Are you are looking to get a new puppy to keep as a family pet and would like to know which breeds may not be the safest for children? In doing this research, I found that different organizations and “experts” have differing opinions as to which dog breeds are the “most aggressive,” so I’ve listed the 10 that most sources seem to agree on below.

How Canine Aggression Is Defined

Dog aggression is typically defined as dangerous behavior directed at another individual (like a human or another dog). Aggressive behaviors include barking, biting, lunging, snarling, etc. The causes of these behaviors can range from territorial defensiveness and protectiveness to fear and social anxiety.

How I Determined Which Dog Breeds Are the Most Dangerous

The 10 breeds listed below had some of the lowest overall passing rates in the temperament test conducted by the American Temperament Test Society and are sorted in order from lowest to the highest percentage of individual dogs that passed. Breeds with the lowest passing percentages frequently showed signs of aggression, panic, or extreme shyness during the test.

While there are breeds with even lower passing percentages than those mentioned in this article, I’ve decided to limit this list to the 10 breeds that are most frequently ranked as highly aggressive (i.e., these are breeds that are most commonly considered “aggressive” or “dangerous” and/or are included in breed-specific legislation). Each breed on the list is discussed in greater detail in the sections below, and overall passing rates are included for each.

The 10 “Meanest” Dog Breeds

  1. Chihuahua
  2. Dachshund
  3. Chow Chow
  4. Doberman Pinscher
  5. Dalmatian
  6. Rottweiler
  7. Jack Russell Terrier
  8. German Shepherd
  9. American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier
  10. Siberian Husky
Chihuahuas are loyal and devoted but may bark and snap at people they don't know well.
Chihuahuas are loyal and devoted but may bark and snap at people they don’t know well.Angelina Litvin via Unsplash

1. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and is thought to be the smallest in the world. They are included in the “toy” group of dogs and usually range from around four to six pounds. They can have short or long hair of just about any color, and their coloring can be solid, marked, or splashed.

Having originated in the Mexican state of Chihuahua—hence the name—the breed is considered to be one of the oldest in America. It was first introduced to Europe by famous colonizer Christopher Columbus.

Chihuahuas are typically very loyal and devoted to their owners, but they are generally one or two-person dogs. They can be devoted to the point of jealousy and may bite or snip at individuals who come too close to their owner. They are very temperamental and are not known to be particularly child-friendly. Because they do not usually like strangers, they bark often and can serve effectively as alert-style “watch dogs.”

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Passing Percentage
46 32 14 69.6%
Dachshunds have strong hunting instincts, so those with small pets like rats or hamsters may want to consider another breed.
Dachshunds have strong hunting instincts, so those with small pets like rats or hamsters may want to consider another breed.Public Domain Pictures

2. Dachshund (Standard Smooth)

The Dachshund is categorized as a member of the “hound” group by the AKC. Ranging in size from around 8 to 32 pounds, they can have long or short hair of just about any natural color.

They originated in Germany in the 17th century and were used primarily to hunt badgers. By the end of World War I, they were on the verge of extinction, but populations have since recovered, and they are now one of the most popular dogs in America.

Read Also :   Should Snakes be Kept as Pets?

The Dachshund is susceptible to “small dog syndrome,” which basically means that it often tries to make up for its small size with a large attitude. This can lead to a variety of behavioral issues. If socialized at an early age, they can do well with children, but they do not enjoy rough play. Take caution with small pets, such as mice, rats, and hamsters, as Dachshunds have a strong hunting instinct toward this type of animal.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Passing Percentage
48 33 15 68.8%
Chow Chows tend to be dominant and assertive, so first-time owners may encounter training difficulties.
Chow Chows tend to be dominant and assertive, so first-time owners may encounter training difficulties.Flickr: Llima Orosa

3. Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is listed as a medium-sized dog in the “non-sporting” group by the AKC. They typically weigh between 45 and 70 pounds and have long, thick coats that can come in red, black, blue, cream, or cinnamon colors.

The exact origin of the Chow Chow is unknown, but it is believed that they originated thousands of years ago in either China or Mongolia where they were most often used as hunting and herding dogs. They became popular in the U.S. during the 20th century when President Calvin Coolidge kept one as a pet.

Chow Chows tend to have dominant personalities and can become assertive at times. Because of their assertiveness, they are not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Strong guidance and firm training are required in order to raise a well-mannered Chow Chow. It has also been noted that they do not have good peripheral vision, so they can be startled easily.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
99 71 28 71.7%
Doberman Pinschers are highly intelligent and very protective of their owners.
Doberman Pinschers are highly intelligent and very protective of their owners.Pixabay: Patstatic

4. Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is listed by the AKC as a medium-sized dog in the “working” group. They range in size from around 70 to 90 pounds and have thick, glossy, short-haired coats that come in red, black, blue, or fawn colors.

A man by the name of Karl Louis Doberman is credited with developing this German breed. He worked as a tax collector and wanted a dog that he could take with him for protection on his visits to the more dangerous areas to which he traveled.

Dobermans are very intelligent and have been widely used as guard dogs and for police work. They have a very strong, protective instinct towards their masters, but if raised with strong leadership and good owners, they can get along with children as well as other dogs.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
1,733 1,371 359 79.1%
Dalmatians have a lot of energy, so they require a lot of exercise and play.
Dalmatians have a lot of energy, so they require a lot of exercise and play.Flickr: Maja Dumat

5. Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is listed by the AKC as a medium-sized dog in the “working” group. They range in size from around 45 to 60 pounds and have short, dense, glossy coats that are white with either black or brown spots.

The exact origin of the Dalmatian has not been confirmed. Similar dogs are depicted running behind chariots in paintings found on the walls of some Egyptian tombs. Since the late 18th century, they have been used as carriage dogs to guard passengers and cargo.

Dalmatians need to be socialized at an early age. They are good with children, but if not given enough attention by their owner, they can develop behavioral issues.
They are very energetic dogs and require frequent opportunities to release some of this energy through exercise and play.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
358 291 59 81.3%
Rottweilers tend to be somewhat aloof and may not get along well with strangers.
Rottweilers tend to be somewhat aloof and may not get along well with strangers.Wikipedia

6. Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is listed as a large-sized dog in the “working” group. They can range in size from around 85 to 130 pounds and are short-haired with straight, dense coats that are usually black with rust or mahogany markings.

The Rottweiler gets its name from the small town of Rottweil in Germany. It was first known as the “Rottweil butcher’s dog,” but the name was later shortened to Rottweiler. In their earlier days, they were used for cattle herding and bear hunting, among other things. Later on, they became popular in the U.S. as guard dogs, and many worked with the army and police forces.

Read Also :   Caring For Your Cat With CBD Treats

Rottweilers can be rather aloof and do not usually get along with strangers easily. They are very loyal and protective of their owners, and they tend to defend their home areas. They are normally good-natured with children, but because of their size and energy level, they are not recommended for families with infants or toddlers.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
5,866 4,954 915 84.5%
Jack Russell Terriers are stubborn and energetic, so they may not be the best choice for families with small children.
Jack Russell Terriers are stubborn and energetic, so they may not be the best choice for families with small children.Pixabay: Alexas Fotas

7. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier breed is not recognized by the AKC due to opposition from the breed’s parent society, the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA). This has resulted in the recognition of the Parson Russell Terrier instead. The Jack Russell terrier and Parson Terrier are basically the same breed, but there are some minor differences.

Jack Russells are small-sized dogs that range in size from around 14 to 18 pounds and are predominantly white in color with black or tan markings. Their coats can be short-haired, long-haired, or broken. The term “broken” refers to coats that feature both long and short hair.

Jack Russells originated in England where they were primarily used for fox hunting, but they have also been used in groundhog and badger hunting.

Russell Terriers tend to be very energetic and stubborn dogs. They have little patience and are not known to be very tolerant of children. Most experts recommend that families with young children choose another breed, especially if they are first-time dog owners.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
68 58 10 85.3%
German Shepherds are very popular in the U.S. and frequently work as police or rescue animals.
German Shepherds are very popular in the U.S. and frequently work as police or rescue animals.Nigel Tadyanehondo via Unsplash

8. German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a medium-sized breed included in the “herding” group by the AKC. They range in size from around 70 to 85 pounds and typically have a mix of brown, gray, black, and tan fur.

The breed originated in Karlsruhe, Germany, in the 1800s. During World War I, they were used as military dogs by both the German and French armed forces. They are a very intelligent breed and were the first to be used as guide dogs for the blind. They are also used in search-and-rescue teams and frequently serve as police and narcotic dogs.

The German Shepherd has become one of the most popular dogs in America. They tend not to like strangers, so they make good guard dogs. Despite appearing on many “aggressive dogs” lists, everything I have read and experienced tells me that they are good with children. As long as they are not trained as guard dogs, I personally do not view German Shepherds as an “aggressive” breed.

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
3,318 2,827 494 85.2%
American Pit Bull Terriers tend to get a bad reputation, but if properly socialized and trained, they can make great pets.
American Pit Bull Terriers tend to get a bad reputation, but if properly socialized and trained, they can make great pets.Wikipedia

9. American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier, also known as the American Pit Bull Terrier,
is a medium-sized dog included in the “terrier” group that usually weighs from around 55 to 65 pounds.

They originated in the Staffordshire region of England, hence the name. The first strain of this breed was designed for use as guard dogs and for dogfighting, so they were bred to have stronger, stockier frames. When the breed was brought to America and dogfighting was banned, a second strain of this breed developed. This new variation was more mild-mannered and smaller-framed. Known as the American Pit Bull, this newer strain of pit bull is very loyal and protective of its owner and family.

They are also known for being very good and patient with children, but if you are uncertain about a pit bull’s pedigree, do a background check before you choose it as a family pet.

Temperament Test Results

  Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
American Pit Bull Terrier 913 798 115 87.4%
American Staffordshire Terrier 716 610 106 85.2%
Siberian Huskies may be territorial and don't always get along with other pets.
Siberian Huskies may be territorial and don’t always get along with other pets.Claire Brear via Unsplash

10. Siberian Husky

The Siberian husky is a medium-sized dog listed in the “working” group by the AKC.
They range in size from around 35 to 70 pounds and have medium-length hair and a double coat. Their colors are red and white, black and white, gray and white, or silver.

Read Also :   Why Are My Dog's Eyes Red and Inflamed? Expert Advice

They originated in Siberia, where they were used to pull sleds over long distances in cold climates. They have also been used as rescue dogs.

Through my research—and my experience owning four Siberian huskies—I cannot find definitive studies that prove huskies have aggressive personalities, but they have appeared on many lists of aggressive dogs, which is why they are on this one. From my experience, huskies do tend to be territorial and do not always get along well with other dogs, but they are usually good with children.

If you plan to adopt a husky, I recommend this interesting and informative book. It will give you the real ins and outs of owning a Siberian Husky. They are definitely a high-personality dog breed, and they are also my personal favorite!

Temperament Test Results

Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
304 264 40 86.8%

Understanding the Results of the Temperament Test

I would take the percentages provided by the American Temperament Test Society with a grain of salt because the number of dogs tested per breed is not the same. For example, when conducting the aggression test on the Rottweiler breed, over 5,000 Rottweilers were tested, while only 46 Chihuahuas were put through the same test. Since the sample sizes differ dramatically, the resulting percentages may not fully represent each breed’s aggression levels.

How the Test Is Conducted

According to the ATTS, the test “focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat.”

The test simulates a walk through the neighborhood where the dog encounters neutral, friendly, and threatening situations. A series of strangers approach the handler, and surprising noises are emitted from secret locations. The test’s goal is to examine how the dog reacts to people, noises, and its surrounding environment.

How the Passing Rate Is Determined

The percentage listed under each breed indicates the number of dogs that passed the temperament test divided by the total number of dogs tested for that breed. 46 Chihuahuas were tested and 14 failed, so the passing percentage for Chihuahuas is the number of dogs that passed (32) divided by the total number tested (46), or 69.9 percent.

Failure is determined when a dog shows any signs of the following:

  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Panic without recovery
  • Strong avoidance

Potential Shortcomings to Consider

  • Because “strong avoidance” is considered a failure, the ATTS test may not accurately isolate the trait of aggression alone.
  • The number of dogs tested per breed varies greatly, so the sample size isn’t consistent throughout the study. The passing rates of breeds that had larger sample sizes tested may be more reliable than the passing rates of breeds that had only relatively small samples tested.

What Is the Most Dangerous Dog Breed?

There are many dog trainers who, when asked what the most aggressive dog is, will not respond with a specific breed. Celebrity dog behaviorist Cesar Milan is one such opponent of breed-labeling. Milan strongly believes that “the most dangerous dog in the world is the one that has been made that way by a human.”

His view reflects the importance of seeking out the truth beyond mere numbers and statistics. Anyone who has owned a pit bull—a breed that has become notorious for viciousness—can attest to the pit bull’s gentle, if not overly affectionate behavior when it is raised with love and care by its owners.

Dogs are a reflection of their family environment and training. So if a certain breed is commonly considered to have an “aggressive” personality, this could point to the type of person who tends to own that specific breed (e.g., German Shepherds are often owned by people who train them to protect property, hence their hostile behavior towards strangers).

The Takeaway: No Breed Is Inherently Vicious

I compiled the information in this article from a variety of sources and personal experience. Just because a certain breed has landed on this list does not mean it would not make a good family pet given the right owners and training.

Because training (or lack of training) and how a dog was previously treated can make a huge difference in its personality, doing some type of background check on an animal before adopting it is always a good idea.

Source

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here