The nature versus nurture argument isn’t limited to children. The debate continues with man’s best friend, and forces pet owners to ask: Are dogs vicious due to their nature or upbringing? Although upbringing is definitely a factor in aggressiveness, certain breeds are more predisposed to having vicious temperaments. When these dogs are paired with an irresponsible owner, it can spell disaster for everyone involved. The following are the ten most vicious breeds of dogs.
- Great Dane. Great Danes are on the list not because of their predisposed temperament, but because of their sheer size. Fully grown Great Danes can weigh up to 200 pounds and stand three feet tall at the shoulder. If not trained properly, a Great Dane can cause great destruction.
- Boxer. Boxers have some of the strongest jaws in the dog world, which means they have powerful bites. This, coupled with their extreme protectiveness, can lead to severe injury to strangers. In 2013, an Arizona man was fatally bitten by his boxer while trying to break up a fight.
- Wolf Hybrids. Surprisingly, wolves are still being bred directly with domesticated dog breeds, creating an unpredictable, somewhat feral animal. A 20 year CDC study showed that Wolf Hybrids were responsible for the deaths of 14 people.
- Alaskan Malamute. Fluffy and beautiful, these dogs are also very intelligent. They have a high drive to hunt prey, however, and they frequently attack small animals.
- Husky. Huskies were originally bred as working dogs and thus are not as inclined to be social animals. They are very athletic and tend to be a bit too energetic for many people, which can lead to boredom and unwanted behavior.
- Bullmastiff. Bullmastiffs are naturally aggressive due to their history as guard dogs. They are also very large, with males getting up to 130 pounds. Without proper obedience training, Bullmastiffs can be uncontrollable for inexperienced owners.
- Doberman Pinscher. With what may be considered the strongest bite (a reported 600 pounds of pressure), Dobermans come in at number four for aggression. Their strength and intelligence can make them aggressive towards strangers and occasionally their owners.
- German Shepherd. German Shepherds also have a high prey drive, like Malamutes, and occasionally go after small dogs and other pets. Their bite is measured at 238 pounds of pressure, ranking them in the top four for the strongest bite.
- Rottweiler. The second most dangerous dog has a bite force of 328 pounds of pressure. According to the CDC, Rottweilers are responsible for more than half of all dog bite fatalities.
- Pit Bulls. The long-standing most dangerous dog, Pit Bulls are known for their aggressive outbursts and strong jaws, with a bite force of 235 pounds of pressure. If not properly trained and disciplined by responsible owners, these dogs can be extremely unpredictable.
Worth consideration is that three of these breeds are listed as the favorite dog breeds in Texas: the Pit Bull, the German Shepherd, and the Boxer. Unfortunately, these choices have had consequences statewide. In 2011, Texas had the third-highest number of dog bite claims in the U.S.
Homeowners looking to buy a dog need to do very extensive research when deciding what dogs are appropriate for their neighborhood and home. Dog owners need to be sure that if they own a dangerous breed of dog they are prepared to train the dog extensively, and deal with any repercussions of owning a dangerous dog.
Something many dog lovers don’t realize is that most owners may not even be able to get homeowners’ coverage for dogs on this list. If considering one of the more traditionally aggressive dogs, be sure to check with your policyholder regarding coverage of your home and other liabilities.