Dangerous Dog Breeds – List, Myths, FAQ & Guide

dangerous dog breeds

The term “dangerous dog breeds” is both valid and invalid. There are no breeds that are inherently dangerous. They are merely breeds with a predisposition towards ferocity.

However, canine aggressiveness is mostly a result of the way the dogs are poorly treated, socialized, trained or nurtured.

What Makes A Dog Breed Dangerous?

Several factors affect a dog’s temper. For example:

  • the way their mother was treated during her gestation,
  • how the dog was weaned,
  • the pup’s socializing habits
  • the training methods used by the owner
  • the dog’s diet and meal schedule.

Most aggression usually comes from pain – instant or sustained. If the dog is in any form of physical distress or feels threatened, it will translate into anger and potential attacks.

A dog’s breed has very little to do with their anger issues. It mostly depends on how they were socialized and raised. For that matter, even smaller dogs like Pomeranians, poodles and even toy dogs can be trained to grow up into aggressive animals. While breeds like pitbulls and Rottweilers, who are infamous for being dangerous breeds, can be brought up to be loving family dogs too.

The main difference is in the size of the breed. While you can raise a poodle to be an aggressive dog breed, there is only so much damage it can do, owing to its small size. It can be terrifying, it can also bite, but it may not be able to kill or hurt badly. Whereas raising a Pitbull or a Rottweiler to be aggressive can have dangerous consequences since these dogs are massive enough to bite an organ off.

Are Aggressive Dogs Born That Way?

Aggressive training methods breed aggressive dogs. Dogs are not born killers.

A dog may have a slight inclination towards aggression, either due to the kind of pregnancy its mother had or in rare cases, because of genetics. But no dog is born so aggressive that it can kill or terrify other brings in its surroundings.

Many dog owners employ strict and brutal methods to train their dogs. They chain them in painful ways, leave them hungry or thirsty overnight or sometimes for days. They beat them up, and even rolling them forcibly on their backs as punishment. Such practices are what make an angry, hostile and unpredictable dog. You never know when they’ll turn violent. Being the alpha male is not the right way to go about it.

A complete or even partial lack of socialization can also trigger hostility in dogs. Not taking them out, not letting them play with other dogs, being averse to showing them any kind of affection makes them sullen and angry too. Raising a dog isn’t very different from raising a healthy and happy child.

Are Dominant Dogs Always Dangerous?

No, they are not. Dominant dogs are poles apart from aggressive dogs. They have no relation to one another at all.

A dominant dog thinks of himself as the alpha male – they refuse to submit to their owners. They’re rebellious pets and can misbehave or reject orders. They throw tantrums, are stubborn and very strong headed. These traits can lead to basic behavioral issues but not aggression

Aggressive dogs, on the other hand, are not necessarily strong. Their anger is unpredictable. Aggressive dogs can be vulnerable dogs. They are stressed, defensive and scared. They may have witnessed something that has made them fearful, anxious or insecure, which is why they display anger. Aggressive pets can attack, and perhaps already did but it went unnoticed.

dominant dogs
Dominant dogs are not necessarily aggressive.

What Is The Most Aggressive Dog Breed In The World?

Pitbulls rank as the number one aggressive dog breed. A lot of countries have also declared Pitbulls as a banned breed.

Animal behaviorists have suggested that aggressiveness in Pitbulls is the same as that in other dogs (if not less than Chihuahua as per a study). Every dog, when aggressive or angered, bites and then holds on to the bite, making it nastier and more painful. They lock their jaws onto the bite and don’t let go. Pitbulls have larger mouths, making it possible for them to chew off larger chunks of body parts they are biting.

Bad training methods also make their aggression unpredictable. They may show no signs of an attack before a violent assault. That is what makes an aggressive Pitbull more dangerous than other dogs, but does not make Pitbulls more aggressive than other dogs.

Is Aggression Dog Specific?

Yes and no. Dogs become aggressive because of bad training.

However, some studies also suggest that smaller dogs are more predisposed to aggression than bigger ones, owing to their insecurity and vulnerability with their size. They bark, growl and bite more often and more terrifyingly.

The display of aggression in larger dogs is also similar, but the only difference is that larger dogs can do more damage. And so their aggressiveness can be viewed as dangerous, while that of smaller dogs is controllable. In a worst-case scenario, a smaller dog can be tackled physically. While tackling a bigger dog may leave you short of a few body parts. Which is why, if you take a closer look, most of the banned dog breeds in the world as those with larger and stronger builts.

Top 17 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in The World

Here are the twenty most dangerous dog breeds according to statistics sourced from different sources, including the CDC.

Make sure you also read up the results given by the American Temperament Test Society on measuring a dog breed’s aggression levels. A lot of studies and meta-studies (aggregations of previous studies) show different results so use common sense and do not take these results too seriously.

Some organizations count the number of attacks while others count the number of reported attacks as a percentage of the breed’s known population.

1. Pitbull

According to recorded statistics, the Pitbull has committed 3,397 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 295 people.

For years, American pitbulls have been reared for illegal dog fighting, which led to them, being misunderstood as killer dogs and made them a banned dog breed. Their strong built and brutal training made them lethal. While it has undeniably caused much harm, pitbulls can be loyal, friendly and courageous family dogs, if treated right.

2. Rottweiler

According to recorded statistics, the Rottweiler has committed 535 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 85 people.

A banned dog breed in a lot of countries, the Rottweiler is an inherently possessive dog breed. Not highly intelligent, but fiercely loyal, these dogs need an extremely active environment. A lot of their aggression comes from being chained or locked indoors. These are sporty outdoorsy dogs that get bored easily and display it as anger or annoyance.

3. German Shepherd

According to recorder statistics, the German Shepherd has committed, 113 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 15 people.

Fiercely loyal, highly trainable and extremely intelligent, German Shepherds are a versatile breed that makes for excellent pets and great army dogs too. Bad training results in aggressive dogs, as they are extremely obedient and perceptive. Black GSDs are considered the same as the standard GSD.

german shepherd handbook
Check out the German Shepherd Handbook – everything to know about choosing, feeding, and caring for a GSD.

4. Presa Canario (Bull Mastiff)

According to recorded statistics, the Bull Mastiff has committed 111 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 18 people.

The Bull Mastiff‘s mighty appearance is intimidating as is its fearlessness. They are great security dogs and are extremely possessive about whoever they feel protective of. This bold jealousy is what has earned them labeled as a dangerous dog breed.

5. Wolf Hybrid

According to recorded statistics, the Wolf Hybrid has committed 85 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 19 people.

The name itself suggests that these aren’t exactly domestic pet dogs. Their ancestral physical attributes are what make them dangerous and unpredictable. Strong built, powerful jaws and an innate mistrust of humans (the need to be in the wild with other wolf dogs) is what makes Wolfdogs fearsome.

6. Akita Inu

According to recorded statistics, the Akita Inu has committed 70 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 8 people.

At first glance, this fluffy, furry dog doesn’t look the killer types at all. However, strong reflexes and immediate attack is what earned Akita Inu a place in this list. If not trained well, these dogs could be alert at all times and attack even during a false alarm. They need excellent training to be domesticated.

7. Boxer

According to recorded statistics, the Boxer has committed 64 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 7 people.

Boxers love to roughhouse, that’s their thing. They are playful and highly active and great pets for sporty households. However, when provoked, their aggression can really turn wild, making them dangerous. Inactiveness makes them aggressive.

dog aggressiveness
Dogs become aggressive over time. Actions must be taken fast to prevent anchorage of bad behavior.

8. Chow Chow

According to recorded statistics, the Chow Chow has committed 61 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 8 people.

You may find it hard to believe that a furball with a name like Chow Chow can kill out of aggression. However, their appearance is misleading, as they are a breed that likes to be aloof. They are protective but not overtly cuddle-friendly. They are also easily startled. When their space isn’t respected, they can get aggressive.

9. Labrador

According to recorded statistics, the Labrador has committed 56 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 3 people.

The reason why this lovable, cuddly dog breed has made it to this list is purely statistical, as they are so widely adopted as home pets. They are kind, patient and loving which makes them the most popular family dogs. In rare cases, where their kindness is not reciprocated, Labradors can display aggression and attack.

10. Great Dane

According to recorded statistics, the Great Dane has committed 37 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 3 people.

The Great Dane‘s tall height and size are what makes them formidable at first sight. They grow to the size of a small pony, but they are extremely vulnerable and sensitive creatures. Peace loving and patient, Great Danes need their own time to familiarize themselves with people and surroundings. When they are not allowed this time and space, they get aggressive.

11. Mastiff

According to recorded statistics, the Mastiff has committed 28 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 5 people.

Mastiffs are powerful dogs and can grow to weight as much as 80 to 100 kilograms. They are easily stressed and thus can show signs of aggression as soon as something goes awry. Their aggression is dangerous, given their size and might.

tibetan mastiff breeding
Tibetan Mastiff breeding requires loyalty both from the dog, and from the owner.

12. Doberman Pinscher

According to recorded statistics the Doberman has committed 23 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 8 people.

Dobermans were originally bred as army dogs. They have a predisposed tendency to protect and attack when disturbed. Some believe that this trait is what makes them so misunderstood – that and their dauntingly unapproachable appearance.

13. Cane Corso

According to recorded statistics, the Cane Corso or the Italian Mastiff has committed 21 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 2 people.

Cane Corso‘s heavyweight and powerful appearance are what is making them scary at first. But few people know of their good, sweet temperament. They can be great family dogs if brought up right – they’re loyal, protective and strong too.

14. English Bulldogs

According to recorded statistics, the English Bulldog has committed 20 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 1 person.

Originally bred and raised for bull baiting, English Bulldogs are usually sensitive and make for happy family dogs. They are great guard dogs for homes as well. Their stocky powerful bodies and an inherent short temper have earned them a bad name. They even get along well with other pets in a household.

15. Blue Heeler

According to recorded statistics, the Blue Heeler has committed 20 attacks causing bodily harm but has not killed any person.

Smaller the size, higher the aggression – that is what makes Blue Heelers dangerous dogs. They have razor-sharp teeth, but their small built does not allow them to fatally harm humans. Blue Heelers are active and happy dogs but need large farm-like places to survive. They also need a good amount of socializing and affection from their owners.

16. Alaskan Malamute

According to recorded statistics, the Alaskan Malamute has committed 15 attacks causing bodily harm and killed 5 people.

This royal, elegant looking dog breed is extremely powerful and can carry heavy weights in extreme conditions. Alaskan Malamutes are typically sled dogs but make for excellent pets too. These fluffballs can grow to gigantic sizes and if trained right, make for very loving and domestic house pets in spite of their inherent wilderness.

17. Australian Blue Heeler

According to recorded statistics, the Australian Blue Heeler has committed 13 deaths and killed one person.

Australian Blue Heelers are considered dangerous only due to their overtly protective nature and their athletic build and alert features. They are excellent farm dogs and if trained well can do a good job in homes also. This breed is sporty and needs a good amount of exercise.

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