English Mastiff vs. Boerboel

Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Becky Roberts

. Are you thinking of adding a huge dog to your family, but aren’t sure which one is better? Both canines are members of the huge type club. All giant canine lovers around the world agree that once you have one of these dogs in your home, it’s hard to find anything else.

Despite their wild backgrounds and amazing looks, both canines are gentle and caring with their family members. Which breed is better for family pets? Both breeds make wonderful family companions ., regardless of what you have read. They do however have some differences, starting with their activity level.

In this comparison, everything you need to know about these mild giants. You’ll have a complete picture of their past, temperaments, work ethics, costs for puppies, and much more. Let’s get started!

English Mastiff vs. Boerboel

Breed History

Canine history can be fascinating and full of fun facts. It is crucial for the research into which dog breeds will work well in your life. Because their original purpose will shine through in their personality and into their family home. These two breeds share a strong past. Let’s compare them.

English Mastiff

The English mastiff , one of the oldest dog breeds worldwide, is

. It is believed that he dates back to 55 B.C, and we know this because Julius Caesar documented a large, beastly Mastiff-type dog in his invasion journals. The Mastiff of British Isles was larger and more fierce back then than the cute pup we now know. Caesar brought him back to Rome, and fought them in the ring with lions and all other beastly predators.

Thankfully, bloodsports fell out of favor over time. This allowed the Mastiff to show his gentle side. His protective instincts were still intact and he was used in medieval England protect his master and hunt big game . Unfortunately, his extraordinary appetite meant that many families, even the wealthy, couldn’t afford to feed him. At the end of World War II, there were just 14 Mastiffs left in England.

American breeders sent their finest specimens to England in order to save the breed. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the English Mastiff is in the top 30 most popular dog breeds in America. He is one of the most beloved giant breeds. Henry VII, Dwayne John, Michael Bay, Larry Wolfe, and Larry Wolfe are some of the most famous Mastiff owners.


The Boerboel is a South African dog breed who rare in America but very popular in his native land. When Dutch farmers migrated to South Africa in the mid-1600s, they took their large Bull-type and Mastiff-type dogs to protect their new lands. Over time, the largest and most protective dogs were bred, and the Boerboel was created. ‘Boer’, the Dutch term for farmer ., is what he is. He is South Africa’s preferred dog for farmers.

His primary role on the farm was to protect his family, estate and cattle from predators like lions and baboons. He is agile and strong, making him a formidable force against all-gooders. He earned his keep by helping his master pull heavy carts. This dog is family-friendly. Because of his love for children, he is becoming quite popular as a therapy dog for children.

The AKC ranks him as the 121st most popular dog breed in America, out of 197 breeds. These pups are rare and most people have never seen one. He was recognized by the AKC in 2015, and despite being a rare breed, he has grown seemingly popular in less than 10 years.


Both similar in appearance . So much so that they both get mistaken for each other and other similar-looking canines. Both are large Mastiff-type dogs. The Boerboel is sometimes called the African Mastiff. They are both square and stocky, so you will have dead legs if you place them on the couch!

Both dogs are heavy hounds . Mastiffs weigh between 120 and 230 pounds, and Boerboels weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. This means that Mastiffs can weigh as much or less than Boerboels. It is important to keep this in mind. The largest dog known to man was an English Mastiff who weighed a whopping 343 pounds! This record is not common, but your Mastiff might be the next to break it.

The Boerboel, which is sometimes eight inches shorter than the Mastiff, is the smaller of the two breeds . This can make the Mastiff look larger and chunkier than it. This makes the Mastiff appear older than the Mastiff. They look very similar facially. Their ears and jowls are the best way to distinguish them apart, aside from their sizes. The Mastiff’s ears reach his jawline, while the Boerboel has droopier cheeks and longer ears. The Boerboel has ears that are as high as his nose, but his muzzle is shorter.

Their coats are also very similar. Both have short and dense double-coats that feel very smooth. Mastiffs can sport three coat colors: apricot, fawn, and brindle, with or without a black facial mask. Boerboels come in a wide range of colors, including brindle, brown and cream as well as red, reddish-brown and tawny. There are many markings on their coats, including a black, Irish, piebald and white mask.


The personalities of the two dogs are identical but different . We love their similarities. Their differences are what makes them so appealing to many families. These two breeds make great family pets if they are loved and cared for well. They make great therapy dogs if they are trained properly.

They are gentle giants and both love their families. Despite their past and scary appearances, they are cuddlebugs with their . family HTML1. These large softies love to have their belly rubbed on the couch. The Mastiff is the most cuddly dog. Boerboels are nearly always in protection mode, meaning they are not always quite as relaxed.

They are both fun family friends that love to have a great time. The Mastiff is a charmingly silly dog that loves to play the role of family clown. The Boerboel’s agility and energy mean that he can play fetch or chase all day. They are also able to adapt to the family environment and know when it is time for them to calm down.

They are initially shy around strangers. Mastiffs will quickly warm up to strangers depending on how well they have been socialized. The Boerboel is an inherently protective dog . He will not get along with people outside his family. He will instead keep an eye on them from the sidelines and be a vigilant guardian. Although he’s not looking to fight, he is a good supervisor for newbies. Although the Mastiff is protective of his family when there’s danger, he’s not as protective.

The Boerboel is a dominant dog breed. He requires an experienced dog owner who is able to manage strong-willed dogs. Because they are used to roaming the vast African lands alone, taking on lions, and other ferocious creatures, the Mastiff knows how capable they are. Although the Mastiff is a stubborn dog, he needs a seasoned owner. However, he is not as dominant.


These two dogs have very different exercise requirements. The Mastiff is a low-energy breed who only needs between 30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day. Many Mastiffs will choose to spend their day on the couch instead of exercising. Compared to the Boerboel, a high-energy dog breed who needs at least 60 minutes of relatively intense exercise. He will go crazy if you don’t exercise for a day, so it’s important to have a family who is active.

Boerboels need plenty of mental stimulation between exercise sessions. Interactive play is great for releasing frustration and energy, as well as bonding. Durable XXL toys and treat-dispensing games are a great way to motivate his mind. Although the Mastiff needs stimulation, it is not as intense as the Boerboel.

Without the necessary mental and physical stimulation they’ll become frustrated Fidos which will destroy everything . They’ll also become behaviorally problematic, just like other dogs. Boredom can be dangerous for all dogs. Particularly dangerous are dominant breeds of dogs like the Boerboel. This breed should not be taken on unless you are able to exercise him properly.


Let’s start by saying that none of these breeds are the easiest to train . The Mastiff often finds himself on the ‘dumb dog’ list because of how stubbornly lazy he can be. Boerboels, a dominant breed of Boerboels, will view themselves as the pack leader unless their master is stronger-willed. This makes training Boerboels difficult for new owners.

*) Socialization is an important aspect of both breed training. Socialization is crucial in the first 12 weeks of a pup’s life. It is important to work with a reliable dog breeder. Keep mixing you pup with as many people and dogs as possible. This is especially true for Boerboel.

The training, socialization and education of a Boerboel are a lifetime commitment . If you don’t socialize with your Boerboel for a week, it can make them cranky and difficult to handle. It is also important not to give them anything without making him work hard for it. He must understand his boss. He will soon become the boss. His lifelong education is not something that most families can afford.

The Boerboel is a loyal and obedient dog if given the correct training. The Mastiff can be difficult to train as he will never be fully obedient. He will be most interested in sleeping and eating meals, not training. with treats , is the key to a Mastiff’s brain and heart. Strong leadership is the key to a Boerboel’s heart.


Both breeds are healthy. Boerboel has a lower risk of developing health problems. Unfortunately, the expected lifespan of Boerboels is shorter than that of other giant dog breeds. Boerboels will live slightly longer than the Mastiff.

Reliable breeders will test both for elbow or hip dysplasia ,. It is important to get their parents’ hip and elbow scores. Both are susceptible to various eye conditions. The most common are progressive retinal atrophy, ectropion, and entropion. It is important to test Mastiffs for any cardiac issues, particularly dilated cardiomyopathy.


As you may have guessed both breeds are very hungry . They can each eat eight cups of kibble per day. It is difficult to determine who eats more, as it depends on how big your dog is and their energy level. We recommend that you choose high-quality kibble, and follow all instructions. You’ll be less likely to feed them too much and they will get their daily nutrition.

Mastiffs should be fed a dry kibble formula that has a lift in glucosamine and chondroitin to support their big bones and joints. Boerboels are smaller than Mastiffs. This means while they need similar joint and bone support, you’ll have more Boerboel-friendly dog food formulas depending on your Boerboel’s size.

Both dogs must be fed an appropriate kibble for large and giant breed dogs . This is especially important during the puppy stage up until around 18 months of age. This will control their rapid growth of bones and decrease the chance of them developing skeletal problems later in life. Giant breed dogs require high-quality animal protein and healthy omega fats. They also need glucosamine to support their pressurized joints.


Both dogs follow a similar grooming routine. Both dogs have a very short, sleek coat that is easy to groom. Both need to be brushed each week to remove any dead hairs and spread their natural oils. They will be able to benefit from bi-weekly brushing during the seasons to manage their shedding.

They also both need bathing once every 8 to 12 weeks to keep them feeling (and smelling!) They should be at their best. You both will benefit from a walk-in bathtub. It’s also a great idea to teach your dog how to use the shower. It could prove difficult if they don’t know what to do. To avoid irritation of the skin, use a shampoo that is specifically for dogs. Their ‘cleanliness’ is the only difference between them. The Mastiff is more likely to be the drier of the two. They share their slobber with their loved ones, but that’s not the truth.

Their teeth should be brushed weekly in order to maintain their pearly white teeth, freshen their breath and prevent periodontal disease. The Mastiff’s nails may need to be trimmed more often than the more active Boerboels. Their grooming habits will not affect your decision-making process.

Puppy Prices

An English Mastiff pup is typically a bit cheaper than a Boerboel. For example, a Mastiff pup from a responsible breeder usually starts at $1,000 compared to $1,500 for a Boerboel. Price of a puppy depends on many factors, such as breeder reputation, location and demand. Adoption is a cheaper option than buying a puppy.

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s worth repeating that it’s really important to work with a reputable breeder. Particularly for the dominant and potentially deadly Boerboel. They will do all they can to raise healthy puppies. They will also help them socialize and train their puppies. This will make your puppy and your family a happier one.

Final Thoughts

Both of these enormous canines are huge dogs that require lots of space in their new home. Both need plenty of food to feed their huge bellies. They are also relatively easy to groom. Both can be great household pets, provided they are matched with the right family.

The main difference between these pups is that the Boerboel requires a more experienced dog-owner. They are slightly more dominant than the English Mastiff but they are much more active and headstrong.

English Mastiffs are more adaptable to family’s needs , and their training will likely not be as intense. Both dogs are great household pets if you’re willing to work with them.

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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