Dog Breeds with a Bad Rap

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Dogs of all breeds have the potential to become dangerous animals. However, a few powerful varieties – often admired for their strength, intelligence and size – have earned the notorious reputation as the “most aggressive dog breeds.” 

Some of these breeds are even illegal in certain cities in the United States. According to the CDC, canines bite 4.5 million Americans annually, with 1 in 5 occurrences requiring medical attention. In a 20-year study, the CDC and Humane Society compiled a list of the breeds of dogs that contributed to fatal human attacks. Below, we take a look at a few pure breeds that many would call the “most aggressive dogs.” 

This highly intelligent breed is frequently the dog of choice for the militia and police force, and is one of the most popular dog breeds in American homes. The German shepherd is an energetic, loyal, and dependable canine, constantly aware of his surroundings. He becomes quickly attached to his family and will protect them if he feels threatened. Because of his intelligence and active spirit, the German shepherd requires regular, stimulating exercise and a confident pack leader to be balanced.

The Chow Chow was originally bred for working purposes in ancient China, but is now classified by the AKC as a member of the Non-Sporting Group. She has a lion-like appearance, with a dramatic fluffy coat, well-muscled shoulders, and striking black tongue. While a Chow may act reserved towards strangers, she is an affectionate dog and fiercely loyal to her family, making her an excellent guardian. Her stubborn, aloof nature requires a strong-willed pack leader that will focus on providing ongoing socialization and training opportunities. 

The Doberman pinscher is admired for his loyalty, speed, and elegance. He is a strong, watchful dog, obedient to his owner and protective of his territory. Often a choice breed for home protection, the Doberman is full of energy and requires daily, vigorous exercise. He desires to work and please his owner. As a highly intelligent animal, the Doberman can master new skills with ease and enjoys mental challenges. However, his fearless, watchful nature requires ongoing socialization and training to promote a healthy, friendly guardian.

Bred to pull dog sleds in harsh cold weather conditions, the Siberian husky is hailed for his endurance and strength. He is an alert animal, aware of his surroundings at all times, and displays an outgoing, curious personality. He is eager to work and please his pack leader, and his thick coat requires weekly grooming sessions. This breed is rarely possessive or suspicious, but he can have a predatory nature towards small creatures. The Siberian husky needs daily mental and physical exercise, or else he becomes easily bored and can get into mischief.

Perhaps the ultimate guard dog, the Rottweiler is a strong, robust creature with a confident personality. A mature Rott can weigh as much as 130 pounds. Originally bred for cattle herding, he has a natural eagerness to perform a job. The intelligent, watchful Rottweiler is a loyal guardian of his pack; while his personality is generally calm, he is a courageous creature that will protect his territory. The Rottweiler requires obedience training, daily exercise, and socialization to be a happy and healthy dog. 

The pit bull could perhaps have the worst reputation among dog breeds. Her powerful nature, confident demeanor, and strong-willed personality require a responsible pack leader that will establish appropriate boundaries. She must understand and obey rules; if her needs are unfulfilled, she can become unbalanced and overly territorial. A pit is a bundle of energy; she needs vigorous daily exercise and socialization to keep her in a healthy state of mind. She is a stocky, muscular animal with a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. A pit bull can be an affectionate, quiet, and sweet-tempered companion when trained in a firm and gentle manner. 

Be sure to watch the “Dueling Pit Bulls” episode of Dog Whisperer, Friday, March 26 at 10P et/pt. 

Do you have a dog who struggles with aggression or other issues? Head over to the Dog Talk forum to share your stories and advice.

Check out some canine fact & fiction and dispel the myths about aggressive breeds, dog training and proper pet ownership:
Learn more about identifying canine aggression through this Humane Society online resource: 

Educate your family on how to avoid a dog bite by reading this CDC article: