some people prefer small lapdogs and others enjoy the company of a big slimy powerhouse. every breed of dog is different. there are lazy and gentle breeds as well as very active and aggressive dog breeds. All prospective pet owners and puppy adopters are encouraged to be careful in their choice, especially when it is the first time.
Any dog can become aggressive under specific circumstances. certain dog breeds simply have a shorter fuse or higher prey drive. Some may think that these dog breeds are more dangerous, but this is not the case; understanding aggression in dogs is crucial. Thousands of people have these dogs or use them as working dogs with no aggression problems.
Reading: Top aggressive dogs
It is important to know which breeds tend to be more aggressive in order to manage the challenges these dog breeds can present. think about the qualities you need in a pet and stick with the breeds that are likely to have those qualities. choose a breed that is easy for you to handle based on your experience level.
science on the aggression of different breeds of dogs
Many previous studies have investigated a variety of behavioral traits among different breeds and how genetics determines them. for example, they have investigated cross-breed obsessive-compulsive behaviors (1, 2), behaviors such as reactivity, adaptability, affability, and wariness (3), grooming and boldness (4, 5), sociability (6), and more.
Aggression in different breeds is also highly genetic (7). And in one of the most ambitious attempts, geneticists in a 2016 study managed to map canine fear and aggression across several hundred breeds using genome-wide association.
Scientists discovered that the amygdala and hypothalamus are the two main parts of a dog’s brain responsible for its aggression, fear, anxiety and prey drive. using various genotype datasets, they found some primary traits related to fear and aggression that differed between races:
- stranger-oriented fear
- stranger-directed aggression
- dog-directed aggression
- owner-directed aggression
- rivalry between dogs
It was also discovered that there are many different genetic factors that affect the dog’s fear and aggression traits, and the brain is just one of them. it was found that the size and body weight of a dog have a direct correlation with aggression (8), with medium and small breeds being the most aggressive (9); personality of the dog owner was a determining factor with some breeds but not others (10), and breeds carrying chondrodysplasia chr18 mutations were also found to be more aggressive with fear ( 11).
While there were a lot more factors that scientists paid attention to, in conclusion, it seems that breed-specific aggression can be classified into four main categories: (a) development and environmental-malleability (12, 13), (b) molecular, biochemical, imaging factors showing up under stress (14), and (c) a dog’s physiological and mental states (15, 16), and (d) a breed’s ability to mitigate negative effects (17, 18).
what the average person usually means when they talk about aggressive dog breeds
Leaving aside the technical definition of aggressive dog breeds, how does the average person use the term? they generally analyze behaviors such as:
- charge people
- show teeth
- performing other aggressive behaviors
common reasons for aggressive behavior in dogs
It is also important to note that most aggressive dog breeds will not be continuously aggressive. instead, they will be aggressive in specific situations, such as when they feel sick, possessive, protective, scared, in pain, frustrated, or socially aggressive.
20 most aggressive dog breeds
1. Wolf Hybrid
The wolf hybrid is the most common wolf-type dog breed. it is a cross between a dog and, most often, the gray wolf (although other wolves can also be considered). It goes without saying that this breed will be unpredictable due to their high prey drive.
You will not be able to have smaller pets, because the hybrid wolf will most likely hunt them, hurt them and even try to eat them due to their high prey drive. this breed needs someone who is a very skilled handler and won’t let the dog dominate.
2. cane corso
Cane Corso already has an appearance of an aggressive dog, and many experts will certainly label this breed to be that. Today, they’re becoming popular as police dogs.
This breed is descended from the Canis pugnax, a dog that was used during the time of the Roman wars many centuries ago. It goes without saying that the Cane Corso tends to be quite aggressive if not handled and trained well by an expert trainer.
3. bull terrier
The Bull Terrier has been a loyal family companion for a long time, but they’re also one for the most aggressive dog breeds on the planet, and probably the smallest of them too. They’re not great for first time owners, but can be fantastic companions for more experienced handlers.
bull terriers tend to think of themselves as lapdogs, even though they are, pound for pound, just lean muscle. Without proper training and understanding of this breed of dog, a Bull Terrier tends to become aggressive and difficult to handle.
4. rhodesian ridgeback
Originally from Africa, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large dog that was used to keep lions away from stock and guard farms. They’ve evolved to be constantly aware and ready for a fight should there be a need for this dog’s help to protect.
This breed of dog is aloof with people it doesn’t know and can be very sensitive. the use of positive reinforcement is the only way forward with this type of dog, and you should consult a professional trainer on how to handle this breed in the future.
5. Argentine Dogo
Dogo Argentino is a white, muscular dog breed from Argentina that has been banned in the UK and many other countries due to its aggression.
This dog was bred for hunting large game such as puma and wild boar. they are really beautiful canines, but they tend to be a bit wild for a family that lives in the suburbs. Dogo Argentino is a great and powerful hunting dog, but it needs an experienced handler.
The Boerboel dog breed originated in South Africa, where it was bred to protect farms and livestock from lions and leopards. it was also used to track injured animals and keep them safe until their owner arrived. The Boerboel is a large and very loyal dog.
They are extremely protective of their families and property, which puts them on the list of the most aggressive dog breeds. this dog is still used on farms in south africa today.
The farm lifestyle is the perfect environment for Boerboels as they work with farmers and are very adept at protecting farms from unwanted intruders.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe how certain small, cute looking canines can make the list of the most aggressive dogs, but it all comes down to breeding history and genes.
Native to central Africa, the basenji is a sight hound. this means that any movement of a small animal will put their hunting instinct into overdrive and they won’t stop.
The basenji is one of the least trainable dogs out there. they are reserved and aloof with strangers and tend to have only one master. If you’re thinking of adopting a basenji dog, it’s best to talk to an experienced dog trainer who has dealt with them before.
8. saint bernard
Even though they are known for their good deeds in movies and reality, are one of the best rescue dogs, Saint Bernards actually have high levels of aggression.
This large hardworking and talented breed hails from the Swiss and Italian Alps. for centuries this breed was used to rescue people trapped in avalanches. Known as one of the greatest rescue breeds ever, these dogs are used to work and thrive when used for purpose.
It is absolutely essential that a St. Bernard be socialized and trained from puppyhood to prevent (to some extent) this dog from becoming one of the more aggressive dog breeds.
9. american bulldog
The American Bulldog is a very heavy set dog that is actually very friendly and loyal.
That said, American Bulldogs tend to be overconfident and very stubborn, making them difficult to train and handle. They can make excellent house dogs with proper training, but without it they can be one of the most aggressive dog breeds.
10. akita inu
The spitz breed from Japan is a gorgeous medium sized dog. There are two variations of this breed – one being the Akita Inu from Japan and the other the Akita from America.
These two dog breeds are strong, dominant types of animals with a high prey drive. they are extremely affectionate with their family, but aloof and territorial when it comes to strangers, and will often be extremely aggressive.
Distant and fiercely independent, The Chow Chow breed needs a lot of attention as well as proper and regular training. Socialization is extremely important for the Chow Chow, because they don’t like strangers and are very protective of their owners.
They are known as one of the most aggressive dog breeds, which means that recorded bites for this breed are higher than for many others. Chow Chows also require a lot of exercise or they can become unpredictable, aggressive, and dangerous.
12. doberman pinscher
Doberman Pinscher is a very loyal and alert breed is one of the best guard dogs around. They only attack when provoked, and are aggressive towards other dogs and strangers.
That said, Doberman experts who love this breed are well aware of its tendency to be extremely aggressive. Because they are known to be one of the most aggressive dog breeds, do not adopt a Doberman Pinscher unless you are an experienced owner.
13. alaskan malamute
Another wolf-like dog, Alaskan Malamute is related to the famous Siberian Husky dog breed but is much larger in size as well as personality. They are also much more aggressive than Huskies and most dog owners will have trouble with this breed.
Without daily exercise, these dogs become bored and therefore destructive. Alaskan Malamutes are extremely difficult to train and make very unreliable watchdogs. with a high prey drive, they don’t do well with most other small pets.
The Rottweiler is a strong dog that was bred for herding and guarding. To this day, they are ranked as one of the most scary dogs on the planet due to dog bite statistics.
This working breed can become very aggressive very quickly, particularly from neglect, abuse and irresponsible pet ownership. Socialization at a young age is important to ensure your rottie gets along with other dogs, people, and pets, but caution is also needed.
15. german shepherd
The German Shepherd Dog is a fearless, confident and extremely intelligent dog breed. They are the most commonly used canine in the military as well as the police force. This breed of dog is very trainable, which is why they’re mostly used as working dogs.
See also: 5 of the best farm dog breeds | AGDAILY
gsds are very territorial and fiercely overprotective of their families. They need early socialization and someone who understands that the German Shepherd needs them well. Without the proper tools and dog training, they can become destructive and very aggressive.
Boxers are headstrong and lean dogs who have very high energy, and they’re often ranked as one of the most aggressive breeds for that particular reason. They were bred as hunting dogs and also used during World War 1 for guarding.
The Boxer is another protective breed and will thrive when properly trained and exercised. a boxer’s bite can cause serious injury, so they need plenty of exercise and something to keep them occupied all the time.
17. great dane
On the lower end of the spectrum in terms of dog aggression, Great Danes are generally known as gentle giants and they’re even highly recommended as best apartment dogs.
but that’s only when your Great Dane is well trained. Without an understanding of these extra large canines, they can become one of the most aggressive dog breeds. The Great Dane is often considered dangerous due to its large size, but it is unlikely to bite.
18. bull mastiff
bull mastiff is a very large and strong breed that is extremely loyal to its family. This is another type of dog that needs an experienced handler who knows what he is doing.
if not, your house will be run by a giant breed of dog that can wreak havoc just by running through your kitchen. socialization and training is very important when adopting a bullmastiff to prevent this canine from becoming one of the most aggressive dogs.
19. siberian husky
Siberian Huskies are one of the most popular dog breeds on the planet and many view them as gentle pets. But experts say that they’re one of the most aggressive dogs.
Huskies look a lot like the Alaskan Malamute mentioned above, but they are a bit smaller in stature and calmer. they require a lot of exercise and stimulation.
A husky’s temperament is very similar to that of a wolf, which can make them unpredictable. stubborn and dominant are two other characteristics this breed is known for. this is a very difficult dog to control and avoid getting bored.
As the dog stereotypes go, no list of most aggressive dog breeds can go without Pit Bulls.
pit bull is a name for a wide variety of dogs, all of which are closely related but are not the same dog breed. American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Pit Bull Terriers fall into this category.
Originally, the Pit Bull was bred to bait and take down bulls and bears. this group of dogs is the most widely used breed for dogfighting to this day, adding to the stigma that they are one of the most naturally aggressive dogs.
In addition to the more aggressive dog breeds mentioned above, there are other breeds that occasionally make similar lists. these include:
- australian shepherd
- jack russel terriers
- labrador retriever
- perro de presa canario
- tosa inu
frequently asked questions about aggressive dog breeds
We have compiled the most common questions about aggressive dog breeds to help you get a better idea of which breeds are most likely to be aggressive or dangerous.
Which is the most aggressive dog?
The wolf hybrid is the most aggressive breed of dog, followed by the Cane Corso.
Which is the most dangerous dog?
According to the Humane Society, the American Veterinary Association, and the CDC, the most dangerous dogs are the Pit Bull Terrier, the Rottweiler, and the German Shepherd.
Which is considered the most aggressive dog?
While the wolf hybrid is the most aggressive dog, other dog breeds commonly labeled as the most aggressive include the Cane Corso, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Chow Chow, Siberian Husky, Pit Bull Terrier, and others. breeds mentioned above.
Which dog is very aggressive?
Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Wolf-hybrids, Akitas, and German Shepherds are often considered aggressive. Chihuahuas are also notoriously aggressive, but rarely cause injury due to their size.
what dog can kill a lion?
Reportedly, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, which is from southern Africa, can kill a lion.
Which dog has killed the most humans?
pit bulls have killed most people in the united states. as of 2018, research indicated they accounted for 66% of deaths, but 6.5% of the country’s dog population.
remember that training addresses aggression
While all of the above are often considered aggressive dog breeds, it’s important to remember that much of canine behavior comes down to behavior. With proper training, many of the breeds on this list can be peaceful and non-aggressive. many on the list will also not be aggressive towards their family members, but will be towards strangers. training is the key in most cases.
read next: how to deal with dog aggression without training collars
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