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Introducing the Boerboel dog: Gladiator of the canine kingdom

Boerboel dog outside with Danny and Paula Gibson
(Image credit: YouTube)

Hailing from South Africa where they’ve spent decades protecting homes from predators and invaders, the Boerboel dog is an intimidating and dominant breed with a bright nature and hearts that adore their humans.

For Danny and Paula Gibson, who run the popular breeding business Barbarian Boerboel’s, this calm and confident war dog has been their life for over a decade. After almost going extinct in the 1970s, this dynamic husband and wife duo are devoting their lives to regenerating the Boerboel’s numbers. 

“I’ve been breeding Boerboels for about seven years now. We got our first Boerboel because Paula wanted a dog she could walk and feel safe with,” explains Danny. When he first laid eyes on the muscular and powerful Boerboel, Danny admits to being taken aback.

“I didn’t know what it was. It was just like a dog on steroids. The dog looked like it was working out 24/7 like a bodybuilder,” he says smiling. “Boerboels have always been known as dogs of war,” Paula says chiming in, “they’ve actually fought in wars, they’re like gladiators.”

While getting a Boerboel dog started as a way of helping Paula feel safe, the pair soon realized there was a market for breeding and selling this loyal and protective pooch and they’ve never looked back.

“Typically our puppies sell for pet registration at $2,500 or full registration with breeding rights is $3,200. We probably have about six litters a year, three in the winter and three in the spring/summer,” Paula explains. 

Boerboels, much like other war dogs like the Cane Corso, is a mammoth breed with many growing to be over 200lbs, and while naturally protective, they’re also incredibly intelligent, perfectly combining brains with brawn. While they may look like they’re all hulk, the pair are quick to point out that they have an affectionate heart.

“Boerboels are very clingy, so there’s no such thing as personal space...they always want to be right up in your lap,” says Paula. “A dog is man’s best friend and a Boerboel sticks to his owner like velcro,” adds Danny, “so if you don’t like that then a Boerboel is probably not the dog for you.”

Kathryn Rosenberg

Kathryn is a freelance writer with a passion for creating health and wellness, travel and wildlife content. Originally from New Zealand, her nomadic lifestyle has her currently fur baby-less. She scratches her pet parent itch by stealing frequent cuddles with any neighbourhood cat kind enough to indulge her.