Showsight Presents The Boerboel

Boerbel MENTOR INTERVIEWS KERRI SUE DALE

I have been showing dogs in AKC conformation shows since the early 1980s. I began with Rottweilers and have raised and bred Boerboels for 16+ years. I have handled a few dogs (Rotties and Boerboels) close to, or to, their championships, but now prefer to let someone with more experience take the lead. I have bred Boerboels that have titled in conformation, obedience, rally, herding, weight pull, lure coursing, ATTS, etc. I believe in the mantra, “A well-balanced dog is titled on both ends.” Th is is particularly so for any breed in the Working Group. I bred and co-owned Centurion Georgia Peach, the fi rst Boerboel to obtain an AKC title. Peaches was also instrumental in demonstrating a true Boerboel temperament to AKC exhibitors and all animal lovers upon our entrance into FSS and at our fi rst AKC Boerboel Meet the Breeds in NYC. Participation in these events was an integral part of our movement towards full recognition. I am dedicated to maintaining the breed standard as produced by the developers/forefathers of this breed, including temperament and conformation. I serve on the JE committee and as a parent club approved presenter and mentor. Currently, I am also the Legislative Liaison, which is an issue close to my heart. 1. Which fi ve traits do you look for, in order, when evaluating Boerboels? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? 1) Impressive. Th e fi rst thing it should do is impress me with its presence. It should appear to be powerful, imposing, and con fi dent. I consider this to be essential for Boerboel “type.” Th e more that you are around them, the more distinguishable the “type” becomes. A descrip- tion from our breed standard reads, in part, “...for the pioneers who settled in South Africa... these dogs were often the fi rst line of defense...” Does the dog I see standing in front of me look like it could perform the function of being my fi rst line of defense? 2) Balanced. Not over exaggerated, but also no lack of bone and/or substance. Th ough athleticism is an important part of the breed, this is still designated a Masti ff by the country of origin and it is a large dog. However, everything must be proportionate. Front matches rear, head matches body, etc. It can still be athletic and have good bone and substance. 3) Movement. It is VERY close in importance and goes hand-in-hand with number two. My favorite descriptor in our standard is, “Movement is the ultimate test for correct confor- mation.” I absolutely believe this to be true. A sound-moving dog is beautiful to me. I learned many years ago from Rottweiler judge Joan Klem’s seminars that “form follows function.” Th is is never so true to me as when viewing dogs in motion. Th e impressiveness I look for in a dog standing still I want to see present itself in motion. 4) Temperament. In our breed, they can be aloof to very friendly. Either way, the expecta- tion is that they are biddable and have courage while still being a good companion and family dog. It is disappointing to have an impressive-looking Boerboel whose temperament does not match. 5) Headpiece. I would consider our breed a “head” breed. It is what di ff erentiates us from some of the other similar Working breeds, such as the Bullmasti ff , Dogue De Bordeaux, and Cane Corso, for example. Th at being said, if it is not structurally sound and in proportion, a beautiful headpiece is squandered. Th e hallmark of our breed, in my opinion, is its versatility. “Boerboel” in Dutch translates to farm dog. “Farm dog” encompasses a wide variety of tasks. It does not seem to have been developed for one speci fi c purpose. Boerboels have titled in herding, guarding, lure cours- ing, tracking, weight pull, and dock diving. Th ey should do well in many AKC or AKC- recognized performance events. I have bred and owned Boerboels that will pretty much do whatever you ask of them. Th ey are mutli-taskers. 2. What faults do you fi nd di ffi cult to overlook? Poor movement, terrible toplines, and straight sti fl es.

236 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2020

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