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Bullmastiff vs Boerboel – Truthful Breed Comparison

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

Why grueling, you ask?

Well, both the Mastiff hailing from Great Britain as well as the one hailing from South Africa are awesome dog breeds and I’ve been there.

Before ultimately deciding on my Rottweiler pup, I’ve checked out various breeds, especially Mastiffs (the group to which the Rottweiler technically also belongs).

Did you know that there are actually 22 Mastiff breeds in total?

I’ve spent countless hours researching their history, exercise needs, size, even coat colors.

It definitely doesn’t help that many resemble each other.

But if you narrowed it down to the Bullmastiff vs Boerboel, well then…

I can definitely help with shedding some light on this breed comparison.

Bullmastiff Compared To Boerboel

Both the Bullmastiff and the Boerboel are powerful dogs who need moderate to high exercise, lots of mental stimulation, and are quite protective of their family and yet calm around them and very affectionate.

In fact, the Bullmastiff vs Boerboel comparison will offer a lot more similarities than differences as their working purpose, exercise needs and health requirements are pretty similar.

Boerboel standing in a forest.
Photo by photosounds on Shutterstock

You may have noticed that both dog breeds are of similar size, have large blocky heads, brown to red coat colors, and are giant lovebugs.

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

Bullmastiff vs Borbeol Colors & Grooming

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

While this makes grooming them relatively easy, they do shed during shedding season twice a year.

I own a Rottweiler which is in a similar category in terms of shedding; not too shabby but perhaps not the best breed if you or somebody else in your household suffers from severe allergies.

When it comes to grooming, regular brushings a couple of times per week and occasional baths should suffice.

Try to abandon nasty chemical shampoos from your household and keep bathing to a bare minimum as it just strips their coat of oils.

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

These breeds date back quite far. The breeds that went into their creation – such as the (English) Mastiff date back even further and are truly ancient breeds.

Nowadays, our busy city life may collide with the bond these dogs have to nature, sometimes to our disliking.

That being said, I suppose if you’re looking into these drooling blockheads, you’re not the type who brings a dog to a groomer for a fancy haircut, along with the mandatory show ring pink ribbon.

Both breeds are not the heaviest droolers out there, but finding some slobber here and there will definitely happen.

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

Fawn BrindleBrindle
Red BrindleReddish Brown
Red FawnTawny
Red Fawn BrindleCream

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel Exercise

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

But does that also translate to increased exercise needs?

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’re bundles of energy.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Two Boerboel sitting next to each other, one is scratching her neck.
Photo by JFJacobsz on Shutterstock

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

Where does the absolute sloths-in-Mastiff-clothing myth come from then?

Well, breeding and exercise regimen play the biggest roles.

If any dog is poorly bred, overweight, and not used to exercise, it’s clear that owners will report their dog as being “lazy” while their pet just lacks the opportunity.

I’ve found that most Mastiffs with a healthy weight and diet are perfectly suitable for longer hikes in the mountains, biking (once they’re fully grown), and other outdoor activities.

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

Bullmastiff vs Boerboel Temperament

Bullmastiffs, as well as Boerboels, could very well be described as great guardians with a gentle and affectionate character around the family.

Training is more natural to them compared to some stubborn breeds, but it’s far from a piece of cake where your dog has an incredible will to please.

You will surely need to commit lots of time to your dog’s training but once you get there, their calm demeanor comes in pretty handy in everyday life.

Whether it’s about exercise or temperament, never forget that these dogs were bred as guardians.

While the Bullmastiff’s main field of expertise is guarding property (against poachers, originally), the Boerboel also defended their farms against wildlife and was thus also used as a large game hunting dog.

Is a Boerboel a Bullmastiff?

No, a Boerboel is not a Bullmastiff but their resemblance stems from a similar genetic markup to which Mastiffs and Bulldogs contributed.

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

It doesn’t help that many pictures on the internet wrongly label some dogs as breed X while, in fact, the breed is an entirely different breed.

Especially when you look into Boerboels, you’ll also notice that it’s hard 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 first originated in Great Britain while the Boerboel originated in South Africa and is far less common.

As mentioned above, contrary to the Bullmastiff who was used for guarding against poachers, the Boerboel was more of an all-rounder.

Guarding property not only against intruders but also wildlife was their job.

They were also utilized as hunting dogs for large game.

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

Which is Bigger – the Boerboel or Bullmastiff?

The Boerboel and Bullmastiff are both large dogs with deviations in height of 1 inch or less on average but with the Boerboel being up to 10-40 pounds heavier.

Recommended Reading: Searching For a Large Dog While Living in an Apartment?

Boerboel weight and height:

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

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

Bullmastiff weight and height:

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

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

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

While the AKC’s description isn’t meant to be taken as the definitive breed standard, it does raise eyebrows considering some people measure their dog according to breed profiles.

Large dogs are prone to hip/elbow problems anyway and excess weight only contributes to that so make sure your dog always stays fit and has a healthy diet.

No matter what you choose – Bullmastiff or Boerboel – make sure you have the time, commitment to research, and financial resources to keep such a large dog.

I actually have an article breaking down the cost of owning a large breed like this and you’d be surprised at how many people introduce these fellas as little puppies just to stand there flabbergasted later on.

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

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.