START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good

The 3 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds May Surprise You

The 3 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds May Surprise You

A lot of Care2 readers already know that some bigger dogs, like Pit Bulls, are misunderstood and unfairly labeled as aggressive breeds. So what are the most aggressive dog breeds? I came across a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science a few years ago, and the answer surprised me.

The most aggressive breed, the study found, was the Dachshund. The researchers discovered that that one in five have bit or attempted to bite a stranger, and one in twelve have lashed out at their owners. Chihuahuas were in second place, and Jack Russells were the third most aggressive breed. Up to 30 percent of these smaller breeds have bit or attempted to bite unfamiliar dogs.

Surprised? One of the study’s researchers thinks that bigger dogs were thought to be more aggressive because past research looked at bite statistics—but most bites are not reported. Bigger dogs have bigger bites, which makes it more likely that those–not Dachshund bites—are the ones being medically treated and therefore reported. This study, however, surveyed 6,000 dog owners instead.

The least aggressive breeds included Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Siberian Huskies, and Greyhounds. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers scored about average to below average in the study.

Pit Bull Hero Blocks Owner’s Attacker

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Pets

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.


+ add your own
6:53AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

The problem with pit bulls and the like is that they bit and hang on! They are dangerous for that reason. You'd need a hammer to break their bite. So I don't agree with you dog breed laws.

7:28AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

There is a very simple reason WHY these small dogs are so damned dangerous and agressive, and it is the same reason that any dog gets that way - bad owners. Idiots who let their dog think it is the leader of the pack as they see it as harmless in such a small dog, and who do not give any form of discipline when the dog displays aggressive behaviours.
The vast majority of people who by these small breeds do so because they dont want to handle the responsibility of a dog, and it just isnt good enough - we need to be telling them that small dogs need every bit as much discipline and training as large dogs, and if it wouldn't be ok from a rotty, it isnt ok for a foxy!
A foxy can be a great dog, with proper training, just like any dog. But most of the foxys out there (they are astoundingly common in Australia) have just received absolutely no training or discipline and are outright dangerous - even left loose to come out and attack my large dogs as we walk, and I know which dog would get the blame, thankfully my dogs ARE trained.

5:40AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

A. Anteater - I'm sorry to disagree with you but I've done some extenisve research since your post and spoken to a number of ants, including black, red and green ones, and my Aunt Sally. They all assure me that Anteaters are extremely aggressive though I must admit my Aunt Sally was a little reluctant to go that far but she did say you were fairly useful when she had problems with Ants eating the jam. May I respectfully suggest that you check your facts?

4:18AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

we anteaters aren't aggressive

4:02AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

From my long-ago experiences having a paper round, the two dachshunds on my route were indeed the most aggressive, with one particular Yorkie the next (but the most dangerous because that house had a Yorkie-level letter box). I'm sure they were all delightful family pets, though.

7:34PM PST on Feb 24, 2014

Cats are less trouble

5:18PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

"Dogs are dogs and that's all" - Mary Jane, I recognise that you say this because you just love dogs, regardless and that's great. Most of my friends have also been from the pound or ones no longer wanted by their owners for whatever reason and, certainly, "Heinz 57" dogs can be as loving and caring and beautiful as the best pedigree animal. In fact, in many cases, mongrels are incredibly hardy dogs.

At the same time, I think it *is* important to recognise that there are differences in dog breeds and that each breed has particular characteristics. Many a dog is rejected and ends up with you or I or others who choose to adopt, precisely because the original owners didn't take the time and effort to understand what sort of animal they were taking on. Many a German Shepherd or Old English Sheepdog has found its way to the pound because the cute little playful puppy turned out to be a large, hungry and headstrong animal requiring skill, patience and more than a little expenditure to maintain.

So, yes, I applaud your adopting and giving otherwise unwanted animals a loving home - but let's also encourage other potential owners to think carefully about breed characteristics and to select an animal that suits their life-style, environment and hip pocket. :-)

2:10PM PST on Feb 23, 2014

Thank you.

9:27AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

I have a labrador mix, a rottweiller mix, and a stratfordshire mix. From the three of them, most people would be likely to say that the stratfordshire mix is supposedly the most aggressive. Although all three are very gentle, if there is any threat, the lab mix is certainly the one who will take a stand... first. Actually I don't see dogs as a breed; mine are mix because they just happen to be; they are all rescues; for me, dogs are dogs and that's it! This is a compliment to them, by the way!

9:10AM PST on Feb 23, 2014

@EwelinaG. Your comment that "looking at all comments here it only shows how noone understands sad...." is both unwarranted and wrong.

If you were to read the posts here from the start you would see that there have been many clearly competent and worthwhile comments on this article - most of them far more intelligible than your own.

You also write: "ok, now this is one dumb article.." which is again both unwarranted, uninformed and wrong. If you disagree with the article it is possible to make your case with rational argument without resorting to abuse.

Had you applied some degree of fairness and understanding to your appraisal of the article before launching into your abuse of it, you would have discovered answers to the questions you raised - albeit, I assume, rhetorically - for it is clear that you already believe that you have all the answers. For instance: "The study involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania as well as 6,000 dog owners. The number one aggressive breed out of the 33 dogs surveyed? The Dachshund. Yes – the wiener dog. The study found that “one in five dachshunds have bitten or tried to bite strangers, and a similar number have attacked other dogs; one in 12 have snapped at their owners.”

I would seriously suggest that you learn to read intelligently before you decide to criticise and then, if you do criticise, do that intelligently. Your current posts only display your ignorance.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Good tips. Sexuality, birth control and responsibility must be discussed honestly and candidly.

Some municipalities won't allow people to remove stuff from dumps, due to health regulations. Freecy…

Wow. Great idea to try eliminating dairy. I don't drink milk, but I do eat a lot of yogurt and chees…

Very different idea for a fundraiser lol

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.