Does Breed Determine Aggression?

April 18, 2019
Many people think that some breeds are more dangerous than others. In this article, we'll look at why this isn't true.

Many people tremble at the mention of the word pit bull or boxer dog. They think that all dogs of these breeds are aggressive. However, there are some that say that Chihuahuas are actually more aggressive, but because they’re so small, they’re not so scary. Does breed determine aggression? We don’t think so, but let’s have a closer a look at the facts.

Obviously, there are two sides to this. People who own a pit bull or a boxer will say that they’re not aggressive at all. People who have a chihuahua will say the same. Why? Well, for each person, their dog is the best dog. They don’t think it has anything to do with breed. They believe it’s down to their personality and upbringing.

Breed does not determine aggression

A Pitbull, one of the examples when people ask does breed determine aggression?

We can confidently say that a dog’s aggression is not genetic. In a study of 4,000 dogs, including the so-called aggressive breeds like the pit bull and the Rottweiler, they investigated their behavior in different environments: in the family, towards strangers, and on their own property.

The study concluded that aggression is not intrinsic. It’s a learned behavior. Many owners of pit bulls or Rottweilers adopt them to be guard dogs. They believe that the dog learns by itself. They then later realize that once the dog is already an adult, they have no idea how to differentiate between family, a friend, or a thief.

This causes aggressive behavior in a dog and it’s hard to get rid of. Rottweilers or pit bulls that were adopted as just pets generally have a calm and affectionate character just like any other dog.

They also looked at size and strength. There was the possibility that the pit bull and Rottweiler unconsciously developed a sort of ego, making them think that they were superior. This was ruled out completely and they concluded that most of the time, aggression is created by the owners, whether willingly or not.

Abuse causes aggression

Sometimes owners try to love and take care of their dog but they don’t respond to it. This can happen if the dog has been adopted and may have already been exposed to abuse.

It doesn’t matter how nice a personality a dog has, if he’s mistreated, he will react aggressively.

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad

– Bible Proverb –

Punishment can also make them aggressive

A doberman lying down.

Physical and emotional punishment is one of the main causes of aggression in dogs. If a dog feels any kind of pain, he will react aggressively to defend himself.

Trying to teach your dog a command or certain behavior should never be an excuse for punishment. It’s both medically and scientifically proven that positive reinforcement is the best way to train an animal. That way, he’s happy and so are we.

Positive reinforcement consists of congratulating your dog for being good rather than punishing him for being bad. Just remember that a dog is a living being and he wants love, just like us. If you stick to this, he’ll never disobey you.

In summary, it’s clear that the breed does not determine aggression. A dog becomes aggressive because of his upbringing, environment, and the people around him.