It’s not just that one of the Boerbole’s great talents is his tracking ability, but that among dogs that can easily track wounded prey, the Boerboel is one of the few breeds that will return the prey to its master without eating it himself.
We know this because in South Africa, there can still be found Boerboels whose traits are called upon and displayed – this the result of the way this breed was forged. It wasn’t enough to be a decent herding dog, or to have a good nose on the ground. What was needed was a dog that would stay with the hunter and protect him from charging or wounded animals, and this is rooted in first hand experience. There is the story of a Boerboel breeder who over the years, trapped 60 to 80 livestock-killing leopards. One could never catch a leopard by more than two toes in a trap, so when making an approach to the animal to shoot it, it was deemed wise to have a pair of Boerboel by one’s side. It’s said that the Boerboel has the most developed “threat perception instinct” among dogs and will stay close to its owner, watchful without excessive barking or carrying on.
We take no joy in reporting the demise of a creature as magnificent as a leopard, but the hard reality is that many of our breeds were created to do tough jobs in tough land under tough circumstances, and we admire those traits today.
Image: Boerboel by Alexey Bazhan. This print is available for purchase here