Boerboels were originally bred in South Africa in the late 17th century as working farm dogs. In addition to protecting the farmer, his family and herds of cattle and sheep from predators, boerboels were used by farmers to herd -- and help keep in line -- the teams of oxen used for plowing.
The boerboel, according to the American Kennel Club, is a descendant of the large, mastiff-type “bullenbitjer,” brought to the Cape of South Africa in 1652 and bred with domestic dogs indigenous to the area. The breed’s name is derived from the Afrikkaans/Dutch “boer,” or “farmer.” The boerboel is valued for being intelligent, loyal and confident, with a strong desire to please. This breed is also known for its strong protective instincts and willingness to stand its ground. For this reason, the breed was considered a valuable asset by farmers as the first line of protection for family and herds from lions and other big cats.
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