Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

Most Aggressive Dog BreedsThere are many Dog owners who have problems with aggressive dogs I thought I would share some information about some of the most aggressive dog breeds around. Now this is purely for information and discussion, there are just soo many things to take into consideration when it comes to aggressiveness in dogs and the breed is just one part of the story there is just soo much more to it than that.

However, some dogs, due to the reason they were bred, for example combat with other dogs, guarding or personal protection makes aggression a part of their heritage. This is something you might want to take into consideration when choosing your breed of dog but it is by no means the only thing. There are many things that causes aggression in dogs and all dogs has it in them it is just that it is more present in certain breeds then others. There is also a difference between individual dogs.

This post is not a list of the “top ten killer dogs” but rather an explanation as to why some breeds of dogs are more aggressive than others and I will give a few examples of breeds (and groups of breeds) which are generally considered more aggressive then others. There are plenty of lists like that all over the web and whereas many of the breeds will be on almost all lists, their level of “dangerousness” will vary widely from one list another.

In some cases it is simply the writer of the list who based on his/her personal experience will rank different breeds according to how aggressive they are. In other cases statistics of people being bitten/seriously injured or even killed will form the base of the list. The way I see it, it is very difficult to judge how aggressive/dangerous a dog is based on statistics and here is why:

– If a breed of dog is very common it will of course cause more attacks than a dog which is rare. You would instead need to compare the number of dogs of certain breed with the number of attacks it causes, this is rarely done.

– When a dog becomes very popular it often leads to a big number of problems. One is that a lot of backyard breeders will start breeding and selling puppies. Usually the dogs they breed are rarely properly checked by a veterinarian and many of the dogs sold are of poor physical and mental health. Unstable, nervous and aggressive individuals causes a lot of problems and are responsible for many attacks.

Another problem is that a lot of people are getting a dog without thinking it through thoroughly. Getting a dog is a big commitment and responsibility and this should not be take lightly. But some people who are unsuitable as a dog owner simply gets one because it is the “thing to do” and this often happens when a breed of dog gets too much publicity. Then you have bullies and criminals who use the dog as “a weapon” to intimidate and threat other people.

When a big, strong dog which already has some aggressive traits end up in the wrong hands then the risk of serious accidents is quite big. The German Shepherd is an example of this. It became soo popular, everyone wanted one. Soon, the problems began. People could not handle their dogs, did not know how to raise them or train them. Some people even lived in fear of their own dog as the dog took over and became the head of the family.

German ShepherdAmong villains, the German Shepherd also became popular as it was not soo difficult to make it aggressive to people and thus the dog served as both an offensive weapon and as protection from other criminals. There were also a great number of “backyard breeders” who sold German Shepherds of poor physical and mental health. These dogs were often more dangerous than individuals from serious breeders.

The Collie is another example of a dog which ended up with a bad reputation due to too much publicity and becoming too popular. After the very popular TV series of the dog “Lassie” a lot of people (especially families with young children) decided to get a Collie and then the problems began and the collie got a bad reputation as being an unreliable and dangerous dog.
Both the German Shepherd and the Collie will make absolutely great family dogs if they are properly trained and socialized and they certainly did not deserve the reputation they got.

If there is one breed of dog who has suffered from a bad reputation more than all others it is the Pitbull Terrier. There has been soo many reports of Pitbulls attacking people so many states and countries has even banned them. Some statistics published will show that the Pitbull is responsible of far more attacks than other breeds of dogs but this is not true.

The reason for this is that there are a lot of dog attacks where it has been reported that a pitbull has attacked someone when in fact it was not a pitbull being responsible for the attack.

A lot of people do not know what a pitbull look like and they report the attack was made by a Pitbull when in fact the attacking dog might have been a Rottweiler or a boxer. When you look at statistics where it has been properly verified which breed was responsible for a certain attack, the Pitbull has not attacked more people than most other dogs.
Pitbull TerrierThere are a lot of families with young children who has Pitbull Terriers and these dogs are really the sweetest pets so I think the best thing to do is to forget about the reputation of a breed and instead learn the facts about the dogs you are interested in.

These are the most aggressive dog breeds

When talking about aggressive dog breeds it is also important to take into account the size and strength of the dog. Many smaller dogs like for example the Chihuahua will be more aggressive and pose a bigger risk of biting than a big dog like a Rottweiler or a German Shepherd.

Then again the consequences of a bite from a small dog will not be anywhere near as serious as a bite from a bigger dog. Bigger dogs generally (though there certainly are exceptions to this and some smaller dogs have lots and lots of confidence) have more confidence and thus don’t get scared as easily. Dogs who are scared often bite to protect themselves.
These groups of dogs are the ones that are generally considered “the most dangerous” dog breeds.

  • Pit bull-type;
  • rottweiler;
  • German shepherd;
  • husky-type;
  • malamute; and
  • wolf-dog hybrid.
Most aggressive dog breeds
Most aggressive dog breeds

Pitbulls and similar dogs are dogs that were bred to fight. Dog fighting used to be very popular and people raised dogs with the purpose of letting them fight other dogs. Usually the losing dog died, either being killed by its opponent or simply killed by its owner. These kinds of fights still go in many places of the world but in most countries it is illegal. Dog fighting is a very cruel activity and dogs being raised to fight are never properly socialized and thus pose a threat.

Dogs like the German Shepherd are dogs who was bred to work with sheep. Their role was both to keep the sheep together and make sure none ran off and also to protect them from predators such as wolfs and bears. This instinct to protect the herd is what makes these dogs soo good for guarding and protecting its family and property.

Wolfdog-HybridThe Wolf dog-hybrid is a dog which is a cross between a domestic dog and a wolf. Wolves are the origin of our domestic dogs and though constant breeding and selection, man has created dog breeds with certain characteristics. Dogs have been developed to search and track, to guard, as company and to be trained to do various tasks. While many instincts of the wolf still remains in the domestic dog, these instincts has in many ways been reduced in the domestic dog.

For example, the instincts of hunting and the prey drive is very big in a wolf and they tend see other animals, pets and small children as prey. A wolf dog is very stubborn and is not eager to please its owner like domestic dog is. Furthermore, Wolf dogs are very shy creatures who are generally afraid of people and the fear can make it attack. Wolf dogs are simply not suitable as pets.

Most aggressive dog breeds
Most aggressive dog breeds

Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are tough and powerful dogs. The Rottweiler is often used for personal protection, guarding and doing various work in the police force or as rescue dogs. They are very intelligent and eager to learn but also stubborn and dominant. The Doberman Pinscher is also used for guarding and personal protection and has also been in service as a police dog. Both of these dogs makes wonderful companions if trained and socialized correctly but without proper training and socialization they can turn into dangerous animals which are very difficult to control.

MalmuteHusky type and Malamutes are used for pulling sledges in winter. They are not very good guard dogs and they require a fair bit of exercise. If they are properly socialized they can make good pets but you need both time and space to handle them. They are not suitable to living in an apartment. The Malamute is bigger than the Husky. Socialization and training is very important for these high energy dogs otherwise they can turn aggressive and I have found these breeds on a number of lists over “dangerous dogs” so that is why I have included them in this post.

Some factors that makes dogs bite more often

These are some factors that makes dogs bite more often. Females versus Males. Un-neutered Male dogs are up to six times as likely to bite than a female. A male neutered dog is far less likely to bite than an un-neutered one.
Lack of socialization is one important factor. Of all reported dog bites, only about 11% of dogs responsible for biting was properly socialized.

Confinement. Most dogs who bite are dogs who are either chained or confined in a small yard. This is probably due to the fact that a dog who can not escape will bite to protect itself. If you are scared and you can not escape you will most probably fight to defend yourself.


Doberman PinscherThere are some breeds of dogs that can be considered to be more dangerous than others, but it all comes down to training and proper socialization. However, some dogs really are a bit tougher to handle and then others. If you are a first time dog owner, a dog like a Rottweiler or Bullmastiff really can be a handful but it depends a lot on your own character and your resources. A dog like a Rottweiler (especially a male) is dominant and stubborn and you need to be firm and consistent in order to socialize a Rottweiler properly.

If you do lack experience of dogs and still decide to adopt a dog like this, then I suggest that you contact someone who has experience of the breed. It could be a professional dog trainer, a friend or you can try to find out if there are any canine clubs in the area where you live. Meeting others interested in the same breed of dog as you could be great fun and there is often a great deal of experience in these clubs and organizations.
If you are uncertain of which breed of dog that would fit your situation and personality, I suggest you take a look at this post:

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it did make sense to you. There is a lot to be said about this subject and I’d love to hear about your views and opinions about aggressive dogs. Write your comments and/or advice in the comment field below.


Comments 16

  • I do believe that certain dogs are genetically coded to be more aggressive and those types of dogs you can never really trust, even if you think they’re trained well. Just like humans that are aggressive but they hold back until that one day, something triggers them and they pounce. Pitbulls are genetically aggressive animals, and no amount of training will remove that tendancy. They can “obey” their owner, but one day the aggression will come out. There are so many wonderful dogs out there, but one has to question why one would choose a pitbull or pitbull terrier as pet. It does speak to the personality of the owner, and it’s never a good personality unfortunately. There is not a “good” reason someone would want a pitbull.

    • It is true that some dogs have more aggressive behavior in them. Dogs who were bred to fight (such as the pitbull) or to guard and protect do have more aggression in them as this is needed in order for them to do what they were bred for. You could not use a Golden Retriever as a guard dog for example, it would happily welcome anyone coming into your house and would not stop a burglar from taking your belongings. Still, a Golden Retriever can become aggressive just like any dog. A lady recently wrote to me, asking for advice for her one year old Golden Retriever who had started to become aggressive with her two youngest children. So really all dogs can become aggressive.

      The pitbull was bred to fight and have a tendency to become aggressive towards other dogs or other pets but there are so many Pitbulls out there who make great pets and family dogs. With any dog, you really need to train it well and you should never leave a small child alone with a dog but always keep an on eye on them.

  • Wow!!  Even the pictures show a scary dog.  I had a doberman many years ago and for the first 6 years or so was the best dog ever,  Then as she got older she got very violent towards strangers, kids and animals.  have no clue on the sudden change but sadly we had to put her down because there was no changing her.

    thank you for taking the time to write such a great article.  Dog ownership can be very trying so mixing in a breed of this category could be a lot harder and its okay to ask for help.  Yes it may cost a few dollars but will be worth it at the end of the day.

    • Hi Dale,

      you are certainly right about the training. It is never a bad idea to ask for help if you run into trouble with your dog. This is true both for first time dog owners and also for those with more experience. Almost all dogs can make great pets but some are more difficult to handle then others. Therefore I reccommend that if you lack experience and absolutely want a dog like a Dobermann or Rottweiler then I believe you should be well prepared and also have someone who can help you out should you run into problems.

  • I am an avid dog-lover and truly appreciate the lengths this article goes to in order to dispel the myths surrounding breeds being labeled as “aggressive.” And I definitely chuckled when you mentioned chihuahuas because, in my personal experience, I have found most I’ve encountered to be feisty and assertive and are always top of the list in my brain of “aggressive dogs.” Little dogs honestly have no clue how little they are which can be both amusing and sometimes troublesome! I’ve always rather liked the phrase, “There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners,” because, as you so correctly make clear, it is the raising that matters. Proper socialization is KEY to raising a non-aggressive dog of any breed. I especially appreciate that you conclude with a link to an article to help people find the right dog for their living situation and personal temperament. Dogs are not “just dogs”…there are big differences between breeds that too often are not considered when people get a dog (like trying to raise a dalmatian in a small apartment…it’s probably not going to go so well for the dog or the owners!). Thanks for being such a wonderful advocate for our canine friends through your website!

    • Hi Cheri and thank you for your input. It really is important to be careful when you choose a dog breed. Both your situation (like the space you have at home) and your character is important when choosing a dog. Any dog could become a great pet giving the right training and socialisation but imagine a first time dog owner who is not very confident adopting a strong and dominant dog like Rottweiler? Not a good idea, think. So both choosing the right breed and then train and socialize it properly and you will not have problems with aggression.

  • When I was growing up as a kid in Wales, UK, my mother always used to have a ‘thing’ about German Shepherd dogs – she simply did not trust them and did not want myself or my sister anywhere near them. She even went as far as crossing the road with us on occasion to make some distance. 

    It was a little disappointing for myself and my sister, as we both loved dogs. 

    Now I’m (a lot) older I realise that they are not bad dogs…IF they have been brought up correctly. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head by pointing out that the owners are the ones that are to blame (more often than not). 

    • You are soo right. The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dogs in the world and is used by the Police and by rescue squads all over the world. If it was fierce and difficult to handle they would certainly have choosen another breed instead.

      However the German Shepherd has strong protection instincts and can become fierce if it thinks someone is threatening their family. Therefore it is very important that it is well socialized and that its owner can control it. Properly raised and trained, German Shepherds make wonderful pets.

  • Thank you for your very informative post!  I especially like the part about small dogs being aggressive, but doing less damage due to their size.  I know from experience that this is reality, as we had a miniature poodle that was very aggressive,especially around small children.  Because we had a toddler, we had to rehouse him, which was very sad but it was for the best.

    • Really small dogs are not suitable with children. Both the fact that they can become aggressive and bite if they are bothered too much and they can also be injured if children handle them too roughly. A midsize or bigger dog with lots of patience works better with children. A Labrador or Golden Retriever would be great for example.

  • I had no clue that huskies were considered to be an aggressive breed of dog. I know that they are very intelligent and are the type of dog that will train you if you do not train them. But they seem so jovial. That’s surprising. For socialization do they have to be with another husky or could you pair them with a golden retriever for instance?

    • Honestly speaking I did not know either that the Husky was considered to be aggressive, I just found out about that.  The Husky is not a guardian by nature so this is not the reason. The Husky is however a high energy dog and can also be dominant. The husky can make a great pet though. They are good with children and generally get along well with other dogs. Properly socialized a Husky should not cause any problem when it comes to aggressiveness.

  • I really like this article because I like dogs. I have one Rottweiler and I can confirm that these dogs are truly aggressive when they are confronted. I prefer this type of dog because it is a great friend and he listens. I had a small chihuahua and it doesn’t listen, it is my personal opinion.

    • Yes, the Rottweiler is strong, tough and have a lot of courage as well as strong guardian instincts. It is very important to train a Rottweiler properly. As you have found out, Rottweilers are intelligent and learn easily so if you can handle them they make great pets.

  • We have a german Shepard/husky mix that is about 9 months old.  (He’s almost 70lbs…so he’s a big little guy).  We spend a lot of time with him, and as such he is very well adjusted.  I would say he is only aggressive when it comes to other dogs around his food.  He is normally just a bundle of love.  He does however have that german shepard bark…it’s gets your attention…making him a good guard dog.

    Me and my dog can attest to the dangers of pit bulls.  Our neighbors pit bull attacked us while I had our dog on lease.  It was a horribly violent attack that send us to the vet for surgery.  The whole time my dog was being attacked, it just had this look on his face like he didn’t understand why this was happening.  He didn’t fight back.  

    Anyway, too many stories out there about pit bulls….I think it is irresponsible to own one if you can’t keep it and those around you safe.

    So, in my experience, German Shepard/Husky mix are pretty amazing dogs.  You are right, they need time, attention and lots of exercise!

    Thanks for the post!

    • Your dog seems like a lot of fun. Mixed dogs can make really great pets and often (but not always) you don’t get the health problems that many purebreeds get. These are often caused by imbreeding and a mix between two breeds can sometimes result in a dog with better health.

      Pitbull Terriers can make great pets but they are often aggressive to other dogs (and other animals) and they really must be controlled otherwise they can cause severe injuries.

      Huskies need lots of exercise and soo do German Shepherds so better keep your young dog busy. That will make him both calm and happy. I wish you the best of luck with your dog and thank you for your comments.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *