Top 20 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

When a family decides to get a new puppy, some things are more important than others. One of the most important considerations is which breeds aren’t suitable for having children in the home.

In such situations, it is best to steer clear of these more aggressive breeds. Reports blaming largerbreeds abound,but what about the smaller ones? Are they aggressive too? Indeed, smaller can be dangerous also.

Aside from which breeds are more aggressive, it is equally importantto know why dogs become aggressive. Whether due to territorial defensiveness, protectiveness, fear, or social anxiety, a dog might begin:

  • Biting
  • Barking
  • Snarling
  • Lunging

Such behaviors are deemed to be aggressive. Below, we list the breeds that are more likely to behave in such a manner:


If you’re surprised to find this dog here, you shouldn’t be! The smallest dog in the world may be the least child-friendly of them all. Even though this toy breed doesn’t weigh more than 4 to 6 pounds, Chihuahuas don’t take to strangers. So, if they see children they don’t know, they could become aggressive towards them.

Another personality trait that makes chihuahuas poorly suited for families with kids is their possessiveness. Because of this, this pint-sized pup might bite or snip at children. Chihuahuas are usually happier as one or two-person dogs.

Pit Bull

This breed might be the proverbial elephant in the room forthe most aggressive dog breeds. But here are some points for you to consider. Firstly, there’s NO pit bull breed. Instead, that’s what people erroneously call the individuals of several breeds:

Secondly, it is true that once these pooches sink their teeth in, it is extremely difficult to make them let them go. They oftenshake their prey violently, andsuch an attack can result in serious injuries. However, what many news pieces don’t show are the triggers behind a pit bull’s aggression.

Did something scare them or make them feel threatened? Were they never trained or socialized? Many factors contribute to whether a pit bulls make a good family pet or not. The truth is, they can be wonderfully devoted, loving, and gentle with kids.

Wolf Hybrid

More often than not, a grey wolf parent breeds with a dog to produce this ferocious-looking canine. Given their genetic makeup, a Wolf Hybrid can be unpredictable.

A Wolf Hybrid may consider smaller pets prey and hunt them. Moreover, if you don’t have experience handling independent and demanding dogs like this, you should not own a Wolf Hybrid.

American Staffordshire Terrier

The nameAmstaff also refers to the American Staffordshire Terrier. These canines are strong and muscular. Maintaining its shape requires daily exercise. Ideally, a house that has a large yard would allow them to run around freely. A bored Amstaff with no energy outlet can become destructive. They will chew anything they can gettheir teeth around, usually destroying it.

Normally, the American Staffordshire Terrier isn’t an aggressive dog. However, they were bred to fight and could turn those instincts against your other pets, your kids, and even you, especially when neglected. If you’re going to leave them tied up or alone for hours, then don’t get an Amstaff. They don’t do well in such conditions.

Cane Corso

One look at this graceful and ferocious-looking dog speaks volumes. They are the descendants of Canis pugnax, the Roman warfare dog breed. They were bred to look intimidating and be aggressive.

That’s not to suggest that they can’t be good companions, but you should only adopt a Cane Corso if you’re confident you can handle a large, strong-willed dog.


The muscular Rottweiler requires space to exercise. Like the pit bull, these dogs are behind many US fatalities, but they aren’t all-evil, biting beasts. Instead, dog-lovers find them to be intelligent enough to first study their environment before responding to it. Additionally, rottweilers are also loyal.

A Rottweiler’s territorial nature can make them behave roughly with other dogs. Inside the home, too, they will want to assert their dominance. However,they do make up for these shortcomings by being highly trainable. When they receive early and proper obedience and socialization training, rottweilers can control their territoriality impulses.

Another thing that makes a difference is how you treat the rottweiler you have adopted. Show them love and affection, and these mutts will turn into silly, playful companions. They also make great service animals and display friendliness towards people.

German Shepherd

Wildly popular, this breed is a beautiful and powerful dog. Additionally, German Shepherds are agile and smart, making them a perfect fit for the military and police forces. Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t suited for family life. Because their fierce loyalty ensures they will guard their loved ones with their lives. As working dogs, they are highly trainable and can learn many tasks.

One caveat you will find about adopting a German Shepherd is that they can and do bite. So training for both you and your GS are a requisite. Other undesirable behavioral traits include territoriality, which can progress towards aggression. Socialization is a tool used to address that issue. Finally, not getting enough exercise to vent pent-up energy can also make them act aggressively. Keep your German Shepherd busy, and they will be much less likely to act up.

Doberman Pinscher

Amongst the canine kingdom’s most aggressive dog breeds is the Doberman Pinscher. But does that mean they won’t be good family pets? On the contrary, the Pinscher loves being around people. They will miss you so much that you shouldn’t leave them on their own for hours and hours!

These intelligent and alert mutts prove to be excellent guard dogs. Since their original purpose was to provide personal security, Dobermansdon’ttake kindly to strangers. Their impressive 24-28″ stature and appearance is a good deterrent to those who would cause harm.

Dobermans, like others on this list, need an outlet for their energy to stay balanced. So, keep them well-exercised. Dobies also take well to obedience and socialization training.

Shar Pei

A rare, wrinkled-coated Chinese breed, Shar Peis are usually wary of strangers. They are short and not overlypopular as companion canines. Instead, Shar Peis were commonly seen in the dog-fighting rings in China! Since winning mattered in those circles, aggression was part of their makeup. That same trait is now a part of the subsequent generations.Shar Peisbenefit from kind and consistent training.

Undoubtedly, these are strong-willed and independent canines. Hence, if you want them to do well with you, you must be patient and get them the socialization training they need for life in polite society!

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is readily recognizable because of its plume of a tail, erect ears, and substantial bone structure. It is equally easy to see why they prove to be such immensely powerful and heavy-duty workers. Besides those characteristics, their wolf-likeappearance and aggression towards other dogs can warn away dog-lovers.

What you’re missing out on is how playful and loyal they are. Generally, these are not dogs that attack first,and they are careful around people they don’t know. Moreover, they are children-friendly and love spending time with their forever-home family. Try not to leave your Malamute alone for too long, though. They can become anxious!

Akita Inu

Truthfully, we won’t be wrong in claiming that Akita Inus are a big deal in the land of their origin. In Japan, they are a symbol ofroyalty as well as the national breed. The Japenese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, gifts Akitas to people of import. He gave one to the Olympic gold medalist, Alina Zagitova with another findinga home with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Akitas take their guard dog duties seriously. Since they don’t warm up to strangers, they can seem aloof. They can attack in defenseif they perceive a newcomer to be dangerous. With their weight andsize, an Akita has the potential to do serious damage. That’s why they are fearsome as guard dogs — second only to the fighting dog breed, TosaInu.

Other than providing world-class protection, an Akita Inu will win your heart with its confident and independent nature. Get an Akita only if you are okay dealing with stubborn dogs who know their minds.


They make every pound count when it comes to Boxers! It is that very quality that makes them so dangerous. Aside from that, the impulse to dominate and cow other dogs, especially same-sex ones, can make them aggressive. Additionally, boxers have a lot of energy and hunting instincts that make them act this way.

Mostly, though, they don’t act in that manner towards humans. It’s just in their nature. Their owners will even tell you how friendly, cheerful, and playful the Boxer is. Even so, many boxer-instigated attacks involve children. That’s because children don’t know how to avoid antagonizing them. Respecting this active and muscular breed is crucial for safety. Without that precaution, boxers can cause fatalities!

What’s more, a bad owner can bring out the instincts bred into Boxers. Formerly produced to hunt game and win dog fights, these canines don’t know when to stop.


To you, the Dachsund might appear adorable. However, they were bred to go after burrowing animals as large and aggressive as badgers.

They often try to make up for their small size with a large attitude. Many owners think their Dachsund or chihuahua looks cute in a threatening pose. Therefore, they end up encouraging aggressive behavior. The resulting canine thinks they rule the roost. So, anything that isn’t okay with them can prompt them to demonstrate aggressive behavior.

Early socialization and training are effective tools to combat these displays of aggression.With that, Dachsundscando well with children too. Even then, we’d advise that you educate your childrennot toplay roughly with these dogs.

Another area where you should be cautious concerns small pets. These creatures are prey to Dachshunds and can trigger their strong hunting instinct:

  • Mice
  • Hamsters
  • Rats


But they look so wholesome is what many think when they see Dalmations on our list. After all, the Disney version didn’t seem at all threatening. We understand, but there’s something you might not know about Dalmatians.

Historically, Dalmationswerebred as guard dogs. They need thorough training and socialization to be the best companion dog they can be. Give them that, and they can become children-friendly!

Additionally, Dalmatians need a lot of attention. If you deny them this, they might develop behavioral problems. Finally, provide these energetic dogs with a good place to shed excess energy through exercise.

Chow Chow

Despite their Teddy Bear looks, the Chow Chow was bred to be a truly aggressive dog.

Your Chow Chow won’t like being around strangers. In addition to that, they won’t suffer other dogs, either. They also have a high prey drive that can translate into aggression too. Other than that, these dogs don’t have good peripheral visions. Therefore, startle them — and they can defend themselves!

Simply put, your Chow Chow will require the right training protocol — and that too, at an early age. Strong guidance will bring out the mild-mannered pup that hides within this leonine breed. Lots of love and order produce a calm and well-adjusted Chow Chow.

Cocker Spaniel

Two different breeds are collectively known as Cocker Spaniels:

  • The American Cocker Spaniel
  • The English Cocker Spaniel

Any dog-lover would recognize this breed immediately. These dogs have those sad puppy dog eyes that make them so memorable. Aside from their cuteness, some Cocker Spaniels also come with a genetic rage syndrome, causing the placid, mopey dog to lash out for seemingly no reason at all and then return to their original, mopey selves.

These spaniels were bred as hunters, so they have a strong sense of smell.


Pekingese aren’t a good choice for a house full of kids. They won’t be suitable for you if you frequently have people over, either. Pekingese are impulsive, for one. And they also have a sensitive temperament. Of course, it would seem only fitting if you knew their original purpose.

The Chinese Imperial family was the only one who could own a dog of this breed. Hence, throughout the centuries, the Pekingese led pampered lives as lapdogs of the royalty. That’s why they easily give in to their aggressive tendencies, particularly, small dog syndrome.

Owners who don’t get their Pekingese properly trained soon learn the price of their mistake. These dogs can become jealous and act out too. Therefore, leniency and absence of training spell disaster!


To sharp-eyed dog enthusiasts, the much smaller Beagle would look similar to a foxhound. The former developed primarily for hunting hare and are scent hounds. That means they not only possess a good sense of smell; they will also follow the drive and indulge in this behavior whenever they smell something interesting.

Other traits that make Beagles not well-suited to home living are their excitable and impetuous natures. Even if you provide them with good quality training, controlling your pet can become difficult in strange environments. Should they get loose, any scents that captivate them could get a Beagle to follow. Soon, they’d be out of your reach. In an unfamiliar setting, a stressed-out dog of this breed might lash out and even bite.

But why else are these medium-sized dogs on the list for most aggressive dog breeds? Beagles are difficult to train. They prefer to focus on scents, and that distraction can cause them to forget their training. Untrained/ill-trained Beagles can also become possessive. So, if you attempt to take something away from them, they may lash out. Possessiveness is how a Beagle displays dominance.

Fila Brasileiro

The Fila Brasileiro, or Brazilian Mastiff, is a large herding dog breed. Back in the land of their origin, i.e., Brazil, they would act as guard dogs. Even then, they required handling by experienced owners. That’s because the Brazilian Mastiff can become aggressive and act protectively. So much so that inexperienced dog owners might find it almost impossible to control them. When Brazilian Mastiff attacks, the result can easily be fatal!

These dogs are excellent at guarding. Their nature makes them suspicious, and they can become downright hostile to strangers. However, that doesn’t mean we should overlook the great qualities that a Brazilian Mastiff encompasses.

For instance, these dogs are intensely loyal. And when they get proper training, they learn how to channel the aggression into defending their owners. Additionally, older Brazilian Mastiffs are harder to train. Therefore, we’d advise you to take them for temperament training at a younger age.

Moreover, a comparative study courtesy of the Brazilian army showed that Brazilian Mastiffs were better than the Doberman Pinscher and German Shepherd dog breeds. The five-year-long research report found the Mastiffs to be superior in the following aspects:

  • Sensibility
  • Temperamental fitness
  • Level of energy
  • Strength
  • Resistance
  • Rustic quality

Their intelligence quotient was just below that of the German Shepherd. On the other hand, the level of aggression in Brazilian Mastiffs came after that of the Doberman Pinscher.

Related Questions

Is my dog dangerous, or is it aggressive? Do the two things refer to the same trait?

They don’t. Even though many incidents report the damage a dog causes, they label it simultaneously dangerous and aggressive. But here’s the thing: you cannot always compare these two traits. The small dog syndrome makes it more likely for a small-sized canine to possess more aggressive tendencies. However, you will rarely see them on the news, or lists of most aggressive dog breeds. Why is that?

It’s because the larger breeds can cause more damage. Just look at the heft of dogs like:

  • Wolf Hybrids
  • Pit bulls
  • Akita Inus
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Dobermans

In other words, they are more dangerous, sure. But calling them more aggressive isn’t right, especially when a chihuahua or a Pekingese can behave as violently as the other larger dogs, frankly, it is downright unfair! That’s why our list has dogs of all sizes.

The dogs who cause damage most likely do so because of their ancestry, size, and strength. These dogs were bred to be workers, hunters, and baiters. Aggression was deliberately encouraged to get these dogs to perform their specific task better.

What makes a dog aggressive? Does their breed determine the aggression trait?

To a certain extent, a dog’s breed does make aggressive displays more likely. Although, it doesn’t mean what you think it does. Breeders influence the genetic makeup of canines. Depending on its use, a dog is bred to be more aggressive, strong, docile, and so on. For instance, pit bulls were originally meant for fighting rings. Therefore, breeders chose the lines that were most likely to win fights — and survive.

Besides their hereditary, there is something else you should consider when adopting. Say a dog experiences extended periods of abuse, neglect, or poor training. Do you think they would make stable pets? Will they respond to the surroundings in the same way as well-loved pooches?

Therefore, check if your pooch-to-be has a history where:

  • They could indulge in bad behavior and their owners didn’t correct them.
  • The dog had to resort to violence to protect themselves from abuse.
  • Owners starved them, resulting in developing aggressive behaviors.
  • The absence of proper socialization training makes them unable to interact with other animals.

Are there any other factors responsible for a dog’s aggressive episode?

Surprisingly, many such incidents won’t even occur if the owner — or their children — didn’t push the dog! You might know how to handle canines. But does your child learn as well? It is critical to teach kids that the following behaviors are unacceptable when it comes to any dog:

  • Hitting
  • Punching
  • Pulling tails
  • Riding
  • Direct eye contact
  • Full-frontal facing

Anything that harms the dog or makes them uncomfortable should be off the table! For instance, take the last type of behavior, i.e., direct eye contact. To a canine, that feels like a challenge, which is why they might act out. In short, don’t let the babies treat your fur baby like their personal jungle gym. Instead, educate them about respect.


In conclusion, if you ask us about the most dangerous dog breed in the world, we’d say there’s none. There are, however, bad owners. Not providing your dogwith the right kind of training at the age when they need it is just one sign of bad ownership!

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