boxer dog standing outdoor

If you have ever had the pleasure of owning or knowing a Boxer, you know how loving and silly they can be. They can keep you on your toes!

However, Boxers do have a serious side. They are protective of their people, love children, have acute awareness, and pay attention to detail. So, yes, Boxers do make good guard dogs. As alert and protective as they are, they do have some health issues which may not make them the best option for a guard dog.


Since Boxers have a heightened awareness of their surroundings, they do an excellent job of alerting their owners of anything that appears threatening. The fearless strength and protective nature of the Boxer leaves no doubt that he will intervene if it needs to protect his humans.

The combined qualities and protective instincts allow Boxers to do the job of both guard dog and watchdog. While Boxers are not a violent dog, they do have an intimidating appearance, a characteristic that is a plus for a guard dog or a watch dog.

Health Issues in Boxers

Boxers are prone to some health issues. Awareness of the health issues, regular vet visits, and yearly testing can help to catch and treat some of the health issues associated with Boxers. Here is a list of some of these health concerns:

  • Cancer: Brain, mammary glands, testes, spleen, heart, blood, thyroid, and lymph system
  • Aortic Stenosis: Shortness of breath, lethargy, fainting, and exercise intolerance are signs of aortic stenosis and should be addressed with your vet.
  • Cardiomyopathy: An irregular heartbeat. Symptoms include coughing, rapid breathing, fainting, stomach fluid or sudden death.
  • Kidney disease: A chronic and progressive disease that is fatal for dogs.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM): A neurological condition that leads to loss of ability to walk and incontinence. Usually resulting in euthanizing the dog.
  • Spondylosis: A degenerative condition affecting the Boxer’s spine. Symptoms include limping, lameness, motion issues and inability to be flexible.
  • Hip Dysplasia (HD): A Boxer may show signs of HD as early as four months old. Talk to your vet if you notice your Boxer is lame, in pain, or unable to rough play.
  • Hypothyroidism: Symptoms may appear between four and six years old. They include weight gain, cold intolerance, lethargy, increased appetite, dull coat, itchy skin, loss of fur, sleepiness, skin sores, skin infections, and inflammation in the ears.
  • Diabetes: Symptoms include hunger, vomiting, weight loss, weakness, and frequent urination.
boxer on grass
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Watch Dog vs Guard Dog

The job of a watch dog is to be aware of his surroundings. They are strong barkers with one job. They bark to notify their owners of an intruder or a potential threat.

The job of a guard dog is to take steps against the intruder or threat. Once the dog becomes aware of trouble, they will not wait for their owner. They will act directly toward the threat.

Boxers have the qualities and instincts to do both jobs, with proper training.


Boxers do make great guard dogs. They are athletic, alert and love their families. They are also great house pets that love children and will instinctively protect their own. If you choose a Boxer for a house pet or to guard your property, it is best to give him the proper training to curb any bad behaviors. You should also consider the health problems that are prevalent in the breed. It may be the one deterrent to getting a Boxer for a guard dog.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock