The Most Dangerous and Aggressive Dog Breeds
I consider myself to be a seasoned malamute dog owner, having had the pleasure of their company for more than 10 years. However, realizing that my favorite dog breed is on the most dangerous list came as quite a shock to me.
You can find many different lists of aggressive or dangerous dogs. Some of it might not surprise you but then again, some of it might be very revealing.
Let's take a look at the dogs that made the list and some other "dogs of notable mention." Then let's look at some of the reasons these lists exist and ways as a society we can eradicate the need for them.
The Most Dangerous List
- Pit Bull - weighing in at 30 - 55 pounds
- Rottweiler - weighing in at 85 - 110 pounds
- German Shepherd - weighing in at 70 - 85 pounds
- Huskies - weighing in at 35 - 55 pounds
- Alaskan Malamute - weighing in at 80 - 110 pounds
- Doberman - weighing in at 65 - 90 pounds
- Chow Chow - weighing in at 40 - 65 pounds
- Presa Canario - weighing in at 100 - 125 pounds
- Boxer - weighing in at 50 - 64 pounds
- Dalmatian - weighing in at 40 - 70 pounds
Also given dishonorable mention were:
- Saint Bernard - weighing in at 110 - 180 pounds
- Great Dane - weighing in at 90 - 120 pounds
- Wolf Hybrid - weighing in at 70 - 100 pounds
- Mastiff - weighing at 100 - 170 pounds though some claim up to 200 pounds
- English Sheepdog
- Border Collie
More Information on the List (and What's Missing)
When you look at the list, of course what stands out most is that most of the dogs are large dogs.
However, it should be noted that one of the main reasons that dogs are on the list in the first place is because by and large, the dog bite reports or incidents reported almost always involve large breed dogs.
The reason for this is that smaller dogs generally do not do as much damage as a larger dog and consequently many dog bite incidents go unreported, simply because they are small and people assume they are not dangerous.
As a dog owner of one of the dogs on the aggressive dog breeds list, I believe there is information lacking. In terms of bite reports, many dogs are arbitrarily "assigned" to a breed because there is no category for the dog.
For example, a Wolf Hybrid dog attack may be classified under the bite statistics for Alaskan Malamutes (which happens quite frequently) which thus skews the reporting results for my particular breed of dog.
Or a brown and black dog of unknown breed will be classified as a Rottweiler when in fact it could be a shepherd or another mixed breed.
Also lacking in the reporting of bite statistics and most dangerous dogs is the fact that in many cases, the bites or attacks happened because of dog owners or situations out of the control of the animal itself. I always believe that there are no bad dogs . . . just bad dog owners.
If we stopped to consider the situations that some of these dogs are in when the attack or the bite has occurred, in my opinion, you would find in almost every case that it was an unnecessary risk that was taken by the pet owner and a no-win situation for the dog involved.
What Makes a Dog Dangerous?
There are many factors to consider when considering aggression in dogs. Yes, certain dogs if allowed to pursue their own road without training can develop certain traits that are not desirable in today's society. However, this is where the pet owner's responsibility is crucial.
Would we allow our children to grow up undisciplined? Would we allow our kids to roam without supervision? Lastly, would we place our children in dangerous situations unsupervised and expect them to behave? Of course not.
The question then becomes why do people get dogs that they know relatively little about in terms of exercise, behavior, personality, etc., and then expect that there is no training or work involved in growing the pet into a good citizen?
Or even more saddening is the staggering number of dogs remanded to shelters for euthanasia each and every year because someone thought they wanted an Alaskan Malamute or a Siberian Husky but they didn't get the facts. They discover that they simply can't "cope" with their decision and drive off into the sunset to let their dog be destroyed.
Bad Owners Make Dangerous Dogs
I believe that every dog has an inherent need to please its owner. I also believe that every dog is trainable and no dog is disposable. That said, there are some mitigating circumstances that can perhaps shape a dog and turn them into a dangerous dog.
Sadly, there are some that cannot be rehabilitated because the window of opportunity has passed and they cannot be turned into a good citizen in some situations.
These types of dogs can still be a companion but they necessarily require vigilance on the part of dog owners to make sure that they do not have access to situations they become dangerous in.
Correcting Aggressive Dog Behavior Early
Triggers for Dangerous Dog Behavior
The most important factor in reducing dog aggression is the human one. That means not putting your dog into situations where he or she cannot succeed.
Here are some triggers of dog aggression to consider:
- Reproductive status - Most dog attacks and bites occur from males who are not neutered or females with puppies
- Dogs acquired for fighting purposes and trained to fight
- Protection dogs that are trained to react and protect at all costs
- Lack of socialization, especially at an early age
- Individual temperament of the dog - was he or she a bully in the litter?
- Genetic conditions such as cocker spaniel rage syndrome
- Victim's age and physical condition
- Loose, roaming, or unsupervised dogs
- Chained dogs
- Animal neglect and abuse
- Lack of confidence - a frightened dog will react more than a confident dog
- Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
All of the above situations have the potential to end in tragedy. My question then is do these dogs truly qualify to be listed as dangerous? If trained properly and not put into situations where they cannot succeed, most experts would agree that the incidents would not have occurred.
There are no breeds of dogs that simply attack for no reason. There is something wrong or going on that the dog doesn't understand when it attacks. Or it is the result of an unfavorable owner-induced lack of structure and responsibility with the dog.
For instance, many of the attacks on children come from dogs who are left alone with them. Many more come from children left to wander around dogs when they are eating. These situations are in fact no brainers in my opinion. Dogs are not human, nor are they babysitters.
Dogs are animals with natural instincts to protect themselves and their food. Training, of course can teach a dog to curb those instincts and again, be a good citizen.
However, would anyone want to test a dog by putting a child in the middle of a dangerous situation?
Lack of or Improper Training Makes a Dog Dangerous
The most dangerous dogs in the world are the ones who have improper training or none at all and the most aggressive dog breeds are the ones who have the potential to do bad things if left to their own devices and not trained properly.
Understanding the breed of dog is essential to a positive outcome for any dog we choose. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses is also essential in providing them a safe environment and a life where they feel successful.
There are many misconceptions about dog breeds today and many movements to ban certain dog breeds altogether. I think that would be a mistake on so many levels as each breed has its own unique qualities that make it special. Extinction should not be an answer as many of these dogs have been bred down through the decades successfully.
There are no easy answers when it comes to aggression in dogs. Our dogs are only as good as we allow them to be. Much as when we have children, we need to train up our pets to live their lives happily coexisting with us by learning the rules of the road.
Discipline is the name of the game when it comes to any dog breed but especially so when it comes to breeds with a tendency towards aggression or dog breeds that are large and strong.
There should be a zero tolerance policy for pet owners who do not understand the proper care for dogs in their possession. I believe that if we started at the core of the problem and people were smarter about man's best friend, there would be fewer and fewer bite reports and perhaps less need for the most dangerous dog lists.
As the scripture says "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." This most definitely applies to our canine companions as well.
Questions & Answers
My dog will be fine, playing, and suddenly snap and lunge for me growling as if he is about to attack me. What are your thoughts?
What kind of dog? Are you sure that it is not 'growl playing?' My malamute talks incessantly and some people misinterpret that as growling. He is just playing around. My breeder did tell me that it is a good idea to make sure that you do not wrestle or pin dogs and that you simply play with them but always remain in control - especially big dogs - but all dogs. They can mistake our play behavior as wanting to engage with them as in aggression. I don't think my dogs would do that, but just to be safe, that is what I've always done. I will run and play with them, throw balls for them or do silly things with them but I am careful never to put them into any position where they feel like we are not playing. If I see them getting a little too "jazzed up" or they are playing a little too rough, I always end the play right away - pat them and say good girl or good boy and change to a different mode. If you have any questions though about your dog's behavior, I'd always advise asking a trainer just to have a look. See if you can replicate/duplicate the behavior and see if he or she thinks it is play behavior or aggressive behavior. There are many techniques to get them to stop the latter, including even a short trial of a shock collar.Helpful 9
Why isn't the Akita listed as an aggressive dog breed?
I'm not certain. I have heard that they are not good with children but then in all truth, ANY dog can be a dangerous dog breed. It depends upon their individual characteristics and most importantly, their training and socialization.Helpful 4
My brother’s dog jumped on my leg leaving a scratch. Is this an aggressive dog? I don’t know why this dog did this.
Dogs do all kinds of goofy behaviors but I do not think that a dog jumping on you is necessarily a sign of aggression. It is most often a sign of bad behavior. You can effectively train a dog not to jump on people quite easily - the dog owner and anyone who is in contact with the dog actually should know how to handle a jumping dog....especially if they are a good sized dog. It is not intended as a sign of aggression when they jump at you, on you - just a sign of excitement and because of their long nails, they can easily scratch us if we aren't careful. Hope that helps - I would look online or ask a trainer how to stop your brother's dog from jumping on anyone!Helpful 4