The World's Most Aggressive Dog Breeds
What Makes Dogs Vicious?
What makes a dog aggressive is highly disputed amongst dog owners and breeders. While many people insist that even the most 'dangerous' breeds can make excellent family pets with the right amount of socialization and proper, firm training, others believe that certain breeds of dog are more high risk than others due to their breeding history.
Many dogs like the German shepherd, for example, have been bred largely to guard and protect their families. This means that while they can make fantastic family pets and are usually safe around the family's children, they can be overprotective, which can result in injuries to strangers.
This article will break down some of the most aggressive dog breeds in the world, so that you can make a more informed call about which canine to introduce into your family.
The Top 15 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds
- Presa Canario or Canarian Catch Dog
- Tosa Inu
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Gull Dong or Pakistani Bulldog
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Caucasian Shepherd or Caucasian Ovcharka
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Saint Bernard
- Dogo Argentino
- German Shepherd
- Chow Chow
Dogs Bred for Fighting
Presa Canario or Canarian Catch Dog
The Presa Canario is a massive breed of fighting dog, which has been known to attack and kill humans. They were bred originally for an Aryan Brotherhood dog fighting ring, but they have also been used for guarding livestock.
Also known as a 'Canarian Catch Dog', this breed requires very early socialisation and obedience training. If they have not been with a very experienced owner, they can be a danger to people and other animals.
The Tosa Inu is one of the world's most dangerous dogs. This massive breed can typically weigh anywhere between 130–200 lbs and stands around 32 inches tall.
It is legally banned in many countries due to the aggressive nature of the breed. It originated in Japan, where it was bred to be a powerful, muscular dog for fighting other dogs. Even the best-trained dogs of this breed could become overprotective and attack humans.
The Neopolitan Mastiff is famous for the role of Hagrid's pet dog, Fang, in the Harry Potter films. Although in those particular films Fang is a docile, lazy creature, in reality, these dogs are banned in many different countries.
They have been used as war dogs by the Roman legions and also as gladiator dogs in the bloody 'sport' within the colosseum in Italy, where the breed originated. Males can top 200 lbs and can be strong, willful and vicious.
Gull Dong or Pakistani Bulldog
The Gull Dong is another breed that, sadly, was specifically developed as a fighting dog. It is also known as the Pakistani Bulldog and is the result of a Bully Kutta crossed with a Gull Terrier.
This dog is extremely aggressive and made even more dangerous by the fact it can be defiant, difficult to control and incredibly powerful, muscular and athletic. This breed should never be kept by any person who is not an expert in dog training. If they are not trained properly and socialised from a very early age, they can turn aggressive towards people and other dogs.
Pit Bull Terriers
Pit Bull Terriers have been selectively bred from a range of other terrier breeds and bulldogs in order to create a dog breed that was second to none in dog fights. The people who set out to do this succeeded—this dog is recognised to hold the No. 1 rank for pound-to-pound lean muscle tissue.
Although this breed is capable of being a loyal, friendly pet and excellent guard dog, it has also attracted the wrong kind of attention from around 1980, where these dogs were bought by many criminals and people involved in dog fighting rings as a statement of masculinity. Aggressive dogs were bred and encouraged to be aggressive towards other canines in order to be excellent fighters. As a result, many once friendly, sweet-natured breeds are now illegal in many countries and American states.
They also have an extremely high prey drive that is triggered by smaller mammals, meaning families with smaller children would likely be unwise to own this dog. Many bites have resulted in fatalities to both adults and children throughout history.
Dogs Bred for Hunting and Gathering
Caucasian Shepherd or Caucasian Ovcharka
The Caucasian Shepherd, also known as the Caucasian Ovcharka, was bred for the purpose of guarding homes and livestock. It is a courageous and strong-willed breed, which can make training problematic.
It is also prone to attacking strangers due to the fact that it is highly territorial. It is fearless, dominant and powerful, which makes dogs of this breed very dangerous if they are not well trained.
Males weigh at least 110 lbs and stand around 30 inches tall. Even though many families insist that this dog can be good with children, it is strongly recommended the two are not left alone, as accidental injury can easily occur.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is renowned for being used to keep lions away from its master and to keep prey subdued while its owner hunted game. This dog makes an incredibly loyal companion if it is well trained.
If it is not kept by an experienced dog owner who does not spend almost all their time with the dog, this breed is known for becoming dominant and can be prone to developing a highly aggressive side with other dogs and also people.
The Saint Bernard is another huge breed of working dog, which originally was bred in the Italian Alps. Although they are portrayed in many films and photographs as giant teddy bears, in reality, they are very stubborn, difficult to train and require very early socialisation.
Saint Bernards are renowned, however, for rescuing people who have become lost in mountainous areas.
The Basenji is a beautiful breed of dog and has been classified as a sight hound for its incredible intelligence, constant alert state and loyalty.
They are also known as the second most difficult breed to train, however, and can become aggressive towards other dogs and strangers if they are not properly trained.
The Dogo Argentino was originally bred for hunting large game such as wild boar and pumas. It is illegal to own this breed in the United Kingdom under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, due to a number of attacks.
Whilst it is friendly, loyal and affectionate towards its owner, this breed is fiercely protective and will not hesitate to turn on strangers if it believes they are a threat.
It is extremely territorial, making it an excellent guard dog. But it can also be vicious, as stated previously, and will instantly defend its territory and family against intruders.
The Boerboel is a large mastiff breed originating from South Africa, which was selectively bred for the purpose of being a guard dog. Like the Dogo Argentino, its loyalty to its family can make it vicious towards strangers and other dogs.
German Shepherds, as the name suggests, originally came from Germany and are very popular as pets and also police dogs. They were bred to be superb guard dogs and fill this role very well due to their territorial nature.
They are known to become overprotective, however. This breed has been known to bite humans who have been thought of as threatening to their 'pack' or individuals who have 'intruded'.
Rottweilers have also been bred to be heavy-duty guard dogs and can be very good as such. Unfortunately, Rottweilers have earned a bad reputation due to a fair number of attacks on both people and other animals, including livestock such as sheep, which have died as a result.
Many individuals say these instances occurred due to poor training and a lack of socialisation. But it is generally agreed that this breed is prone to developing a vicious streak if managed incorrectly, can be overprotective of its family and home and also has a high prey drive—more than a handful of Rottweiler attacks have happened recently involving toddlers.
From 1982–2012, there have been at least 48 instances reported of Boxer dogs causing significant injury to humans. They can be wonderful family pets if their owner has had previous dog handling experience and is able to dedicate time and effort to training. But without this, they can be boisterous, dominant and aggressive, meaning they can be a danger to people.
This breed is known to be extremely affectionate towards the family it lives with, and seeing this well-loved breed on a list with other dangerous breeds may come as a shock. But it is not recommended to pick this dog breed if you have never owned a dog before.
The Chow Chow, affectionately known as the 'fluffy lion dog', originated in China and is considered high risk as a breed. There have been 238 fatalities from dog bites from 1979–1998 due to this breed being so fiercely protective of its owner.
It is also a large, heavy breed, meaning that it can be a danger to small children, even when it is only playing.