Boerboel vs German Shepherd

Boerboel vs German Shepherd! – Differences and similarities

Choosing between a Boerboel vs German Shepherd (GS) for a furry companion involves navigating these remarkable breeds’ distinct traits and characteristics. Boerboels, robust and loyal, stand out for their imposing presence, while German Shepherds epitomize intelligence and versatility. Both breeds boast unique qualities, from protective instincts to trainability, prompting choices aligned with individual preferences and lifestyle. This blog explores the distinguishing features, temperaments, and considerations between Boerboels and German Shepherds, offering insights to aid in selecting the perfect canine companion for your home and lifestyle.

Boerboels need less exercise and activity than German Shepherds. They are also healthier. However, Boerboels are more headstrong and more difficult to train. Both breeds love children and can be great family dogs.

Boerboel vs German Shepherd: Appearance, Size and Weight


  • Boerboel: Boerboels are muscular, powerful dogs with a robust build. They have a broad head, a strong neck, and a distinctive square-shaped muzzle. Their coat is short and dense, often in shades of brown, brindle, or fawn.
  • German Shepherd: German Shepherds possess an athletic, well-proportioned body with a distinct double coat. They have a noble head, pointed ears, and a long, bushy tail. Their coat comes in various colors, typically black and tan or sable.

Size and Weight:

  • Boerboel: Adult Boerboels are notably larger and heavier. On average, males stand around 24 to 27 inches (61-69 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 140 to 200 pounds (64-91 kg). Females are slightly smaller, standing around 22 to 25 inches (56-64 cm) and weighing between 110 to 150 pounds (50-68 kg).
  • German Shepherd: Adult male German Shepherds typically stand between 24 to 26 inches (61-66 cm) tall at the shoulder, weighing around 65 to 90 pounds (30-41 kg). Females are slightly smaller, standing between 22 to 24 inches (56-61 cm) tall and weighing around 50 to 70 pounds (23-32 kg).

In summary, while both breeds are sizeable, the Boerboel tends to be significantly larger and heavier than the German Shepherd. Their appearances differ in build, coat, and distinctive physical features, reflecting their unique breed characteristics.

Boerboel vs. German Shepherd: Characteristics, Traits


  1. Protector and Guardian: Boerboels have an innate guarding instinct. They fiercely protect their family and territory, often showing great loyalty and devotion.
  2. Assertive and Confident: These dogs possess a confident demeanor, displaying assertiveness in their actions and decisions, especially when guarding their home or family.
  3. Reserved with Strangers: Boerboels can be reserved or wary around unfamiliar people or animals, reflecting their protective nature and making them excellent watchdogs.
  4. Affectionate and Family-Oriented: Despite their protective instincts, Boerboels are affectionate and loyal to their family, forming strong bonds and often being gentle and loving with those they trust.
  5. Independent Thinkers: They have an independent streak and might require consistent, firm training methods due to their strong will and independent thinking.

German Shepherds:

  1. Versatile and Intelligent: German Shepherds are renowned for their intelligence and versatility. They adapt well to various roles and environments due to their ability to learn and problem-solve.
  2. Loyal and Devoted: They form strong bonds with their families and are intensely loyal. German Shepherds often thrive on companionship and closeness with their owners.
  3. Alertness and Vigilance: They have a keen sense of alertness, making them excellent watchdogs. Their natural vigilance and quick reactions contribute to their suitability for guard and protection work.
  4. Eager to Please: German Shepherds are eager to please their owners, making them highly trainable and responsive to commands and tasks. They enjoy having a purpose or job to do.
  5. Balanced Temperament: Known for their balanced temperament, they can exhibit playfulness and seriousness, adapting their behavior to different situations.

In essence, Boerboels are more reserved and protective, while German Shepherds are versatile, intelligent, and adaptable, often displaying a strong loyalty and willingness to work or please their owners. Both breeds exhibit traits that align with their historical roles as guardians and working dogs.

Boerboel vs. German Shepherd: Training

Boerboels and German Shepherds, both highly intelligent breeds, differ somewhat in their approach to training. Boerboels, known for their assertive nature and loyalty, require consistent yet gentle training techniques.

Their strong will and independence might necessitate firm guidance to establish boundaries effectively. Patience is key as they respond well to positive reinforcement, being sensitive to their owner’s commands and emotions. Early and consistent socialization is crucial for their well-rounded development.

On the other hand, German Shepherds are famously adaptable and eager learners. Their intelligence and eagerness to work make them among the most trainable breeds. They thrive on tasks and are quick to understand commands, excelling in various training activities and specialized roles. Their focus and quick learning abilities demand consistent training sessions with mental stimulation to prevent boredom.

In summary, while both breeds are trainable, German Shepherds often display a higher enthusiasm for learning and adaptability to different tasks, whereas Boerboels require patient and consistent training techniques due to their assertiveness and sensitivity.

Boerboel vs. German Shepherd: exercise and activity

Boerboels and German Shepherds have differing exercise needs and activity levels that cater to their individual characteristics. Boerboels, moderately active, benefit from regular exercise routines involving brisk walks, interactive play, and mentally stimulating activities. Their robust build allows for good endurance but doesn’t demand the same high-intensity activities as the German Shepherds.

On the flip side, German Shepherds are highly active dogs, thriving on more intense and frequent exercise. They enjoy running, agility training, and tasks that challenge their intellect. Their agility and impressive endurance make them excellent candidates for more demanding physical activities and advanced training exercises.

Both breeds require mental stimulation, but German Shepherds’ higher energy levels necessitate more intense engagement to prevent boredom and behavioral issues. While Boerboels enjoy activity, they don’t require as much high-energy exercise as German Shepherds. Tailoring exercise routines to each breed’s needs ensures their physical and mental well-being is properly catered to.

Boerboel vs. German Shepherd: Family Dog and fond of children

German Shepherds and Boerboels are both considered excellent family dogs and very fond of children.

Boerboels, known for their loyalty and protective instincts, form strong family bonds. Their watchful and affectionate nature often makes them reliable guardians around children. However, their protective instincts necessitate early and consistent training to ensure appropriate behavior around youngsters.

German Shepherds, highly loyal and family-oriented, possess protective tendencies but also a playful demeanor with familiar children. Their watchfulness can serve as a safeguard, yet proper training is vital to distinguish between protective behavior and everyday interactions.

Both breeds require early socialization and consistent training to foster a positive rapport with children. Boerboels bring a protective yet affectionate presence, while German Shepherds offer loyalty and a playful spirit, making them potential family companions with proper guidance and supervision.

Boerboel vs. German Shepherd: Life expectancy and health

Boerboels are generally considered a healthy and robust breed, exhibiting fewer widespread health issues compared to some other breeds. However, they aren’t immune to certain health concerns like hip and elbow dysplasia, heart conditions, bloat, eye problems, and skin conditions.

Conversely, German Shepherds face a more significant health challenge with hip dysplasia, often linked to their breed’s structure, particularly the sloping back. Overbreeding to accentuate this sloping back has contributed to an increased risk of hip joint problems among many German Shepherds. They are also prone to other health issues like degenerative myelopathy, bloat, allergies, and genetic disorders.

The distinct structural characteristic of the sloping back in German Shepherds has led to concerns about the breed’s susceptibility to hip and joint issues. Boerboels, while not immune to health issues, are generally perceived as a sturdier and healthier breed overall, with fewer widespread health concerns compared to the German Shepherd breed.

Boerboel vs. German Shepherd: Grooming requirements


Coat type: Boerboels have a short, dense, and smooth coat that is relatively easy to groom.

Grooming needs: They need to be brushed occasionally, usually every two weeks, to remove loose hair and minimize shedding. They can be bathed occasionally or when needed.

Ear and dental care: Regular ear checks, cleaning, and dental care are essential. Ears should be checked for debris or signs of infection, while dental hygiene should be maintained through regular brushing.

Nail care: Nails should be trimmed regularly to keep them at an appropriate length, especially if they are not naturally worn down from activity.

German Shepherds:

Coat type: German Shepherds have a double coat with a dense undercoat and a longer, more resistant outer coat.

Grooming requirements: They shed evenly throughout the year, although they shed more with the changing seasons. Brushing once in a while, about once a week, especially during the shedding season, helps to tame loose hair and reduce shedding.

Ear and dental care: Regular ear checks, cleaning, and dental care are important. Ears should be checked for earwax or infection, and dental care should be maintained by regular brushing.

Nail care: As with Boerboels, regular trimming of the nails is necessary to prevent overgrowth and maintain healthy feet.

To summarize, while both breeds require simple grooming, the German Shepherd with its double coat tends to grow more hair and needs to be brushed more frequently to control hair growth. Boerboels, with their shorter coat, require relatively little grooming but still benefit from regular brushing and basic care. Regular grooming of ears, teeth, and nails is important for both breeds to ensure their overall health and well-being.

If you can’t decide between the two, perhaps you could give both breeds a home. Find out here whether Boerboels and German Shepherds get along.

Conclusion: Boerboel or German Shepherd?

Boerboels and German Shepherds differ in terms of training, exercise requirements, and health. German Shepherds are characterized by their adaptability and require intensive training and exercise, while Boerboels require less strenuous exercise. In terms of health, Boerboels generally have fewer problems than German Shepherds, which are prone to hip dysplasia. Boerboels are somewhat more difficult to train than German Shepherds, who are willing to work due to their sometimes stubborn and headstrong character.

I am Marco with my Cane Corso and my Broholmer


I am Marco, and I am very lucky to live with 3 big Mastiff-type dogs. In this blog, I want to share all my experiences and knowledge about dogs.

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