Dogs may be considered man’s best friend and can be the most friendly of pets or companions, but at times their actions can be quite unpredictable. Every year there are many serious injuries, some being fatal, that are caused by attacks from dogs. Some dog breeds are known to be more ferocious or have vicious temperaments compared to other breeds of some dogs that have years of training from birth turning on their owners or others. This list should inform you of some of the more dangerous dog breeds that are known for attacking humans and what to be wary of when dealing with these breeds.
Table of Contents
Most aggressive dog breeds
1. Pit Bulls
Out of all of the dog breeds on this list, the pit bull ranks the highest in being the breed responsible for most dog attacks and fatalities per year despite the breed only making up only around 6% of the entire population of dogs in the United States. In 2016, around 71% of fatal dog attacks in the United States were caused by pit bulls and about 82% of fatalities in the year before. Not only are pit bulls linked to attacks on their owners and other people, but they can also be highly violent towards other dogs and many domesticated animals and require socialization training early on while they are still puppies to prevent any incidents.Pit bulls may be smaller than some of the dog breeds on this list but they can be very powerful and have a naturally muscular build for its size. They are also known for having an extremely strong bite that in many cases of pit bull attacks on humans or other animals, the owners often have to use a tool to pry the dog’s jaw loose to prevent it from causing any more harm to the victim of the bite.
In a worse case scenario of a pit bull attack, the dog often has to be tranquilized as further exposure from a pit bull bite can cause tearing of the skin or muscle tissue. Despite the numerous recorded attacks and fatalities from pit bulls, they can be very people-friendly dogs when trained with care and attention. Pit bulls can grow to be up to 22 inches in height and have a sturdy build that is suitable for an open yard that is fenced off to allow it to roam and get as much exercise as it needs to. While pit bulls can be quite friendly with children, it is best never to leave the dog alone with children unsupervised. The same goes for owners who own other dogs and pets as the pit bull tends to not get along well with other animals.
Rottweilers are the second leading cause per year in dog-related attacks and fatalities right behind pit bulls with both breeds having multitudes of recorded attacks each year in the United States. In 2016, about 6% of recorded dog attack fatalities were caused by Rottweilers and in 2015 they were the cause of at least 9% of dog attack fatalities in the United States. Rottweilers can be very stubborn and have an aggressive temperament and cannot only harm people due to its behavior but can be destructive of its environment and property. Rottweilers are independent and require a skilled trainer to make sure it can be kept under control and to prevent the dog from doing anything wrong when with its owner or other people.
Rottweilers are also considered to be the eighth most popular dog breed in the United States and are therefore quite common. While not the largest breed to be found on this list, Rottweilers are still fairly large with healthy adults ranging from 22 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weighing anywhere from 85 to 130 pounds. Just as well, Rottweilers are known for their sturdy build and incredible strength from their breed’s origins as working dogs and because of this can cause severe damage in an attack scenario. However, Rottweilers are typically friendly yet wary dogs that are fiercely protective of their families. It is imperative to provide extensive socialization to young Rottweilers to reduce the chances of an unprecedented attack in their adult life.
3. American Bulldog
The American Bulldog is a breed of dog that is usually involved in a few cases of dog-related attacks every year in the United States with some being serious or fatal. In 2016, 6% of dog-related fatalities were associated with the American Bulldog and also made up 6% of fatalities in the United States. In 2007, American Bulldogs were responsible for at least 9% of fatalities at its highest. Along with the pit bull breed, American Bulldogs also need early socialization training early on as to prevent any incidents of aggression towards its owners, strangers, and other domesticated pets or wild animals.
Training tips relative to Pit Bulls will often work well with American Bulldogs as the breeds are close relatives, and the American Bulldog receives much of the same attention as Pit Bulls for this reason. It is important to remember these dogs need specific training regimens to maintain their safety, as these dogs share the physical power of Pit Bulls. Healthy adult American Bulldogs range anywhere from 20 to 28 inches in height and can weigh between 60 and 120 pounds. Both factors vary slightly by gender, with females being somewhat smaller, but all American Bulldogs tend to be lean and powerful dogs that can do a lot of damage to an unsuspecting victim given the proper circumstances. With significantly low incidents compared to Pit Bulls this breed appears on paper to be much less aggressive, but as with all pets, they should be raised with care and respect to ensure there are no attacks or other similar incidents in their adult life.
This dog breed Bullmastiffs are a large breed of dog that can have a very stubborn personality and is known to be protective of its owners and will become aggressive if any strangers or unwelcome animals enter its territory. In 2014, about 5% of fatal dog attacks in the United States were caused by Bullmastiffs and in other recorded incidents there have been Bullmastiff-mixed breeds involved in other serious to fatal dog attacks. The breed can grow to be quite large and has a naturally strong and muscular build making it a very powerful breed. The Bullmastiff is usually very aggressive towards other dogs of its same-sex and if not trained properly, it can cause serious injury to other dogs and animals and destruction of property if left unsupervised.
This breed is known for its ferocious protection of its family and home, and will most likely be in an attacker position if they feel they or their family are being threatened, so initial training is very important for attack prevention as well as taking precautions with introducing newcomers to a Bullmastiff that is established in its home. Bringing people directly to the Bullmastiff and introducing them to show they are no threat to you or you’re home could greatly improve the dog’s response to new people and animals alike. However, Bullmastiffs are very large dogs with healthy adults standing at 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing in between 100 and 130 pounds. This means the Bullmastiff can do a lot of damage before being removed from a victim, so if you are unsure of how you’re Bullmastiff may react to a newcomer, be sure to have safety measures in place to stop an attack before it starts with a strong leash and even stronger training.
5. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are a large breed of dog most notably recognized as being the breed widely used by law enforcement agencies and are also trained as service dogs. The breed, while it is known for being able to be a well-trained dog breed, are still one of the many dogs on this list that are involved in fatal dog attacks almost every year. In 2016, around 6% of fatal dog attacks in the United States were caused by German Shepherds and also 6% of fatalities in 2013 with the highest percentage in the past few years being in 2010 at 9% of fatal dog attacks. Just like with Bullmastiffs, German Shepherds can be aggressive towards other dogs if not properly given early socialization training while they are still young.
German Shepherds are not only commonly used in law enforcement and as service dogs, they are considered one of the top ten most popular breeds worldwide and are one of the most recognizable breeds around. This combined with their reputation for being well trained and obedient adult dogs means most people will encounter this breed several times. This is not typically a cause for worry, as proper training can turn a German Shepherd into a friendly guardian of any home, but improper or deliberately aggressive training can turn one of these dogs into a dangerous animal. German Shepherds, like many dogs on this list, require attention and exercise to keep a handle on their stress and will be more prone to violence if left to their own devices in a confined space. It is also important to remember these dogs vary a bit more in size, ranging from 22 to 26 inches tall and 75 to 95 pounds in weight. While these dogs are capable fighters and predators, it is important to remember they are commonly trained as work dogs and generally have a laid back temperament when not stressed, so if a German Shepherd is acting on edge its best to give them space to avoid any incidents.
6. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is a breed of dog that is large and imposing and has many reported cases of serious injuries or fatalities that are caused by them every year. Cane Corsos are very independent and if not trained properly they will assert themselves as being dominant and can cause many issues to the owners or wild and domesticated animals. They tend to be violent and aggressive towards other dogs, regardless of the sex, and often will chase any other animals down. Due to its massive size and build, it can easily overpower some people and animals and can cause serious injury with some instances being fatal.
Cane Corso’s require something to pass their time and keep them active or they will become stressed and more easily agitated. Just as well, Cane Corsos are not social animals and will tend to be comfortable only around family, so early socialization is required to keep them from getting too stressed by guests. Cane Corsos are fairly large dogs that stand between 23 to 27 inches tall and weigh between 90 to 120 pounds, combined with their general abundance of energy these dogs can cause serious damage when attacking people or animals. Again, Cane Corsos need daily activities to keep their energy and stress at bay and early socialization that may not make them everyone’s best friend but makes them understand not everyone is a threat. Cane Corsos are also known for being obedient, which means with proper training and care one of these dogs could live many long years as a faithful companion with no unwarranted attacks on innocent victims.
7. Siberian Husky
Siberian Huskies are a medium-sized breed well built and bred for harsh, cold environments and are very instinctive by nature. Siberian Huskies can be very destructive of their owner’s property and its environment and are known to chase down many animals with some cases causing harm to them. The breed is known for being a working dog and was not originally bred for socialization which makes them wild by nature and without socialization training, Siberian Huskies can be unpredictable and should not be left alone with any domesticated animals or small children. In 2009, 6% of fatal dog attacks in the United States were attributed to Huskies and in subsequent years were also responsible for few fatalities or serious injuries.
Siberian Huskies are reportedly suffering from improper breeding habits that are leading to undesirable traits popping up in many pups being bought. Huskies are also extremely intelligent, and while this means they are quick learners and can be taught a variety of tricks and commands, they are also stubborn and require to be trained by a confident owner that is able to keep the Husky at bay. They are somewhat smaller than other breeds on this list with adults standing between 20 to 23 inches tall and weighing between 35 and 60 pounds. This is offset by their boundless energy and intellect meaning huskies can strategize an attack more effectively than many other breeds. It is also important to remember that this breed is generally overly friendly and considered to be poor watchdogs because they are not violent enough to scare away intruders. When purchasing a Husky be sure to check a breeder’s credentials, and remember that Huskies need lots of exercises and play to keep their stress at a minimum.
The Boxer breed of dog are well-built and muscular and usually range from 21 to 25 inches in height making it a medium to large-sized dog. In 2009, 6% of fatal dog attacks in the United States were caused by Boxers with other serious to fatal injuries occurring in almost every year after. Boxers are independent dogs that require strict training or else they will tend to go out of their way to make themselves dominant in their territory. They can be very aggressive towards other dogs of the same sex and will even attempt to assert dominance over other dogs in their presence and they also can be aggressive towards other pets as well.
To prevent Boxer attack scenarios it is extremely important to provide the dog with lots of exercise and play, as well as a solid training foundation to work from. Boxers are also considered to be fully matured only at age three, meaning training efforts should continue at full scale until this point to ensure the dog receives all the necessary training. Boxers are fairly tall dogs that will stand between 21 to 25 inches tall but weigh in between a small range of 60 to 70 pounds. While not the heaviest or the tallest dog listed, this breed tends to be strong and capable of causing severe damage when attacking, and should always be properly introduced to newcomers as these dogs are known to be deeply loyal and protective of their families and will act quickly and decisively in stressful situations. However, Boxers are known to cohabitate well with children and other animals, so if raised with care and a carefully guiding hand these dogs can be loyal companions with little to no chance of bringing harm to your family.
9. Alaskan Malamute
The Alaskan Malamute is a breed of dog related to the Siberian Husky except that they are larger and known to be more dangerous than them by their nature. Alaskan Malamutes were originally bred for cold and harsh environments and were often used for sled use. This breed can be very destructive and will often destroy their owner’s property and anything in the environment around them if not allowed to roam and exercise. Alaskan Malamutes are also known to be very violent towards other dogs even of their own breed and the fights that can occur can be serious and it is best to keep the dogs separate from each other to prevent this. People should be very careful when around an Alaskan Malamute when they are eating as they can be very possessive of their meals and can become vicious at a moment’s notice.
Alaskan Malamutes, much like Siberian Huskies, are very intelligent and require a lot of exercise and play. Alaskan Malamutes are bred as heavy sledding and hunting dogs, being used to hunt prey as large as polar bears, meaning these dogs can be dangerous, but with proper training will generally be extremely friendly. Malamutes also stand between 23 to 25 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 75 to 100 pounds, so their size is imposing, but their aggression is relatively low. Alaskan Malamutes can be very stubborn and require much of the same stern training and implementation of rules to be a well-behaved member of any family and are only recommended to those with extensive training experience and confidence. Given proper training and attention, an Alaskan Malamute can be a very successful addition to a home where they are able to roam and exercise on a regular basis.
10. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a well-built breed of dog that was bred for hunting and while they can be trained, they are sensitive dogs and any rough or harsh treatment displayed towards the dog can cause this breed to become highly aggressive. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very territorial breed and will assert its dominance towards any other dog or animal in its vicinity while some may give in to their hunting instinct and chase down its prey. The dog’s natural instinct of being defensive can cause it to be very aggressive at times with strangers so firm training and early socialization is needed prevent any incidents from occurring with this particular breed.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback finds its roots in Africa as a hunting dog bred to corner predators such as lions and boar, meaning these dogs can be ferocious under certain conditions. However, modern Ridgebacks are much more docile, provided they are properly trained and cared for. Their size is no laughing matter either with adults standing between 24 to 27 inches tall and weighing between 70 to 85 pounds, coupled with their power and natural hunting prowess means they can be dangerous if provoked. Ridgebacks are not overly aggressive to most people, but males tend to be more aggressive to other animals, specifically other male dogs, but neutering can sometimes alleviate this issue. Ridgebacks also require firm training from a young age and will most likely work well with a more experienced trainer and will have to be trained completely into adulthood to avoid behavioral issues in their adult life.