Meet Nicole Charles and her South African Boerboel Pine Ridge King Kong
About the breed
The South African Boerboel was originally bred to guard the Diamond Mines from thieves. Later they became the dog chosen by farmers to guard properties from intruders and wildlife. Chosen because of their gentle natures with children, the South African Boerboel is now used primarily for companionship and guarding.
Why did you choose this particular breed?
I had previously owned Rhodesian Ridgebacks as I was fond of hiking and walking long distances with my dogs. But as I got older and had children, I found I had less time to walk with my dogs. A friend recommended theSouth African Boerboel as they need markedly less exercise than the Rhodesian Ridgeback, whilst still retaining the primary qualities of guarding and good with children.
Is their personality/ behaviour in line with what people may associate with the breed?
Not in my experience no. Most people I meet seem to think the Boerboel is a very aggressive breed and possibly even a fighting breed. This is simply not my experience and I have two, both a male and female. They have extremely large brains in those big heads and are the smartest breed I have ever owned. They are more sensitive than I would have expected and require a lot of love and hugs. They are extremely intuitive with their owners and seem to know when you need some love. They are not greedy with food and have good manners around the table with children and family. Neither of mine have ever stolen food, unlike our Ridgeback who steals all food as often as he can.
Any tips for someone considering getting this breed?
As the breed is very physically powerful, I wouldn’t recommend them around very young children. Their large bodies have a distinct presence around the home and very small children may get pushed over accidentally. They are also quite skittish around bugs. Both of mine have been spooked by biting insects and can spend days leaping madly away from anything that sounds like a buzz. They don’t often bark which is nice, that trait is similar to the Ridgeback. However, please don’t own a Boerboel if you over value your lawn. They do like a little digging on occasion. Not fantastic with other animals they don’t know, so would need to be raised with other pets. King Kong was 7 months old in the attached picture. As you can see he is already quite a big guy at 55 kilos, so that needs to be taken into consideration. Costs of any veterinary care increase greatly when needing to anesthetise giant breeds for even simple surgeries like de-sexing.
How interested in training or obedience?
Very intelligent and well behaved genetically, I would rate their response to traditional training methods as “OK”. I find they are more instinctual as an animal and ‘train’ mine without words and with enormous amounts of calmness. They respond positively to assertive, confident owners who respect their size and power but are not intimidated by them. If you are someone who is likely to be intimidated by an 85 kilo muscle dog, probably not the breed for you!
Any tricks, skills or community work?
Not really a ‘doing tricks’ kind of breed, I have trained them both to ‘speak’ when asked with a silent hand gesture. This fascinates my children. King Kong has also learned to sit nicely and eat like a King from a spoon. It’s a crazy thing we started as a joke when he was tiny and now he expects it every day. Quite cute to watch!