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.

Image credit: fionamcallisterphotography via Flickr

Related:
13 Friendliest Dog Breeds
10 Rules Every Kid Should Know to Avoid Dog Bites

The Real History of Pit Bulls

630 comments

Bayla D.
Bayla D.yesterday

We, in veterinarian medicine, behind the scenes (of course!) call them *the Lil Landsharks*. I've never been bitten by a dog over 35lbs. Some dogs are born to be bad no matter training or home environment.

Rosslyn O.
Rosslyn O.7 days ago

Working with vets and in animal shelters, I have to agree that the smaller they are they seem to have that 'inferiority complex attitude' and so they react by showing aggression or barking. Rather like a moth who have large eyes on its wings to make it 'look bigger' and dangerous. Poodles of the small and medium size, were up in the snappy dogs as well, but I personally feel that they felt tormented by the way humans shave them to embarrassment. :>) Bassenji dogs can be a bit growly, but we never had any actually bite. As for the larger breeds they had nothing to prove and were gentle and more accommodating. But fear is a big issue with all dogs of any type, and this can change a situation very fast. They are so sensitive to pick up on other dogs and humans fears that will then put them 'on alert' no matter how normally passive they are. Thanks for the article.

Anne maclean
Anne maclean13 days ago

The most aggressive dogs I have known are male black Labradors and Dalmations. I've been walking my dogs for 40 years and while I agree that a lot of a dog's behaviour is down to th eir training and the way they are treated, I have met a lot of Jack Russell's and they have all been adorable and good with my dogs. Dalmations and male black Labs have been very Alpha and my dogs have been viciously attacked by both breeds. Yet these breeds are usually wonderful with their families. If puppies are well socialised they should be friendly to other dogs. There were 2 separate Dalmation owners who started walking in the woods where I go. These woods are busy and these 2 people have now stopped walking there because every time their dogs met other dogs they would attack. Also a woman with a 4 month old Dalmation puppy ended up giving him away because she couldn't cope with his aggression.
I don't want to upset people with these breeds and this has just been our experience. I don't know whether it's because there has been no control over the breeding and I know little dog's can be nippy and yappy but so can big dogs. I have had rescue dogs and have lived with Golden Retrievers and have one now and he is a big, soft lump who has had vicious attacks by the 2 breeds I've mentioned. Now he tends to hide behind me if we meet any of them unless they get him first. Again, as I've said, these dogs are lovely with humans and I suppose they are defending their families but it doesn't make for a

Fi T.
Fi T.14 days ago

No dog is born to be bad but how it's trained

Christina M.
Christina M.14 days ago

not surprised at all

Joanne p.
Joanne p.16 days ago

ty

Elaine W.
Elaine W.17 days ago

Smaller dogs might feel more easily threatened.

Valentina R.
Valentina R.18 days ago

Not a surprise to me. Small dogs can be nasty. BTW, I know several Golden and Labrador Retrievers that are not between the "least aggressive" dogs at all.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen18 days ago

Thank you

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen18 days ago

Thank you