The 12 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

Any dog is aggressive without proper training. However, here are some of the dogs that are more prone to aggression due to their genetics.
The 12 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds
Sara González Juárez

Written and verified by the psychologist Sara González Juárez.

Last update: 24 May, 2023

It isn’t easy to make a list of the most aggressive dog breeds, because every dog has its own personality and their behavior depends largely on the training given to them. However, certain varieties selected to be guardians or bodyguards have a greater tendency to attack and to be territorial.

A dog is considered aggressive when it exhibits dangerous behavior to humans or other animals. This category includes barking, attacking, lunging, and territorial marking. Let’s go with the list of those most conflictive dogs in general.

The 12 most aggressive dog breeds

The breeds that you’re going to see below aren’t included in this list because of the number of times they have attacked people, but for their tendency to be territorial and overprotection of their owners.

1. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua, despite its small size, creates a strong bond with its guardians and tends to overprotect them. They’re dogs with a strong temperament and tend to be reactive and territorial if they aren’t given proper training.

Precisely because of their small size, strangers trust them and accidents happen.

A chihuahua.

2. Dachshund

These dogs were artificially crossed to take them on badger hunts, an animal characterized by its fierceness when defending itself. Therefore, training a Dachshund badly could lead to a dog that doesn’t redirect its hunting instinct and reacts to stimuli that it considers dangerous.

A Dachschund.

3. Chow Chow

Originally from China, this dog has been used as a hunting and herding dog, as well as a guardian. For this reason, it tends to be territorial and dominant. They aren’t suitable animals for beginners in training dogs, although they stand out for having a most beautiful and unique appearance.

In addition, they don’t have good peripheral vision, so it’s easy to scare them.

A chow chow.

4. Doberman

The Doberman is included on the list of the most aggressive dog breeds for the same reason as the previous ones: it’s a variant created from the Pinscher to act as a bodyguard for the tax collectors in Germany. That’s why it tends to be overprotective and reactive.

A Doberman.

5. Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is a dog with a high level of activity, and, together with its medium size and being difficult to train and socialize, it may become difficult to handle. It requires constant attention and discipline so that this energy doesn’t turn into aggressiveness.

A Dalmatian.

6. Rottweiler

A dog of this size, bred for bear hunting and with a high level of energy, requires special attention if they’re to be kept in a home. Rottweilers tend to be territorial and protective of their guardians, so they must be socialized from the time they’re small.

A Rottweiler.

7. Jack Russell terrier

In general, those dogs bred for hunting are often included in lists of the most aggressive breeds of dogs. In the case of the Jack Russell terrier, people take advantage of their small size to hunt animals that flee into burrows, such as foxes and badgers.

This breed is known to be stubborn and intolerant, so it isn’t recommended for families with children.

Jack Russell terrier.

8. German Shepherd

While it’s true that the herding instinct is strong in this race, they aren’t characterized by being aggressive dogs. However, it is true that this tendency to defend the “herd” can become aggressive and protective if it isn’t given proper training and socialization.

A German Shepherd.

9. Pitbulls

The robustness and strength of this dog is due to a very sad fact: it was bred to be a fighting dog. Because of this, it’s clear that the main psychological characteristic sought at the time was aggressiveness.

When the United States banned dog fighting, a new genetic line of pitbull was created, with a more gentle character and suitable for living in a family. However, these are still reactive dogs and tend to be overprotective of their guardians, so they need special attention in their training.

A pitbull.

10. Siberian Husky

Bred to pull sleds for hours in the inhospitable lands of Siberia, huskies tend to be territorial and not get along too well with other dogs if they aren’t socialized from puppies. The demand for these dogs skyrocketed during the Game of Thrones series and, after that, the abandonments when the puppies became adults.

A dog with a muzzle.

11. Akita Inu

This breed was created in Japan to be a guard dog. It’s a strong dog, independent and distrustful of strangers. Therefore, a specimen could become an aggressive one if it falls into the wrong hands. Nor is it a breed suitable for beginners.

A Akita Inu.

12. Shar Pei

Also with an independent and loyal character, the Shar Pei is characterized by its problems relating to strangers, given its genetics of a guard dog. However, those who get used to its temperament are able to make them an obedient and respectful dog.

A Shar Pei.

As you can see, there are 3 phrases that have been repeated a lot in this article: guard dog, herding, and hunting. Since we’re talking about pure breeds, it’s clear that, with these dogs, at some point in their breeding, a human being wanted an aggressive dog.

If you’re looking to expand your family, choose the dog that’s most in tune with you and train them in love and respect.

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