- Some people avoid adopting or interacting with certain dog breeds because of negative stereotypes.
- Dogs shouldn't be reduced to stereotypes, and all breeds have redeeming qualities.
- Many stereotypes are placed on dogs by people and are a result of bad training.
Unfortunately, that also means that certain dog breeds have been deemed dangerous or unsafe to be around for all kinds of reasons. Laws have even been proposed around these ideas — but these are not black and white issues
That said, we've rounded up 25 of the "most dangerous" dog breeds in the world, all of which are actually just as lovable as any other dog breed.
These 25 dogs may have a negative reputation, but they don't deserve it.
When it comes to dogs, not every breed is for every person. Unfortunately, some people have negative intentions and use dogs as a tool to bring those to life. Many dogs that have been labeled as dangerous only behave in certain ways because some people have bred them to fight or don't people don't have the level of control or experience they need to have to ensure the dog behaves correctly.
Here are 25 dog breeds that are known as being dangerous, but truly should not be feared.
The American Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Presa Canario, and Tosa Inu
If dogs do get bad reputations, look at the humans who raise them. Lots of doggos have strong muscular bodies with defined jawlines that can make them look intimidating. Unfortunately, some people use that to their advantage and take these dogs in to fight. According to the ASPCA, five of the most common breeds forced into dog fighting around the world include the:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
- Presa Canario
- Tosa Inu.
Although these and more breeds are used for dog fighting, that does not mean these breeds can't be loving and caring buddies. Pit Bulls have historically been called "nanny dogs." The World Animal Foundation does acknowledge that some bull terriers have attacked people and are the primary dogs used in dog fighting in the U.S., but they have plenty of lovely qualities including loyalty and intelligence.
Additionally, the Dogo Argentino is another dog fighting favorite but the American Kennel Club says that this breed is loving and loyal to their families. Although they aren't the best with kids, they are "eager to please" which makes them easier to train than other kinds of dogs. Here are 20 other dogs that get a bad rap.
The Great Dane is a huge dog. Even though this lovable breed doesn't seem scary to those who know one personally, the Great Dane is one of the tallest breeds, and they are also very strong, according to Daily Paws. The Simmons and Fletcher Law office points out that if these dogs aren't socialized and trained properly, they can be aggressive. And if they bite, it can be a serious medical concern.
The New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer says that breeds like the Doberman pinscher may not have negative reputations like the other breeds, but that doesn't mean they still need special care. They can be very intense which only adds to the idea that they are overly aggressive. But Doberman pinschers can also be playful, loving, and loyal to their families.
The Dog Bite Lawyer says that the Siberian Husky can be "unpredictable" and "moody" which makes them more likely to bite. But with proper training, these gorgeous pups can be loving and calm members of families.
Not to be confused with the Pit Bull, The Guardian reports that the U.K. has considered banning the American bulldog, due to several instances of attacking and killing humans. But advocates for this breed defend the American bulldog's loving and family-oriented nature.
The Akita is popular in the U.S. but these dogs are the third most likely breed to bite a person unprovoked, according to the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan. But with proper training, they can be very affectionate, love their families, and make great watchdogs.
PetMD states that the Bull Mastiff can be dangerous around new people because they can be so protective of their families. Although these dogs are huge which can make them look off-putting, they are more like massive teddy bears.
Countryside Veterinary Clinic says Chow Chows can be suspicious of new people and aggressive if they aren't socialized out of this behavior. Plus, Spiros Law mentions that Chow Chows have dominant personalities and can be very protective of their humans.
WebMD points out that the Basenji has a ton of energy, which can lead them to be seen as aggressive to those who don't know them. Letting them off their leash could mean they run off to chase whatever comes by. But overall, WebMD states that Basenjis can be affectionate, independent, and loyal — "for the right family."
Petplan says that Boxers are patient pups, and more playful than dangerous. The only problem is that they can be powerful. Parents of these dogs need to be able to keep up with them in order to keep them in control and their energy levels in line.
Dogs like the Rottweiler have a muscular build like many others on this list. That can mean they come across to some people as possibly dangerous — but with a responsible pet parent, Rottweilers can be as sweet and loving as any other dogs.
German Shepherds aren't the first dogs you might think of when you think of dangerous breeds, but they are powerful and big, which can be off-putting to some. The American Kennel Club says that German Shepherds are great with families and kids.
Like many other dogs, the Tibetan Mastiff needs to be trained and socialized with others to help prevent them from being dangerous, according to AZ Animals. These dogs are natural protectors, so it's easy for them to assume there's a threat where there isn't one.
The Tosa Inu (a.k.a. the Japanese Mastiff) isn't as well-known as other breeds on this list. But The Spruce Pets points out that this breed has been used for dog fighting, and that Tosa Inus often need "extensive socialization" with both people and other dogs. However, they can also be super warm and tender with their families.
The Spruce Pets says that wolfdogs are "controversial" because of them being a cross between a dog and a wolf, meaning they can be "downright ferocious." But if an experienced pet parent is ready to take on the challenge, wolfdogs can be deeply loyal companions.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large, powerful dog with a fiercely loyal attitude. Purina states that Alaskan Malamutes usually need proper training to ensure they get along with others, including kids and other dogs.
The Simmons and Fletcher law office states that Presa Canarios are three things: large, dominant, and stubborn. Although they do have a history of being used as fighters, they aren't naturally aggressive. They need to be trained appropriately to avoid issues — but they can ultimately be very confident, as well as protective and obedient of their families, as per the AKC.
Canine behaviorist Will Atherton spoke to The Sun and said that the adorable Caucasian Shepherd is one of the most dangerous breeds, as they are capable of killing other animals and even — occasionally — people. "They are incredible dogs," Atherton said. "But only suited for a tiny fraction of people."
That said, this is something that can be managed with an experienced pet parent, Atherton believes.
The last dog on Atherton's list is the Lurcher. He told The Sun that this is the breed with the "highest bite record in the U.K." at that time. But this canine behaviorist has a large following on TikTok with followers who defended the breed. "I’ve got a Lurcher and she’s the most gentle dog, super loving nature on her," said one comment, according to The Sun.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is powerful and independent, according to Britannica. Although they can be aggressive to dogs they don't know, they can also be loving family members and watchdogs.
Some people may be intimidated by the Saint Bernard's large size, slobbery nature, and overly-friendly nature.
But in actuality, the Saint Bernard is a big ball of fluff — and often gets a pretty positive reputation for being the centerpiece of various movies, including Beethoven.