There seems to be a general perception that larger the dog, more aggressive it is. That, however, is far from true. In fact, you are more likely to find the smallest and cutest dogs, like the Lasha Apso and Chihuahua, listed as the most aggressive dog breeds.
To start with, let me tell you that I am an ardent dog lover. My experiences with different breeds is fairly vast and for this reason, this list of aggressive dog breeds throws me into a conundrum.
I believe that it’s the dogs upbringing or/and conditioning that makes it meek or aggressive. For I have ‘met’ a very gentle German Shepherd, who would let you pull a bone out of his mouth, and an equally meek and patient Rottweiler. At the same time, I have also come in contact with several snappy and ill-tempered Pomeranians.
In fact, I have seen two dogs of the same breed (but not the same owner), with contrasting temperaments. Does this prove my theory? Even experts are of the opinion that training makes all the difference in a dog’s attitude, so much so that it is very difficult to segregate the gentle breeds from the vicious ones, if they have all been properly trained.
12 Most Aggressive Breeds of Dogs
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to nominating a specific breed as more aggressive and another as docile. In most cases, a dog displays aggressive behavior as a self-defense tactic to protect itself and scare away other animals or people. Many dogs that are kept in cages or have been ill treated become aggressive. In places where dog fighting still exists, dog breeds that would normally be gentle are turned aggressive by the treatment they are subjected to. Most breeds that can be listed as potentially aggressive, more often than not have a reason for their aggressiveness.
They are excessively possessive and loyal to their owners to the point that they dislike strangers and do not hesitate to snap at anyone trying to even shake hands with the master.
► Lasha Apso
Their small size and restricted vision because of the hair over their eyes, makes them aggressive in order to protect themselves. They particularly dislike unfamiliar kids.
► Toy Poodles
Like the Apso, their size is an inhibiting factor. So they tend to bite other animals and people out of self defense.
► Chow Chows
They can be vicious for their size, once again it’s their self defense mechanism at work. They look ever so cuddlesome in their masters lap that strangers often cannot resist petting them and end up receiving a sharp bite.
This breed is known to be aggressive to the extent that the government in Denmark is contemplating on banning its breeding and import. Their aggressiveness is an outcome of their extreme possessiveness towards their masters. If not trained properly, they can be a menace in the neighborhood.
Always afraid of being trampled upon by kids, they dislike them and are happiest while being safely carried by their masters.
► Old English Sheepdogs
Trained to protect their master’s sheep, they also become overprotective of their owners and will often take on strangers when they are still at a good distance from the farm gates.
They are known for their impatience. Their size enables them to squeeze in under sofa chairs from where they take a snipe at the ankles of seated strangers. Once again, their size is the cause of their aggressiveness.
► Cocker Spaniels
They are generally gentle and friendly dogs. However, they are known to suffer from a genetic disorder known as the ‘rage syndrome’, which causes violent action against both strangers and family members. Owners should check with their breeders to ensure that this genetic disorder is not present in the parents of the litter.
► Giant Schnauzers
It is one of the very few large dog breeds that can be labeled aggressive. They are very dominating by nature and are known to be extremely aggressive with strangers.
They are over protective because of their size and are known to dislike strangers.
► Jack Russell Terriers
They are often referred to as the ‘stubborn fellows’, who are very feisty and need proper training to get them out of their digging and biting habit.
There are a number of big dogs that have a ‘bad dog’ image such as Boxers, Great Danes, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Mastiffs. However, these breeds are usually gentle unless trained as guard dogs, which calls for aggression. Even Pitbulls are not as aggressive as they are made out to be.
Under normal circumstances, it is possible to tell if a particular dog from a litter is going to be aggressive or not by observing its behavior. As a puppy, if it’s a bully in the group, it will―in all probability―grow up to be aggressive. Signs to look out for will be uncontrolled growling, biting, and snarling.
Training plays an important part in building up desired traits in your dog and also, discouraging bad habits and behavior. It is very important to establish pack leader status to discourage aggression. Even the so-called aggressive canine breeds become friendly home dogs with proper training.