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Rhodesian Boerboel Mix Dog Breed: Pictures, Care Guide & Traits

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on July 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

The Parent Breeds of the Rhodesian Boerboel Mix

Rhodesian Boerboel Mix Dog Breed: Pictures, Care Guide & Traits

The Rhodesian Boerboel is an imposing and large dog breed, but don’t let the sheer size of these pups fool you; they are highly affectionate and tend to develop intense bonds with their owners.

This unique dog isn’t a right fit for every family, though. It requires a certain type of owner, someone who will not back down if their large and in-charge pup tries to assume the leadership role. Read on to learn more about this designer breed to see if it’s right for you.

Breed Overview


24–27 inches


70–200 pounds


10–13 years


Red, brown, yellow, brindle, black, tawny, wheaten, black and tan, silver

Suitable for:

Experienced dog owners with time to devote to daily exercise and mental stimulation


Calm, intelligent, loyal, gentle, quiet

The Rhodesian Boerboel, also known as the Boerboel Ridgeback, is a designer breed that results in a strong, gentle, loyal, and devoted dog. Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Boerboels are both South African working dog breeds, so their offspring are typically strong, active, and ready to jump into action when necessary.

They make great guard dogs and protectors of their families. However, because Boerboels were bred to be aggressive defenders, they may be prone to streaks of aggression if they’re not properly trained or socialized.

Rhodesian Boerboel Mix Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Rhodesian Boerboel Mix Puppies

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a relatively rare breed, with just 2,000 American Kennel Club registrations annually. Boerboels are extremely rare to find outside of their native South Africa. Therefore, finding a Rhodesian Boerboel Mix will be a challenge.

The Rhodesian Boerboel is a high-energy puppy with vigorous exercise requirements. They can be rowdy and exuberant until they learn boundaries. This dog can grow to be upward of 200 pounds, so training with a firm hand from a young age is necessary to ensure your pup grows up to be a well-balanced adult.

The Parent Breeds of the Rhodesian Boerboel Mix
Image Credit: (L) Tatiana Katsai, Shutterstock | (R) Miroshnikova Arina, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Rhodesian Boerboel Mix 🧠

The Rhodesian Boerboel is likely to be a quiet and gentle dog, though can carry a threatening aura. They make a great family protector and watchdog because of their size and strength. This breed is affectionate, devoted, and loyal toward their humans. They thrive in households where they’re treated as an integral part of the family.

Rhodesian Boerboels are self-assured, smart, and trainable.

However, there is an independent, strong-willed, and stubborn side to their personalities. In addition, they need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?🏡

The Rhodesian Boerboel Mix can make a great family dog. They form strong bonds with their humans and are great guardians of your property. With proper training and socialization, these dogs will grow to be gentle adults, making them suitable for families with children who know how to respect boundaries.

We recommend waiting until your children are a little older before adopting a Rhodesian Boerboel, as these large dogs could easily accidentally harm your little ones.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Some Rhodesian Boerboels can get along well with other dogs and cats, but this isn’t the case for all of them. It may come down to which parent your individual dog takes after more and whether the animals were brought up together.

Boerboels don’t have a high prey drive, so they may be more likely to live harmoniously alongside smaller pets like cats. Rhodesian Ridgebacks, however, have a powerful prey drive as they were bred to confront large wildlife and won’t think twice about going after smaller animals in their midst. Not all is lost if you’re a multi-pet or multi-species household, as this behavior can be addressed through training and socialization.

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Things to Know When Owning a Rhodesian Boerboel Mix

Food & Diet Requirements

Generally speaking, most Rhodesian Boerboel mixes will do well on a large-breed-specific diet appropriate for their current life stage.

When your dog is a puppy, it will grow and develop rapidly, putting a significant demand on its body. These demands can take a toll on your pup if they’re not eating the right diet. To reach their full-grown adult size, a Rhodesian Boerboel puppy needs to grow unnaturally fast. This rapid growth rate puts them at risk of developing health conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia. Food designed for large-breed puppies will contain vitamins, minerals, calories, and other nutrients to ensure your pup ages healthily and steadily.

Once your pup is fully grown, you can switch them from a puppy formula to an adult one. They will still be at risk of certain health conditions, like orthopedic diseases, obesity, and bloat. It is best to speak with your veterinarian to find the diet perfect for their lifestyle and your budget.


Both parent breeds of the Rhodesian Boerboel were bred to do hard labor. Rhodesian Ridgebacks were born and bred lion hunters. Farmers need them to flush game, pull down larger game, and protect their property from wild animals. Boerboel dogs had a similar backstory, as they were bred to help South African farmers protect their homesteads from lions, hyenas, and other wildlife.

Given this parent breed history, one should expect the Rhodesian Boerboel to have high exercise needs. These dogs require at least 60 minutes of hard aerobic exercise daily. One leashed walk simply won’t cut it. Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that gets your pup panting.

The ideal home for the Rhodesian Boerboel has a securely fenced area and plenty of space to run off steam. This is not an apartment breed.


The Rhodesian Boerboel needs proper training from the get-go to ensure they grow into a well-balanced and well-behaved adult dog. This breed’s physical strength is impressive, so the sooner you get them trained and socialized, the better. Improperly trained or socialized Rhodesian Boerboels can be aggressive and a liability for owners. It can inflict a lot of damage to personal property, other animals, and even humans.

You will need a firm hand when training, but that doesn’t mean you need to be physically aggressive. Positive reinforcement is the only training method you should use; otherwise, you risk your pup becoming aggressive toward you. The good news is that your puppy should be pretty compliant and easygoing between the ages of 8 to 14 weeks.

Grooming ✂️

The Rhodesian Boerboel tends to be an easy dog to groom. They have short, medium-shed coats that make them moderate shedders. Weekly brushing can help reduce how much your pup sheds. Baths can be as little as once a month to keep the coat glossy and healthy.

Health and Conditions

Like other large and giant dog breeds, the Rhodesian Boerboel generally has a shorter lifespan. Though mostly healthy, they can be prone to the same health conditions that can plague the parent breeds.

Boerboels are predisposed to several eye conditions like ectropion or entropion, elbow and hip dysplasia, dilated cardiomyopathy, and gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV).

GDV is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care. It typically happens when your dog eats too much food, and the combination of food and gas in his tummy prevents the stomach from functioning as it normally does. The increased pressure causes the stomach to expand and puts pressure on the diaphragm, preventing normal breathing and disrupting blood flow.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are generally tough pups, but they’re prone to a few conditions of note. Like Boerboels, they can develop hip and elbow dysplasia. They may also be at risk of developing autoimmune thyroiditis, dermoid sinuses, and eye abnormalities.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye conditions
  • Dermoid sinuses
Serious Conditions
  • GDV
  • Bloat
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis

Male vs Female

Male Rhodesian Boerboels are larger than their female counterparts.

While some owners will say there is a definite personality difference between female and male Rhodesian Boerboels, others will say there isn’t. Some believe females to be more affectionate and intelligent, while males are more territorial. However, this generalization isn’t true of all dogs.

Ultimately, your pup’s personality will be shaped by the socialization and training it is exposed to as a puppy.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Rhodesian Boerboel Mix

1. Both parent breeds originated in South Africa.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback and the Boerboel originated in South Africa, though they were bred for different purposes. The gigantic Boerboel was originally bred to protect farms from predators, while the Rhodesian Ridgeback was used to hunt, flush out, and track wild game and large predators.

2. The Rhodesian Boerboel needs an experienced owner.

This giant dog breed is not a beginner pet suitable for first-time dog owners. Their size, strength, and sometimes difficult personality require a specific kind of owner who isn’t afraid to let their dog know that they’re the leader.

3. It may be illegal to own a Rhodesian Boerboel in some countries.

Owning a Boerboel in many countries, including Bermuda, Denmark, and France, is illegal. They were declared an “especially dangerous breed” in Russia, and Ukraine requires owners to have them muzzled and microchipped.


The Rhodesian Boerboel is a gentle, devoted, and loyal dog that thrives in homes where they’re treated as an important and indispensable family member. Since they can grow to be 200 pounds or more, training and socialization from a young age is paramount to ensure your pup grows up to be a well-adjusted and controllable adult.

This breed is not suitable for all dog owners. They need a confident, firm, and assertive person to act as the leader. This large and powerful dog won’t listen to simply anyone, so you’ll need to convince them that you’re worth listening to while remaining someone they can trust.

Related Read:

Featured Image Credit: (L) Ilona Frey, Unsplash | (R) Marina Plevako, Shutterstock

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