While any dog has the potential to be vicious, the most dangerous dog breeds are more prone to violent outbursts. That’s not to say that every so-called dangerous dog is a threat, though. Some ‘dangerous’ dogs are not so much aggressive as they are unaware of their own strength. This article lists 27 of the top-ranked most dangerous dog breeds in the world.
There can be a number of factors that influence a dog’s behavior and even the most docile dog can pose a threat when pushed. With that being said, however, there have been plenty of studies involving the most dangerous of dog breeds. These studies prove some dogs are just more prone to attacks than others.
- 1 27 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
- 1.1 1. American Pitbull Terrier
- 1.2 2. Rottweiler
- 1.3 3. Chow Chow
- 1.4 4. Siberian Husky
- 1.5 5. Doberman Pinscher
- 1.6 6. Great Dane
- 1.7 7. German Shepherd
- 1.8 8. Perro de Presa Canario
- 1.9 9. St Bernard
- 1.10 10. Alaskan Malamute
- 1.11 11. Argentinean Mastiff
- 1.12 12. Akita
- 1.13 13. Gull Dong
- 1.14 14. Tosa Inu
- 1.15 15. Cane Corso
- 1.16 16. Wolfdog (Wolf-Dog Hybrid)
- 1.17 17. Rhodesian Ridgeback
- 1.18 18. Boerboel
- 1.19 19. Czechoslovakian Vlcak
- 1.20 20. Boxer
- 1.21 21. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- 1.22 22. Indian Pariah Dog
- 1.23 23. Kombai
- 1.24 24. Belgian Shepherd
- 1.25 25. Fila Brasileiro
- 1.26 26. American Bully
- 1.27 27. Afghan Shepherd
- 1.28 Related
27 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
Evolving from wolves, every dog retains an echo of its ancestor’s natural instincts. Some a little more than others. While the dogs on this list are not undeserving of a loving home, it is important to be very aware of the traits of the breed you are taking in. And to consider whether you can accommodate them. A knowledgeable understanding of how to care for certain breeds makes for a good relationship between a human and canine companion.
With that in mind, here is a comprehensive list of the most dangerous dog breeds from around the world and some tips on how to handle them.
1. American Pitbull Terrier
This stocky, intelligent breed may have an adorable face, but don’t let that fool you. The American Pitbull Terrier is one of the most dangerous dogs in the world.
While Pitbull Terriers are reliable farm dogs and lovable companions, there’s no denying the intimidating strength of these short-haired hounds. Pitbull Terriers have a surprisingly high temperament passing rate and usually make great pets provided their needs are met.
With a little training, there is little risk of your pitbull spontaneously lashing out or causing anyone any harm. Pitbulls are not inherently dangerous dogs, but rather are prone to more vicious attacks through irresponsible ownership, neglect, and abuse.
What makes these dogs worthy of a spot on the dangerous dog breeds list is their terrifying strength when pushed to aggression. While Pitbull Terriers are not born to fight, their behaviors and tendencies are often exploited in order to bring out their aggressive side. And what a frightening side it is. Packed with muscle and an iron-grip jaw, you don’t want to find yourself in a showdown with an agitated Pitbull Terrier.
Some of the first police dogs were Rottweilers and for good reason. These large, bulky dogs have been appointed guardians and protectors time and time again for their solid strength and dominating presence.
Rottweilers make the list of dangerous dogs for their brute strength and confident nature. These breeds are quick to act and highly intelligent. They need a little training from an early age otherwise their size, unfortunately, contributes to their capability for destruction.
When socialized and trained, Rottweilers can get along pretty well with both other dogs and new people. However, males can get quite aggressive and confrontational when riled up. The breed as a whole can be prone to aggression and require patient training and a firm hand in order to stay in check.
3. Chow Chow
It’s hard to believe that these puffy balls of vermillion fluff could possibly be one of the most vicious dog breeds. The Chow Chow, however, have more in common (personality-wise) with cats than with canines. This makes for a highly temperamental and aloof character with an intimidating bite to boot.
Chow Chows can be both aggressive and stubborn. Quick to take a snap when irritated, these dogs don’t gel well with more affectionate individuals. Originally bred as guard dogs and hunters in China, the Chow Chow can be the meanest dog in the world when it wants to be. That’s not to say that you can’t manage successful ownership of these fluffy bundles of rage. It would merely require a little bit of extra work and competence.
Overall, Chow Chows are best suited to quiet lives with their beloved owner and no one else. Unless you’re prepared for them to act out in front of company.
4. Siberian Husky
These gorgeous dogs with wolf-like features are often the most misleading pets for first-time dog owners. The piercing blue eyes and striking sleek coat make owning a Siberian Husky overwhelmingly appealing. However, you wouldn’t want to find yourself at the business end of an upset Husky.
Huskies have a bite almost as strong as that of a wolf and can easily break small bones and tear flesh like it’s nothing. What makes a Husky one of the more dangerous breeds of dogs, however, is their inclination towards restlessness and unpredictable frustration.
Without proper exercise and stimulation, Siberian Huskies can be driven to boredom and frustration which can be dangerous for anyone around them. Huskies are prone to vicious attacks and, like the American Pitbull and Rottweiler have been known to kill on occasion.
This is by no means saying that all huskies are murderous dogs but rather to outline the consequences of not adequately taking care of your pet. Huskies are powerful creatures and should not be underestimated. While mostly gentle in nature, Huskies have definitely earned their place on the list of vicious dog breeds.
5. Doberman Pinscher
Doberman Pinchers are incredibly versatile, playful, and fun-loving dogs. They have also been known to make great military, and search and rescue dogs. Sadly, however, they have a bad reputation as a “bully breed.”
This is due to the fact that they can occasionally be aggressive towards other dogs. With irresponsible breeding or poor training as well as not enough energy-releasing exercise – these factors can increase aggression. If socialized properly from a young age, they generally do make for loyal pets but also seem to bond well to only one person. The males are generally more carefree than females.
Owning a Doberman Pincher can be quite special as they are rather sweet dogs despite their terrifying appearance. With sleek black fur and fierce eyes, the Doberman is a truly beautiful breed.
6. Great Dane
With their sheer elegance and size, it’s not difficult to see why Great Danes are often referred to as “gentle giants”. Their good nature and calm demeanor make them a really good family guard dog, generally getting on with other dogs and family members. But, with an instinct to naturally protect their humans, they are also prone to scare people off and become aggressive.
Because they are known to be territorial and protective of their family companions, Great Danes can attack with little warning. And as with the sheer size of a Great Dane, the size of the bite can have a serious impact.
Their size attracts attention, so it also seems to offer instant protection. On occasions, the gentlest of Great Danes can become hostile if their family or home is under any threat. This is what makes these dogs superb watchdogs.
7. German Shepherd
There are a few reasons as to why the beloved German Shepherd makes the dangerous dog list. Originating in Germany and bred to be the ideal sheepherder, this breed is naturally prone to showing aggression towards strangers. With a striking gold and black coat and pointed ears, the sleek look of this breed is intimidating and demanding of respect.
German Shepherds are also commonly trained as police dogs. With a keen intelligence and ability to follow commands, these dogs make the perfect sidekicks. If not properly socialized, this breed can become overly protective of its owner and family. German Shepherds are fiercely loyal and may not take well to strangers as they could be perceived as a threat.
German Shepherds rank second place in the dog bite power, after the American Pitbull. This fiercely strong chomp is another reason the herder breed is on the dangerous dog’s list.
8. Perro de Presa Canario
These bulky canines make perfect guard dogs. Dependable in the workplace with a muscular build and fearlessness, the Presa is a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Originally bred in the Canary Islands after being introduced by Spanish conquistadors, the Perro de Presa became the ideal defender of local livestock.
This breed’s Mastiff strength and lethal bite make it a strong candidate for the dangerous breeds list. The Perro de Presa is distinguishable by its overall brawn and stocky stature.
Presas are also known to assert dominance with the potential to become aggressive. For this reason, it’s important to properly socialize these dogs early and cultivate obedience.
9. St Bernard
It’s hard to imagine these gentle giants being vicious and, for the most part, they aren’t. The strength and overall imposing size of the St Bernard is what makes this breed dangerous when not properly taken care of.
Originating in the Swiss Alps, St Bernard dogs have been bred to be rescuers to stranded Alpine travelers. The wrinkled brow and great galumphing body of the St Bernard has been a welcomed sight to climbers stuck in the snow for centuries.
While not prone to aggression or viciousness, the St Bernard breed requires training from a young age as these dogs commonly underestimate their own size and strength. While not necessarily a danger, a 180-pound dog jumping to greet you might just knock you over.
This breed thrives on love and affection and is at its best when showered with attention. A properly trained St Bernard is a marvelous pet. However, this intelligent breed of dogs will use their size to their advantage if you let them get away with it.
10. Alaskan Malamute
Slightly larger and more dangerous by nature than their Siberian Husky relative, the Alaskan Malamute is a feisty breed. Malamutes are bred to endure harsh, snowy environments and are usually included in sled use.
Athletic and playful, the Alaskan Malamute requires freedom to roam and lots of exercises lest they build up frustration. A Malamute left in confinement can become incredibly destructive and will destroy property and anything else in its way.
These dogs are also prone to violence and aggression towards other dogs including those of the same breed. It can be incredibly difficult and dangerous to attempt to intervene in a dog-on-dog fight. Therefore, it is vital to introduce this breed to other pets and people from a young age and under heavy supervision.
It is also important to note that these dogs can be very possessive of their food and it’s best to keep a respectful distance when they’re eating and enforce some training to combat this trait.
For all their aggression and stubbornness, an Alaskan Malamute can make a perfectly pleasant companion when properly trained and in the right environment.
11. Argentinean Mastiff
Much like the American Pitbull, the Argentinean Mastiff has earned a bad reputation due to the use of this breed in dog fights. This reputation has gotten the breed banned in Britain entirely.
However, the intelligent Mastiff is generally good company and makes for excellent guard dogs. Commonly good with children, this can be a very gentle breed when given a loving home and proper training. While the Mastiff doesn’t usually get along well with other dogs, they can be civil enough when given firm guidance from a young age.
The Argentinean Mastiff was originally bred for big game hunting as well as for police and military work. These dogs make loyal companions and will be very protective of their owners. Distinguishable by a sleek glossy coat of short fur and keen, intelligent eyes, this is a beautiful breed that is fairly easy to handle when proper requirements are met.
With a curling bushy tail and an alert, imposing stature, the Akita dog breed is a regal canine of ancient Japanese lineage. In Japan, the Akita is revered as protectors of the family as well as symbols of happiness and durability.
Much like the Chow Chow, Akitas are fastly loyal to their family and deeply distrusting of strangers – both the two-legged and four-legged variants. The Akita will not tolerate most animals and therefore are not recommended to house with other pets.
This dog breed can be very affectionate and playful with its trusted owners. However, they must be socialized from birth if they are going to be expected to get along well with outsiders. Both headstrong and independent, training is vital to ensuring a safe environment when living with this breed.
These are fairly large dogs with quite a lot of muscle under that bushy fur. Extreme caution should also be taken when out in public as these autarchic dogs will chase any perceived threat if not kept on a lead.
13. Gull Dong
Grumpy by nature, the Gull Dong is the old man of dangerous dog breeds. This brooding beast is built for farm work and is at its happiest when given jobs to keep stimulated.
The Gull Dong is a refined breed of dog, originating in Pakistan. Crossing a Pure Gull Terr with a Bully Kutta created the Gull Dong. The idea was to produce a hound with the best characteristics of both breeds. Namely the size and brute strength of the Bully Kutta and the swift speed and athletic nature of the Gull Terr. This deadly combo resulted in the Gull Dong.
With small squinting eyes and a ridiculously long, lolling tongue, the Gull Dong may not appear to be particularly dangerous. However, these dogs are known to be very aggressive when not properly trained and need to be reminded who’s boss when it comes to family hierarchy.
Ever prideful and persistent, the Gull Dong can be a temperamental breed to handle. However, these dogs can also be fiercely loyal and dedicated to pleasing when given the time and care necessary.
14. Tosa Inu
This odd dog traverses life with a perpetual drooping frown and an abrasive attitude. Originally bred to be massive competitors in dog fights, the Tosa Inu can get quite aggressive.
It is recommended to keep this breed away from other dogs and small pets. While usually docile and relaxed, the Tosa can spring to action at any sudden movement that can be perceived as either prey or a threat. These dogs are not recommended to be kept around children as this aggression can be triggered with enough innocent petting and pestering.
The Tosa Inu is banned in multiple countries and in some countries insurance will cancel your homeowners’ policy if you are in possession of a dog of this breed. Ownership of this massive dominating breed requires avid experience in handling dogs and an iron fist.
Tosas are able to pull over 3000 pounds and most definitely cannot be out-muscled. Extreme caution should be taken when taking on a Tosa Inu and owners should be prepared to fight to garner respect from this imperious, unpredictable breed.
15. Cane Corso
Sharp and assertive, the imperial Cane Corso stands alone. A fearless protector and intimidating to all, this dog breed is a fierce bodyguard and loyal companion when properly trained. The Cane Corso has a lineage dating back to ancient Roman times.
These dogs boast rippling muscles and a stiff, short coat – often weighing in at 100 pounds. The cool and collected demeanor of these dogs as well as their looks make this breed intimidating at best and downright scary at worst.
The Cane Corso is both eager to please and incredibly loyal. However, owners of this breed should take care to maintain their boss status as these dogs may decide to call their own shots should their owner be unable to demand respect.
The Cane Corso is bred to work and requires strict exercise to relieve aggression and frustration. Early training and proper socializing from an early age are necessary for a breed of this size and stature. Although strict and assertive, this breed requires copious amounts of love and affection and rewards more than harsh corrections.
16. Wolfdog (Wolf-Dog Hybrid)
Part wolf, part dog – the danger is in the name. Although dogs and wolves technically come from the same Canis species, the Wolfdog is often referred to as a hybrid. Today dogs are classified as a subspecies of the wolf making the Wolfdog a deadly crossbreed.
The first breeding of the Wolfdog dates back to the 18th century in England. As this mixing of genes became more popular, it is strongly assumed that there is more dog than wolf in the gene pool. This, however, does not make the Wolfdog any less dangerous by nature.
With a potent bite and unruly natural instinct, a Wolfdog can be a fairly difficult breed to manage. Despite their wolf-like tendencies, this breed can make a great addition to a more experienced, athletic family.
17. Rhodesian Ridgeback
These gorgeous dogs get their name from the strip of backward growing hair along the spine. Made popular in Africa with the intention of tracking “but never killing” lions, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a mighty handful of a hound.
Often weighing more than 85 pounds, the Rhodesian ridgeback is a hefty athletic breed with a knack for hunting. Taking on a dog of this breed will require a firm owner able to handle the Ridgebacks challenging nature and independent spirit.
These muscular creatures can be incredibly dangerous if not properly taken care of. Too much free reign is not healthy for this breed as they may become aggressive and domineering. Rhodesian Ridgebacks possess a very strong prey drive.
For this reason, it is vital to keep a firm grip on a strong lead when out and about. When off the leash, Ridgebacks must be kept in a safely enclosed area to avoid any chasing of unsuspecting cats down the street.
Popular in remote homesteads in South Africa, the Boerboel is a no-nonsense, confident breed to be reckoned with. This breed possesses a powerful jaw that will latch onto prey and not let go for anything. Although highly trainable and eager-to-please, the Boerboel is not an easy hound to handle and requires lots of open space to run wild. It’s also always a good idea to add a nice chew toy into their environment.
The Boerboel is fiercely loyal and protective of its family and can be very apprehensive towards strangers. Also the most agile of all the Mastiff-related breeds, the Boerboel is a swift, deadly being when going in for the kill.
Boerboels also require attention and rewards and can only thrive when fully integrated into family life. While the jovial, destructive nature of these dogs can be too much for some, the Boerboel is a strong asset to a more venturesome family.
19. Czechoslovakian Vlcak
If ever there was a dog to be wary of, it’s the Czechoslovakian Vlcak – or Czechoslovakian Wolfdog. This variation of the wolfdog hybrid was bred purposely to include the ruthless strength and stamina of the Carpathian Wolf. With a pack mentality and inclination towards feral aggression, the Czechoslovakian Vlcak is an intimidating hybrid dog breed.
The CSV was initially bred in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. Intended to assist in border patrols, these dogs are bred to possess a keen intelligence and alarming agility. More recently, these dogs have been used for search and rescue missions due to their ability to withstand harsh environments.
Although excellent dogs for use in the workforce, this is a far too unpredictable breed for first-time or inexperienced dog owners. Without proper training and constant guidance, these dogs may show their wolf side a little too strongly for anyone’s liking.
Ever the charming companion, the Boxer dog breed makes the dangerous dogs list for its ferocious bite alone. Although excellent with children and very level-headed, the Boxer can be a vicious dog breed when their energy and enthusiasm aren’t channelled in a healthy way.
Boxers are highly active dogs and require copious amounts of exercise and stimulation. Although small, these dogs pack a mighty bite and once they’ve locked on, there’s no getting them off.
Boxers boast short, broad skulls which contribute to the iron-grip bite. This ability to hang on makes them an intimidating force even for prey much bigger in size.
21. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
There have been ongoing debates on whether or not Staffordshire Bull Terriers should be muzzled when in public. There are those who claim the Staffy to be the most dangerous of dog breeds while others argue against this fact.
Although not particularly tall, The Staffy makes up for its shorter legs with rippling muscles and a frightening stocky stature. This is a feisty, firecracker of a hound with a tendency to underestimate its own strength amidst its enthusiasm for play.
Staffies were once rowdy competitors in English dog fights. However, the breed itself is generally docile in nature and family-orientated. Much like the American Pitbull, the Staffies’ reputation skews the gentle and loving nature of this breed by focusing on their lethal ability when pushed to aggression.
22. Indian Pariah Dog
The Indian Pariah originates in the Indian subcontinent. The Pariah evolved from an ancient species of hounds known as Pye-dogs. It is commonly believed that the Pariah was the original dog breed of the country and spread across the subcontinent thousands of years ago.
Although now a common mongrel dog breed in the streets of India, this breed has never forgotten its ancient roots. These social dogs are some of the friendliest breeds found in India and get along with owners and strangers alike. The main concern with these dogs is their tendency to bully smaller pets.
Being social creatures used to roaming, these dogs don’t do well in apartment life and time away from their owners. This isolation can lead to aggressive behavior and accidental nips.
Kombais, like most dog breeds on this list, are generally mild-natured and friendly but can show aggression towards strangers and other pets. Although infamously known as one of the most dangerous dogs in India, this information is slanted. This is mostly due to the mixing of breeds that has led to a more aggressive temperament in the dog.
This rare breed is slowly going extinct due to this mixed breeding. Although avid dog-lovers have made solid attempts to reverse this extinction, the Kobai’s bad reputation has not helped the situation.
Strong enough to take down a bear and incredibly temperamental, the Kombai is a wildly dangerous breed when left untrained and uncared for, However, this ancient regal guard dog can make a loyal, wise companion when given the time and effort.
24. Belgian Shepherd
The long-haired Belgian Shepherd is a beauty to behold. With luxurious fur and dark eyes, the Belgian Shepherd is a gorgeous-looking breed.
This dog is known for its keen intellect and copious amounts of energy. High energy is the main reason the Belgian Shepherd has the potential to be dangerous. The Belgian Shepherd requires both physical and mental exercise frequently. Without this, this breed is prone to frustration and may lash out with pent-up energy.
This demanding breed must not be allowed to grow bored as an unstimulated Belgian Shepherd can be a hazard to both its owner and itself.
25. Fila Brasileiro
This drooping mass of muscle and skin is dangerous not for their nature which is usually docile, but for their large lumbering size and excitement. Loyal and protective of their owners as most good dogs are, the Fila Brasileiro is a lovely family dog and household guardian.
These dogs require strict training, however, as they will frequently grow too excited and may cause havoc accidentally. This is entirely forgivable, however, being pinned under a drooling bag of muscle is not an ideal situation.
With untamed curiosity, the Fila Brasileiro will test every owner’s patience in their quest to explore – which often leads to breakages of expensive household things.
26. American Bully
Similar to the American Pitbull the American bully is recognized by its stocky build and smiling muzzle. The American Bully falls under the umbrella term Pitbull but with slight variations. it is worth mentioning here that most breeds synonymous with the Pitbull name are the most common to crop up when dangerous dogs are discussed.
The American Bully sports a short muzzle and thicker neck than its American Pitbull counterpart. With shorter legs and much larger, this barreling breed is a powerhouse of muscle and spunk.
Infamously aggressive when prompted, the American Bully has garnered a bad reputation for itself. However, there are thousands of dog-enthusiasts who argue this point and seek to abolish the skewed reputation of this loyal breed.
27. Afghan Shepherd
Lastly, much like the other Shepard variations on this list, the Afghan Shepherd was bred to be a herder and protector of its own. Unlike the other Shepherding type breeds, the Afghan Shepherd boasts a strange appearance. With long hair and an even longer snout, this strange dog is an interesting breed through and through. It’s a good idea to own a good dog brush to maintain this breed’s luxurious locks.
Although some can be regal and dignified in nature, the Afghan Shepherd is mostly known to be a goofy, fun-loving breed full of ridiculous spunk. This spunk can be an issue when not properly stimulated.
This breed can grow bored and destructive without proper exercise and entertainment. Be careful of that long mouth and train any snaps out of your puppies before you lose a finger.
The Afghan Shepard is also incredibly cautious of strangers and will attack if provoked. It’s also best to keep this breed away from smaller pets as their initial instinct will usually have them giving chase on the fly. For all their unpredictability, this is a lovable dog breed when properly taken care of.
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Sunday 19th of December 2021
The inherent quality that puts American pitbull terriers at the top of the list is their iron grip jaw? Please cite a source for that assertion. Their bite strength is roughly on par with a labrador retriever, which is generally considered a breed with a soft mouth. In fact, American pitbull terriers have a bite strength that is about a third as strong as the breeds with the strongest bites. Here’s my source: https://breedingbusiness.com/dog-breeds-with-the-strongest-bite-force/ Please be careful about further stigmatizing a dog that has an unfair reputation by perpetuating false stereotypes rather than using facts.
Tuesday 21st of December 2021
Thanks Philip - just to confirm this is a list not in order of potentially most dangerous. I wouldn't want to stigmatize any dog unfairly.