Are Some Dog Breeds Actually More Aggressive Than Others? | Scott Goodwin Law

Are Some Dog Breeds Actually More Aggressive Than Others?

by / Monday, 01 April 2019 / Published in Dog Bites
Black and brown dog with mouth open aggressively

When people think about aggressive dogs or dogs that are prone to biting, they often tend to think of certain breeds of dogs. They often tend to picture breeds like pit bulls or rottweilers before they think of something like a corgi or a golden retriever. It’s no secret that certain types of dogs have a reputation for being more aggressive than others, but is there any truth behind that reputation? That’s a difficult question to answer.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that all dogs have the potential to bite. It makes no difference which breed the dog is or whether it’s a big dog or a small dog. Even dogs that are normally very friendly can be prone to biting people under certain circumstances, such as if they’re feeling threatened, sick, or taking care of puppies.

Over the years, many organizations have studied aggressiveness in various dog breeds and the results have been pretty mixed. In one 2008 study by the University of Pennsylvania, researchers looked at how 30 different breeds behaved in various situations. That study found that chihuahuas and Dachshunds were the most aggressive toward both humans and other dogs, but given their smaller sizes, they also had a tendency to cause less severe injuries. Pit bull terriers, on the other hand, were found to be one of the most aggressive toward other dogs, but not significantly more aggressive than other breeds toward their owners or strangers.

The Center for Disease Control also once did an analysis of fatal dog bite data between 1979 and 1998. In that study, the data showed that bites from pit bulls were linked to more fatalities than bites from any other breed of dog. 66 deaths were linked to bites caused by various types of pit bulls while bites caused by rottweilers were tied to 39 deaths. Other research from the American Temperament Test Society has rated American pit bull terriers and American staffordshire terriers as being less aggressive as boxers, bulldogs, collies, great danes, and Shetland sheepdogs.

It’s also worth noting that the public’s perception of which dog breeds are the most dangerous tends to shift over time. In the 1970s, dobermans gained a lot of attention for being dangerous since they were often associated with drug dealers who had trained the dogs to act as aggressive guard dogs. By the 1980s, German shepherds started to get the attention for being vicious attack dogs and the same thing happened with rottweilers in the 1990s. The reputation surrounding pit bulls isn’t exactly a new thing either, though. In 1987, pit bulls got a lot of coverage in the media after a two-and-a-half year old boy was mauled by a pit bull who was guarding a marijuana crop in California.

Regardless of which breed a dog is, dog owners have a responsibility to protect others from being injured by their pet. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, don’t hesitate to contact a dog bite lawyer. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we have attorneys who are experienced in helping many dog bite victims just like you. Contact us today to start getting answers to your questions.