The Boerboel, also called the South African Mastiff, South African Boerboel, Borbull or simply the Bole, is a South African dog whose devotees claim is the only breed in the world specifically bred only to guard and protect. This claim is the subject of substantial controversy. These are large, intelligent, powerful animals that descend from the ancient Boer Dogs and include Bullmastiffs and other large working dogs among their ancestors. "Boerboel" means “farmer's dog,” referring to the original function of the breed, which was to guard and protect the family farm. Boerboels resemble Mastiffs and are still used for protection. Calm, loyal and loving to their owners, they are highly territorial and extremely suspicious of strangers. They are surprisingly agile for their massive size, which makes them especially intimidating. Their smooth, short thick coats require little grooming. Boerboels do need plenty of exercise to stay physically and mentally sound. They should be socialized properly from early puppyhood to reduce their aggressive tendencies. Boerboels are not a good choice for first-time dog owners or for families with very young children. If raised and trained correctly, they can make lively, impressive, affectionate companions for experienced owners who are comfortable using firm, kind, consistent and repetitive training methods.