Top 20 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

When a family decides to get a new puppy, they must consider certain things first. One of the most important considerations is which breeds wouldn’t be suitable with children around.

In such situations, it is best to steer clear of the most aggressive dog breeds. The trouble is that reports blaming the bigger sized mutts are readily available. An internet search will show you which pooches to avoid. But what about the smaller sized breeds? Are they never aggressive? Indeed, the fun-sized canine options can be dangerous too.

Aside from that, it is equally essential to know what dog aggression actually is. Whether due to territorial defensiveness, protectiveness, fear or social anxiety, a dog might begin:

  • Biting
  • Barking
  • Snarling
  • Lunging

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

10 Most Aggressive Dogs in the World

Chihuahua

Surprised to find this dog here? You shouldn’t be! After all, the smallest pooch in the world may be the least child-friendly of them all. Even though these toy canines don’t weigh more than 4 to 6 pounds, chihuahuas don’t take to strangers. So, if they see a kid they don’t know, they might become aggressive towards them.

Another personality trait that makes chihuahuas poorly suited for families with kids is their streak of jealousy. It is but loyalty that makes them act like that. Under its influence, this pint-sized pooch might bite or snip at children. In other words, chihuahuas are happier as one or two-person dogs.

Pit Bull

This breed might be the proverbial elephant in the room case when it comes to 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, such as the:

Secondly, it is indeed true that once these pooches sink their teeth in, it is extremely difficult to make them let them go. They will shake their prey senseless. Hence, such an attack can result in various catastrophic injuries. However, what many news pieces don’t show are the triggers behind a pit bull’s aggression.

Had something scared them? Did they feel threatened? Were they never trained and thus cannot socialize? And so on. All these things can determine if pit bulls make good family pets or not. Because 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. Understandably, given their genetic makeup, a Wolf Hybrid can act in an unpredictable way.

For instance, your smaller pets would keep disappearing. Essentially, the Hybrid would consider them prey. Its prey drive will force it to hunt them down. Moreover, if you don’t have experience handling dominating pups, you wouldn’t be able to manage a Wolf Hybrid.

American Staffordshire Terrier

This breed has another name attached to it. You’ll the epithet Amstaff also refers to the American Staffordshire Terrier. As you can see, these canines are strong and muscular. Maintaining their shape would require daily exercise. Ideally, a house that has a large yard would allow them to run around freely. When the energy that is innately a part of the Amstaff doesn’t dissipate, they become destructive. Specifically, they will chew to bits anything they can fasten their teeth around.

Normally, the American Staffordshire Terrier isn’t an aggressive dog. However, consider why they were originally bred, i.e., to fight. Therefore, they can turn those instincts against your other pets, your kids, and even you. Mostly, though, that happens due to neglect. If you’re going to leave the mutt tied up or alone for hours, then don’t get an Amstaff. They don’t do well with such neglect because they love their humans and enjoy your company.

Cane Corso

One peek at this graceful and ferocious-looking beast should be convincing enough. Many people would label the Cane Corso as an aggressive dog. However, it is unfair to not revisit their ancestry and understand the behavior. They are the descendants of Canis pugnax, the Roman warfare dog breed.

Even then, that isn’t something expert training cannot reshape. In short, only adopt a Cane Corso if you’re confident you can handle a strong-willed pooch like it.

Rottweiler

Another muscular breed, the Rottweiler also fares better when living next to a large space where they can exercise those muscles. Like the pit bull, these mutts are behind many fatalities in the US. And just like the other breed, 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.

Now for the aggression part. A Rottweiler’s territorial nature can make them behave roughly with other dogs. Inside the home, too, they will want to assert their dominance. Although they do make up for these traits with obedience. 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. Love them like you would a pooch 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 known to produce beautiful and powerful specimen. Additionally, they are agile and smart, which is why they are part of militaries 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 different tasks.

The one caveat you will find about adopting a German Shepherd is that they are prone to biting. Again, that is something that a skilled trainer can make them unlearn. Other undesirable behavioural traits include territoriality, which can progress towards aggression. Socialization training solves that issue. Finally, not getting enough exercise and being able to spare pent up energy can also make them act aggressively. Thus, keep your German Shepherd busy and they will be fine.

Doberman Pinscher

Amongst the canine kingdom’s most aggressive dog breeds is that of the Doberman Pinscher. But does that mean they won’t be good family pets? On the contrary, the Pinscher loves being around people. In fact, 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, your Doberman won’t take kindly to strangers and lurkers. Feeling a threat to your safety is usually when their inner aggressive wolfishness comes out. Their impressive 24-28″ stature and appearance would also warn away such wrongdoers.

Aside from that, a Doberman might also act roughly with you when they have the energy to spare. So, keep them well-exercised to avoid such regressive behavior. What’s more, these pooches also take well to obedience and socialization training.

Shar Pei

A rare, wrinkled-coated Chinese breed, the Shar Pei are usually wary of strangers. They are short and not as popular as companion canines. Instead, the Shar Pei were more commonly seen in the dog-fighting rings in China! Since winning mattered in those circles, these dogs were bred for their aggression. That same trait is now a part of the subsequent generations. Therefore, you can expect the Shar Pei to benefit from firm, 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 survival outside the fighting ring!

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 forbidding appearance and aggression towards other dogs can warn away dog-lovers.

What you’re missing out on is how playful and loyal these mutts are. And the fact they generally don’t attack first. Or, that 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 for royalty and the national dog breed. The Japenese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, gifts Akitas to people of import. He gave one to the Olympic gold medalist, Alina Zagitova. Another found a home with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Akitas take their guard dog duties very seriously. Since they don’t warm up to strangers, most of the time, they will display aloofness. Sometimes, though, they can attack defensively if they perceive a newcomer to be dangerous. With the weight, they amass and their size, an Akita Inu, has the potential to dole out much damage. That’s why they are fearsome as guard dogs, — second only to the fighting dog breed, Tosa Inu.

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 fine dealing with stubborn dogs who know their own minds.

Boxer

They make every pound count when it comes to the boxer dogs! 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 their mutt is. Even so, many boxer-instigated attacks involve kids. That’s because children don’t know how to avoid antagonizing these dogs. Respecting this active and muscular breed’s individuals is crucial for safety. Without that precaution, boxers can be the cause of fatalities!

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

Dachsund

To you, the Dachsund might appear adorable. However, they do hide a nature prone to aggression. Wiener dogs, like chihuahuas, struggle with the phenomenon called small dog syndrome.

When a mutt is that small, they will try to make up for their size with a large attitude. Many owners think their Dachsund or chihuahua looks cute in a threatening pose. Therefore, they don’t train their pet to suppress that behavioral trait. The resulting canine thinks they are the alpha of the house. So, anything that isn’t okay with them can prompt them to demonstrate violence. That behavior might even be okay when directed towards strangers. However, it can be dangerous when your Dachsund tries it on you.

Obviously, the solution is to get your mutt into socialization training at an early age. If that occurs, Dachsunds will do well with children too. Even then, we’d advise that you educate your offspring to not get into too much rough play with the pooch.

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

In short, you might feel tempted to treat a Dachshund like your personal lap dog. Don’t give in, though! For a pet that can live in harmony with your family, get your mutt routine training and socialization.

Dalmatian

But they look so wholesome! That would be your first thought on seeing Dalmatians on our list of most aggressive dog breeds. After all, the Disney version didn’t seem at all threatening. We understand, but there’s something you might not know about Dalmatians.

Historically, this breed was produced to act as guard dogs. Consequently, they look at strangers as threats. So, they may be one of the most easily recognizable canines in the world. However, these iconic spots also mean you have a dog that needs thorough training and socialization. Give them that, and they will even 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 where they can lose some of their energy through exercise.

Chow Chow

You could be considering whether to bring this big, fluffy teddy-bear like dog home or not. Here’s the deal about the Chow Chow, though. Their appearance belies their aggressive tendencies. Truthfully, they rank way high up on such lists!

Most rough and violent behavior that these mutts display presents in very predictable ways. For instance, 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; it can translate into aggression too. Other than that, these dogs don’t have good peripheral visions. Therefore, startle them — and it won’t take much to do so — and they can act out!

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 pooches have the saddest puppy dog eyes that make them so memorable. Aside from their cuteness, some Cocker Spaniels also come with a genetic rage syndrome. The said syndrome can make a placid, mopey dog lash out violently. What’s more, they would do it for no reason at all! And once that occurs, they will return to their original, mopey selves.

These pooches were bred to act as hunters, so they have a strong sense of smell.

Pekingese

Pekingese aren’t a good choice if your home is full of kids. They wouldn’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 were the only ones 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, the small dog syndrome.

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

Beagle

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

Other traits that make Beagles not so 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? Well, for starters, even though they don’t weigh a lot, Beagles are difficult to train. They will prefer to focus on scents in an area. The 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 will lash out. Possessiveness is how a Beagle displays its dominance. And correction of this problematic behavior would need to be swift.

Fila Brasileiro

Or the Brazilian Mastiff, this is one large herding dog breed. Back in the land of their origin, i.e., Brazil, these mutts 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 a Brazilian Mastiff attacks, the usual result is fatal!

These dogs are excellent at guarding a premise. Their nature makes them suspicious of lurkers 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, they 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 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 pooch dangerous or is it aggressive? Do the two things refer to the same trait?

They really don’t. Even though many incidents will 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 on 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 won’t be 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 pooches of all sizes.

The dogs who cause damage most likely do so because of their ancestry. 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 their use, a dog could be selectively 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 history, 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? They won’t right?

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.
  • An 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 child — didn’t push a dog! You might know how to handle canines. But does your kid know it as well? It is critical to teach kids that the following behaviors are unacceptable when it comes to pooches:

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

In fact, 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.

Conclusion

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 mutt with the right kind of training at the age when they really need it is just one sign of bad ownership!

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