Just as much we love dogs, we are also aware of their ferocious side. This has led many to look for the meanest dog breeds. Here are some probable candidates…
What do you mean by the term ‘meanest dog breeds’? Are these the dogs that have been reported to have caused the maximum number of human attacks or those, whose attacks have been known to be deadly? Well in case of either of the criteria, the important point to be kept in mind is that all these categorizations depend on the number of reported cases of dog bites.
However, it is obvious that the more severe the bites, the greater the probability of it being reported. Hence, dogs that have caused severe bites are more likely to be reported than those that caused less severe bites, even if such bites occurred with more frequency. This is just one facet of the dilemma of making a list of the powerful and attacking dog breeds.
All dog breeds retain some of the ‘wolf behavior’ from their wild ancestors, and show it in varying degrees. An important factor in stereotyping dog breeds as ‘mean breeds’ is whether the particular breed is meant to display aggression, and against whom the aggression is being directed. For example, aggression against strangers is the all-important trait in guard dogs, and dogs like dobermans and boxers being distrustful and mildly aggressive towards strangers can’t be considered ‘mean’. This list includes dogs that are known to attack their own owners or other familiar humans.
Many dog breeders maintain that there are no ‘bad dogs’, just bad owners, but while absolutely correct as a generalization, in some cases the overzealous nature of the dog rather spoils this philosophy.
Looks Can Be Deceptive!
Which dog breed comes to your mind when we talk about world’s meanest dogs? The American Pit Bull? The Rottweiler or the German Shepherd? If those are what you are thinking, then you are in for a big surprise, just like me! A recent study has shown that Chihuahuas and Dachshunds are the most aggressive breeds of dogs. These dogs are more likely to attack their owners than the American Pit Bull or the Rottweiler.
Termed as one of the best small dog breeds by many, Chihuahua dogs are not meant to be left with tiny tots. They are better off with the adults. Ill-tempered Chihuahuas can attack strangers and other dogs. They tend to be over-possessive of the person who owns them, and aren’t afraid to show off their sole claim to their owner by attacking potential ‘threats’.
All terriers are risky pets, because they were bred to be hunting dogs. Yorkshire terriers can be pesky in apartments due to their tendency to bark, but that is not all. These animals are fiercely overprotective of their owners, and due to their terrier ancestry, are not afraid to show their displeasure by barking and biting. In spite of receiving training from a young age, the overprotective tendencies in Yorkshire terriers are very hard to subdue.
Cocker spaniels are usually one of the best family pets. They are loyal, and affectionate to the degree of being a bit needy. But there is a weird aspect about this spaniel’s aggression. Solid-colored, especially red- or gold-colored cocker spaniels are more likely to attack owners and strangers without provocation than any other breed. Also, these spaniels are more prone to the ‘rage syndrome’. Cockers with motley coats are, however, excellent pets.
These are known to bite people and other animals out of a reaction of self-defense. Unfortunately, what an unsuspecting stranger considers play, the toy poodles interpret as an attack. The marking (identifying their territory by spraying urine) tendency and hunting drives can be more clearly seen in these dogs than in dogs of any other breed.
Dachshunds are not known to have too much patience. They are stubborn and often aggressive to strangers, other dogs and even towards their owners. They chase small animals or balls with great ferocity. It’s difficult to train them. A dachshund may bite an unknown child. Children should not tease them and should not be let to play around them.
The Chow Chow an old dog breed. They have a cuddly appearance. Although they may seem aloof, they highly attention-seeking. This can result in a nasty temperament. They have a mind of their own and need a smart owner and training since infancy to keep them under control. Even with training, Chow Chows become overprotective of their owner, and can’t stand other pets. If you are thinking of adopting a dog as a pet for the first time, a Chow Chow would definitely not be an appropriate choice.
Breeds with High Potential for Aggression
These breeds are feared and have gained notoriety as being risky dog breeds, if not necessarily ‘mean’. It is more so because these are large dog breeds that are powerful enough to knock down an average-sized adult human being, either playfully or when provoked. When agitated they can cause considerable — possibly fatal — harm with their sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Here are some dog breeds that can cause a lot of damage if not raised, handled and trained appropriately. However, aggression in the following breeds is more often a case of a bad owner rather than a bad dog, and well-trained dogs of these breeds usually don’t attack out of the blue. In fact, aggression in these dogs is necessary to some degree, since many of these are popular as guard dogs, and aggression against strangers is a required trait.
American Pit Bull Terrier
Prized in dogfighting circuits, pit bulls have been bred for strength and aggressiveness. They get their dubious reputation from the fact that pit bulls sustain their assaults for much longer than other breeds, resulting in injuries and deaths. However, pit bulls are usually not aggressive towards their owners, and no definitive study has been made to compare the number of attacks, regardless of intensity, by pit bulls and other breeds.
The Rottweiler is also nicknamed the ‘butcher dog’. They have keen territorial instincts and hence make great guard dogs. However, if abused or lacking in supervision during interaction with humans and other animals while growing up, they can be vicious to strangers. Neglected Rottweilers usually behave aggressively. They need formal training and extensive socialization. In Poland, Ireland and Portugal, the governments have legally declared this breed as ‘a dangerous breed’.
Like most of the dogs on this list, Giant Schnauzers are not naturally aggressive, even rarely so against their owners. They were bred as herding and guarding dogs, and true to their breeding, are very suspicious of strangers. They are also quite intelligent and energetic. This, combined with a strong territorial instinct, can make Schnauzers very aggressive and destructive.
An intelligent and faithful breed, German Shepherd dogs are highly energetic. However, they gain notoriety due to their powerful bites and aggression towards smaller breeds of dogs. According to the statistics, German Shepherd Dogs are responsible for more reported bites than any other breed in the U.S. They may bite smaller dogs and strangers when provoked. They are highly active dogs and in case of lack of proper training, they can become over-protective of their family and territory as well.
Huskies are the dogs that are used to pull sleds in northern regions. They are one of the oldest dog breeds. Again, these are quite intelligent and highly energetic dogs. Although they are of milder temperament than the other dog breeds mentioned so far, Husky bites are quite common in the U.S. In fact, Husky dogs are bred to be obedient to their master, and like many on this list, behavioral problems in well-trained Huskies are very rare.
The Alaskan Malamute is the largest utilitarian dog. They have a Nordic origin. Although very active, they become destructive when bored. Enough activity is required to enable them to spend their energy. Hence their owners need to handle them very carefully and ensure that they have enough exercise. They show hostile attitudes towards dogs of the same-sex. They are independent by nature and survive harshest environment against all odds. Matured Alaskan Malamutes are loving, quiet and safe.
Doberman Pinschers are very loyal to their owners, and are one of the most common pet breeds. However, they tend to show a degree of possessiveness for their owners and may develop an aggressive attitude towards strangers. They were used as police dogs or guard dogs. With training, their aggression can be toned down. Studies show that a Doberman Pinscher is one of the most intelligent dogs. But their natural distrust of strangers, coupled with their size and strength, make them a risky breed.
“Presa Canario” is a Spanish breed used to catch large animals in hunting. They are dominant by nature and need to be trained and socialized at very young age. They are intelligent and responsive, but require regular exercise. They are reputed for their ferocity. Anything that gets lodged within its jaws, can’t escape alive. They are known for being dauntless, and having incredible strength. Their shedding is minimum. They exhibit great athleticism while moving.
These dogs are native to Dalmatia, a region of Croatia. They were used as carriage dogs. They have black or brown spots on their skin. The puppies are born white. The spots appear a week after their birth. Their protective nature makes them aggressive, but you can easily train them. Dalmatians need a lot of exercise. They have a big appetite. Lack of proper handling and care can make this breed quite undesirable. It is also known to attack other animals and growl at strangers.
Meanest Dog Breeds – Myth or Truth?
Well, we know that dogs are a domesticated form of the Gray wolf. They have the oldest history than any other animal, of having served human beings as companions and as hunting dogs, through his struggle for survival. Given the fact that their ancestors are from the wild, some amount of aggression is expected. That is why some dogs like German Shepherds are so popular as guard dogs.
By mean breeds do we mean ones that are more inclined to attack humans or those that cause more damage when they attack. While in the latter case the built of the dog and the power of its jaw does matter, the fact is that as far as a dog’s temperament is concerned, a lot depends upon the environment he was raised and the human hands that raised it. Abuse and years of inhumane treatment can turn a calm dog into an aggressive one. Whereas proper care and dog training can make a short-tempered canine, more patient. Keeping these facts in mind, most dog owners and dog lovers agree that the term meanest dogs is misleading. Nevertheless, depending upon the data available and researches done, I enlist some of the most aggressive dogs in the world.
Although some dogs are more inclined to be aggressive than others, it is difficult for me to term some of them as the meanest dog breeds. Nevertheless, people are trying to find breeds whose attacks can be very ferocious. Well there is just one thing that I would like to remind everyone – if you are getting a pet home, treat it right. It is your responsibility and the animal deserves your care. Well-trained and well-socialized dogs of all types and breeds tend to be very loving and playful.