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Rottweiler vs. Boerboel: Which Breed is Better For Families?

Thinking the Boerboel or the Rottweiler might be the perfect homestead guardian or family protector? Read on as we compare both breeds, including size, health, and more!

Emma Braby

Last Updated: September 25, 2020 | 9 min read

Boerboel vs. Rottweiler in Field of Grass

Thinking of adopting a Rottweiler or a Boerboel and aren’t sure which one to pick? Both of these canines are tough cookies that most people wouldn’t mess with. But who’s the toughest? Who would make a better guard dog? Or maybe you are wondering who makes a better family pet? Whatever your question is, we’ll answer all of your questions and more.

Both the Rottweiler and the Boerboel are giant dogs who need plenty of space. The Rottie is a secret softie who craves human companionship and doesn’t like to be left alone. He is lots of fun and a big goofball with his family. The Boerboel is a serious family protector who rarely takes his eyes off the gate. Originally from South Africa, this breed is extremely stubborn and independent.

Both of these pups have some differences but also some striking similarities. Not sure who will make the better option for you? Let’s get straight into all the details as we compare the Rottweiler vs. the Boerboel head to head!

Breed Comparison Chart

 
Rottweiler
Boerboel
Height
24 - 27 Inches (M)
22 - 25 Inches (F)
24 - 27 Inches (M)
22 - 25 Inches (F)
Weight
80 – 140 pounds (M & F)
150 – 200 pounds (M & F)
Temperament
Loving, Loyal, Confident
Confident, Intelligent, Assertive
Energy
Average
Above Average
Health
Average
Above Average
Grooming
Weekly
Weekly
Lifespan
9-10 years
9-11 years
Price
$1,500+
$1,500+

History Comparison

Looking at the history of a dog breed is a fantastic insight into how they will be as a family pet. And for those dogs who end up in rescue centers, there’s a high chance that their owners skipped this part of the research. So, it’s essential that you give yourself a doggy history lesson.

Rottweiler

Alert Rottweiler
Rottweilers are most certainly one of the more famous guardian dog breeds.

The Romans developed the Rottweiler using mastiff-type dogs. They needed a tough dog who would look after the armys herds against predators and opposing enemies. Fast-forward hundreds of years and the traveling butchers of Rottweil in Germany were so impressed by their guarding abilities that they adopted them as their own. They then renamed them the Rottweiler. Rottweilers are from the Molosser family, similar to Pitbulls and other large dogs that originate from the same massive breed.

Since then, they have also worked other jobs. Such as a farmhand, in the protection services, and the military and police. Despite his formidable demeanor, he also makes a fantastic family pet too. Kind and dependable, he was also one of the first assistance dogs for the blind. And for a very long time, he has found himself in the top ten most popular dog breeds in America according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Boerboel

Boerboel Laying Outdoors
Boerboels are a South African guardian dog breed.

Similarly, the Boerboel hails from mastiff-type dogs. He was also bred to guard his masters property. But this time, it was against lions and other beastly predators in South Africa. Boerboels proved to be versatile too, and he pulled carts on the farm and protected the family from intruders. He has always been a hard worker and can work long hours without direction. Because of his excellent guardian abilities, he’s often compared to Bullmastiffs and compared to Cane Corsos because of their similarities.

Just like the Rottweiler, over the years, humans came to realize just how sweet he was with his family. Particularly with children. So much so that he regularly fulfills the role of therapy dogs, even in children’s hospitals. He is currently only ranked as the 121st most popular dog breed in America, but this is because the AKC has only recently recognized him.

Appearance

Rottie Boerboel Outdoors
Both the Rottweiler and the Boerboel have equally intimidating appearances.

A Rottweiler and a Boerboel are easy to tell apart, but this is only because of his color. The Rottie enjoys the black and tan coat with it’s distinctive markings. The Boerboel opts for a light brown, red, or brindle coat. The only marking that he has is the black mask and darker colored ears. Their coat colors make them instantly distinguishable.

Once you look past their jacket, you can see just how similar they are. They both descend from mastiff-type dogs, and you can see this thanks to their big-boned frame and deep chests. They both measure the same height and have the same square-shaped head and large drop-down ears.

Despite being the same height, they are not the same weight. In some instances, the Boerboel can be up to twice the weight of the Rottweiler. If you’ve never had the please of meeting a Boerboel, double a Rottweiler and imagine his incredible size. This alone makes the Boerboel unsuited to many family homes, and only large homes with plenty of land to roam will do.

They both have a double coat that keeps them cool in the harsh heat of Africa, or warm in the cold German winters. The Rottie’s fur is slightly longer than the Boerboels, but not enough to consider him having a medium-length coat. It is dense and sleek,  and being somewhat longer than the Boerboel’s coat, it is softer to the touch.

Temperament

Temperament of Rottweiler vs. Boerboels
Both dogs are guardians, but Boerboels have different temperaments than Rotties.

The personality of the Rottweiler and the Boerboel share both similarities and differences. They are, without question, both amongst the best guard dogs in the world. If we had to choose one, though, the Boerboel would make the tougher family protector. They love their family and would do anything for them, so you can rest assured that they have both got the fort covered while you and your family snooze the night away.

They are both sweet and affectionate with their family. If their brain is ready to settle down for the evening, they will both happily relax at your feet. They both enjoy human company and like to be reassured that they are a valued family member. They are both calm in the home compared to other dog breeds.

The Rottie is always up for a game of fun, whereas the Boerboel is up for playing when the time is right. If you are looking for a canine source of entertainment, the Rottweiler is a little less serious. And despite being intelligent and a professional at work, he is quite silly at home. The Boerboel is the more serious bigger brother.

The Rottie is a much more intense dog to have around the house, in that he will become your second shadow and rarely leave your side. The Boerboel, on the other hand, will happily keep watch outside all day long without bothering you for attention. This is a significant deciding factor for many, depending on what level of canine neediness they like, or if they have time for it.  

They are both dominant dog characters, and they both need a firm but fair owner. However, the Rottie is more obedient than the Boerboel and will learn basic obedience commands quicker. The Boerboel, without a doubt, needs an experienced dominant dog owner. Newer dog owners could adopt the Rottie if they are willing to be strict. Neither dog is very aggressive unless improperly trained.

Exercise

Rottweiler and Boerboel outdoors playing
Both the Rottweiler and Boerboel need daily exercise.

The Rottweiler and the Boerboel both need 60 minutes of exercise every day to keep their hearts pumping blood around their large bodies. Although they need the same amount of exercise, the Boerboel needs more intense exercise. This means either jogging rather than walking or constant games of fetch in the park rather than ten minutes.

You need to be more active for the Boerboel over the Rottie. Sometimes, the Rottie will resist walkies and try to convince you that napping on the sofa is the better option. In addition to this, they both need stimulation throughout the day. We would advise investing in indestructible toys for XXL dogs to prevent them from becoming bored and taking it out on your favorite furniture.

Training

Rottie and Boerboel Training
Both the Rottie and Boerboel will need obedience training at an early age.

It may seem as if the Rottie is more intelligent than the Boerboel because they pick up on commands faster. But Boerboels are highly intelligent. They are very strong-willed and independent dogs. The Rottie is loyal and eager to please his master and quick to pick up tricks. Especially with a treat in hand. The Boerboel is less interested in pleasing you, and as such, not always up for learning a new command.

This makes training the Boerboel a more challenging task and a lifelong commitment. This is why the Boerboel is not suited to first-time dog owners. And because the Rottie is intelligent, eager to please, and craves your companionship, he is much easier to train. However, they both need firm leaders that can show them the ropes. Otherwise, they can both become dominant and unruly.

Your Rottie will likely be easier to leash train, provided your Rottweiler has the appropriate harness equipped when going on walks. Boerboels may not cooperate as well on a harness and will likely need more diligent training. You’ll likely need to utilize different training tools to keep them well behaved and obeying commands. 

With both of these guys, socialization is crucial, otherwise, they will see everything as a threat and act accordingly. Start this process as soon as you get them home, and this will increase your chances of having a polite pooch when they are older. Positive reinforcement is the most effective training method to use.

Health

Healthy Rottie and Boerboel
The Boerboel will likely have fewer health issues than the Rottie despite having a shorter lifespan.

Both the Rottweiler and the Boerboel are relatively healthy dogs. Just like all giant breeds, their lifespan is shorter than the average. With the Boerboels enjoying one year less than the Rottie due to his larger size. They are both at risk of becoming overweight and developing weight-related conditions such as diabetes and bone disorders, so be careful not to let them eat too much.

The Rottie and the Boerboel should be tested for elbow and hip dysplasia. As well as a variety of eye concerns such as entropion and cataracts. In addition to this, the Rottie should also be tested for a variety of cardiac conditions such as subvalvular aortic stenosis. Overall, the Rottie suffers from more health concerns, but the Boerboel has a shorter lifespan.

Nutrition

Hungry Rottweiler vs. Boerboel
Both the Rottweiler and Boerboel will have healthy appetites.

Rottweilers are known to have sensitive stomachs, so you’ll want to be selective with a Rottweiler’s dog food. Rotties can consume up to 4 cups of high-quality dog food every day, compared to the Boerboel, who will need approximately six. This can mean that the food bill of the Boerboel can be up to twice as expensive than the Rottie. Both of them need a high-quality kibble that will provide them with a well-balanced diet.

Because they are both giant dog breeds, they will need a large or giant breed kibble to meet their nutritional needs, especially during puppyhood. In addition to their high risk of obesity, they are both at risk of suffering from gastric torsion, also known as bloat. This is a life-threatening condition that can be brought on by feeding dogs immediately before or after exercise.

Grooming

Rottweiler and Boerboel Grooming Needs
Rottweilers shed more than Boerboels and will need to be groomed more frequently.

The Rottweiler and the Boerboel have similar double coats, meaning that their grooming schedule is also similar. The Rottie, with his ever so slightly longer and denser coat, will shed a bit more than the Boerboel. But, in all honesty, this is not a significant amount. They will both need brushing once a week during the year, and twice during the shedding season.

Thanks to their shorter coats, they only need a bath once every 8 to 12 weeks. Be sure to use a doggy shampoo made from natural and gentle ingredients that will not irritate them. The only real difference between their grooming schedule is that the Boerboel is the king of drooling. Keep wipes dotted around the house so that you can clean his chops periodically throughout the day.

Price

Rotteiler vs. Boerboel Puppy Costs
Both Rotties and Boerboels are going to set you back north of $1,000 from a reputable breeder.

The puppy price of the Rottweiler and the Boerboel is roughly the same, and prices from a reputable breeder start from around $1,500. The Boerboel is much rarer, so you can expect to travel to find one, but equally, the Rottweiler is in higher demand. So, you might need to go onto a waiting list depending on what breeder you want to work with.

Beware of backstreet breeders and puppy mills who will tempt you with lower prices, but their pups are likely to be unhealthy and unsocialized. In addition to the initial puppy price, you need to consider all of the other costs, such as beds, collars, toys, food, insurance, medical bills, etc. The Boerboel, being the bigger dog, is likely to cost more than the Rottie overall.

Final Thoughts

The Rottweiler and the Boerboel are, on balance, equally similar and different. They are both giant dog breeds, who are protective and need firm but fair owners. The Rottie is the more sensitive out of the two, and the Boerboel is more independent. They have similar energy needs, but the Boerboel is the more intense pooch.

Overall, both of these guys make fantastic family pets, but their differences will help you to decide which one is better suited to you and your family. Ensure that you can fully commit to whatever their needs are because if you can’t, there might be future trouble brewing. But if you can, you will be rewarded with a whole lot of protection and love from your sweet giant.

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