A-z - Animals

The 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds of 2023

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key point:

  • Some dog breeds are still more aggressive because they were bred for generations to hunt or fight.
  • Many aggressive dogs love their families, but must be properly trained and socialized early on to welcome visitors.
  • Four million people are bitten by dogs every year.

While we often keep dogs as pets, it's important to remember that they are descended from wolves. They may be domesticated, but at the end of the day, dogs are animals. Additionally, many of them are bred for violent purposes, such as hunting and home defense. No wonder 4 million people are bitten by dogs every year. That's why we've come up with this year's list of the most dangerous dog breeds, based on which breeds bite most often and which breeds receive the deadliest attacks.

With this list of aggressive dog breeds, you can assess the risk of owning or being close to a dog that could be harmful to you.

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What makes the most dangerous dog breeds threatening?

The 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds for January 2023
Breeds with the size, strength and temperament to injure others are the most dangerous.

©Asonia/Shutterstock.com

Dangerous dog breeds are not necessarily the most aggressive breeds. The Chihuahua can be a very aggressive and territorial breed, but that doesn't mean it's terribly dangerous. After all, dogs weigh less than 10 pounds in most cases, so they don't pose a threat to humans.

Instead, we've focused on compiling a list of dogs that may exhibit aggressive behavior based on their purpose and size. In other words, the willingness to be violent and the ability to hurt people or other dogs is what makes these dogs the most dangerous breed.

Why are some dog breeds more aggressive and aggressive?

Rottweiler
Nature and nurture play a role in making certain dog breeds more prone to aggression.

©iStock.com/Ideas_Studio

Dogs can be friendly and loving within a household, but part of a domesticated animal is still wild. Some dog breeds are still more aggressive because they were bred for generations to be vicious hunting animals. Others are rescued from situations in which they were socialized to be violent, like dogfighting.

Also, not all household situations are suitable for dogs. Research has shown that some vicious dogs are kept by people who display psychopathic tendencies, and that these people exert a dangerous influence on the dogs, leading to undesirable outcomes.

Bad things can happen when a problem dog is introduced to children, other pets, or people who don't treat animals properly.

A dog's breed is one of the factors that contribute to its violent tendencies, but it is an important factor that cannot and should not be ignored.

The 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds of 2023

Cocker spaniel fighting/playing with another dog
The most dangerous dogs are not always the ones that attack the most, but the ones that can actually hurt other dogs and humans.

©iStock.com/likedat

Determining the most dangerous dog breeds in 2023 requires knowing which dogs have caused the most fatal bites over time. Based on information gathered from 2005-2017, we have compiled a list of the aggressive dog breeds most likely to kill people, making them the most dangerous dog breeds.

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Comparing this information with data on fatal attacks in 2021 allows us to draw conclusions about which dog breeds will continue to be the deadliest in the coming year.

1. Bulldog

Bulldogs have the highest rate of fatal injuries
Bulldogs can be adorable animals, but they have the highest fatal injury rate of any other dog.

© Mary Swift/Shutterstock.com

While it should come as no surprise to most people who research dangerous dog breeds, pit bulls are some of the most dangerous dogs. Although not an American Kennel Club-recognized breed, "pit bull" is an all-encompassing breed used to include pit bulls and terriers, rather than a single breed. Over a 13-year period, pit bulls were responsible for 284 deaths, roughly two-thirds of all fatal dog attacks in the United States, according to the study.

This is a rather depressing statistic considering that only 6% of dogs in the United States are Pit Bulls. They have been dangerous as hounds and fighting dogs for generations, so it is no surprise that these dogs remain a threat to this day.

Another reason pit bulls are the most dangerous dog breed is their large bodies (up to 80 pounds), strong jaws, and powerful killer instincts. Humans and other animals stand no chance against pit bulls. Despite this, many people insist that these animals are simply a product of their upbringing and enjoy keeping pit bulls as pets.

2. Rottweiler

Rottweilers were originally bred for herding and pulling carts
Rottweilers were originally bred for herding and pulling carts.

©iStock.com/Ideas_Studio

Before pit bulls entered 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, weigh 120 pounds or more, and still be healthy.

They're big, quick-tempered, and foul in certain situations. Specifically, dogs become very friendly and protective of people in the home, but this protection does not extend to visitors.

Rottweilers are known to be strong, protective, and loyal, and can be dangerous when attacking intruders. While Rottweilers are not a threat to the family, they are often very aggressive when protective of their owners.

During the same period we discussed with pit bulls, Rottweilers were responsible for 45 fatal assaults, accounting for 10 percent of all fatal assaults in the United States during that period. Rottweilers also have a very strong bite, which they know how to use to great effect.

3. German Shepherd

german shepherd playing with tug
German Shepherds are commonly used as police and military dogs.

© lightman_pic/Shutterstock.com

German Shepherds are working dogs that have been used in military and police forces for decades. The reasons for this choice are obvious: these are strong, intelligent, powerful and dangerous dogs that can inflict deadly attacks on people.

Weighing around 90 pounds and standing over 2 feet tall, German Shepherds are great for reducing human threats. Generations of working dogs have produced a very effective tool.

Unfortunately for aggressive dog breeds, German Shepherds excel in aggression and territorial awareness, resulting in 20 fatalities (approximately 5% of all dog bite deaths) and many non-fatal bites . In this case, the only silver lining is that this breed is highly trainable.

4. American Bulldog

American bulldog standing in the park
American Bulldogs are energetic and stronger than many other dogs.

© PixieMe/Shutterstock.com

Unlike the English Bulldog, the American Bulldog is still a strong working animal and has not been overbred to the point of uselessness. These dogs are less than 30 inches tall, muscular and weigh over 100 pounds. They are thick, strong dogs and very dangerous when attacking.

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American pit bulls were responsible for 15 deaths in the 13-year study, accounting for about 3.5 percent of all fatal attacks. While that's not a huge number, it does matter when one considers that the breed is rarely mentioned along with some other dangerous dogs.

Make no mistake – this breed has a powerful bite and the ability to jump high and hard enough to knock a full-grown adult to the ground.

5. Bullmastiff

Bullmastiffs are large, strong dogs that can be territorial
Bullmastiffs are large, strong dogs that can be territorial.

©volofin/Shutterstock.com

Loyalty, alertness, and fearlessness are all terms that apply to the Bullmastiff breed, which is why people consider them as pets. They will be protective of your home and yard, but they may not like the presence of outsiders, a behavior that must be curbed at an early age to prevent aggression.

Although bullmastiff attacks are relatively rare, the fact is that these dogs are large and when they attack people or other animals, the injuries can be very serious. They can weigh up to 130 pounds and stand 27 inches or taller.

During the 13-year study, the dogs were responsible for 3.2 percent of fatal attacks, representing just 14 human deaths. However, when you consider the relative rarity of this animal in the United States, it shows that this dog is dangerous.

6. Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is valued for its wolf-like appearance
The Siberian Husky is a strong working dog with a strong bite.

© iStock.com/ortlemma

The Siberian Husky is valued for its wolf-like appearance. It shouldn't surprise you too much to discover that dogs that look like wild animals behave a bit like them.

In the coldest regions of Canada and the United States, huskies are used as sled dogs. Although they weigh only 60 pounds, they are very strong for their size and very independent animals. These dogs are highly motivated to catch their prey. Most animals smaller than them, including humans, look like prey to them.

In this case, it is their survival instinct that gets them into the most trouble. In the study we cite, huskies accounted for 3% of all fatal attacks. Although these animals are friendly most of the time, they have been known to attack children and adults who challenge them, even without a history of aggression.

7. Labrador Retriever

Labrador retrievers respond violently to perceived threats
Labrador Retrievers respond violently to perceived threats.

©TM Creations/Shutterstock.com

The Labrador Retriever is a hunting dog that was bred to work with humans. They are quite large dogs, weighing up to 80 pounds and standing only 2 feet tall. Labradors are often seen as family-friendly dogs, but due to their trusty nature, they make poor guard dogs.

So how are Labradors responsible for 2.1% of all deaths in the study? Most of the time, people think of Labradors as defending their territory and even their food. Sometimes humans inadvertently corner a dog when correcting its behavior, making it feel threatened.

Either way, Labradors are not extremely aggressive animals, but they can tip over or bite severely.

8. Boxer

Brindle boxer standing near bushes with head turned to one side
Boxers may look goofy, but they are strong dogs that don't like outsiders.

© iStock.com/AprilCarlsonPhotography

Boxers are interesting dogs because they are also very clumsy in appearance, but they were bred to be working dogs. These dogs are energetic and muscular up to 80 lbs.

When you combine their physical prowess with their protection, it's easy to see why boxers can be such trouble. Dogs may attack if someone they don't trust does something they deem threatening near their owner.

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Boxers have killed just seven people in recent years, but they also have a tendency to bite. Like other dangerous breeds, you should only get this breed if you know how to handle and train dogs.

9. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers were bred to be guard dogs
Once common as guard and police dogs, Doberman Pinschers have a reputation for intimidation and aggression.

©SasaStock/Shutterstock.com

With its iconic silhouette, the Doberman Pinscher is easily recognizable by its cropped ears, straight back, and always alert expression. These animals were once used as watchdogs, a job they are so good at that they have become almost synonymous with the job, with the exception of the German Shepherd.

The name "pinscher" comes from a German term referring to their habit of attacking and biting their prey. This is another breed that has been bred for generations to be the perfect attack dog. It's no surprise that they are very dangerous.

During the study period, Doberman pinschers were responsible for about six deaths and numerous bites. While not as many have been killed as other dogs, the breed is dangerous and capable of serious injury. They stand between 2 feet and 3 feet tall and weigh over 80 pounds.

10. Alaskan Malamute

Malamutes are big, powerful dogs
Malamutes are bigger, stronger and wilder than huskies

©iStock.com/Liliya Kulianionak

Finally, we have the Alaskan Malamute, a dog that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Siberian Husky. The main difference is that Malamutes are much larger than their wolf-living counterparts. These dogs weigh nearly 90 pounds and stand 26 inches tall, so they are very large and powerful.

They are also very energetic and they love to jump around and play mischief. Unfortunately, these dogs are not known for bowing to their owners' wishes, so they must be trained well from an early age.

Although they were responsible for only four deaths, Malamutes are still on the dangerous dog list because of their powerful bite and willingness to use it against other humans.

Another dangerous dog breed we can add to this list are mixed breed dogs. They have caused a high number of fatal bites over the years, but in the absence of data on their breed makeup, it is difficult to place them in the "mixed breed" category.

All in all, these ten dog breeds represent the most dangerous breeds based solely on the number of people they kill and how often they attack others. They are threatening not just because of their actions, but because of their potential to cause such horrific damage.

Final Thoughts on the Most Dangerous Dog Breeds

german shepherd sticking out tongue
Dog training and parenting can overcome many of the challenges that come with their breed.

©Osetrik/Shutterstock.com

As we said, you can make dogs friendly and helpful in your home, but it's hard for them to ignore their instincts. Additionally, other factors can affect whether or not a dog will bite you. These include:

  • Gender (males are more likely to bite)
  • Neutered or spayed (neutered or neutered dogs are more aggressive and territorial)
  • Fence attacks (people approaching dogs defending their homes)
  • approaching a strange dog

These are all factors that can affect a dog bite scenario. While it may be tempting to think of a dog's breed as the sole reason it's attacking someone, other reasons also play a role.

The breeds we've listed here are dangerous enough for owners to take extra precautions, but that doesn't mean they're too dangerous to own. Every dog is different, and those raised in the right environment and protected from the prying eyes of children or other pets have a good chance of remaining peaceful throughout their lives.

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