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10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in 2024: Vet-Verified Facts, Statistics & Pictures

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Dogster Team

white pitbull running

10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in 2024: Vet-Verified Facts, Statistics & Pictures

VET APPROVED

Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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As much as we love dogs, it’s important to remember that people can get into potentially dangerous situations with them. Dog bites and attacks can leave people seriously wounded, and although it’s rare, some dog attacks can be fatal. Roughly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S.1

While the breed alone can’t indicate if a dog is dangerous, certain breeds have temperaments that can make them more likely to bite or attack when provoked. Being knowledgeable about breed temperaments and canine behavior can encourage responsible dog ownership and help reduce the number of dog bites and attacks.

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How Are Dangerous Dogs Classified?

Our list of dangerous dog breeds is based on various studies that have gathered statistical information on reported dog bites and attacks. It’s worth noting that these studies do have some limitations due to various factors, including not all dog bites being reported or people misidentifying dog breeds in their reports.

Therefore, these studies may provide invaluable information to advance dog safety and responsible dog ownership. However, they should also be taken with a grain of salt, as they don’t provide a complete picture of dog attacks and aggressive canine behaviors based on breed.

The 10 Dangerous Dog Breeds

1. Pit Bull Breeds

a grey pitbull standing on snow
Image Credit: Annabell Gsoedl, Shutterstock
Origin: Various
Lifespan: 8–15 years
Height: 14–21 inches
Weight: 30–70 pounds

Pit Bulls have a reputation for being dangerous dogs, and they’re usually on the top of the list for reported dog attacks and bites. Studies have found that they’re involved in 64% of reported dog bites,2 and they’ve been involved in 346 deaths from 2005 to 2019.3

However, we have to note that “Pit Bull” is an umbrella term for several dog breeds that share similar characteristics. The American Pit Bull Terrier,4 American Staffordshire Terrier,5 American Bulldog,6 and Mexican Pitbull are just some of the dog breeds that can be categorized as Pit Bulls. Therefore, it may be easier for Pit Bulls to accumulate more reported incidents, as many dog breeds are classified and identified as Pit Bulls.


2. Rottweiler

rottweiler standing on grass
Image Credit: Shedara Weinsberg, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 9–10 years
Height: 22–27 inches
Weight: 80–135 pounds

Rottweilers are responsible for 11% of dog bite fatalities in the US recorded between 2010 and 2021. They may have a stronger bite force than Pit Bulls.

Rottweilers were bred to have a loyal and protective nature. They’re highly devoted to their families while being naturally wary of strangers. They were originally bred to be working dogs and guarding dogs, and you can often still see Rottweilers working in security and herding settings today.


3. German Shepherd

german shepherd dog standing at the park
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 22–26 inches
Weight: 50–90 pounds

German Shepherds are known for being excellent working dogs and are often employed as police dogs, military dogs, and search and rescue dogs. They’re fearless and have excellent protective instincts, and proper training and socialization must be prioritized for this breed.

An unruly and untrained German Shepherd can cause significant harm to people. German Shepherds were responsible for 17.8% of bite incidents and were involved in 4.9% of dog bite fatalities in the US between 2010 and 2021.


4. Wolf-Hybrids/Mixed-Breeds

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
Image Credit: Pixabay
Origin: Various
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 26–34 inches
Weight: 70–140 pounds

Wolf-hybrid dogs are dogs that have some wolf DNA and are often produced by crossbreeding a domestic dog with an Eastern Wolf, Red Wolf, or Ethiopian Wolf. Wolf-hybrid dogs can have varying temperaments and can also be more unpredictable than domestic dog breeds. There are currently 14 reported deaths in the U.S. caused by wolf-hybrid dogs.

Wolf-hybrid and mixed-breed dogs have accumulated more reported incidents, as many unidentifiable dog breeds are often categorized as mixed-breed dogs.


5. American Bulldog

american bulldog standing outdoors
Image Credit: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock
Origin: United States
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 20–25 inches
Weight: 60–100 pounds

American Bulldogs are among the top five dog breeds responsible for documented fatal dog attacks in the US. One study has recorded 15 fatal attacks involving American Bulldogs from 2005 to 2017.

American Bulldogs were originally bred to be well-rounded working dogs and were often found living and working on farms. They made good farm guardians and catch dogs, and they were also often used to catch feral pigs that were causing damage to farmlands.


6. Bullmastiff/Mastiff

bullmastiff dog standing on the grass outdoors
Image Credit: Michael J Magee, Shutterstock
Origin: Various
Lifespan: 7–12 years
Height: 25–30 inches
Weight: 120–170 pounds

Bullmastiffs and Mastiff dog breeds are responsible for 3.4% of fatal dog attacks between 2005 and 2017. They’re capable of causing damage and inflicting significant wounds.

Mastiffs tend to have gentle yet protective natures. They’re easygoing and relaxed when they’re with their families and familiar people. However, they can quickly flip to a wary state when they see a suspicious stranger and sense a threat to their families.


7. Siberian Husky

a siberian husky out in the woods
Image Credit: Anastasiia Cherniavskaia, Shutterstock
Origin: Northeastern Asia
Lifespan: 12–14 years
Height: 20–24 inches
Weight: 35–60 pounds

Siberian Huskies have been involved in 13 dog-related deaths between 2005–2017. They were bred to be sled dogs, which means they tend to have a lot of energy and stamina. They require an extensive amount of daily exercise, and they’re extremely curious dogs that can end up getting into a lot of mischief.

Bored Siberian Huskies can resort to destructive behaviors due to having pent-up energy and frustration. They can end up causing significant damage due to their strength and stamina, so they’re best reserved for experienced dog owners who have the time to train them properly and ensure their physical and mental exercise needs are met daily.


8. Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever dog standing in the grass
Image Credit: Alexander Rim, Shutterstock
Origin: Newfoundland
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Height: 21–25 inches
Weight: 55–80 pounds

The Labrador Retriever is one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the U.S. and was the most popular dog breed for 31 consecutive years. However, they’re also among the top 10 dog breeds with the most fatal dog-related incidents.

Labrador Retrievers are a good example of how public perception and misinterpreting statistical data can impact a breed’s reputation. Simply because they’re a popular dog breed with a larger population than other dog breeds, there may be a higher number of dog bite reports with Labrador Retrievers.

Despite being involved in more incidents, Labrador Retrievers aren’t known for being aggressive dogs. They’re often most praised for being loyal, friendly, and hardworking dogs, and they’re a favored breed for service dog work.


9. Boxer

German Boxer standing in the grass
Image Credit: Lenkadan, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 21–25 inches
Weight: 50–80 pounds

Boxers were also documented to be involved in dog attacks and injuries. Boxers aren’t known for being aggressive, and the breed’s temperament includes playfulness, patience, and initial curiosity towards strangers.

However, Boxers are also known to be protective of their families and courageously will not back down if they sense a threat. Therefore, they benefit immensely from early socialization and exposure to different people and animals when they’re puppies.


10. Doberman Pinscher

dog doberman pinscher portrait in autumn
Image Credit: Daria Shvetcova, Shutterstock
Origin: Germany
Lifespan: 10–12 years
Height: 24–28 inches
Weight: 60–100 pounds

Doberman Pinschers can have a reputation for being aggressive and dangerous, and they’re often portrayed as intimidating guard dogs who are always on high alert. While Doberman Pinschers can be protective, they’re rarely involved in dog attacks and incidents. They may have made the list of top 10 dogs involved in fatal attacks, but they were involved in 6 incidents between 2005 and 2017.

Doberman Pinschers are intelligent, people-oriented dogs, and they’re eager to please their owners. However, as with any dog, an untrained and unsocialized Doberman Pinscher can be dangerous and capable of causing significant damage.

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The Caveat on Dangerous Dogs

When compared to other causes of death, fatal dog attacks are rare and few and far between. It’s still important to take dog bites and attacks seriously, as they can cause significant, life-altering harm to others. However, most canine experts and advocates don’t support the idea of labeling dangerous dog breeds and are more likely to promote responsible dog ownership.

While a dog’s breed can affect their temperament, other factors may play a more significant role in contributing to the dangerousness of a dog. For example, dogs that haven’t been trained or socialized properly are more susceptible to developing behavioral issues like aggression.

Some dog breeds are known to be more challenging to train, so they’re best left reserved for experienced dog owners who have the time to invest in training these dogs adequately. There are also plenty of beginner-friendly dog breeds that tend to be much easier to train.

Therefore, responsible dog ownership plays a significant role in dangerous dogs. It’s very possible for a dog breed with a dangerous reputation to be the most well-behaved dog if they’re matched with the right dog owner. It’s also possible for “friendlier” dog breeds to develop aggressive behaviors if they haven’t been socialized adequately.

Overall, a dog’s breed doesn’t determine how dangerous they will be. Other factors contribute to their behavior, and responsible ownership plays a significant role in preventing dog bites and attacks.

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Conclusion

Some dogs were bred to be stronger than others, and they have the potential to be more dangerous than other breeds. However, not all dogs labeled as dangerous are actually unsafe to be around.

Having a proper understanding of a dog’s temperament and daily living needs can help people determine if they’re a good fit for them. Along with a dog breed’s temperament, responsible ownership can help keep both people and dogs safe and prevent dog-related incidents.


Featured Image Credit: Ira Bushanska, Shutterstock

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