For thousands of years, dogs have been cherished companions of humans. They have truly become a “man’s best friend”.
Known for their unwavering loyalty, affectionate natures, and ability to form deep emotional connections with their owners, dogs are often considered to be a part of the family.
Unfortunately, under certain circumstances, dogs also have the potential to pose a significant threat to the humans around them. It is important to note that not all dogs are threats and that aggression and dangerous behavior vary from animal to animal.
Historically, some breeds have a higher tendency to be violent; however, it can also depend on the degree of a dog’s training, socialization, and environment.
Determining whether a dog will be aggressive solely based on its breed would not be an accurate or fair thing to do. Ultimately, every dog is an individual and factors such as genetics and upbringing all have a role to play in shaping their behavior.
Early exposure to a wide range of environments, people, and animals can help dogs become more well-adjusted and less prone to unpredictable outbursts. Furthermore, training with positive reinforcement techniques can be useful in establishing boundaries.
Owners should be adept at recognizing warning signs of potential aggression. Key signs include concentrated staring, raised hackles, stiff body posture, and snarling. Again, breed alone does not determine a dog’s temperament, however, some have been associated with a higher number of incidents. 1
With this in mind, we take a look at the world’s top 10 most dangerous dog breeds.
Akitas were recognized by the American Kennel Club as a breed of dog in 1972. They are known for their ancient Japanese lineage and to many are celebrated as symbols of protection and longevity.
They have dense coats, a broad head, and a curled tail. Males weigh between 100 to 130 pounds while females are slightly smaller, weighing in at 70 to 100 pounds.
They can be silly and affectionate, but are also often wary of strangers and other animals. Akitas are not a particularly active breed, however, they do require a moderate degree of exercise. 2
9. Great Dane
The Great Dane emerged about 400 years ago in Germany where it was kept as a working dog for boar hunting. It is the tallest of the working breeds and can weigh up to 180 pounds. True to its name, the Great Dane is massive.
Due to its size, this breed requires a significantly large area for its upkeep. These dogs prefer temperate weather as their large size makes them more prone to overheating.
Traditionally regarded as “gentle giants”, Great Danes are usually friendly in nature and affectionate to family and strangers alike.
However, their large stature may be problematic, especially for children and elderly individuals.
8. Chow Chow
Chow Chows can be a host of different colors—cream, red, cinnamon, black, and even blue. They can be intimidating-looking dogs with their lion’s mane ruff and broad shoulders.
They can have a dominating personality and natural hunting dog instincts. This means they are territorial, protective of their owners and mistrustful of strangers.
When it comes to training, the Chow Chow is very intelligent but it can be stubborn.
Early socialization and puppy training is highly recommended to ensure that they grow to be well-adjusted and well-mannered.
7. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is one of the most well-known protection dogs. They are fearless and, when trained properly, can be exceptionally vigilant and hard-working.
Sleek, muscular, and tall, Dobermans possess magnificent physiques that are paired with impressive athleticism. They require long daily walks or hikes to expend their high degree of energy and to maintain both their physical and mental well-being.
Dogs belonging to this breed are usually black and rust and their short coats are relatively low maintenance. They are typically loving animals, but have the physical ability to be extremely dangerous with a powerful bite.
6. Alaskan Malamute
Originally bred for hunting in the Arctic, the Alaskan Malamute is a strong and powerful dog. They are generally challenging to train due to their stubborn natures and are not recommended for first-time dog owners.
Their coats are usually a mix of gray, white, and quite thick so requires routine grooming for maintenance. Grooming is especially crucial during the shedding season.
Alaskan Malamutes are sometimes referred to as “Mals” and while they are typically affectionate towards family, they can be aggressive towards dogs that they are unfamiliar with.
5. Siberian Husky
Known for their wolf-like appearance, Siberian huskies are sled dogs that love to work in packs. They are graceful, medium-sized dogs with almond-shaped eyes that can be either brown or blue.
As pack dogs, huskies enjoy living in families and get along well with other dogs. However, their high energy levels can sometimes get them into trouble if they do not get enough exercise.
Training huskies requires hours of dedication and patience. They are very smart but challenging to teach. Because of their social temperaments, Siberians should not be left alone for long stretches of time.
4. German Shepherd
German shepherds are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They are muscular and extremely intelligent.
Time and time again, this breed has been commended for its loyalty and protectiveness. There is a reason they are often employed as work dogs by the police and search and rescue teams.
These dogs respond exceptionally well to reward-based training and will frequently form steadfast bonds with their trainers. Early socialization is vital.
They are banned or restricted in many countries, such as Ireland, Ukraine, Belarus, UAE and more.
Standing as high as 27 inches, the bullmastiff is a formidable dog. Compared to other breeds, it is quite sedentary and benefits from brisk walks and outdoor play.
In general, this breed is quite strong willed and wary of other dogs if not exposed to them at an early age. It is highly recommended to enroll bullmastiffs into training classes while they are still in their puppy stages.
Their powerful bodyframe, intelligence and agility make them an excellent watchdog. However, they can be aggressive when provoked, or towards other dogs and strangers.
Rottweilers are recognized by the tan markers on its head, chest, and legs. It has historically been trained by humans as a guardian and herder.
This is a breed that requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation. They can be aggressive towards other dogs and often do not bode well in public dog parks. They are loyal to their loved ones but, towards unfamiliar people, they can be reserved and suspicious.
Rottweilers are naturally very territorial dogs, and combined with their strength and muscle and tendency to be aggresive, they are excellent guard dogs.
However, this can make them dangerous. In a survey conducted by Forbes Advisor, they found that across 42 home insurance companies that Rottweilers were banned from 100% of policies. 3
1. American Pit Bull Terrier
This breed was developed in 19th-century England and bred for hunting and fighting.
Unfortunately, it has been linked to well-publicized attacks and many areas have legislation banning the ownership of this breed now.
Like the rottweiler, pit bulls are not suited for dog parks. Their natures can change as they age and reach maturity (at about 18 months of age).
If trained properly, pit bull terriers can be playful and willing to please. They are not known to be barkers and are loyal watchdogs. A high number of reported incidences have unfortunately given this breed quite a reputation.
An attack by a Pit Bull Terrier led to the creation of the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991 in the UK, and they are banned in New Zealand, Spain, France, Denmark, Poland, Finland and some US States.4
That completes our list of the most dangerous dog breeds on the planet.
According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), more than 4.5 million people are attacked by dogs in the United States each year, and more than 800,000 require medical attention for dog bites. Children account for at least half of those bitten. 5
While some dog breeds may have a reputation for aggression, it is prudent to acknowledge that a dog’s behavior is affected by many interlocking factors. Responsible ownership, training, and proper care are all needed to encourage safe and harmonious relationships between dogs and their owners.
Rather than singling out certain breeds for being the most dangerous, focus should be placed on education and awareness of the signs that a dog may be aggressive.
By understanding the potential risks and by taking appropriate measures, we can help mitigate the chances of dogs displaying dangerous behaviours that could lead to injury.
Fact Sources & References
- Tony McReynolds (2019), “New study identifies most damaging dog bites by breed“, AAHA.
- “Akita“, American Kennel Club.
- Ed Leefeldt & Amy Danise (2022), “Dog Breeds Banned By Home Insurance Companies“, Forbes.
- “Controlling your dog in public“, Gov.uk.
- “Dog bite prevention“, American Veterinary Medical Association.