The South African Mastiff is a large dog clearly built to be a working dog. This breed of mastiff is also popularly known as the "boerboel." The name is derived from the word "boer" which is in Afrikaans / Dutch and when translated into English means "farmer."
This dog was originally bred with the primary purpose of guarding the homestead during the early days in South Africa. It's not really clear where the breed originated but it is widely believed that this is the result of interbreeding of indigenous African dogs with those that were welcomed by the Dutch, the British or perhaps the French.
This is a heavy mastiff breed much like the English mastiff. They are very intelligent, obedient and possess a strong territorial instinct, which is perfect for guarding farm properties and equipment. The dog is an ideal fit for human companionship as the breed requires such close human interaction. If they are left on their own for extended periods, they become destructive and dangerous. On the other hand, you can not be living in an apartment if you decide you want to keep a mastiff as a pet.
They need room for activity and exercise. Denying them this space leads to health problems for them. They need the workout as much as their masters need it. But while they do need it, they can not be left all by themselves as they have the tendency to be destructive. They also do not take to well to a stranger which is the reason why they should be introduced to people as well as other dogs early on. This is key to avoiding aggression on the part of the dog.
The South African mastiff needs space to run and play. They should be taken on long walks daily. This should provide every member of the family a workout that should do wonders for both the family and the pet. What this mastiff demand in interaction, attention and activity, they make up for in grooming. The dog is an average shedder and needs only an occasional bath and grooming. This should be welcomed news for those who find a water work out to be among their least favorite activity.
The South African mastiff just might be the pet you are looking for. Think about the requirements of this mastiff's care and decide what you have to offer, and then make an informed decision before you decide if this breed of dog is right for you. Here's to you and your happy pet!