The Top 20 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds

It is challenging to assert that specific dog breeds are inherently dangerous. Dog behavior and temperament are heavily affected by its upbringing, treatment, and living conditions. Certain dangerous dog breeds exhibit a higher inclination towards aggressive behavior than others.

Despite this, it is essential to note that these breeds are not necessarily destined to become mean dogs that are aggressive. If these specific breeds are subjected to poor treatment, they may be more likely to develop aggressive tendencies than other dog breeds.

Recognizing that these dogs can be affectionate and happy companions under favorable circumstances is essential. The Journal of the American Veterinary Association (JAVMA) conducted a 20-year study to identify the breeds associated with the highest number of bite-related fatalities, shedding light on the issue of dangerous dog breeds.

Most of these dangerous dog breeds were also found in the study’s final results.

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1. Pit Bull

The Pit Bull is regarded as one of America’s most dangerous dog breeds. According to dogsbite.org, 203 Americans died in Pit Bull attacks from 2005 to 2014. These dogs have a muscular build originally bred for bull baiting and defending hunters from bears. There is no excess fat on most Pit Bulls, so their physique is impressively lean and muscular.

It is undeniable that these dogs possess a high level of cuteness. It is crucial to acknowledge that some Pit Bull owners modify their dogs’ appearance intentionally to create a menacing and fierce look, creating fear in these dogs. Additionally, people are apprehensive about the ill-treatment these dogs receive from unethical individuals. The training methods of some criminals who engage in dogfighting are cruel, involving starvation, physical abuse, and torture.

Pit Bull

Dogfighting stands as one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. The ASPCA reports that between 2003 and 2008, there were more than a thousand arrests for dogfighting in the United States. Even prominent figures like NFL player Michael Vick faced arrest and imprisonment for their involvement in dogfighting rings. 

As a result of these distressing factors, Pit Bulls have acquired an unfavorable reputation despite not always deserving such characterization. After fully recovering from his injuries, the woman adopted the courageous Pit Bull, providing him with a loving home. This incident showcases both the potential for aggression and the capacity for compassion that these dogs can exhibit.

A dog’s size or genetics may lead people to perceive it as dangerous. Due to their upbringing and treatment, some people acquire a reputation for being difficult. Most dogs can develop into well-behaved, friendly, loyal companions with affection, guidance, and appropriate training. The key lies in providing them with the right environment and care to nurture their positive qualities.

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2. Caucasian Ovcharka

Caucasian Ovcharka

This breed, commonly known as the Caucasian Shepherd or Caucasian Ovcharka, was originally bred for livestock protection. They possess remarkable traits such as strength of will, assertiveness, and courage. With the proper training, these qualities can make them exceptional dogs. 

These dogs can become extremely fierce and challenging to handle without proper training. Their instinctive urge to defend their home and its people is intense, leading to potential threats toward unfamiliar individuals entering their territory. Training and socializing these dogs with care is essential so that they become well-mannered and reliable companions.

Due to its large and robust stature, it can be challenging to control once it attacks. Nonetheless, this dog’s protective instincts have also proven life-saving in certain situations. Despite weighing 110 pounds, he used their strength to protect and save their loved ones. When properly cared for and trained, a Caucasian Shepherd offers security and devotion to its family.

3. Gull Dong

Gull Dong

The Gull Dong is a hybrid breed created by crossing a Bully Kutta and a Gull Tarrier. Due to their strength and power, these dogs were originally developed for dogfighting, making them incredibly challenging and aggressive. 

It is essential to receive professional training from a young age if one wants a Gull Dong as a pet. For their security and the safety of others, these dogs must be trained and controlled. From 2005 to 2011, 68 dogs have been reported to have attacked humans. 

Among these attacks, eight resulted in death. It is possible to train and socialize these dogs early, and they can develop into loving and loyal dogs.

4. German Shepherd

German Shepherd

They are usually friendly dogs. In addition to being smart and vigilant, they are alert and fearless. Although they can make wonderful family pets, it is important to socialize and train them from an early age.

Without these, they may become overly protective of their owners, family, and territory, leading to potentially dangerous situations. Even a friendly stranger entering the home can trigger an untrained German Shepherd to attack. As a result, they can be dangerous. 

When a stranger enters the home with harmful intentions, these dogs may react by attacking. It is crucial to emphasize that their level of danger is directly related to their training. A JAVWA study revealed that German Shepherds were responsible for fatalities, with many of these incidents occurring while the dog was defending a family member. Their substantial weight of up to 100 pounds contributes to the significant force behind their attacks.

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5. The Bull Terrier

The Bull Terrier

One of the unique and remarkable characteristics of the Bull Terrier is its large, egg-shaped head. Additionally, these dogs are known for their impressive muscular physique. Due to mistreatment, abuse, and training for aggression, they have gained an unfavorable reputation. 

It is crucial to note that Bull Terriers do not pose an inherent risk to humans. They can threaten smaller dogs and animals primarily because of their predatory solid instincts, driving them to hunt their prey.

They can easily injure these smaller animals by not resisting this urge. The Bull Terrier is a breed known for its weight, reaching up to 65 pounds, and its impressive speed and resilience. This dog can become an excellent family companion with proper training, affection, and attention.

6. Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is a breed known for its aloof and independent nature. It originates from China and can weigh 70 pounds. Due to the 238 attacks recorded between 1979 and 1998, the Chow Chow has a negative reputation and is considered a high-risk pet.

Among those victims, 37 of those attacks were children, and 40 were fatal. The Chow Chow’s protective nature towards their owners can be significant, but without adequate training and a suitable environment, they have the potential to become dangerous.

In many states, the Chow Chow breed is considered “unacceptable,” requiring owners to obtain special insurance to cover potential damages caused by these dogs. Chow Chows can become aggressive and dangerous when deprived of exercise and physical activity. 

Despite this, not all Chow Chows are bad. These dogs have demonstrated their positive qualities in instances where they have risked their lives. Here is a good example: Jared, a Chow Chow.

During a hiking trip with his family, Jared, the Chow Chow, displayed immense bravery when confronted by a Black Bear attack. He courageously saved his sister and human parents from the threatening bear without hesitation. Jared jumped onto the bear’s back selflessly, prompting the bear to flee. The dog’s heroic actions chased the bear away, ensuring the safety of his entire family.

7. The Husky

The Husky Dog

Huskies are dangerous to humans and small animals. Their powerful predator instincts can lead them into potentially dangerous situations because they were bred to pull sleds through the snow. 

According to the National Association of Dog Bite Statistics, Huskies have been the reason for 15 fatal deaths in the past 15 years. Proper training makes it possible to introduce smaller animals into a home with a Husky safely.

Huskies can kill living things as well as destroy your home. During your absence, you may return to find chewed-up furniture and a massive mess.

8. The Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is an incredibly massive dog, weighing up to 130 pounds, and their physique is primarily pure muscle. Due to their genetic predisposition for guarding and herding, this breed is often considered very dangerous. 

There is no doubt that not all Rottweilers are savage beasts. Like many other dangerous dog breeds, the negative reputation of these dogs is often a result of abuse, neglect, lack of socialization, inadequate training, and irresponsible ownership.

A Merritt Clifton Dog Bite Statistics report shows that out of the 535 Rottweiler-related attacks between 1982 and 2014, 297 of the victims were children, and tragically, 85 of the attacks resulted in fatalities.

The dog attacked and killed a man just three hours after he adopted a Rottweiler in Jackson Madison County, Tennessee. This incident raises concerns about the dog’s previous treatment before adoption, potentially influencing its aggressive behavior.

Another alarming incident occurred in 2001 when a woman argued with her ex-boyfriend in Rhode Island. During the altercation, her neighbor opened her door to investigate the commotion, leading to unforeseen consequences.

A Rottweiler showed heroic behavior when it heard a woman screaming and immediately latched onto her rear end, causing them both to tumble down the stairs. In order to help the woman escape, the dog’s owner had to pry its teeth off her.

In 2015, a pregnant woman named Kasha Weston faced a threatening situation when men with knives broke into her home. She was rescued by her Rottweiler, who attacked the men. Three men managed to escape, but the dog bravely held down the fourth until the police arrived. These instances demonstrate that while Rottweilers can be dangerous, some can also display extraordinary heroism.

9. Doberman Pinschers

Doberman Pinschers

If you’ve seen movies featuring menacing characters or the wealthy elite, you’ve likely come across the Doberman Pinscher. These dogs often take up the role of guard dogs in films, ready to pounce on intruders when commanded. Dobermans are renowned for their high intelligence, loyalty, and alertness, making them excellent guard dogs. 

They can be aggressive toward people and other dogs, weighing up to 70 pounds. Doberman Pinschers are rarely aggressive toward their owners. Nevertheless, their exceptional intelligence, strength, and size can put them at risk. 

A study conducted by JAVMA revealed that Dobermans were involved in nine fatalities, all of which were in defense of their owners. In one incident from March 2014, an Oregon man was attacked while walking in his yard by his neighbor’s Doberman Pinscher. He had to shoot the dog to protect himself, leading to its unfortunate demise.

In October 2013, a heartwarming incident demonstrated the protective nature of a Doberman Pinscher. A venomous snake was about to approach a toddler in the garden, and the quick-thinking dog sprang into action. Rapidly, the Doberman picked up the toddler and moved her out of harm’s way, potentially saving her life. With proper training, Dobermans have the potential to be friendly, joyful, and loyal companions.

10. Wolf Hybrid

The Wolf Hybrid is a fascinating mix between a dog and a wolf. Due to their genetic composition, these dogs can display unpredictability. While some may exhibit more dog-like traits, others may showcase more wolf-like characteristics. 

Consequently, some Wolf Hybrids can be gentle and non-aggressive, while a significant portion may pose a higher risk of being dangerous and potentially attacking humans and small animals.

According to the JAVMA study, there were 14 fatalities and 364 attacks involving Wolf Hybrids. The number of seizures may be higher because unreported dog bite incidents are not reported. In May 2013, a Wolf Hybrid in a neighborhood attacked a 5-year-old boy, causing severe injuries. 

In 2009, a Wolf Hybrid killed a sleeping baby after taking him from his crib. People often point fingers at the dog’s wolf heritage as a factor, while others blame the owners for not adequately training their pets.

Despite its genetic resemblance to a wild animal, the Wolf Hybrid dog is the most likely to exhibit aggression and danger under favorable circumstances. While Wolf Hybrids have a reputation for being notorious, some have risen to become heroes.

During a storm in January 2014, a Wolf Hybrid sanctuary’s owners were stranded outdoors. Their Wolf Hybrid came to the rescue. Displaying incredible determination, the canine dug a 20-foot-long tunnel for two hours, allowing the couple to return home safely. With these dogs, their behavior remains unpredictable.

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11. Labrador

Labrador Dog

Labradors are known for their amiable, laid-back, and affectionate nature. Training them properly and treating them with kindness so they will make safe companions is possible. From 1982 to 2014, 56 reported attacks resulted in serious injuries, with 17 incidents involving children.

During the same period, only one reported fatality was caused by a Labrador. In 2011, a Labrador attacked a three-year-old boy, inflicting severe facial injuries. All dog breeds require love, training, and proper care from their owners. Taking good care of your pet can minimize the chances of a deadly attack.

12. The Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff is an imposing and powerful dog, boasting substantial size and muscle. They command attention when weighing up to 130 pounds and reaching 27 inches in height. Without proper training and good behavior, they can become aggressive. 

A poorly trained Bullmastiff can be highly unpredictable. A 13-year-old boy from Jersey fell victim to a fatal Bullmastiff attack. Another boy was injured by the same dog in a separate incident.

Based on the Merritt Cliffton Dog Bite Statistics, there were 111 recorded attacks over 15 years. Among them, 46 incidents involved children; tragically, 63 attacks resulted in fatalities. Despite these statistics, with the proper care and training, Bullmastiffs have the potential to make wonderful family pets.

13. The Saint Bernard

If you’ve ever watched Beethoven movies, you probably envision Saint Bernard as a loving, intelligent, and protective pet. Due to its remarkable ability to rescue hikers in snowy mountain terrain, this dog breed originated in the Italian and Swiss Alps. 

While Saint Bernards can be friendly and protective, they also have a robust territorial nature. To prevent them from developing territorial and aggressive behaviors as they grow, it’s essential to initiate early socialization with strangers. When a Saint Bernard is appropriately trained, he can be a fantastic companion. 

If not adequately trained, his large size and potential aggression can pose risks. On average, this breed weighs between 140 and 260 pounds, with the largest ones reaching over 310 pounds. According to JAVMA’s study, there were only seven fatalities from St. Bernard attacks during 20 years.

In July 2016, a Saint Bernard viciously attacked an innocent woman passing by a bus stop in Canada. As a result of the unprovoked attack, the victim lost significant blood, received 40 stitches, and broke her kneecap. The sheer size and strength of the dog made it challenging for the owner to intervene and stop the assault. The rate of these attacks may be higher than officially reported.

14. Tosa Inu

Tosa Inu Dog

It is a breed of dog that is extremely dangerous and notorious for fighting. Additionally, it is a scarce breed. Several countries worldwide have banned it because of its menacing nature, including the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, and others.

The ban was primarily enforced due to increased attacks on humans, particularly children. Twenty years ago, thousands of attacks were reported involving this breed. The ASPCA reports only one attack involving this breed since the ban and the dwindling number of breeders.

15. Malamute

They are gentle and passive, making them great work companions like Huskies. These dogs are renowned for their sled-pulling skills in freezing conditions.

Their size makes them not ideal pets for young children. According to a JAVMA study, there have been 12 fatal attacks involving this breed in the last 20 years, highlighting the need for responsible ownership.

In one unfortunate incident in February 2014 in the UK, a Malamute took the life of their six-month-old daughter. On a brighter note, a Malamute saved a man’s life in Cornwall, UK, by protecting him from an aggressive “pit bull-like” dog during a walk.

While Malamutes are excellent work dogs and generally gentle, their large size and potential for aggression warrant careful consideration when owning and handling them.

16. Cocker Spaniel

This dog breed might surprise you, but it belongs on this list. At first glance, the Cocker Spaniel can make an adorable and affectionate family pet. These dogs are highly emotional, and this can lead to aggression in poorly trained individuals. 

According to JAVMA’s study, Cocker Spaniels have been involved in 59 fatal attacks since 1990. In a tragic incident from 2016, an elderly man in Jacksonville, Florida, fell victim to an attack from stray dogs, one of which was identified as a Cocker Spaniel. Unfortunately, the man died in the attack.

17. The American Bull Dog

The American Bull Dog

The American Bulldog possesses an impressively muscular and stocky build. Weighing between 60 to 120 pounds, this breed wields considerable power with its robust physique. 

Originally bred to assist on farms, the American Bulldog’s tasks included helping its master capture and restrain cattle and wild boar, eradicating vermin that threatened the farm, and diligently guarding the master’s property. Over time, this breed has evolved into a beloved family dog, showcasing its adaptability and affectionate nature.

The American Bull Dog can be friendly like any dog with proper training and socialization. This breed is known for its high confidence level, which may sometimes lead to stubbornness. Additionally, they can display strong emotions. However, with early intervention and guidance, these traits can be channeled into making them loving and affectionate pets.

In 2016, there was an incident in Halstead, Essex, where an American Bull Dog fatally attacked a 3-year-old boy. The unfortunate outcome highlights the importance of responsible ownership and ensuring dogs are not allowed to become dangerously out of control.

In May 2012, an American Bulldog displayed heroism by protecting both a woman and a baby from an intruder. Similarly, in 2015, another courageous American Bulldog saved an entire family by bravely holding off a murderer until the police arrived.

18. Akita

Originating from the picturesque mountains of Japan, the Akita is a breed known for its immense strength, dominance, and independence. These dogs can showcase great affection and exemplary behavior when provided with appropriate training. Their territorial nature can make them reluctant to approach strangers.

A robust breed that carries a weight of up to 100 pounds, the Akita commands respect. Due to their size and territorial tendencies, it is crucial to ensure they receive proper training and care.

According to the Clifton Study, which focused on dog bite incidents, 70 recorded cases of Akita causing bodily harm between 1978 and 2008, with 44 cases involving children. During that period, were 8 fatalities attributed to Akita attacks, and 52 people were left with life-altering injuries. 

In 2015, a woman experienced a harrowing attack by an Akita while checking on its puppies. After the attack, she underwent eight surgeries to repair her injuries. During a bear attack in June 2014, a well-trained Akita dog saved its owner’s 5-year-old daughter. Dogs can be dangerous, but they are also capable of being true heroes on occasion.

19. The Great Dane

The Great Dane is an enormous dog that is the world’s tallest dog, standing tall at 44 inches. Originating from hunting deer and wild boar, their hunting instincts have been passed down through generations. With proper training, the Great Dane can become a fantastic family companion.

These gentle giants are known to have a natural affinity for children and often form loving bonds with them. Many Great Danes are so affectionate that they allow small children to ride on their backs, delighting in the playful interactions.

Their substantial size can make them potentially dangerous without the proper training. An aggressive Great Dane, utilizing its height and weighing up to 120 pounds, can create a genuinely alarming situation. They can become wonderful family pets with the right amount of attention, love, and training.

20. Boxer

Boxer Dog

The Boxer is generally not known for its aggression. On the contrary, it is recognized as a playful, intelligent, and energetic dog, although it can be pretty headstrong. It’s essential to acknowledge that there have been 48 reported attacks involving this breed from 1982 through 2012, with 19 of the victims being children, and tragically, 7 of them lost their lives. 

With a muscular physique, the Boxer can weigh up to 70 pounds. This also includes a heartbreaking incident where a toddler was attacked by the family’s 50-pound Boxer, resulting in serious injuries. Many believed that the dog had not received proper training.

In Goshen Township, there was a devastating house fire. During this dire situation, the family’s Boxer acted heroically and saved the owner from the flames, risking their own life. Although the Boxer did recover from its injuries, it had to fight for survival. These dogs can exhibit friendly, loyal, and heroic traits under the right conditions.