Remember the importance of studying the SABBS Breed Standard. For first-time Boerboel owners selecting the ‘right dog’ is extremely difficult, but the guidelines below are helpful in looking at puppies of about six weeks (as well as adult dogs, for that matter).
- Male puppies must have two testicles descended into the scrota. Females must have no less than eight teats.
- The accepted colours are yellow, brown, brindle or black – with or without a mask.
- There must be sufficient pigmentation: a black nose, black toenails, black lips, and no pink on the footpads. The skin and hair around the eyes and the genitals must be black, and the palate should be as black/dark as possible.
- The teeth must be strong and healthy – preferably with a scissor bite. If the bottom lip protrudes forward of the top lip (under the nose) the dog will probably have an incorrect bite.
- Check the tread. Neither the front nor the hind legs may swing in or out. Look at which way the paws turn when viewed from in front and behind when standing naturally – this is how the dog will tread in adulthood. Where possible, watch the puppy moving naturally and take note of any deviations of the limbs or any signs of discomfort or lameness. Puppies should run and play freely with no signs of stiffness or lameness.
- The topline should be straight and level in a young puppy, although there may be some deviation in an older puppy due to uneven growth stages (many puppies go through a “rump high” stage that will resolve over time if it is not too severe). Generally, the topline seen at 6-8 weeks will return as an adult if the puppy is reared correctly.
- The eyes should be clear and bright with no discharge and the nose should be moist and cool, again with no discharge. The eyelids should be firm and not turn in or out. The ears should be clean, lay flat against the side of the head and there should be no discernible odour.
- The coat must be soft and dense with short and smooth hair with a high hair count per surface area, giving a plush appearance in a puppy. The coat should be clean and shiny and the skin clear of any signs of parasites or disease.
Last, but most important: Accept that the perfect Boerboel has yet to be bred. It is a young and developing breed. If you have done your ‘homework’ by following the above advice and you are confident that you will be able to have a life-long relationship with the dog of your choice, then you have found THE PERFECT BOERBOEL!
“Everyone thinks they have the best dog – and none of them are wrong!” - Anon