After hearing about this rare breed I did some research that led to a phone conversation and email messages from Rosita Thorn of Alpharetta, Ga.
Thorn is a top officer in the American Boerboel Club, founded in the United States in 2006 and accepted into the American Kennel Club in 2010.
She explained the Boerboel originated in South Africa in the 1600s when a man from another country brought his huge mastiff-type dog with him to protect his family in his new country.
His dog mated with “large, indigenous, domestic dogs of South Africa which eventually resulted in creating the breed called Boerboel (pronounced Boar Bull).”
These working dogs are known in South Africa as farm dogs, and in the U.S. they are classified in the working and utility classes.
“The American Boerboel Club is registered with three South African registries and these are the only three accepted by AKC,” Thorn explained.
This ensures that ABC dogs and puppies go only to carefully screened homes following health screening, including tests for such problems as hip dysplasia along with other protective vetting procedures.
“Sadly, there are backyard breeders whose only interest in this breed or any breed is to make money. We caution potential adopters to contact only ABC members if they are interested in adopting to ensure getting a healthy dog or puppy,” she emphasized.
The ABC always “takes an adopted Boerboel — dog or puppy — back into our care if all does not work out in a new home.”
This is the mark of a reputable organization. The ABC “does no advertising. We are interested only in adopting into caring homes, not in the numbers we can get adopted,” she said, another mark of a reputable organization.
How big do Boerboels get? “They are huge. They can weigh anywhere from 110 to 180 pounds. They are not apartment dogs,” Thorn said, laughing. “But they do well indoors and outdoors. They need a nice, expansive fenced yard when they are outside. When the weather is cool, they will love to jog five miles a day with you, and they will love to play games with you such as retrieving a ball. Despite their size they are quite agile.”
Grooming needs “are minimal. They have a short, dense coat of either all fawn-colored or varying shades of fawn, red or brown, and some are red with white markings.”
“Boerboels are smart and very willing to learn but you need to make learning fun. Early socialization is of major significance in helping them become affectionate family dogs.
They require kind, structured training. As with all breeds, each dog is an individual,” Thorn noted.
Rampei has had a professional trainer and participated in obedience classes.
“All of this is quite costly,” she said. “Even the adoption fees for Boerboels are high. Rampei was imported from Denmark. His fee was $1,200. The vet bills can also be high — up to $50 an hour. But I love this breed,” she exclaimed.
“When I was growing up in Germany we always had large dogs. My uncle had five German shepherds on his farm, and the dominant one, in charge of leading the others to herd his hogs, was my favorite. He didn’t like everyone but he was always so gentle with me and I loved petting him. I’ve always loved all animals,” said the caring lady, whose lifelong passion has always been focused on all animals’ physical and emotional well-being.
Anyone who may be interested in adopting a Boerboel dog or puppy can contact Rosita Thorn at: firstname.lastname@example.org. To reach the ABC’s breed rescue representative, contact: Sharon Bank of Sewickley, Pa., at email@example.com.
Paws up this week to: the Rev. Frank and Connie Redman; Freda Ayscue; Lynn and Terry Gobble; Chandra Ramsey; Hannah Mitchell; Judy Slack; and all who adopted a rescued pet with the assurance of providing a long, wonderful life in a forever home.
To reach the municipal Cleveland Animal Shelter at 360 Hill St., call 479-2122.
Call me with your pet and wildlife stories, 728-5414 or write to P.O. Box 4864, Cleveland TN 37320.