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Although we frequently keep dogs as pets, it is important to remember that they are descended from wolves. They might be domesticated, but dogs are animals at the end of the day. Moreover, many of them were bred for violent purposes, such as hunting and home defense. It’s no small wonder that 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year. That’s why we came up with the list of the most dangerous dog breeds for this year based on the breeds that bite most often as well as which breeds have the most fatal attacks attributed to them.
With this list of aggressive dog breeds, you can evaluate the risk of owning or being around dog breeds that are potentially harmful to you.
What Makes the Most Dangerous Dog Breeds Threatening?
Dangerous dog breeds are not necessarily the most aggressive dog breeds. A chihuahua can be a very aggressive and territorial breed, but that does not mean it’s very dangerous. After all, the dog weighs fewer than 10 pounds in most cases, so it doesn’t pose a threat to human beings.
Instead, we have focused on curating a list of dogs that have both the potential for aggressive behavior based on the purpose for which they were bred as well as the physical size to be harmful. In other words, the willingness to get violent and the ability to harm people or other dogs are the things that make these the most dangerous dog breeds.
Why Are Some Dog Breeds More Aggressive and Likely to Attack?
Dogs can be socialized within a home to be kind and loving, but there is always a part of a domesticated animal that remains wild. Some dog breeds remain more aggressive because they were bred to be vicious hunting animals for generations. Others were rescued from a situation where they were socialized to be violent, like fighting dogs.
Also, not every home situation is good for a dog, either. Studies have shown that some vicious dogs were raised by people exhibiting psychopathic tendencies, and those people became a dangerous influence on the dogs, resulting in poor outcomes.
When a dog with problems is introduced to small children, other pets, or people that cannot handle animals properly, bad things happen.
A dog’s breed is one part of the equation that contributes to its propensity for violence, but it is a significant piece that cannot and should not be ignored.
The 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in 2022
Determining the most dangerous dog breeds for 2022 is a matter of looking at which dogs were responsible for the greatest number of fatal bites over a period of time. Based on a collection of information from 2005-2017, we have compiled a list of aggressive dog breeds that are most likely to kill a person, making them the most dangerous breeds.
Comparing this information with data about fatal attacks in 2021, we can draw conclusions about dog breeds that continue to be deadliest in the coming year.
1. Pit Bull
Although it should come as no surprise to most people who study dangerous dog breeds, the pit bull is the most dangerous dog breed. According to the aforementioned study, over a period of 13 years, the pit bull was responsible for 284 deaths, roughly 2/3 of all fatal dog attacks in the United States.
That is a rather discouraging statistic when one considers that only 6% of all dogs in the United States are pit bulls. They were bred to be dangerous for generations as hunting dogs and fighting dogs, so it is no surprise these dogs continue to be a threat to this day.
Another reason pit bulls are the most dangerous dog breed is that they have large bodies (weighing up to 80 pounds), strong jaws, and great killer instincts. Human beings and other animals don’t stand a chance against a pit bull. Still, many people insist these animals are merely a product of their upbringing and have loving pit bulls as pets.
Before pit bulls came into the public consciousness as highly dangerous animals, rottweilers were often considered the most dangerous dog breed in the world. These dogs can grow up to 25 inches tall and weigh 120 pounds or more and still be healthy.
They have large bodies and a temperament that can turn foul in some situations. Specifically, the dog will become very friendly and protective of those in its household, but that protection is not extended to visitors.
Rottweilers are well known to be powerful, protective, and loyal, and can be dangerous when they attack intruders. Although Rottweilers are not a threat to the family,they are usually very aggressive when they protect their owners.
During the same interim as we discussed with the pit bull, the rottweiler was responsible for 45 fatal attacks, comprising 10% of all fatal attacks that were witnessed during that period in the United States. Rottweilers also have a dreadfully powerful bite that they know how to use to great effect.
3. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are working dogs that have been put to use in militaries and police forces in recent decades. The reasons for this choice are obvious: these are robust, intelligent, powerful, and dangerous dogs that can inflict deadly attacks on people.
Weighing about 90 pounds and standing over 2 feet tall, the German Shepherd breed is perfect at curtailing human threats. The generational breeding into working dogs has resulted in a highly effective tool.
Unfortunately, as far as aggressive dog breeds go, German shepherds excel in aggression and territoriality, and they were the cause of 20 deaths (about 5% of all dog bite deaths) and numerous non-fatal biting incidents. The only silver lining, in this case, is that this breed is highly trainable.
4. American Bulldog
Unlike their British counterparts, the American bulldog is still a powerful working animal that has not been overbred to uselessness. Standing just shy of 30 inches high, these dogs can pack on muscle and weigh over 100lbs. They’re thick, strong dogs that are very dangerous when they attack.
During the 13-year study, American bulldogs were responsible for 15 deaths, about 3.5% of all fatal attacks. Although that is not a large number, it’s significant when one considers that this breed is rarely mentioned alongside some of the other dangerous dogs.
Make no mistake— this breed has a powerful bite and the ability to jump high enough and hard enough to knock an adult flat on their back.
Devoted, alert, and fearless are all terms that apply to the Bullmastiff breed, and that is why people value them as pets. They’ll protect your home and yard, but they might not enjoy the presence of outsiders, and that behavior has to be curbed at a young age to prevent attacks.
Although attacks by bullmastiffs are relatively infrequent, the fact is that these dogs are so large that when they do attack a person or another animal, the damage is severe. They can reach 130 pounds and stand 27 inches tall or more.
These dogs were responsible for 3.2% of all fatal attacks that occurred over the 13 years of the study, representing just 14 deaths. However, when you consider the relative rarity of the animal in the U.S., it’s a sign that the dog is dangerous.
6. Siberian Huskies
Siberian huskies are valued for their wolf-like looks. You shouldn’t be too surprised to find out that dogs sharing looks with wild animals behave a little like them.
Huskies were used as sled dogs in the coldest reaches of Canada and the United States. Although they weigh only 60 pounds, they’re strong for their size and very independent animals. These dogs are highly motivated by catching prey. Most animals that are smaller than them, including humans, can look like prey to them.
In this case, it’s their instincts for survival that get them in the most trouble. Huskies were responsible for 3% of all fatal attacks in the study we’ve cited. Although these animals are friendly most of the time, they have been known to attack children and adults that challenge them even with no history of aggression.
7. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is a hunting dog that was bred to work alongside human beings. They’re fairly large dogs, weighing up to 80 pounds and only standing about 2 feet tall. Labradors are often prized as family-friendly dogs, and they make poor guard dogs for their trustworthy nature.
So, how is it that Labradors became responsible for 2.1% of all the deaths in the study? Most of the time, it’s believed that the Labrador is defending its territory or even its food. Sometimes, humans inadvertently back their dog into a corner and make it feel threatened when they’re correcting its behavior.
Either way, Labradors are not highly aggressive animals, but they can topple over or severely bite humans.
Boxers are interesting dogs because they are simultaneously incredibly dopey in terms of their looks, but they were bred to be working dogs. These dogs have a lot of energy, and they can weigh up to 80lbs of muscle.
When you combine their physical capabilities with their protective nature, it’s easy to see why boxers can be so troublesome. If someone the dog doesn’t trust does something they perceive as threatening near their owner, the dog could capably attack.
Boxers only caused 7 deaths in recent years, but they have a propensity for non-fatal bites as well. Like other dangerous breeds, you should only get this breed if you know how to handle and train a dog.
9. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher has an iconic silhouette that is easily identified by the cropped ears, straight back, and look of constant alertness. These animals have been used as guard dogs, a job they performed so well that they have become almost synonymous with the job, German shepherds aside.
The name “pinscher” comes from a German term that refers to their habit of attacking and biting prey. This is another breed that was bred for generations to become perfect attack dogs. It should not be any surprise that they are quite dangerous.
Dobermans were responsible for about 6 deaths at the time of the study as well as many biting incidents. While not as prolific in the number of deaths as other dogs, the breed is dangerous and capable of inflicting serious injuries. They stand between 2 feet and 3 feet tall and weigh upwards of 80 pounds.
10. Alaskan Malamute
Lastly, we have the Alaskan Malamute, a dog that is strikingly similar to the Siberian Husky. The main difference is that the Alaskan Malamute is much larger than their wolf-life counterparts. These dogs can weigh almost 90 pounds and stand 26 inches tall, so they are quite large and powerful.
They are also highly energetic, and they love jumping around and getting into mischief. Unfortunately, these dogs are not known for yielding to the wishes of their owners, so they have to be trained well from a young age.
Although they are only responsible for 4 deaths, the Alaskan Malamute is still on the list of dangerous dogs because of their powerful bite and willingness to use it against others.
Another dangerous dog breed that we could have added to this list is mixed breed dogs. They made up a significant number of fatal bites issued throughout the years, but it’s hard to contribute to a “mixed breed” category when no data is available as to what comprises their breed.
All in all, these ten dog breeds represent the most dangerous ones out there based solely on the number of people they kill and how often they attack others. They’re threatening not just because of their actions but also because they have the potential to do such terrible damage.
Final Thoughts About the Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
As we’ve said, you can socialize a dog to be kind and helpful in your home, but it’s hard for them to ignore their instincts. Also, other factors can play a role in whether or not the dog is likely to bite you. These include:
- Sex (males are more likely to bite)
- Spayed or Neutered (unneutered or un-spayed dogs are more aggressive and territorial)
- Fence aggression (People approach dogs that are defending their homes)
- Approaching unfamiliar dogs
These are all factors that can influence a dog biting scenario. Although it may be tempting to look at a dog’s breed as the sole reason for it attacking someone, other reasons are influential too.
The dog breeds we’ve listed here are dangerous enough that owners need to take extra precautions, but that doesn’t mean they are too dangerous to own. Every dog is different, and those raised in proper settings and not subjected to prying children or other pets have a good chance at remaining peaceful throughout their lives.
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How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.
1. Pit Bull. Pit Bulls can be lovable animals, but they have the highest rate of fatal maulings of any other dog. Although it should come as no surprise to most people who study dangerous dog breeds, the pit bull is the most dangerous dog breed.What are the 10 most dangerous dogs? ›
- Pit Bull Terrier.
- German Shepherd.
- Siberian Husky.
- Alaskan Malamute.
- Doberman Pinscher.
- Chow Chow.
- Great Dane.
1. Labrador Retriever. Labradors are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the world and it's easy to see why. They're friendly, loving, and great with kids.Which dog breed is the deadliest? ›
The Pit Bull is considered to be the most dangerous dog in America. According to dogsbite.org, between 2005 and 2014, 203 Americans were killed by a Pit Bull ad 305 people were seriously injured after a mauling. These dogs were originally bred to baiting bulls and protecting hunters from bear.
- 1.1 1. Pitbull.
- 1.2 2. Rottweiler.
- 1.3 3. American Bulldog.
- 1.4 4. Doberman Pinscher.
- 1.5 5. Wolfdog.
The Labrador Retriever is the world's most popular dog. One of the many reasons for the Labrador's popularity is the big variety in which the dog comes along.
6 Dogs That Could Defeat a Pitbull - YouTubeWhat is the cutest dog ever? ›
TOP 10 CUTEST DOG BREEDS - YouTubeWhat small dogs bite the most? ›
For example, dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Jack Russell terriers are the most likely to attempt to bite, according to a 2008 study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science that surveyed the owners of more than 30 dog breeds. Other aggressive behaviors seen in little dogs include growling, snarling and lunging.What dog is called the wolf killer? ›
One of the most spectacular facts by which the strong Caucasian Shepherd dog is renowned is it courage and instinct that allows him to fight wild beasts and even to kill wolves. Well, it is important for us to look a bit at how nature goes and understand this “wolf killer” role as it really is.
1/10 The Hound Of The Baskervilles (1939) 7.5
While the 1959 Hammer Horror movie remake is a worthy contender, the original Hound of the Baskervilles remains the first and best killer dog film, according to IMDb.
What is the most expensive dog? The Tibetan mastiff is considered the most expensive dog, as it has sold for thousands and even millions. In 2014, a Tibetan mastiff puppy was sold for nearly $2 million in China, according to AFP, which cited a report in Chinese newspaper Qianjiang Evening News.Who is the most famous dog on TikTok? ›
TheGolden Retriever is the most popular breed on TikTok, with the hashtag #goldenretriever gathering a massive 21.2 billion views.What is the fastest dog? ›
1. Greyhound. It probably comes as no surprise that the fastest breed of all is the Greyhound. They are born to run, although are surprisingly lazy the rest of the time, and have an incredible top speed of 45mph.What dog can fight a lion? ›
Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed - The Dog That Hunts Lions.Are dog fights illegal? ›
Dogfighting is a felony offense in all 50 states and it is a felony offense under federal law as well. It is also a felony to knowingly bring a minor to an animal fight. There are several compelling reasons for this.Which is the best fighting dog in the world? ›
- Kangal dogs.
- Irish Wolfhounds.
- Cane Corso.
- Dogo Argentino.
- American Pit Bull Terrier.
- Chow Chow.
- Belgian Malinois.
Miracle Milly the Chihuahua currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world's smallest dog. She weighed approximately one pound and was under 4 inches tall—well below the average of her fellow Chihuahuas.What dogs can beat a pitbull? ›
6 Dogs That Could Defeat a Pitbull - YouTubeWhat dogs are least dangerous? ›
- The Golden Retriever.
- The Labrador Retriever.
- Basset Hound.
- Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Brittany (Spaniel)
- Rough Collie.
TOP 10 CUTEST DOG BREEDS - YouTubeWhat is the hardest fighting dog? ›
American Pit Bull Terrier
Pit Bulls are the most preferred breed for dog fighting because they are strong and sturdy and very loyal and are genetically more aggressive due to breeding.
Rhodesian Ridgeback Breed - The Dog That Hunts Lions.What dog can beat a wolf? ›
So if you want to know what dog can kill a wolf: the Kangal wins hands down. A Kangal's temperament is one that is rarely found in such protective and strong breeds. Yes, they have the ability to kill a wolf in a single bite, but they are also excellent family dogs and can be very gentle around small children.Which dog will not bite? ›
Labrador Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Newfoundlands are among the safest dog breeds that are least likely to bite, new research has found. While any dog can nip, these breeds are known for their particularly sweet-tempered spirit as long as they are treated right.How do dogs know not to bite you? ›
Mouthing traces back to a dog's ability to learn how to fight. From the time they are puppies, dogs practice fighting with friends and are gentle enough not to hurt each other. This gives them the skills for survival in the wild. Dogs of all sizes will mouth with each other, so they know how to control their bite.What kind of dog doesn't bite or bark? ›
What kind of dog doesn't bite or bark? Hot dog.What is the fastest dog? ›
1. Greyhound. It probably comes as no surprise that the fastest breed of all is the Greyhound. They are born to run, although are surprisingly lazy the rest of the time, and have an incredible top speed of 45mph.What's the most expensive dog? ›
What is the most expensive dog? The Tibetan mastiff is considered the most expensive dog, as it has sold for thousands and even millions. In 2014, a Tibetan mastiff puppy was sold for nearly $2 million in China, according to AFP, which cited a report in Chinese newspaper Qianjiang Evening News.