At What Age Does A Boerboel Become Aggressive? What To Know

South African Boerboels are widely known as guardian dogs. They are strong and large breeds with the signature character of territorial instincts.

At what age does a Boerboel become aggressive? If you intend to take one into your family, you’d better know this.

It might be dangerous if they are left to their own devices without an early training plan.

The good news is when trained and nurtured properly, it can make you proud as a reliable guardian and lovely family member.

In this article, I will provide an overview of this dog breed and a guide for anyone who desires to have a Boerboel.

Get To Know About Boerboel Breed

at what age does a boerboel become aggressive
Boerboel Breed

Understanding any dog breed is vital before determining whether it would be the most suitable option for your needs.

Originating from South Africa, the Boerboel breed was developed to protect pioneers’ farms in the 17th century. They are famous for being good defenders and predators for a long, long time.


Boerboels are one of the most powerful dogs in the world. They possess impressive strength and muscular bodies.

Let’s take a glance at the general appearance of those Boerboels.

  • Size: The average size of male Boerboels is from 24 to 27 inches tall, while it is 22 – 25 inches in bitches. Their normal weights range somewhere from 150 – 200 lbs. Dogs tend to have larger frames and heavier bones compared to bitches.
  • Head: Boerboels feature a distinction of blocky, flat, and square heads with the muscled cheekbone. Their muzzle is broad, narrowing slightly towards the black nose. The jaw is strong enough to deliver a bite of 450-pound pressure per square. This breed gets medium-sized and dark brown eyes in between two V-shaped ears.
  • Body: Boerboels have bulky and firm bodies. Four legs show a distinctive feature of well-defined muscles. The chest is broadened with well-sprung ribs and strong pectorals. Their tails are short and thick without any kink.
  • Coat: Boerboels’ hair is short and shiny. Despite the dense coat, it feels smooth when touching. You commonly see them in six coat colors, including Brown, Brindle, Cream, Tawny, Reddish Brown, and Red.
  • Movement: Boerboel is the most agile breed in the family of bull mastiffs. Whether observing at play or work, standing or moving, their nimble motions engage strength and suppleness at the same time.


Are Boerboels naturally aggressive? Yes, they are. Boerboels are confident and intelligent dogs with a high protective tendency. They are territorial and do not back down from any predators.

On the other hand, this breed reveals another facet of affection and loyalty as a family pet. You might be surprised that they also show incredible love and calmness towards children.

At What Age Does A Boerboel Become Aggressive?

are boerboels aggressive
When Is Boerboel Become Aggressive

Most Boerboels start expressing a few traits of hostility when they reach around 3 months old, but they’re still young. So this is the best starting point for a thorough training plan.

How long does it take a Boerboel to fully grow? Let’s further discover the respective temperament by their age.

From 8 to 14 Weeks

At this stage, they are easy-going puppies with hardly any sign of aggression.

This period is considered a learning window for starting familiarization and gradually bonding with their new families. I find they are compliant with my orders and instructions at this point.

Nevertheless, you should not expect they will stay the same, especially when you are a novice.

3 Months

By three months old, a Boerboel is still pretty young, but it might begin a slightly aggressive behavior. The level of their aggression depends on several factors and conditions.

Owners should consider a serious and consistent training plan for their Boerboels by now. Otherwise, you might be regretful in the future.

I advise you to focus on stimulating socialization at first to instill their confidence.

Slowly interacting with other animals or strange people will help them feel relaxed and learn positive attitudes more easily.

8 – 9 Months

Are Boerboels aggressive by this time? The fact is that Boerboels of this age grow both in size and tendency to aggression.

The expressions of hostile behaviors are possibly due to their inborn quality or feelings of fearfulness and shyness.

Shy or insecure dogs need careful nurture and a lot of attention from their owners. Hence, you should give your adolescent Boerboel sufficient protection and encouragement until it is 18 or 19 months old.

Properly raised and trained, your dog is likely less prone to uncontrollable belligerence when it grows older.

From 20 Months

From this point on, adult boerboels officially lives in their adulthood with full capabilities.

Their genetic protective instincts are evident when you see them being territorial and eager to please guarding commands.

How your dog behaves and their aggression level now all comes down to how you handled them in the past.

Signs of Boerboels Becoming Aggressive

Early recognition of negative signs related to your dog’s behaviors allows you to respond promptly. So, it reduces the possibility of excessive dominance of aggression.

You should be alert for the following signs as potential indicators of your Boerboel getting hostile:

Unreasonable Possessiveness

When your baby Boerboel starts showing an abnormal desire for possession, you should beware. It is a possible warning sign of rising aggression.

For example, it may overprotect its food bowl or usually growls when someone walks by during its meal. There are also cases when it unreasonably scrambles for your children’s toys.

Constantly Baring Teeth

When a dog shows their teeth, it commonly means it is in a defense or ready-to-fight status. People might suppose it is no concern for dogs, especially with natural guardians like Boerboels.

However, if you frequently observe your puppy with unusually bared teeth or curled lips along with threatening barks/growls and a guarding posture, it is an unmistakable signal.

Weird prey chasings

This is another body language of your Boerboel that you should pay attention to. When it starts performing a weird behavior of prey drive for a while, you had better think of correcting measures before it is too late.

Other signals

Some other clues of increasingly intense behaviors in Boerboels include repetitive and hard bites, muzzle punches, intense stares, etc.

Causes of Aggressive Boerboels

How do I make my Boerboel less aggressive
Why Is Aggressive Boerboels

Understanding the classification of aggressive behaviors and relevant causes is vital to conduct a more suitable training plan for your Boerboel.

Not to mention the breed’s genetic factor, there are a few contributors to a belligerent attitude in Boerboels, as below.

  • Fear: Specific dog breeds will respond differently when facing fear. While some others choose to run away, mastiff dogs like Boerboels decide to combat. They are basically not surrenders.
  • Possessiveness: It is normal for a dog to have a certain possession of stuff it finds interesting. However, out–of–control growth in possessiveness likely makes your Boerboel more aggressive.

That could be very dangerous when people get close to their toys or food without bad intentions.

  • Territorial Aggression: Boerboels are territorial. Besides, the exhibition of this instinct is less common in puppies than when they are mature. In any case, it is crucial to train them to distinguish friends from foes.
  • Defensive Aggression: These canines naturally take first strikes as their defense against potential danger and external attacks, similar to their response to fear.
  • Frustration: A Boerboel, which is held back from approaching something that drives it excited, can become aggressive. You commonly feel this type of aggression from dogs that are tamed or on a leash for too long.

In case your baby boerboels get involved in an unexpected fight, here is how to stop them.

When To Start Training Boerboels?

It is essential to provide Boerboels with adequate training and socialization. I highly recommend beginning a training program soon after adoption, the ideal time when they are only a few months old.

You are not expected to bring such an intimidating dog breed home and leave it to grow with its nature without a proper strategy. Otherwise, you might end up facing undesirable safety problems.

At what age does a Boerboel start barking at strangers? Novice owners usually don’t care about this, while some others say it is too soon to begin a training plan.

As said above, the sooner and more serious you teach your Boerboel, the less aggressive it becomes later.

Proper Training & Care For Boerboels

How do I make my Boerboel less aggressive? This can be your next concern now.

The upbringing of a large and powerful Boerboel requires considerable resources and care from any owner of this dog breed.

Food and Diet

Believe it or not, your Boerboel will cost you considerable food spending, as it eats a lot. Their daily food intake should be at least 2,000 calories.

I suggest feeding your pet high-quality dog food and other nutritious products to keep it developing healthily and comprehensively.

You can consider adding protein-rich food like eggs and bacon to your dog’s meals.

You should also consult a vet to have a specific diet suitable to the requirements of each growth phase.

Be mindful of daily consumption amounts. Overfeeding your Boerboel can result in an overweight condition, or worse, obesity.


Besides a balanced diet, your Boerboel needs a high activity level. Hailing from South Africa with harsh conditions, this athletic breed prefers the freedom of moving around to a short leash.

Outside long walks or playing inside your yard/gardens are both nice, as long as they have chances to move their bodies on a regular basis.

Daily exercises not only boost their agility but also relieve them from mental issues such as frustration or social aggression.

Training Strategies

Remember, it is a golden time to begin training your Boerboel when it is around 8 weeks of age.

Socialization at a young age is one of the fundamental training strategies for a less aggressive Boerboel. Its purpose is to decrease dogs’ shyness and fears.

Consequently, they are less likely to commit extreme behaviors.

Gradually welcome your Boerboel pup to the outside world. You can start with family members, like parents or children, before approaching strangers and neighborhood animals.

However, you should not bring it to overcrowded places as it easily gets traumatized and frightened at a young age.

Obedience training is another essential work to tame Boerboels. You can stimulate their eagerness to please by applying the Alpha Dog method.

My gentle reminder is to stay patient, as teaching your dog to follow your commands is a long-term plan. Avoid punishment as much as possible, or it could have a reserve effect.


Rottweiler Or Boerboel – Which Breed Is More Aggressive?

These dog breeds are both giant and well-known protectors with intimidating instincts. While the Rottweiler seems to be more sensitive out of the two, and the other appears more independent.

Boerboels are also the more stubborn and intense pooches.

Training a Boerboel is a little more challenging and time-consuming than a Rottie. Nevertheless, both would be equally aggressive if not trained early and properly.

Should I Choose A Male Or Female Boerboel?

It depends on your needs. Overall, Boerboels bitches tend to mature quickly and have a more serious and territorial attitude than males.

What Health Concerns Does Boerboel Tend To Get?

Dog breeds with massive size, including Boerboels, are commonly subject to the following health issues:

  • Orthopedic issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia;
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Heart diseases
  • Gastric torsion or bloating
  • Idiopathic epilepsy

Final Thoughts

Boerboels are excellent guard dogs with strength, agility, confidence, and courage distinctions.

They are always ready to protect their owners at all costs. Besides, you can turn an inborn combative Boerboel into a beloved and loyal family member if you educate them properly.

Before welcoming a baby of this breed to your life, you should be serious about: At what age does a Boerboel become aggressive?

The truth is upbringing a Boerboel is not for inexperienced dog owners because it requires considerable knowledge and responsibility.

I hope the information provided in this article supports your nurturing journey.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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