Showsight Presents The Boerboel

BOERBEL MENTOR INTERVIEWS

“KEEP IN MIND, THIS IS A VERSATILE WORKING DOG BRED FOR A MULTITUDE OF CHORES AND USES. SO, the Boerboel must be functional and sound.”

MORGAN JACOBY A Texas native, my husband, family, and I have sheep, swine, and horse farms north of Houston. We have had working dogs for almost 15 years now, starting with our essential livestock guardians, the Anatolian Shepherd, and fi nishing with the farm versatility and innate instincts of the Boerboel. I started o ff 30 years ago in the racing and hunter/jumper industry, rounding o ff a successful career teaching many of today’s professionals in the hunter/jumper industry, and judging at shows. I then had the distinct honor with our Boer- boels of winning an all-breed Best in Show with our male farm dog, the fi rst of the breed to earn this distinct honor. Th is was soon followed by his daughter and her talented handler and co-owner, Ann Claire Wilson, who have won Reserve Bests in Show many times and together are one of the most winning and sports/trial accomplished AKC Boerboels in the history of the breed. We have also been blessed with a third generation of Boerboel in the ring as well as at trials and sports, which has been a real pleasure. I am a CGC and Trick Dog evaluator, Farm Dog judge, educational mentor in other breeds, and actively involved in other canine sports and trials. 1. Which fi ve traits do you look for, in order, when judging Boerboels? What do you consider the ultimate hallmark of the breed? First, I’m looking for the speci fi ed proportions along with balance. For proportion that starts with a 10:9 body shape, one should not see a square-shaped frame or a body severely out of balance or proportion. Th is is a serious fault. Roughly 50% of the dog’s height is from foreleg to elbow; chest should be well-muscled with nice pectoral de fi nition. Keep in mind, this is a versatile working dog bred for a multitude of chores and uses. So, the Boerboel must be functional and sound. I should see a level topline, nice balanced musculature in shoul- ders, chest, rear and thigh, along with a blocky, solid body type with slight tuck-up and high tail set. A male should look masculine, and a bitch should look feminine; no reversal of sex characteristics. Movement should be “with purpose” and with powerful propulsion. Th ere should be bone and substance to the legs, nice lower thigh muscling, slight angling in sti fl es, and powerful movement without excessive back rolling. Temperament: Th ey should be stable and con fi dent, and they should recognize a legitimate threat. A good Boerboel should enter the ring impressive and con fi dent, moving with power and purpose. Th ey should be trained to accept examination. Head is a hallmark and it is important in relative size and type, though head should not trump functional and sound structure. Ideally, we want to strive for both. 2. Which faults do you fi nd hard to overlook? I love a balanced dog with nice breed type, along with matching front and rear angles and a level topline. I think, fi rst and foremost, breed disquali fi cations must always be on the forefront of our minds as well as breed typical trends like easty/westy fronts, straight sti fl es, lack of rear angulation, steep shoulders, elbows that are not tight, high rears, and droopy toplines, just to name a few. Th e out of proportion and out of balanced dogs stand out at fi rst glance. Th is is a versatile working breed that should have good pigmentation, mental soundness, and body mechanics. 3. How has the breed changed since you became involved with it? Do you see any trends that you think are moving the breed in the wrong direction? Any traits becoming exaggerated? Many are breeding for size and weight over functionality and structure. We are seeing more health challenges and heartbreaking soundness issues as well as more behavioral issues coming into rescue. Do they have the mind that lends itself to the variety of daily pressures of a farm, canine sports/activities or modern society, and can they spot a legitimate threat or do they react out of fear? Regardless of the attraction, this breed is not a status symbol for just anyone to fl aunt. Th is is a serious breed, with serious jobs, and a dog that takes absolute dedication and consistent guidance and training from their owner.

240 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2020

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