GENERAL BREED INFO

Meanest Dog Breeds: Top 10 Breeds with A Bad Reputation

Meanest dog breads
John Walton
Written by John Walton

We live in the world where dogs are considered to be part of the family. Elderly, adults and children love, live and play with their dogs everyday and indulge the joy of owning a man’s best friend. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, so dogs too are sometimes uncontrollable and cause problems. Some breed however, show more tendency to aggression than others. In this article, we’ll present you the meanest dog breeds according to their temperament and number of victims.

Here is the list, and you can find detailed explanation about each breed bellow:

  1. Pit Bull
  2. Rottweiler
  3. Doberman Pinscher
  4. Caucasian Shepherd
  5. Siberian Husky
  6. Cane Corso
  7. German Shepherd
  8. Chow Chow
  9. Boxer
  10. Great Dane

Great Dane

  • Height: Males 30 – 34 inches (76 – 86 cm) Females 28 – 32 inches (71 – 81 cm)
  • Weight: Males 120 – 200 pounds (54 – 90 kg) Females 100 – 130 pounds (45 – 59 kg)
  • Life span: Average is under 10 years, although they can live 12-13 years.

The 10th on our dangerous list of the 10 meanest dogs is the giant among dogs. Great Dane is the tallest dog there is, with the current record of 40 inches (112cm). Originating from Germany, these dogs have an extremely well-built musculature.

Great Dane

This breed, also known as the Danish Hound or German Mastiff, was originally bred to be used for hunting and as guard dogs. Although their size is intimidating, Great Dane is known for its friendly and loving nature, thus the famous nickname – gentle giant.

However, this breed is independent and requires a strong leader in order to be obedient. Socialization must start as early as possible and include meeting numbers of all kinds of people and animals. If not properly trained and socialized, the gentle giant my turn into a ravaging beast that has one of the strongest bites among dogs, which is estimated to be around 600 pounds! In February this year, 2 Great Danes were shot to death by the police after they attacked one smaller dog in their neighbor’s backyard.

This breed still has some great qualities, which you can discover in this article about the Great Dane.

Boxer

  • Height: Male   22-25 inches (57–63 cm) Female 21.5-24 inches (53–60 cm)
  • Weight: Male  66–70 pounds (30–32 kg) Female 55–60 pounds (25–27 kg)
  • Life span: Average 9-10 years

This medium-sized, short haired dog breed also comes from Germany and is seventh most popular breed in the U.S. It is uncertain where the name comes from as they will rarely use their paws to actually box, except when playing.  Developed for hunting, with a head perfected for that sport, these muscular and energetic dogs are great as family pets. They are amazing with kids, pure hearted, loyal and loving.

Boxer dog

The thing that put them to this list is their protective attitude towards their family and distrustfulness toward strangers. If you are unknown to the dog, you are not welcome to its territory and near the family. Boxers also got a reputation of being headstrong, but this is only the result of poor obedience training from the owner. Although they are medium-sized, they are known to be fearless and brave and it is definitely not easy to intimidate a boxer.

The last reported fatality caused by a boxer in the U.S. occurred in the late 2013 in Arizona, when the dog killed its owner who was trying to break it up from a fight with another dog.

Chow Chow

  • Height: 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm)
  • Weight: Male 55 to 70 pounds (25 to 32 kg) Female 45 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kg)
  • Life span: Average 9-15 years

It is difficult to imagine a canine named puffy lion dog (original name is Songshi Quan, this is translation from Chinese) to be among top 10 most feared dogs, yet, they earned this reputation through time. Chow Chow originates from northern China and is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds known. They were bred to guard Tibetan temples, and later as working dogs for herding and pulling.

Chow Chow dog

Fierce and brave when it comes to protecting their territory and owners, chow chow’s show very little, if any, trust to strangers. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Chow Chows were responsible for eight deaths from 1979 to 1998. The last reported case of a Chow’s attack was in August 2014 when a dog bit a woman and a boy within only 5 days, after which the dog was finally euthanized.

But don’t retreat from this breed just because of this story; there are other wonderful traits that make this breed lovable, and you can read them here in this article about the Chow Chow.

German Shepherd

  • Height: Male 24–26 inches (60–65 cm) Female 22–24 inches (55–60 cm)
  • Weight: Male 66–88 pounds (30–40 kg) Female 49–71 pounds (22–32 kg)
  • Life span: Average 9-13 years

Germans do know how to create a dog breed! The German shepherd is second most popular dog breed in the U.S. for a reason. Highly intelligent, loyal to death, eager to please and obedient, these dogs are great choice for a family pet or a working dog. Relatively young breed developed for herding sheep, they have quickly shown themselves worthy of much bigger roles. Extremely agile and trainable, it is no wonder these dogs are used as police and military dogs.

However, poor socialized dogs tend to become overprotective to their family and territory which makes them very dangerous. Attacking smaller breeds of dogs is also often the case with German Shepherds.

Aggressive German Shepherd

National Geographic Channel television measured their bite to be 238 pounds, which is more than pit bull’s jaw strength. According to a research done in 1995, German Shepherds were responsible for more than a half of dog bites occurred in the U.S. Last year, a woman was attacked by her husband’s German shepherd in their home, which caused her death two days later.

Cane Corso

  • Height: Males 24 – 27 inches (64 – 68 cm) Females 23 – 25 inches (60 – 64 cm)
  • Weight: Males 99 – 110 pounds (45 – 50 kg) Females 88 – 99 pounds (40 – 45 kg)
  • Life span: Average 10-11 years

Did you know that Roman warfare included dogs called Canis Pugnax? Did you know that Cane Corso is their direct descendant? Well, these facts should be enough to explain this breed’s place on the list. Cane Corso is breed of dogs created and highly valued in Italy and throughout the world. Their muscular and athletic build, strong jaw and impressive intelligence make them an amazing choice for a guard dog and a hunting companion.

Cane Corso

However, they are only recommended for experienced dog owners as they need to be socialized from their earliest days and highly trained for obedience. In the 2014 summer, two Cane Corso’s attacked and killed a jogger running nearby, they were euthanized and the owner was charged with a second-degree murder.

Siberian Husky

  • Height: Male 21–23.5 inches (53–60 cm) Female 20–22 inches (51–56 cm)
  • Weight: Male 45–60 pounds (20–27 kg) Female 35–50 pounds (16–23 kg)
  • Life span: Average 12-14 years

The next on our list is a beautiful canine coming from the cold north – Siberian husky. The famous working breed originally used for pulling, meant life for people living in chilling Siberia. These dogs have higher level of independence compared to their other dog relatives. One might say that Huskies are not fully tamed as they have many similarities to an actual wolf. An urge to leave in a pack, howling instead of barking and their hunting instinct comes with their wild nature.

Described as escape artists, these dogs require a fenced yard, as big as possible, and an owner that is strong and determined. Huskies are very intelligent; yet, their stubborn nature makes them more difficult to train than a regular canine.

Husky restless in the snow

When it comes to temperament, huskies are not aggressive by nature; they make a great family pet and love to feel belonging to a pack. Properly socialized and taught their place in hierarchy, husky should not be a problematic pet. Their strong hunting instinct makes them dangerous to cats and other small animals, and they are also capable of hurting people.

Exercise is essential for this dog as it is very energetic, 15 minute obedience training a day, and a long run will make the dog happy and calm, otherwise, their excess energy may turn into a destructive driving force. Siberian Huskies caused 15 fatalities in the U.S. from 1979 to 1998.

This hasn’t stopped people from shying away from them, however, and that’s because there are plenty of wonderful qualities to this breed that you can read about more in the Siberian Husky.

Caucasian Shepherd

  • Height: Male 27–30 inches (68–75 Cm) Female 25–28 inches (64–70 cm)
  • Weight: Male 110 pounds (50 kg) Female 99 pounds (45 kg)
  • Life span: Average 10-11 years

This large sized dogs are on number 4 only because they are not so popular in the United States, but are spread throughout Russia, Armenia, Georgia and North Caucasus area.

 

Caucasian Shepherd

They are large sized, strong boned and muscular, with a thick coat and a huge head, they make an intimidating appearance to anyone. This breed was perfected to guard sheep herds, kill wolves (!) and hunt bears (!!!), which is reason enough to be mentioned in this list. Their temperament is problematic as they disobey orders and can be insolent. On a task to protect, they will be aggressive towards any unknown visitor, whether it is an animal or human being. These dogs require a true Alpha, an owner with strong leadership abilities and spirit in order to be loyal and obedient.

Doberman Pinscher

  • Height: Male 27 to 28 inches (68 to 72 cm) Female 25 to 27 inches (63 to 68 cm)
  • Weight: Male 88 to 99 pounds (40 to 45 kg) Female 71 to 77 pounds (32 to 35 kg)
  • Life span: Average 10-12 years

Doberman Pinscher or simply Dobermann is another breed on our list originating from Germany. They are medium-large sized dogs with powerful muscles and very agile and athletic. With a proper training, Dobermann can be perfect guard dog as they are very alert and protective. In general, they are considered gentle, kind and loving, but no one would want to trespass the territory they are guarding, it is often a case that they may let you in, but when it comes to going out you may face a problem as they can be train to restrain but not kill the intruder.

Doberman Pinscher

According to the  Report of Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 26, 2011, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People from December 2011, Dobermans were responsible for 15 bodily harms (7 of which were to kids) and 7 deaths. Although disputed, their jaw strength is thought to be 600 pounds. Scary.

Rottweiler

  • Height: Male 24–27 inches (61–69 cm) Female 22–25 inches (56–63 cm)
  • Weight: Male 110–130 pounds (50–60 kg) Female 77–106 pounds (35–48 kg)
  • Life span: 8-10 years

The American Kennel Club specifies that the Rottweiler is:

a calm, confident and courageous dog with a self-assured aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. A Rottweiler is self-confident and responds quietly and with a wait-and-see attitude to influences in its environment. It has an inherent desire to protect home and family, and is an intelligent dog of extreme hardness and adaptability with a strong willingness to work, making them especially suited as a companion, guardian and general all-purpose dog

Rottweiler

This breed was involved in more than half the death caused by a dog attack in period from 1993 to 1996. If a “Rott” is not properly socialized, it has a tendency to develop aggressive behavior, thus the number of attacks. Responsible and experienced owners are required to handle them well.

The last reported attack of a Rottweiler happened on March 14 this year when an elderly woman was killed by her own dog.

Pit Bull

  • Height: Male 18-21 inches, Female 17-20 inches
  • Weight: Male 35-60 pounds, Female 30-50 pounds.
  • Life span: Average 12-14 years

When you think of a dangerous dog, you automatically imagine a pit bull, right? Unfortunately, we humans are to blame for that. Originally bred to bait bears and bulls, these breed is now the symbol of an aggressive dog. Pit bulls have the ability to love, play and enjoy the family they are part of if treated with care, love, but also with strong leadership. Their dominance may often turn into aggression, and that’s when a pit bull will attack.

Although Pit Bull owners and lovers are trying to “clear” the name of this breed and convince people they are not as dangerous as it is said, numbers do not lie. Pit Bull is the most dangerous breed of dog on the world. More than half of the fatalities and injuries by dogs involved one or more Pit Bulls which is a reason enough to believe this statement. The worrying thing is that they often attack unprovoked and without a warning, and their attacks are deadly.

National Geographic Channel television measured the bite of a Pit Bull to be 225 pounds, although it is believed they have much stronger jaw.

Pitbulls are nice infographic

A study from 1991 found that 94% of the attacks on children by pit bulls were unprovoked, and only this year, pit bulls took two lives.

All of the dog breeds mentioned above, are owned by thousands of people and make a great pet. We can never blame a dog for doing something. The person or family that owns the dog should hold full responsibility for everything their pet has ever done.

Dogs are wonderful, majestic animals, but they require a leader who will put them on the right path. Early socialization and daily obedience training will make any dog a harmless pet. People who train their dogs to be aggressive should suffer extreme fine or even sent to prison as owning a dangerous dog is bigger threat to the neighborhood than owning a gun.

Another thing worth mentioning is that these breeds of dogs listed above are there due to reported attacks on people. Smaller dogs often show more aggression and bite more frequent, but those attacks are usually not serious and that’s why they are not reported.

If you are deciding to get a dog, learn about the breed you want to own. Some breeds require more training and a more experienced owner than other. The breeds listed above are not to be avoided, they just need more attention.
Whether you are a dog owner for years, or you are planning to welcome your first puppy into your home, remember that YOU and you only are the one responsible for your dog.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Ruth Harris

    Pit bulls have a bad reputation. Although the United Kennel Club doesn’t recommend the breed as guard dog because they’re super friendly. How true is this? Is the breed stereotyped?

    • Pitbulls are some of the most stereotyped dogs we have right now. I really hope they can get away from the negative light being thrown at them.

  • Bruce Morgan

    I was surprised to find out, that Boxers are friendly and funny dogs. They love children and actually are not so aggressive, as people think. We should change our understanding of this breed.

    • This is something they always get because they give a snobbish look. They are actually great dogs worthy of your consideration.

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