Aggressive Dog Breeds

There are certain dog breeds that have a reputation for being aggressive.

While any dog can be capable of aggression, some breeds are more likely to exhibit these behaviors. These breeds include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermanns, among others.

Aggressive dog breeds are genetically predisposed to be more territorial and protective of their owners, making them especially dangerous if they feel threatened or perceive a threat.

Here’s the list of the most aggressive dog breed commonly agreed upon by dog trainers and veterinarians.

27. Pit Bull

Image from Darwin’s Pet

Pit Bulls have a reputation that truly precedes. In fact, several reports have shown that it is the most prolific attacker when it comes to dog breed groups and has caused the most deaths related to dog attacks in the last decade. There are even Reddit subthreads dedicated to raising awareness about Pit Bulls’ aggression.

The group includes breeds like American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, all of which are known for their tendency to experience violent outbursts both with and without provocation.

26. Rottweiler

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Rottweilers are working dogs that have been used in the past for everything from herding and hunting to guarding and pulling cargo. They are very intelligent and generally very calm, which makes them awesome pets.

However, they are naturally aggressive and should therefore be handled with the perfect balance of affection and firm authority. Abuse and aggression from owners only fuel their rage-prone sides and make them more dangerous. This is yet another dog that is not for the faint of heart or for beginners.

25. Kangal

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Strictly speaking, the Kangal is nothing more than a gentle giant. They are known for their gentle and friendly personalities and their strong self-control when provoked. However, incidences of aggression are not uncommon, especially if the dog has not been properly socialized or has a traumatic history.

In such cases, this is not a dog you want to be on bad terms with. This is because they are known to have one of the strongest bites when it comes to dogs and can cause a lot of damage with one attack. 

Perhaps the most significant attribute of the Kangal that deserves your attention is its bite force. It claims the strongest bite force among dogs at 743 PSI. Let’s just be thankful that they are not the most aggressive dog breeds.

24. Dachshund

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This is yet another small dog breed that can cause a lot of damage when provoked. Dachshunds are typically very friendly and affectionate. However, these loving traits are more often than not reserved for people the dog feels it can trust. They tend to be very stubborn and can get aggressive, especially with strangers.

Fortunately, their aggressive attacks are marked more by barking and chasing than actual physical harm. Either way, you do not want to deal with an angry doxie.

23. Jack Russell

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Jack Russell Terriers have a long history of use as hunting dogs. This has led to very distinct personality traits, including the fact that they are confident, energetic, and love to play. The last two are of particular interest when it comes to their aggressive outbursts.

If they are cooped up indoors with no playtime, they tend to get very frustrated. This makes them irritable and more prone to aggressive outbursts. Just remember that a bored Jack Russell is a dangerous Jack Russell.

22. Pekingese

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These cute little furry buddies are known for their flat and hairy faces as well as their large, lovable eyes. At first glance, there is absolutely nothing menacing about them. However, despite their small build and cute, furry aesthetic, they are known for having very short tempers.

The Pekingese dogs are especially unfriendly towards other dogs and children. With the latter, the attacks are often triggered by unintentional rough handling by the child and could be quite disastrous.

21. Lhasa Apso

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Lhasa Apsos have quite a unique history. They were used by Tibetan monks as guard dogs to alert them if anyone entered the temple. Years of breeding for such work have sharpened their situational awareness. For this reason, they are easily spooked, especially in unfamiliar environments and when exposed to strangers.

Their response when they feel threatened is barking and growling, which can be quite intimidating. Fortunately, all these issues can be avoided by training, especially socialization, to get the dog used to the new locations and people.

20. Poodle

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The thing with Poodles is that they are not instinctively aggressive. If anything, they can be quite aloof and do not tend to interact in any way, including aggressively, with new people or animals. However, these dogs are notoriously territorial and proud.

This often leads to aggressive attacks, especially on other dogs or pets in the home. They have also been known to excessively bark at strangers who enter their homes but may not show the same level of aggression toward strangers in outdoor spaces.

19. Beagle

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The Beagle is another dog breed that though not naturally aggressive, has some traits that predispose it to such episodes. In this case, it is their history as tracking dogs that cause most of the issues. They have very sharp senses, especially when it comes to picking out scents.

Also, they are easily distracted and can show obsessive behavior when they are onto something. This, coupled with their independent and stubborn temperament, can make it quite difficult to control them once they set their minds to something.

18. Rhodesian Ridgeback

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This dog has quite the reputation for being incredibly fierce and brave. It is probably best known for its use in hunting wild animals. Despite this, they are generally very reasonable dogs and do not tend to attack unprovoked.

Their history as guard dogs is also important to note. This makes them naturally suspicious of strangers. They are also very protective and have been known to excessively bark at and even pounce on people or animals they deem to be a threat to their family members.

17. Tosa Inu

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This dog is another breed that is rarely found on the American continent. It can be traced back to Japan, where it was bred for dogfighting purposes. As a result, the Tosa Inu is innately aggressive and is constantly in self-defense mode.

This makes them very unpredictable, especially if they find you suspicious. The best way to deal with this nature as a dog owner is to focus on obedience training and socialization to get the dog used to the unfamiliar.

16. Cocker Spaniel

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Cocker spaniels are typically friendly and gentle dogs. However, they are prone to a condition known as genetic rage syndrome. This is an inherited disorder associated with mood anomalies, including sudden and unprovoked episodes of aggression. These are then followed by complete restoration to calmness without any intervention.

The inherited disorder is common with cocker spaniels with solid colors like red, golden, and black. Unfortunately, training and treatments are not effective for dealing with the condition, and all you can do is wait for the episode out and stay out of the pooch’s way.

15. Shar Pei

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Shar-Pei pooches are known for their thick, wrinkly appearance. It may be a little weird at first but it tends to grow on you. These dogs are very loving toward their owners and family members. However, if you are a stranger, you will be met with standoffish behavior and suspicion.

They are actually known to attack human beings they feel are a threat to their families or themselves. They mainly express this aggression in the form of barking. However, they occasionally bite.

14. Brazilian Mastiff

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The Brazilian name for this mastiff breed is fila Brasileiro, and it really says it all. The name is derived from the Portuguese word “filar,” which means to bite and catch. This is because of their nature to bite and hold on to prey which came in useful for their use in hunting expeditions.

This is a dog you do not want to be caught in a brawl with because once they bite down, it is not easy to get them to let go. This, coupled with their impulsive behavior and unforgiving temperament, makes them among the most dangerous dog breeds.

13. Cane Corso

Image from Darwin’s Pet

This dog has Italian roots but has, over the past few decades, become more popular in America and other parts of Europe. Due to its large size, high intelligence, and bravery, the breed is more often than not used for aggression-driven jobs, including use in the military, law enforcement, and as guard dogs.

This aggressive predisposition is maintained even when the dog is raised as a family pet and could result in vicious attacks if provoked.

12. Boxer

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These dogs have a history of use in hunting as well as dog fighting circles. Decades of breeding have produced brave, energetic, stubborn, and often aggressive dogs. They are particularly distrustful of other dogs and have been known to pick fights in dog parks or beaches.

They are also very protective and will attack humans they feel pose a threat to their masters. Fortunately, these are issues that can very easily be mitigated or even entirely prevented by socializing the dog early enough.

11. Chow Chow

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At first glance, Chow Chows are nothing more than large, fluffy balls of fur that will melt your heart. However, do not be fooled by the cute aesthetics, as this is one of the most aggressive dog breeds there is.

They are known for being headstrong, mistrusting, and very unfriendly with strangers and other animals. They are also prone to unprovoked attacks, which makes owning one problem when it comes to spending time outdoors together.

10. Presa Canario (Canary Mastiff)

Image from Canna Pet

This is another rare breed in America that, despite being uncommon, has created some negative press for itself. It became famous in the 2000s after a couple of fatal attacks in America and Europe. Since then, several states have banned owning them or having them out in public without proper restraints.

Their large size and incredibly strong bite are to blame for the viciousness and often fatal nature of their attacks.

9. Great Dane

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The Great Dane has a gentle giant reputation. They are generally very friendly and loving, and the only attacks many owners have to deal with are the sneaky cuddle attacks when they are in need of some affection. However, these dogs can be extremely dangerous, especially if they are not properly trained and socialized early enough. 

The main thing you have to worry about during attacks by Great Danes is their large size and very strong limbs which can cause quite a lot of damage.

8. Akita

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Akita dogs are quite popular in many parts of the world and, for this reason, are among the most expensive dogs out there. Despite their global popularity, they are among the most banned dogs in America, with several states all over the continent prohibiting both ownership and public presence of the dogs.

This is because, in spite of their intelligence and generally friendly temperament, they can be unpredictable and prone to aggressive episodes. This, coupled with their strength and painful bite, lands them on our list of dogs you do not want to mess with.

7. Dobermann

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Dobermans are among the smartest dog breeds. They are easy to train and very confident, which makes them popular for use as guard dogs. However, their protective nature and confidence are not always the best traits as they predispose the dogs to attacks, especially on suspicious strangers.

They are also known to attack their owners, especially if they are mishandled or abused, and can actually cause very serious injuries with their sharp claws and strong jaws.

6. Bull Mastiff

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Bullmastiffs are large dogs known for their calm yet brave temperament. They have, for a very long time, been used all over the world as guard dogs, and they do a fantastic job at it. However, they are known for having aggression problems.

More often than not, this aggression is taken out on strangers they deem threatening. However, attacks on owners are not unheard of. Fortunately, their responses are more geared towards barking and growling than biting.

5. American Bulldog

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Contrary to popular misconception, this is a distinct breed from the pit bull group. However, they are every bit as problematic when it comes to aggression and actually account for about 10% of dog-related fatalities.

They are not innately aggressive but instead develop habits as a result of abuse and neglect. They just need to be shown some love, and you will get to enjoy the best side of these lovable pooches.

4. German Shepherds

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German shepherds are the 2nd most popular dog on the planet, of which even the 46th POTUS will wholeheartedly agree. With their large and magnificent aesthetics, as well as their undisputed intelligence, it is not so hard to see why. They are popularly used as guard dogs or in law enforcement and the military.

Fortunately, this is not a dog you have to worry about if you are not up to no good because they rarely attack unprovoked. However, if a German shepherd feels that you are being suspicious, what will come after is not going to be pleasant.

3. Wolf hybrids

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You can bring the wolf out of the wild, but you cannot breed the wild out of the hybrid. These dogs are considered highly unpredictable and very likely to experience violent outbursts. In fact, they are banned in several states and not recognized as an acceptable breed by the American Kennel Club.

Things get even more complicated and dangerous if the wolf is mixed with any of the dogs highlighted on our list, in which case you can expect nothing but trouble.

2. Chihuahua

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Chihuahuas are famous for their spunky personalities. They tread the very fine line between feisty and aggressive and can easily be toppled over to the negative side. This is because of certain personality traits they have, including the fact that they are very territorial and easy to spook.

Despite their small bodies, they pack quite a punch with their loud barking and menacing growls. They also tend to bite, although these are usually non-fatal attacks.

1. Alaskan Malamute

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The Alaskan Malamute is popular for its wolf aesthetic. The dog is known for its generally calm and friendly nature and its diligent predisposition. For the most part, these dogs do not commonly attack humans or other dogs.

However, they are sensitive and quite slow when it comes to training. If you get frustrated and aggressive in your punishments, then you will be met with equal, if not more, aggressiveness from the now riled-up dog.

What Are The Least Aggressive Dog Breeds? 

As a first-time dog owner, or if you want a pooch that will be safe for the family, it is best to go with the least aggressive dogs. While most breeds deep down have the potential to be violent, there are some that are just innately gentle and friendly, even with little training. These include:

  • Golden Retriever
  • Bichon Frise
  • Newfoundland
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Irish Setter

What Are The Most Aggressive Dog Breeds Suitable For Apartments? 

Limited space only makes angsty dogs harder to deal with. Fortunately, there are a few that are known to thrive in small spaces like apartment settings. The best, in this case, are Chihuahuas and Dachshunds. These small dog breeds do not need too much room to work out their energy and frustrations and are, therefore, ideal for this kind of setting.

Which Dog Can Kill A Lion? 

It is a common misconception that the Rhodesian Ridgeback is capable of killing a lion. In fact, there are no dogs with this capability. This legend stems from their history of use as lion-hunting hounds. However, they did not actually attack the lions but instead distracted them and kept them at bay by barking and darting around, making it easier for hunters to take clean shots.

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Pete Decker