10 Meanest Dog Breeds


To get a new puppy for your kids is a decision that is difficult to make.

This is due to the fact that it is not so easy to determine which dog you should keep as a family pet as there are certain breeds that may not be good for children.

We always suggest doing research, so as to find out everything about the breed you are interested in buying.

To help our readers make the right decision, we have compiled a list of the 10 most aggressive dog breeds which are not suggested to become family pets.

10 Meanest Dog Breeds

From the most aggressive to least aggressive based on percentages by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
1. Chihuahua
2. Dachshund
3. Chow Chow
4. Doberman Pinscher
5. Dalmatian
6. Rottweiler
7. Jack Russell Terrier
8. German Shepherd
9. American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier
10. Siberian Husky

How We Determined Which Dog Breeds Are the Most Dangerous

If you decide to do your own research, you will find that there are different organizations with different opinions as to which dog breeds are the most aggressive.

The ratings you may find may also vary, so we decided to sort the dogs on this list from the lowest to the highest percent of dogs that passed the temperament test conducted by the American Temperament Test Society.

Those dogs with the lowest percentages commonly showed signs of aggression, panic, or extreme shyness during the test.

Definition of Dog Aggression

It is not so difficult to define a dog as an aggressive one, being that dog aggression is dangerous behavior directed at another individual, including other animals and it can be easily noticed.

This aggressive behavior is presented through barking, biting, lunging, snarling, etc.

The reason for these kinds of actions can be territorial defensiveness and protectiveness, as well as fear or social anxiety.

  1. Chihuahua

    When we look at a chihuahua, we would never think that this smallest possible breed of dog can be so aggressive, but they actually are.

    The breed is registered with the American Kennel Club as the smallest dogs in the world, being that they weigh from 4 to 6 pounds, so are included in the toy group of dogs.

    The chihuahuas have short or long hair, can be just about any color, either solid, marked, or splashed.

    The chihuahua is definitely one of the oldest dog breeds in America.

    The breed was named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexican, from which the Chihuahua dogs originated.

    It was introduced in Europe by Christopher Columbus.

    When its temperament is in question, chihuahuas are very loyal to their owners, but only to families that have one- or two-person.

    They are so devoted to the owner that they can bite or snip at a person who comes too close to their owner.

    They are not child-friendly dogs, they do not like strangers, and being that they often bark, they can be good as alert-style watchdogs.

    Chihuahua Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    46 32 14 69.6%
  2. Dachshund (Standard Smooth)

    This breed is categorized in the hound group by the AKC and it can range from 8 to 32 pounds.

    You can find the dachshund with both long and short hair and any color.

    It is not a tall dog breed, but the dachshund tries to make up for its small size with a large attitude.

    The breed originated in Germany in the 17th century, and these dogs were bred so as to hunt badgers.

    Even though they were on the verge of extinction after World War I, nowadays, they are among the most popular dogs in America.

    If you wish to take care of this dog and you have children, you will need to socialize your dog at an early age.

    Furthermore, it is worth noting that they do not do well with too much rough play.

    When it comes to small pets, such as mice, rats, hamsters, dachshunds have a strong hunting instinct and they will run after this type of animal.

    Dachshund Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    48 33 15 68.8%
  3. Chow Chow

    The Chow Chow is a medium-sized dog as it can weigh between 45 and 70 pounds.

    You can recognize this breed by long, thick coats that can be red, black, blue, cream, or cinnamon color.

    Where the Chow Chow originated from is unknown, but people believe that they originated thousands of years ago in either China or Mongolia.

    They were used as hunting and herding dogs and only became popular in the U.S. during the 20th century.

    President Calvin Coolidge was the first one who owned this dog as a pet.

    The Chow chow has a dominant personality and due to their assertiveness, we would not recommend it for first-time dog owners.

    So as to make it behave properly, you will need to provide strong guidance and firm training.

    We consider it important to mention that they do not have good peripheral vision and can be easily startled.

    Chow Chow Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    99 71 28 71.7%
  4. Doberman Pinscher

    The Doberman Pinscher is listed by the AKC as a medium-sized dog and its size can range from 70 to 90 pounds.

    They are famous for their thick, glossy, short-haired coat.

    When colors are in question, they can be red, black, blue, or fawn-colored.

    The state of origin of the Doberman is Germany, where Karl Louis Doberman used to develop this breed.

    Karl Louis worked as a tax collector and he needed a dog for protection, so as to take it on his visits to the more dangerous areas.

    The Doberman is a very intelligent dog that is typically used as a guard and police dog.

    They are not the best possible option for a family pet, as they have a very strong, protective instinct towards their owners.

    However, if you raise it with strong leadership and socialize it at a very early age, they can get along with children and other dogs.

    Doberman Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    1,733 1,371 359 79.1%
  5. Dalmatian

    As we all have seen them in the movies getting well with children, we may think that the Dalmatian cannot be on this list of aggressive dogs.

    However, you need to know that they are good with children, but they require attention and if their master does not provide it, they can develop some behavioral issues.

    The AKC recognizes them as a medium-sized dog in the working group which can range in size from 45 to 60 pounds.

    A short, dense, glossy coat that is white with either black or brown spots is what makes them so recognizable.

    The exact origin of the Dalmatian is still not known, but similar dog paintings were found on walls of Egyptian tombs.

    This breed has been used as carriage dogs, guarding passengers as well as cargo, since the late 18th century.

    So as to be good family pets, the Dalmatians need to be socialized at an early age.

    Dalmatian Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    358 291 59 81.3%
  6. Rottweiler

    Rottweilers are large dogs as they can weigh from 85 to 130 pounds.

    They are characterized by a dense coat that is black with rust or mahogany markings.

    The Rottweiler was named after the town of Rottweil in Germany, where these dogs were first known as the “Rottweil butcher’s dog.”

    Their main activity in the past was cattle herding and bear hunting, but they have gained popularity when they started to be used in the U.S. as guard dogs that worked with the Army and police forces.

    Rottweilers do not accept strangers and are very loyal and protective of their owners.

    They get on well with children, but being that they are large,  families with very small children should not choose this breed as their pet.

    Rottweiler Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    5,866 4,954 915 84.5%
  7. Jack Russell Terrier

    The Jack Russell terrier breed is not recognized by the AKC.

    Actually, the Parson Russell terrier is recognized, as those are basically the same breed, with only minor differences.

    Jack Russells are small dogs weighing 14 to 18 pounds.

    Their coat is white in color with black or tan markings and can be short-haired, long-haired, or broken.

    The term “broken” means both long and short hair.

    The Jack Russell originated in England and it has been used for fox hunting, groundhog, and badger hunting.

    These terriers are known as stubborn dogs, with little patience and little tolerance towards children.

    Jack Russell Terrier

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    68 58 10 85.3%
  8. German Shepherd

    The German Shepherd is a medium-sized dog weighing between 70 and 85 pounds.

    They originated from Karlsruhe, Germany where they were popular back in the 1800s.

    During wars, they were military dogs used by both the German and French military.

    Being that they are not so fond of strangers, they are excellent guard dogs.

    They are known as an extremely intelligent breed, so they can be found working as guide dogs for the blind, in search-and-rescue teams, and as police and narcotic dogs.

    Nowadays, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dogs in America.

    It is true that many people believe that these dogs are aggressive, yet research has shown that they are actually good with children if not trained as guard dogs.

    German Shepherd Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    3,318 2,827 494 85.2%
  9. American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier

    The American Staffordshire terrier or the American pit bull terrier weighs between 55 to 65 pounds and is considered medium-sized dogs.

    The American Staffordshire terrier originated in England and was named after its region of origin that is the Staffordshire region.

    They were used as guard dogs and dogs for fighting.

    However, once the breed was brought to America and dog fighting was banned, a new variation of this dog was bred.

    The American pit bull is very loyal and protective of its owner and family, as well as very patient with children.

    Still, before taking a pit bull for your family, make sure you are familiar with its pedigree.

    American Staffordshire/Pit Bull Terrier Temperament Test

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    American Pit Bull Terrier 913 798 115 87.4%
    American Staffordshire Terrier 716 610 106 85.2%
  10. Siberian Husky

    The Siberian husky is a medium-sized dog, whose weigh range from 35 to 70 pounds.

    Their colors are red and white, black and white, gray and white, or silver.

    The Siberian Husky, as its name suggests, originated in Siberia.

    There, people used them to pull sleds over long distances in cold climates, or as rescue dogs.

    We have put them as the last breed on our list, as there are no studies that prove huskies have aggressive personalities.

    However, they are still thought to be aggressive dogs, as they tend to be territorial and do not get along well with other dogs, but they are excellent family pets being that they are usually good with children.

    Siberian Husky

    Based on statistics from the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS)
    Tested Passed Failed Percent That Passed
    304 264 40 86.8%

Understanding the Results of the Temperament Test

These percentages are provided by the American Temperament Test Society but the number of dogs tested per breed is not the same, so we cannot say that they are completely accurate.

When aggression is in question, over 5,000 Rottweilers were tested, while only 46 Chihuahuas.

So, the percentages cannot show the aggression level of an entire breed.

How the Test Is Conducted?

What was measured through this test are different aspects of a dog’s temperament – stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness.

During the test, tested dogs encountered neutral, friendly, and threatening situations, with a series of different strangers approaching.

The main aim was to examine how the dog reacts to people, noises, and the environment.

How the Passing Rate Is Determined?

The percentage actually shows the number of dogs that have passed the temperament test.

It has been counted the following way: If 46 dogs tested for the Chihuahua breed and 14 of those dogs failed, the percentage would be the number of dogs that passed (32) divided by the total (46), which equals a 69.9% passing rate.

Failure is determined when a dog shows any signs of the following:

  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Panic without recovery
  • Strong avoidance

A Divided Debate: What Is the Most Dangerous Dog Breed?

If you ask a dog trainer what the most aggressive dog is, his/her answer will not be a specific breed.

Celebrity dog behaviorist Cesar Milan claims that “the most dangerous dog in the world is the one that has been made that way by a human.”

So, a person who owns a pit bull can claim that his/her pit bull is gentle, due to the fact that it has been raised with love and care by its owners.

This proves the fact that whether a dog will be aggressive or not depends on its family environment and training, and a breed that is commonly considered to have an aggressive personality turns out to be the best family pet.

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