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The Dogs That Are Most Likely to Bite

There are no accurate statistics on what breeds are most likely to bite, however there are some general guidelines on which dogs are most likely to bite.

Many people wonder what dog breed is most likely to bite. They may have heard reports of this breed, or that breed, being the most dangerous dog. However there are many points to consider, some breeds are more common in some areas, so naturally we hear of more attacks and more dog bites from that breed, other breeds are small and do little damage, so naturally we do not hear of those attacks. So.. what really is the dog that is most likely to bite?

What was the Dog Bred to Do?

Some dogs were bred to bite, and to use that bite to kill. Other dogs were bred to bite gently and carry things in their mouths. As such, the dog breeds that were bred to use their mouths, are often the ones most likely to bite. This would include the terriers and the retrievers. Dogs that have been bred to guard and be protective are also likely to bite. This would include breeds like German Shepherds and Rottweillers. Also dogs that were bred to chase things, such as the herding dogs (Border Collies, and also German Shepherds) and sight hounds (greyhounds) may find themselves playing a game of chase and overwhelmed by the “catch” having fixated on the chase for so long.

dog fakes bite

photo source

What is the Breed Known for?

Some breeds are known to be unpredictable. One example of this is the Chow Chow. While there are many wonderful examples of this breed, it is known, on the whole, for not giving warnings of an attack, and attacking for unknown reasons. Indeed Spitz breeds are probably the closest in relationship to the wolf, and many are used in hunting large game (as mentioned as a risk factor above). They are known for being strongly protective of their pack, or in this case, their family, often bonding to one family member, making a risk factor even stronger.

Some breeds are known for high prey drives, which directly relates to “What was the dog bred to do?”. These dogs may find themselves in situations where they bite out of instinct more than anything else, particularly when playing games such as chase, or tug-of-war.

How well socialized is the Dog?

A dog who is not well socialized is a very likely candidate for biting. Socialization is learned at a young age, and reinforced throughout a dogs life. Small dogs often miss this step because it starts during basic obedience lessons and many owners of small dogs fail to take them to such lessons, picking them up and carrying them around instead of letting them learn how to be a dog.

Dogs who are not socialized become nippy, and will bite when threatened, biting a human, or other dog.

Dogs who are allowed to be the alpha, or show signs of aggression when eating, should be considered as risky dogs and proper steps should be taken to socialize them better.

How well supervised is the Dog?

It might surprise you to know that a tiny 4 pound Pomeranian dog killed a month and a half old child. It happened when the dog and baby were left alone for a few minutes unsupervised. Indeed no dog is safe and as statistics show most dog bites and dog attacks occur on a family member, (or friend of the family) and most attacks are on children left alone with the dog.

Is the Dog Fixed?

Intact male dogs are more aggressive for alpha positioning than neutered dogs, as such unfixed male dogs are more likely to bite. Even unspayed females can be moody, particularly when in heat or with a litter of pups.  

Dogs kept on Chains

Chaining dogs has proven to be a cause of aggression. These dogs become more protective and as a result, more dangerous and more likely to bite, especially when somebody approaches them while they are chained up.

Dogs who were Encouraged to be Aggressive

Naturally a dog whose owners raise it to be aggressive (either intentionally or out of ignorance) is going to be more likely to bite than one raised correctly.

small dog bite

photo source

It should be noted that there ARE NO ACCURATE LISTS of Dog Bite Statistics. The reason is because many dog bites do not go reported (as when a dog bites its owner). As well, in the case of stray dogs biting, the breed may not be reported correctly.

Related Links

Dog Bite Law USA Stats

Eleven Questions to ask yourself Before getting a Dog

Help for Owners who think their Dog was Abused

Is there Dog Meat in Dog Food?

Why Chaining Dogs is Cruel

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Comments (13)
Ranked #14 in Dogs

I have a chihuahua that has the heart of a lion. He has never bitten anyone, but he makes them think twice about coming near him. He is very protective of us and doesn't like anyone who comes to the house

That picture looks like my Sable Siberian. The only time Pele ever bit me was when he ran away as a puppy. I tried to grab to pull him over the fence and he got scared. However, he bit through the palm of my hand and I had a cooking competition the same day. I was soooo mad.

My sister had a pit bull who was really sweet when he knew you, but you did *not* want to get near if he didn't, or got a bad feeling about you. She said that pit bulls, when socialized and treated well, are basically babies. I've heard the same thing about rottweilers and German or Australian Shepherds. This one thought he was a cat, and would be known to jump up on people's laps...cute, but having a 70-lb dog jump up on your lap isn't exactly pleasant! :) He meant well. Since she got him from a boyfriend living with her when he was already big, I don't know if he was socialized very well, or at least not to the level he would have been had he been trained from a little puppy.

Great information and well-written. The story about the Pomeranian is incredible - who would fear for their baby's life around such a tiny dog?

Terrific write! I am a dog l lover so this was very interesting to read as well as informative. I'm sorry I'm out of votes for today but I will definately buzz this up.

Ranked #22 in Dogs

We get a lot of dog bites in the ER and I think one of the main causes is mishandling and poor training by the humans. I never blame the dog.

Ranked #5 in Dogs

... in addition...never ever get near a mad dog,its bite is fatal

Post-exposure rabies shots suck...I should know...

Ranked #47 in Dogs

You had a perfect images for this article.

Ranked #1 in Dogs

I want to add that bites are so common, and as Shannon pointed otu rabies shots suck, so its a very good idea to make sure YOUR dog (if you own one) is fully vaccinated against rabies - if you are bitten by a dog who is not vaccinated that dog must go on a 10 days rabies hold.

This is an indispensable information pertaining to the avoidance of dog bites and being a victim of rabies.

Very Good article Brenda, as in most cases of behavior regardless of the species, would you agree we can pinpoint the cause to two things? Genetics and Environment

Ranked #9 in Dogs

Great article to get out there, any dog is capable of biting as you said and we as owners have to teach them how to live amongst us. The tip on socialising is a real top tip! sorry Brenda I have no votes left but will be tweeting and buzzing this article.

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