Boxer Dog Pros & Cons – Why Boxers Are The Worst Dogs

Are you a Boxer fan? A headline telling you why Boxers are the worst dogs will have you up in arms!

But before you get too heated, remember that Boxer pros and cons might make this breed an all-time favorite – or the worst dog of all time. It all depends on the owner.

Boxer Dog Pros And Cons

If a pet owner is not suited to a Boxer, there’s no way to change the Boxer to make it suitable for them.

Happy with your Boxer? There’s no doubt that you’re a perfect match. Considering getting a Boxer? It’s a big commitment, and you’d better be ready for it! 

In this article, we’ll start with the upside of owning a boxer before moving on to the downside. Some of those disadvantages could even be advantages for the right person – but for others, they can be deal breakers. 

Boxer Pros: Why Some People Won’t Even Consider Another Breed

Boxers have some truly excellent qualities, but some of these great characteristics can become problematic in the wrong environment. 

Boxer Dog Pros

Entertaining Boxers Have Tons Of Personality

It all begins with the personality. Bright, cheerful and oh-so-cute and funny at times, these bouncy dogs put a smile on your face every day.

That is, if you can live with the downsides we’ll be discussing soon. 

Boxers Are Great Companion Dogs

Affection is part of the bundle of springy muscle that is a Boxer. These deep-chested dogs have big hearts to match.

Unlike some breeds that are recognized as one-person dogs, most Boxers will adore everyone in your family. They love playing with the kids and will pardon them much when things get a little rough.

A word of warning to loving dog owners, though. Lap puppies grow up to be lap dogs, and an adult boxer can be quite a weight for your lap to support!

Smart And Trainable

Getting a Boxer to fit in with your lifestyle is, to a large degree, dependent on good training.

They take to it very well indeed and have been used as police dogs and service dogs – an extension of their traditional role as helpers to hunters and farmers. 

However, like many strong working dogs that are highly intelligent, they’ll be happy to be the boss if you don’t assert yourself as being in charge – more on this later.

They learn quickly, which means they can learn bad habits fast – or good ones if you’re there to take the lead.

Protective But Friendly

Boxers are always poised and ready for the next interesting thing to happen. This alertness makes them excellent watchdogs.

If anything is going down in or around their turf, Boxers are usually the first to know – and they’ll let you know too. 

Protective Boxer Dog

Just having a Boxer behind your garden fence should be enough to deter most intruders.

But if they’re well-socialized – a goal that every Boxer owner should aim for – they’ll welcome your guests with enthusiasm rather than aggression

Boxers Are Playful And Great Fun

Another pro of Boxers that many of their fans will talk about is their playfulness. If you love to spend time playing with your pet, you and your Boxer will be a good match.

However, the Boxer’s need for play and fun can have its drawbacks which we’ll look at in greater detail soon. 

Do remember that fun is a big motivator for Boxers. Treats may not be as effective in training a Boxer as throwing in an element that lets your Boxer have a bit of a frolic. 

Easy Care Coat And Not Too Big To Handle

There’s a coat drawback too – but the Boxer’s velvety short coat is low-maintenance.

Tangles and “doggie-dreadlocks” simply don’t occur – but don’t make the mistake of thinking that a low-maintenance coat and low-maintenance dog are the same things. 

Ever had your dog hit the brakes at the door of the veterinarian’s office? Most adults can easily lift their Boxer buddy if the need arises. While they aren’t exactly pocket-size, they aren’t giants either. 

Boxers: So Far, Everything Sounds Great, But…

Just looking at the many virtues of Boxers might already be enough to spot some of the reasons why they aren’t for just anyone.

That doesn’t necessarily mean these people are bad dog owners – just not the right ones for a Boxer. 

Yes! The time has come to look at the reasons why for some people, Boxers are the worst dogs ever! Hold onto your hats: we’re in for a wild ride!

Boxer Cons: All the Reasons Why You Should Think Twice About Getting A Boxer

Are you a Boxer admirer who is thinking of getting your first ever Boxer? There are a bunch of things you need to know before you target this breed.

Going in blind could mean a lot of unhappiness for both you and your dog. Are you ready to take the good with the bad? Here’s what “the bad” consists of.

Boxer Dog Cons

They Shed More Than You’d Believe

We just mentioned that lovely, low-maintenance coat – but don’t expect that to mean Boxers don’t shed. They do. A lot.

In fact, considering their hair is so short, you might be amazed at all the places where it ends up: on you, on your car seats, embedded in your carpets and furniture – just everywhere!

Yes, we know that dog hair and pet ownership go hand-in-hand. But for some people, their ideas of what their houses should look like will take a blow with the introduction of a boxer. 

Need proof? You can see the slogan “It’s not dog hair, it’s Boxer glitter” on everything from memes to T-shirts. And it’s very apt.

Ever let your kids play with glitter? You’ll know that it ends up just about everywhere and still surfaces for weeks afterward. 

It’s the perfect metaphor for Boxer shedding, so if you aren’t ready to live with dog hair in everything no matter how much you clean, you aren’t ready for a Boxer.

Choose a smaller dog. Less surface area means less shedding. Interestingly, long-furred dogs often shed less too. 

Boxers Get Excited. Very Excited

With life representing a feast of fun things in the Boxer’s eyes, it can get terribly over excited at times. The resulting “zoomies” are often coupled with jumping up and leaping. It can all get a bit too much for some dog owners. 

You’ll never get excitability out of a Boxer, but you can teach it a few boundaries. All the same, a young, bouncy, excited boxer, while fond of everyone and never meaning harm, can knock over folks who are unsteady on their feet. 

Boxer Dog Personality

Encountered another dog at the fence, or worse still, on your walks? It’s another occasion when your Boxer’s excitability might get you in hot water.

They can go absolutely nuts! And on that subject, their energy needs outlets or you’re going to struggle even more with excitability. 

Potentially Aggressive Towards Other Animals

Let’s not forget that Boxers were originally hunting dogs. They have a high prey drive, and although most Boxers will respect their human families, they can get really mean with other pets around your home. 

This makes them a potentially bad choice for multi-pet households. If you do want to keep two dogs, don’t pair two females or two males, and be on your guard. Things might seem to be going smoothly when all of a sudden, all hell breaks loose. 

And if other animals run from them, the prey drive ramps up and the Boxer does what it was originally bred to do, and takes down its prey. Fortunately, this doesn’t always result in fatalities, but it absolutely can. 

If the offending dog or other animal stands its ground, it will be no better off. Once the Boxer is committed to a fight, it will fight until it wins or can’t fight anymore.

Compounding the problem, Boxers don’t realize when they’re outgunned. If the foe is larger and stronger, the Boxer remains undeterred. 

Having said this, some Boxer owners will tell you that they’ve never seen this behavior in their Boxers. No doubt, they paid special attention to socializing their pets from a young age. Nevertheless, the potential is there. 

They Can Be Super-Stubborn

Smart? Certainly! Trainable! For sure! But that doesn’t mean you’re always going to have an easy time with your Boxer. 

These dogs are very strong-willed and are quite capable of deciding what they want.

If it doesn’t match what you want, persuasions could include slamming on the brakes and refusing to move or suddenly trying to head in a direction other than the one you want it to go. 

If the Boxer wins the battle, that intelligent mind draws its own conclusions, and that will mean your dog trying to get its way with the same strategy next time around.

It takes positivity, firmness, and frequent practice to train a Boxer – and if you don’t train it, it will quickly become the boss whenever it wants to be. 

Highly Strung And Prone To Anxiety

Not all Boxers become anxious, but they are prone to it, especially if they don’t get enough attention. How much is enough? A lot! 

Just as Boxers get over excited when they’re happy, they can also get overly anxious when things don’t seem right to them. They can even develop full-scale phobias. 

Anxiety And Boxer Dog

Thunderstorms and fireworks upset many breeds, but Boxers don’t go halfway with anything. If your Boxer is scared of loud noises, you can bet it’ll go crazy on the 4th of July or during electrical storms. 

As for separation anxiety, Boxers are extremely prone to it. Home alone? You can bet that your Boxer is not happy, and this can progress to extreme anxiety that leaves your dog in an abject state.

It’s not emotional blackmail. It’s how your dog really feels. Don’t choose a Boxer if everyone in your family is out for most of the day. 

All That Boxer Energy And Smarts Need Outlets

High-energy dogs like Boxers absolutely need outlets for all that get-up-and-go. If they don’t get it, they’ll be more prone to hyperactivity when something fun does happen. 

And, because your dog is intelligent, it will need mental stimulation. A bored dog is a “naughty” dog who may do things he knows he shouldn’t simply because he’s going crazy with inertia. 

For Boxer owners, that means setting time aside to be with their dogs as often as possible, and providing fun activities like interactive toys during the times they’re busy. Twice-daily walks (adult dogs) and training will help to take the edge off. 

Once again, if you don’t have much time for a dog, a Boxer is not for you. Ignore this advice at your peril! It’s not your dog’s fault if he starts acting out because he has nothing else to do. 

On the far side of the spectrum, energy and intelligence are among the advantages of the breed for some dog owners – so whether or not Boxer energy and intelligence are drawbacks is up to you! 

Boxers Can Be Noisy

OK, so all dogs can be noisy. Boxers rarely bark for no reason. And since a dog that barks is a good watchdog, alerting its owners to unusual things in the area, most people are happy with that. 

Of course, dogs sometimes bark because they’re feeling left out, lonely, bored, or even cold. And with Boxers having a strong need for your company, they’re sure to communicate their feelings of discomfort. 

However, there’s another type of noise that Boxers commonly make. Boxers like to “talk.” It’s almost like a growling noise, but it’s not the typical warning growl. All the same, some people find this unsettling. 

Boxer Affection May Not Suit You

If you want an aloof, self-contained dog that’s there for you when you’re in the mood and who leaves you alone when you aren’t, a Boxer won’t suit you. 

Their demands for attention start off pretty gentle. Perhaps they’ll rest that rather damp mouthed head on your lap, or just give you a nudge with their paw. But if you don’t respond, your Boxer might just decide that they need to try harder. 

If, on the other hand, you love a fur baby who is ready to demonstrate affection, you can rarely go wrong with a Boxer. All the same, what’s cute in the eyes of one dog owner may seem demanding to another. 

Then there’s the fact that if your Boxer hasn’t seen you for a couple of hours, he can get really excited.

If that kind of thing makes you want to walk away, you’ll find your Boxer at least somewhat annoying, while he’s mystified as to why you won’t give him an equally happy greeting. 

That Whippy Tail Can Be Destructive

We love the Boxer’s waggy natural tail, but it does come with a few drawbacks. When Boxy gets happy, that tail can knock items over, shred your favorite pot plants, and so on. Worst of all, it wags so insistently and strongly, that your dog might even get hurt. 

Be careful with clutter and try to keep things that make your Boxer excited and happy as outdoor activities. 

If you notice vigorous wagging, call your dog away from areas with hard surfaces that can hurt him, and remember that you can train Boxers to behave a little more circumspectly when greeting favorite people. 

Boxer Health Issues

Before we dive into this section, do remember that all dog breeds have a tendency towards a certain set of health issues.

Getting a mutt can help to avoid them – or it could mean you don’t even know what your dog’s physical weaknesses may be. 

Boxer Dog Health Issues

A Boxer’s average lifespan is 10 to 12 years, which isn’t bad for a dog of its size. So, although health issues can be a bit of a lottery, they don’t mean that your dog is sure to die younger than most other breeds of its size. 

You can reduce the chances of getting a Boxer with an inborn weakness by choosing a breeder who is selective about the health history of the dogs they breed with.

They should also be willing to provide a veterinary report showing that your puppy has been screened for certain health risks. 

These include screening for hip and elbow dysplasia and DNA testing for heritable diseases like Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). It’s not a guarantee, however. Hip dysplasia can develop over time, for example. 

With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at health issues that are relatively common in Boxers. 

Heart Issues

Many of the heart issues that Boxers can have are genetic. A good breeder should choose dogs that have been DNA-screened to eliminate passing on the problem. 

All the same, heart problems can develop as your dog ages. As a pet owner, you can reduce the chance of heart problems in your Boxer by making sure that its diet doesn’t allow it to get overweight and by providing opportunities for healthy exercise. 

Joint Issues

Manage your Boxer’s diet to reduce the chances of joint issues like hip dysplasia. Never overfeed – not even when they are puppies.

Overweight dogs are more prone to joint issues, and the trouble can begin when they are still very young. 

Since Boxers mature slowly, both physically and mentally, don’t over exercise your adolescent dog or puppy.

Long walks and even overly rough play are not for Boxers under the age of two years. Sure, they will be energetic, but don’t let them overdo it. 

Thyroid Problems

Some Boxers develop thyroid problems, and it takes time for them to develop, so you might not spot the issue in a very young dog. 

This problem is very easy to treat with meds from your veterinarian and need not affect your dog’s quality of life or lifespan if you pick it up and get help. 

Signs of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) include unexplained weight gain, listlessness, and a dry skin and coat. 

Bloat And Boxers

A bloated Boxer needs veterinary attention fast. It can be deadly. Gas builds up in the stomach, and if the pressure leads to it twisting, it can shut off the blood supply to vital organs. 

You can reduce the chances of bloat by feeding twice or three times a day instead of just once. Feed your Boxer after exercise instead of before, and place the bowl at ground level and not in an elevated position. 

If your dog is inclined to gulp down his food, make him slow down. You can also get special dog bowls that only make a small amount of food available at a time. 

Heat Stress And Boxers

Dogs with “squashed in” (brachycephalic) faces are more prone to heat stress than other breeds. In hot weather, try to keep exercise to the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler.

And when it’s hot, provide frequent rest periods in a cool spot. A drink of water can work wonders to help your Boxer cool down in the heat. 

Never leave your Boxer (or any dog) shut up in a hot car or in a space where there’s no relief from the blazing heat of the sun. Heat stress can kill a dog more quickly than you might expect.

Food Sensitivities

Some people believe in toxin theory. A simplified version would be that “toxins” build up over time making your dog (or you) ill.

There’s good news here. There are very few toxic things that a living creature’s body will store. They (and we) have a system that’s very good at recognizing toxic compounds and eliminating them. 

That’s not to say that poisoning doesn’t exist, but it usually happens very quickly and not as a result of unspecified “toxins.” 

Food allergies and sensitivities, on the other hand, are very real and Boxers are quite susceptible to them. Grain allergies, in particular, are very common.

Food sensitivities do develop over time too – so just because your Boxer is happy with his food now doesn’t mean he can’t become allergic to some of its ingredients later on. 

Skin problems, including itchiness and “hot spots,” small, open sores, are often signs of an allergy or sensitivity. But do check with your vet before making assumptions.

The same goes for vomiting, runny tummy, and swelling of the face. Get your dog checked out if you see these. 


We already discussed the fact that unless you do it too early, spaying or neutering your dog won’t increase the chances of cancer.

The fact is that it can reduce the incidence of some cancers. Chat to your veterinarian if you’d like a professional opinion on this.  

Are Boxers Really The Worst Dogs Ever?

Yes they are! But only if you’re not the right type of pet parent for your Boxer. Get one if you’re sure that you can adjust your lifestyle to fit in with your Boxer’s needs.

Specifically, they need lots of company, lots of attention, good training, and lots of exercise. 

If you don’t feel equal to providing these, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily a bad pet parent – but certainly not the right one for a Boxer. 

For many of those who have come to know Boxer pros and cons at first hand, there’s no better pet.

Boxers are loyal, loving and (mostly) gentle companions – plus, they’re intelligent, cute, and sometimes hilariously funny. Ready to take the best care of this challenging dog breed? Your time will be rewarded!


Hi there, my name is Blake and I have an American Bully named Rocky. I fell in love with the breed around ten years ago after seeing some of my friends adopt a Bully. I love the combination of the muscular physique and calm, loyal companionship that the American Bully breed has to offer. My enthusiasm for the breed has led me to train as a dog behavioralist and trainer. Over the last ten years, I have supported many households in raising their American Bully and maximizing the potential of the breed. I’m delighted to share my knowledge and expertise on this site.

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