Selecting A Puppy

Lodewyhk x MangoGreat Lakes ScoobyBonzo x Ambrosia

Here are factors in order of importance for owners and Boerboel Breeders when evaluating Boerboels and selecting a puppy.

· Temperament

· Conformation

· General health

· Pedigree, bloodline and kinship

· Color

The importance of these five points cannot be overemphasised. Here are a few guidelines about what to look for in puppies of 5-6 weeks of age.

First of all: buy from a reputable and registered breeder – one that will be there for you for as long as the dog might live and one who can guarantee his/her dogs.

Do not allow color to be the overriding reason for your choice in pup – as long as the Breed Standard is being complied with. The recognised colours are any shade of yellow, brown or brindle – with or without a mask.

Sufficient pigmentation is very important, namely a completely black nose, black toe nails, black lips, 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. Note, though, that pigmentation has nothing to do with whether the puppy has a mask or not.

The earflaps should attach at, and hang neatly alongside the side of the head. Upright and half-upright earflaps are undesirable. There should also be a good width between the ears.

Make sure that the puppy has strong, healthy teeth, preferably with a scissor bite. At this age, the molars and premolars cannot be considered yet. Should the bottom lip protrude forward of the top lip (under the nose) at this stage, then you can be sure that it will definitely have an incorrect bite when fully grown.

Check if the puppy is well balanced and has a strong musculature – it’s not good enough if it only has a large head and paws. By bending the puppy’s head downwards you will be able to see if the shoulder blades protrude above the back – if this is the case, it is a sign of a poor attachment of the shoulder blades. The wider the space between the blades, the more muscles there are behind them, and the better the attachment will be. Feel the form of the shoulder blade: it must be rounded from the front to the back, and not be pointed towards the withers – the latter is a sign of a poorly formed blade bone.

Make sure the dog treads correctly. Neither the fore- nor the hind legs may swing in or out. This is sometimes already visible at the young age of 8 weeks. If you are unsure, place the puppy on a table, stand behind it and make it stand on the hind legs by picking it up by its cheeks. As soon as it hangs nicely and stands comfortably on its hind legs, look at which way the forepaws turn when viewed from behind – this is how the dog will tread in adulthood.

Look at the angulation of the forequarter. The upper arm of the foreleg must slant forward at a 30° angle and the shoulder blade at 30° backwards. The angulation of the shoulder blade and upper arm is therefore 120°.

The angulation of the hindquarter is also very important. Seen from the side, the hind legs should not be straight and seen from behind, should not be overly cow-hocked. (Note that all Boerboel pups are inclined to be slightly cow-hocked.)

Look at how the tail is set: it should be set high – the tail is an extension of the spine.

If you are buying a male dog, make sure that he has both his testicles. This can be determined by careful feeling – they feel like little marbles. Both testicles should have descended into the scrota by approximately 6 weeks of age. If you have decided on a female, make sure that she has not less than 8 teats.

Look at the coat: soft, dense, short and smooth hair with a high hair count per surface area is recommended – this assists in the prevention of bothersome flies, ticks and sunburn. Beware of longish hair, especially at the back of the fore- and hind legs.

No breeder can guarantee a perfect puppy – no such Boerboel has yet been born. Just make sure that you are satisfied with the dog.

By Anemari Pretorius


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