This unique South African breed is versatile and sturdy, making it perfect for a variety of purposes.

If you are looking to buy a Boerperd, or just want to learn more about them, read on!

You will find everything you need to know about these amazing horses right here.

Boerperd Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Boerperd:

Height (size) 13.3 – 16.0 hands high
Colors They can come in many colors, but their skin must be black and pigmented. White marks extending across the eyes down to the cheek, and from the hoof to above the knees (stockings) are not permitted.
Country of Origin South Africa
Common Uses Showing, dressage, eventing, in harness, as safari horses in tourism

Boerperd Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Boerperd is an authentic South African horse breed – its history and evolution are inextricably intertwined with those of its country of origin.

For centuries, the Boerperd has been an integral part of South Africa’s cultural heritage.

The history of the Boerperd may be broken down into two distinct periods.

The first phase took place between the years 1652 and 1836.

The first horses to be brought into the newly founded colony in the Cape were crossbred Barb-Arabian horses that were brought in from Java.

Inbreeding was unintentionally prevented when a ship en route from Java-Persia was stranded.

This ship transported fourteen of the finest Arabian horses from the stud of the Shah of Persia, which he had recalled due to unrest in the land.

The horses were captured as they swam ashore.

Augmented by the infusion of a number of Andalusian and Isabella horses en route to South America, more than a century later, these Persian Arabs, and the original horses from Java, formed the basis of what eventually developed into a recognized breed, known at the time as the Cape Horse.

This horse  was recognized for its calm demeanor, courage, intelligence, endurance, remarkable sure-footedness, and hardiness. Soon after, 40 Thoroughbred stallions were imported.

They couldn’t have had much of an impact because the horse population in the Cape at the time was around 225000, however they could have had an influence on size and posture.

Nature also had a significant impact in the development of the breed.

Both in 1719 and again in 1763, the deadly African Horse Sickness claimed the lives of thousands of horses.

A positive aspect of this process is that it eliminated animals susceptible to this disease from the population, and stopped their genes from being passed down to future generations.

It was a process of natural selection that produced a more adapted kind of horse.

The second phase lasted from 1836 to 1899, beginning with the Great Trek and ending with the beginning of the second Anglo-Boer War.

The phenotype and genotype were fixed during this period as other breeds, such as the Flemish Stallions from the Netherlands, as well as Hackeys, Norfolk Trotters and Cleveland Bays, were imported and bred into what eventually became known as the Boerperd.

This horse thrived in the untamed landscapes of South Africa and was able to withstand the dry summers (up to 50°C) and cold winters (below 0°C).

The Boers were skilled riders, and there is no doubt that the Boers’ their tough, agile horses were a major factor in enabling them to hold out against the British army for so long.

However, the breed paid a steep price for its role in the war, as thousands of horses died as a result of the harsh conditions they were exposed to.

Those who were not killed in battle were later shot by the British on the farms to prevent the Boers from gaining an advantage.

By the time the war was over, only the most resilient horses and those who had been purposefully hidden away by their owners in remote areas beyond the reach of the British had survived.

Following the conclusion of the war, a concerted effort to preserve the Boerperd began. In 1948, a breeders’ association known as the Kaapse Boerperd Breeders’ Society of South Africa was established.

In 1973, a separate breeders’ organization known as the Boerperd Society of South Africa was formed.

An official constitution and a breed standard were established.

Horses that were genetically and phenotypically suited for breeding were selected, and a very tight selection procedure was implemented.

In 1980, the breed was officially recognized by the Department of Agriculture. As of 2002, no new bloodlines have been added to the breeding program.

The Society’s vast gene pool is strong enough to prevent inbreeding and assure successful reproduction.

Breeding stock is thoroughly vetted to ensure that only the most promising stallions and mares are used.

As a result of the quality of horses produced after 30 years of enforcing these strict rules, the South African Boerperd is today bred throughout Southern Africa and is the fastest growing horse breeders Society in South Africa.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names

“South African Boerperd”


Alert and trustworthy

Physical Characteristics

The Boer horse is extremely robust, and many are five-gaited.

The head has a flat forehead, the profile is straight or slightly concave and the eyes are prominent.

Neck is of average length and well-formed.

Their legs are strong and muscular with hard, sound hooves.

The ‘trippel’ is a type of gaited movement that is unique to the Boerperd of South Africa.

It was developed so that working farm horses could be ridden comfortably without the rider having to rise to the trot.


They can come in many colors, but their skin must be black and pigmented.

White marks extending across the eyes down to the cheek, and from the hoof to above the knees (stockings) are not permitted.

Height (size)

13.3 – 16.0 hands high


At least 14.2 hh


At least 13.3 hh



Blood Type


Common Uses

Showing, dressage, eventing, in harness, as safari horses in tourism


Durable, healthy and sound

Popular Traits

Many are five-gaited and are able to perform the ‘trippel’



Country of Origin

South Africa


Cape Horse, Hackey, Norfolk Trotter, Cleveland Bay