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My personal experience on the Black Boerboel

Sumsarè Frisco is the pride of Sumsarè Black Boerboels. After 8 years of persistent breeding and strict selection of black Boerboels, we can now, in 2009, show our black Boerboels to the world. Not because we were hiding them, but due to the fact that we could not register them. It is only from this year that the SABT (of which we have been members for 8 years), is noting black Boerboels in their development register. Black is classified as a variety of brindle and we want to promote the pure breed of the black Boerboels, and see to it that black, as a colour of the Boerboels, will be given their rightful place in the developing and promoting of this breed – The South African Boerboel.

The black Boerboel has been a part of this breed for many years. There has been a lot written about black as a colour for Boerboels. The most well known literature was by Lucas van Vuuren of Spitsvuur Boerboels. There can be read a lot about the background of the pureness of this colour breed.

I want to concentrate more on my personal experience of the Boerboel, especially the black Boerboel. I grew up in Steytlerville in the Karoo. The Boerboels I met when I was a child were black or multicoloured (pibold). These dogs were known as farmboels (plaasboele). They were used to protect the farm and especially the family. They also had to “work”. They were taken with on hunting trips, especially to the trap cages and traps of Leopards, Lynx, Jackal, and Baboons. These farmboels worked in co-operation with the farmworkers and I often escorted them when I was a child. It was a wonderful experience for me and I could never understand how these dogs could remember exactly where these traps were. These farmboels were there long before us and finished off any animal that might have survived. I always thought these dogs to be much braver and cleverer than us humans. Unfortunately these dogs became scarce with people obtaining other dog breeds over time. The last farmboel on our farm was my dog called “Donker” (dark).  He was a black farmboel.

Sumsarè Boerboels started breeding in 1998. We received a unregistered bitch as a gift from our son Francois. Thereafter we bought Ruigtefontein Alfonso – son of the well known Bankfontein Maybe. Approximately four years later, we, together with Jan Ledoux of Egoli Boerboels, bought our first black Boerboel male puppy – Muller Jack – from Jan Muller. We also bought his black sister, as well as his reddish brown sister. The black female puppy died, but the reddish brown one was registered at the HBSA. Muller Jack could not be registered, as he was black. With the internal politics amongst the breeding associations, we lost interest and drastically reduced our number of dogs. However Muller Jack sparked my interest and initiated the long lonely road of breeding black Boerboels. Many other breeders told me that it was a waste of time and money.

Over the next eight years, Sumsarè persisted with the breeding of black Boerboels, knowing that they could not be registered, and that there would be no financial gain. During this time, we focused on improving the quality of the black dog, not only its colour. We only raised certain puppies. At a certain age, we decided whether the dog would be good enough for breeding and we only kept those who had high breeding value. We sometimes gave black Boerboels to people as guard dogs, but kept the breeding rights. This is a merciless way of breeding. Luckily the recognition of the black Boerboel by the SABT came at a time when we could offer the world’s best quality black Boerboels. Out of experience, I know that black as a colour, is not a variable of the brindle colour, and that black on brindle only produce ± 30% black puppies. If someone had to say that brindle is a variable of the multicoloured Boerboel, I will agree. Look at the African Wild Dog, that is a typical example where white, brown and brindle can be seen on the same dog. I cannot support my conclusion with studies, but am talking of years of experience and considerable costs. I believe that Sumsarè Boerboels has spent the most time and money to improve the quality of our black Boerboels.

An article in the South African magazine called Landbou Weekblad, 13 November 2009, has contributed to the promotion of the black Boerboel and the Boerboel breed overall. We want to thank Theuns Botha. He paid a visit to our farm, took lovely photographs, and published an article that we are very proud of. The editors of Landbou Weekblad were taken by surprise with the reaction to the article and the subsequent sales of the magazine. Out of this overwhelming positive reaction, there were only two negative ones. As a result, we and a couple of Boerboel experts, had the opportunity to inform the public, to give advice, and to work together to further introduce this breed. We could also share our pride with others. As a result of the great reaction to the article in Landbou Weekblad, we saw the opportunity to establish the quality and the colour of the black Boerboel as part of its breed. This is the reason why we established partnerships with some of the country’s top breeders, to bring their most appropriate breeding bitches to be mated by Sumsarè’s black Boerboel males. With this we can enlarge the black boerboel’s gene pool with the best quality breeding boerboels.

Sumsarè Boerboels is fortunate to have another three black Boerboel males who can contribute to the process. We also have black bitches and Boerboels with black genes – quality gene value of which we are proud. I say thank you to our Heavenly Father for the wonderful talent which enable me to know how to breed with animals. Alone I would never have mastered it.

Get yourself a black quality Boerboel and enjoy your dogs. Remember – never chase a colour – quality is the priority!