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NABBA breedstandard


Temperament and Character 

The Boerboel is a magnificent breed that is reliable, obedient and extremely intelligent with very strong protective instincts that are innate.  This means there is no need for formal protection training.  An uncontrollable or fearful Boerboel is unacceptable.


General Appearance 

  • The Boerboel is a large, robust dog that is a very impressive and imposing figure of strength, worthy of attention and respect.

  • The Boerboel has prominent and well-developed musculature over the entire body with buoyant movement.

  • Males are distinctly masculine while bitches appear more feminine.

  • The bitch appears more feminine due to supple musculature.

  • The ideal height of the male dog is 26” - lower than 24” is unacceptable.

  • The ideal height of the female dog is 23.5” - lower than 22” is unacceptable.


Note: The male or female can be taller than the ideal height listed as long as the dog is balanced.


Body Proportions

The Boerboel is a perfectly balanced dog with all body parts being equally proportionate one with the other.


The head is

  • large and typically Boerboel, and

  • is short, broad, deep, square, and muscular with well-filled cheeks.


The plateau (top of the head) is

  • wide and flat, and

  • displays prominent musculature.


The face gradually blends with the skull and may be with or without a black mask.

  • The stop is visible but not prominent (unlike a Boxer, for example).

  • The section between the eyes is well-filled without deep, vertical grooves between the eyes.

  • The nose is completely black with large, widely spaced nostrils.

  • The nasal bone is straight and parallel to the line of the cranial roof.

  • The nasal bone is deep, broad and tapers slightly toward the front and proportionate to the head, measuring 3-4 inches depending on the overall size of the dog’s head.

  • The top lip is loose and fleshy and does not hang past the bottom jaw.

  • The center of the top lip (under the nose) covers the top of the bottom lip.

  • Jowls are not too loose and fleshy, with no excessive lip but can be affected by outside temperatures. The jowls are part of the dog’s cooling system and the larger the dog’s head, the larger the jowls (cooling system). This will be taken into consideration during an appraisal.

  • The jaws are strong, deep, broad and taper slightly toward the front.

  • The teeth are white, well-developed, correctly spaced and complete with a preferred scissor bite. An obviously excessive under/over bite is unacceptable. A slight under bite must not show teeth when the mouth is shut.

  • Eyes can be any shade of brown, gold or black. The eyes are set on the same horizontal level and are widely spaced. Eyelids are firm and well pigmented and have no structural deviations (Entropian/Ectropian).

  • The earflaps are medium sized, obviously V-shaped, in proportion to the head and are set quite high and wide. When attentive, the top of the earflaps must form a straight line with the top of the head (slightly above is acceptable).

  • The bottom edge of the earflap is in line with the dentition (the small grooves where the jaw muscle ends and the jawbone continues).

The neck forms a noticeable muscular arch with a high attachment at the shoulders. 

  • The neck is in proportion to the rest of the dog. It forms a unit with the head and shoulders.

  • The neck is strong and muscular with a firm attachment to the head, gradually broadening towards the shoulders.

  • The dewlap is loose from under the chin and becomes taut between the forelegs.  

The forequarter is strong and muscular.

  • The shoulders are well-attached, with well-defined musculature and correct angulation.

  • The chest is strong and muscular.

  • The chest is broad and placed deep between the forelegs.

  • The upper arms are muscular.

  • The elbows are parallel with the body.

  • The forelegs are thick and strong with well-defined musculature and are perfectly vertical as seen from the front and the side.

  • The front pasterns are short, thick and strong and are in proportion to the length of the forelegs.

  • The front pasterns are a vertical extension of the forelegs as seen from the front and side.

  • The forepaws are large, well padded, ball shaped and point straight forward.

Center Piece

  • The body of the Boerboel narrows slightly in the loin area.

  • The topline is straight without deviation (no humps or dips).

  • The back is straight, broad and has prominent back muscles.

  • The loin is short and strong.

  • The ribcage is well sprung and well filled behind the shoulder blades.

The hindquarter is strong, sturdy and muscular. It is in proportion with the rest of the dog and has the ability to propel movement effectively.  

  • The croup is broad, strong and has well defined musculature. Viewed from the side, there will be a slight drop.

  • The tail is set high. It is straight and preferably short, but not so short as to interfere with anal gland expression. Long tails are permissible.

  • The upper thighs are broad, deep, well-shaped and muscular when viewed from the side and from behind.

  • The secondary thighs are well-developed with prominent musculature.

  • The stifles (knees) are strong and firm with the correct angulation as seen from the side.

  • The hock joints are strong and firm, not cow-hocked or pointing toward each other.

  • Straight hind legs are unacceptable.

  • The hind pasterns are relatively short, strong, thick and are parallel with one another as viewed from behind.

  • The hind pasterns are vertical when viewed from the side.

  • The front of the hind pastern is in line with the back of the haunch.

  • Dewclaws may be removed, but they are accepted.

  • The hind paws are slightly smaller than the forepaws. They are well-padded, wellshaped and point straight to the front.

The skin is thick, loose and well-pigmented with moderate wrinkles on the brow when the dog is attentive.


The coat is short and sleek with dense hair coverage.  The recognized colors are:

  • fawn

  • brown

  • black

  • brindle

  • Irish marked

  • piebald

  • dilutes

  • NOTE:  Black and tan, only if both parents have been appraised and DNA tested with NABBA



  • Since there are so many shades of yellow/fawn starting with the most light in color and eventually darkening into lighter shades of brown, and browns gradually changing into lighter shades of reds, a category of ‘brown’ is the easiest way to cover this vast range of colors.

  • Fawn covers the range of cream to light brown.

  • Black is any shade of black, including dilutes

  • Irish marked and piebald have always been accepted however, like with all the other colors, pigmentation must be in place.   

  • Irish marked is a dog with a base coat of color and patches of white.

  • A piebald is a dog with a base coat of white and patches of color. These patches of color may have some brindle in them and the white on them may be bright white.


Pigmentation is skin color, not hair color.  

  • The Boerboel is well pigmented especially on the lips, palate, and skin around the eyes, toes, footpads, anus and genitals.


The general health of the Boerboel is of a high standard.

  • The dog should not be too fat or too thin, or exhibit any other visible signs of poor health.


The reproductive organs are well developed.

  • Male dogs have two well-developed testicles, each in their scrotum.

  • Bitches have at least 8 teats and a firm vulva.


  • The movement of the Boerboel is easy, smooth, strong and purposeful with good propulsion by the hindquarters and parallel movement of the legs.

  • During movement, the straight topline remains fixed.


  • Blue eyes

  • Liver nose

  • All white coat

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