially if you look at Boerboels, you will also notice that it is difficult to find purebred dogs.

What is the difference between a Bullmastiff and a Boerboel?

The difference between the Bullmastiff and the Boerboel is that the former originated in Britain, while the Boerboel originated in South Africa and is much less common.

As mentioned above, unlike the Bullmastiff which was used for protection against poachers, the Boerboel was more of an all-rounder.

Their job was to guard property not only against intruders, but also against wild animals.

They were also used as hunting dogs for big game.

Recognized by the AKC since 1934, the Bullmastiff is much more common in most countries compared to the recently added Borboel, whose year of recognition is 2015.

What is bigger: the Boerboel or Bullmastiff?

The Boerboel and Bullmastiff are both large dogs with height variations averaging 1 inch or less, but with the Boerboel being as much as 10-40 pounds heavier.

Recommended Reading: Looking for a large dog while living in an apartment?

Weight and length of the Boerboel:

Weight: Male: 60-79 kg (130-175 lbs), Female: 55-73 kg (120-160 lbs)

Height: Male: 25-27 inches (64-69 cm), Female: 23-25.5 inches (59-65 cm)

Weight and height of the Bullmastiff:

Weight: Male: 50-59 kg (110-130 lbs), Female: 45-54 kg (100-120 lbs)

Height: Male: 25-27 inches (64-69 cm), Female: 24-26 inches (61-66 cm)

The AKC provides information on their approximate size, which would oddly place the Boerboel in the 150-200 pound weight category, which is far too heavy considering their size and general athletic appearance.

While the AKC’s description is not intended to be the definitive breed standard, it does raise eyebrows when you consider that some people measure their dogs based on breed profiles.

Large dogs are in any case prone to hip/elbow problems and being overweight only contributes to this. So make sure that your dog always stays fit and eats healthily.

Whatever you choose – Bullmastiff or Boerboel – make sure you have the time, dedication to research and financial resources to own such a large dog.

I even have an article about the costs of owning a large breed like this and you’d be surprised how many people introduce these guys as little puppies only to be baffled later.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not and does not intend to replace veterinary attention. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows signs of illness, call your vet.

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