Aggressive Dog Breeds

aggressive dog breed on black backgroundAggressive Dog Breeds 

Genetics plays a large role in breeds sometimes identified as aggressive dog breeds. It is important to understand though the experiences a dog has while growing up and the things it learns along the way play a large role in which behaviors that the dog may display in any given situation.

People recognize some dogs as being of a particular breed. That particular breed may be known as an aggressive dog breed. This does not mean that a particular dog will show those aggressive traits in any given situation just that the dog may be more likely to display an aggressive behavior. Today people keep a variety of dog breeds as pets only. The dog has no other job. The traits bred for in the past are no longer necessary for the dog’s survival as a pet. Some breeders selectively breed for hunting and working traits. As pets, these traits are sometimes not needed, and people consider the trait previously bred for to be an undesirable behavior. People frown on these unnecessary hunting or protective traits when keeping the dog as a pet. Dog breeds identified as belonging to an aggressive dog breed sometimes gain this label because of these genetic traits.

As an example prey drive may be stronger in some breeds than in other breeds. This is due to breeding for a specific job like hunting. Protective aggression may be stronger in other breeds due to breeding for a specific job. Remember though that experience and learning have a great influence over behavior. Which behavior a dog exhibits in any given situation depends on its genetics, experiences and learning.

Both learning and the experiences effect most genetic traits. An example of an inherited trait less likely to be subject to experiences and learning is size. Most behavioral traits are greatly influenced by experience, learning and upbringing though. This makes it difficult to predict genetically passed on behavioral traits. Physical characteristics and breed identity may be the only information some have to work with at a particular moment though. That and any behavior displayed.

Breeds more likely to display predatory aggression due to genetics are dogs in the sporting and terrier breed groups. Performing certain tasks required for hunting made it necessary for the breeds in the sporting and terrier group to have some part of the motor pattern for predation.


Sporting Group:

  • Boykin Spaniel
  • Brittany
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • English Setter
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Golden Retriever
  • Gordon Setter
  • Irish Red and White Setter
  • Irish Setter
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Nova Scotia
  • Duck Tolling Retriever
  • Pointer
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Terrier Group:

  • Airedale Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cesky Terrier
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Irish Terrier
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Parson Russell Terrier
  • Rat Terrier
  • Russell Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Skye Terrier
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier

Breeds more likely to show territorial or protective aggression due to genetics are dogs in the working breed group. Performing certain tasks required for protecting made it necessary for most of the breeds in the working group to have some genetic tendency for a protective instinct.


Working Group:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Chinook
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • German Pinscher
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Komondor
  • Kuvasz
  • Leonberger
  • Mastiff
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Rottweiler
  • Saint Bernard
  • Samoyed
  • Siberian Husky
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Tibetan Mastiff

The groups mentioned above are more likely to have at least some part of the predatory sequence or some protective instinct. Some of the dogs in these breed groups may be considered to belong to aggressive dog breeds. Breeding for the purpose of hunting and herding or guarding and working would make it reasonable for these dogs to have some part of the predatory sequence or a protective instinct. Some in these breed groups would be likely to have a genetically driven instinct for predation or possessive aggression.


Aggressive Dogs and Territorial Aggression

Can a Dog Attack be Avoided?

Why do some dogs chase?

Most Aggressive Dogs

Related Topics:

Dog DeterrentGeneral Overview Of Dog Bites

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