21 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds [+ Photos!]

Bringing a family pet home is a serious consideration. Cute puppies grow into their full-sized version in under a year and will impact your life. 

Some dogs are more likely to bite, and it’s important to accept that reality. What triggers a dog to be aggressive and bite is as unique as each dog itself. 

Deciding which breed is a good fit for your family takes research, and one of the best ways to understand if you make a good pet owner is to foster a dog.

1. German Shepherd

German shepherd at the beach
A big boy German Shepherd enjoys a beach visit

Classified as working dogs, shepherds need to be kept working, exercised, and mentally stimulated. They’re excellent police and military dogs and are loyal and protective.

Shepherds are perfect for active families who can commit the time to train these brilliant dogs. Exercise and socialize them early to avoid developing negative traits.

2. Shar Pei

sharpei dog
A Sharpei dog lounges on the grass

Who knew something as adorable as a wrinkly Shar Pei is a fighting breed. Aggression is part of who they are. To overcome this hurdle, socialize a Shar-Pei early and commit to ongoing training with an assertive command presence.

Shar Peis are independent and stubborn, but they may be a perfect pet for your family with consistent training. Once trained, they make excellent guard dogs who mind their manners.

3. Alaskan Malamute and Husky

alaskan malamute
A proud Alaskan Malamute in the yard. Woof!

These beautiful representatives of the wild stand behind a legacy of work aptitude, but Malamutes and Huskies can be aggressive toward other dogs and need to be working. 

They also have an adorable quality that makes them playful and loyal and make a great addition to a family if habitat requirements are ideal.

4. Akita Inus

beautiful akita
A beautiful Akita pup

In Japan, Akita Inus are a national symbol of royalty. Bred for their innate guard dog abilities, Akita has the power to inflict damage. They do not like strangers and can react negatively.

Aside from being adorable as pups, Akita’s make perfect family additions for those who know how to train these highly independent dogs. While they may be more aggressive with strangers, an Akita will accompany its owner to the end of the world.

5. Boxer

boxer dog with stick running on grass
A happy boxer adult runs in the grass with a stick

Boxers are keen to hunt and to win dog fights. They may react aggressively with a strong urge to dominate, especially toward same-sex dogs.

While Boxers may not like other dogs, they like people. They have a disposition toward playfulness, friendliness and are inquisitive. Caution around children, boxers need activities to burn excess energy.

6. Dachshund

a wire haired daschund steps around outside
A wire-haired Daschund parades around a yard. Cute!

The Wiener Dog is adorable, but looks can be deceiving. Dachshunds were bred centuries ago to hunt badgers in Germany, and they still have the talent to track and sniff out vermin.

Wiener Dogs make great companions and are incredibly protective, affectionate, and alert.

7. Dalmations

dalmatian super hero dog
What name would work best for this Dalmatian superhero pup?

Hard to imagine, but the Disney icon is another breed that needs more than an occasional walk. Dalmations can become aggressive if they aren’t exercised and taught to mind their manners. 

This guard dog breed is highly intelligent, playful, and energetic; it makes a great companion for people who can match their zest for life. 

8. Chow Chow

a chow chow with a curly tail
A Chow Chow with a curly tail. What a beautiful dog!

Chow Chows can trace their lineage for thousands of years in Chinese history, and they’re superior guard dogs that dominate others. Since they lack good peripheral vision, it’s best not to startle them, or they may snap in self-defense.

Socializing them as pups to children and other dogs is a priority but shouldn’t be difficult because they’re about as adorable. They’re fantastic at obedience and agility training.

9. Chihuahua

short hair chihuahua outdoors
A short-haired Chihuahua

Small but ferocious, this world-famous breed is famous for its temper. Thought to be bred to be a reincarnation of Mexico’s Techichi dog, further testing revealed that this companion dog has roots in China.

True to its DNA, Chihuahuas make excellent partners in one or two-person households. They’re very possessive; therefore, children may not fit this popular miniature breed well.

10. Pit Bull

pitbull with a bone toy
A Pitbull with a bone toy

Pitbull is not an official breed. Instead, this misnomer is mistakenly applied to the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the American Bully.

This breed has the propensity to latch on and not let go. Equipped with powerful jaws and a personality to match, they can inflict damage. While they’re banned in some states, owners claim they make affectionate and devoted family dogs.

11. Cocker Spaniel

cocker spaniel wearing collar
A Cocker Spaniel outdoors wearing a vibrant orange collar

Seriously, who knew? Despite its adorable sad eyes, the American and English Cocker can spin on a dime and exhibit rage and just as quickly return to its docile state.

Bred to hunt and equipped with a powerful sense of smell, Cockers are primarily gentle and get along well with other dogs and people.

12. Beagle

beagle dog smiling outdoors
A Beagle smiling in the park

Beagles are amazing tracking and hunting dogs. But take them out of their natural environment and their slightly more taciturn temperament flairs. Beagles are challenging to train and follow their nose.

However, they can make great pets for those who keep the beagle busy. 

13. Fila Brazileia/Fila Brasileiro Brazilian Mastiff

fila brasileiro
Fila Brasileiro dogs are banned in several countries

This massive dog is best left to experts who understand the power of this breed. Bred as herding and guard dogs, this Mastiff knows how to protect.

They’re loyal, smart, powerful, and work well within the parameters of their training but don’t always make a great family pet.

14. Wolf-Hybrid

wolf hybrid dog
A Wolf Hybrid dog outdoors

As the name suggests, this mixed breed is still directly linked to its ancestry. Wolves are expert hunters and may look at other pets as prey. A killer instinct deeply rooted in survival does not partner well with family unless the owner has experience training aggressive pets.

There are exceptions to the rule, but to be fair to the animal and family, don’t risk this potentially dangerous situation despite the Wolf-Hybrid looking like a regal pet.

15. American Staffordshire Terrier

Terriers are historically significant for hunting vermin, and they’ve not received the memo that digging for rats is no longer part of their duty. Often mistaken for a Pit Bull, AMTs are powerful dogs who need constant entertainment or say goodbye to your expensive shoes, sofa, and walls.

While they’re generally not aggressive, neglect and abuse turn them into deadly dogs that may endanger you and your family.

16. Cane Corso

cane corso dog
A Cane Corso dog. Loved by owners, but banned in some countries.

Descendants of Roman war dogs and know how to inflict damage. Though this breed is elegant and powerful, it’s not a family pet for those who can tackle this energetic and dominant breed.

If allowed to work in their fields of expertise like hunting, guarding, and herding, they may make a suitable companion.

17. Rottweiler

a Rottweiler with a dog hair brush
A Rottweiler with a brush. Not the best brush, but a favourite chew toy.

Rottweilers have a reputation as fiercely protective dogs. Highly territorial and intelligent Rottweilers are also intensely loyal and fun.

They make admiral service dogs and can be a great family addition if treated with care and attention and respond well to training.

18. Doberman Pinscher

doberman guard dog
A Doberman guard dog.

This elegant dog is related to Rottweilers and is highly protective and loyal. While Doberman Pinschers can’t seem to shed their movie persona, they have many attributes that make them ideal guard dogs and family pets.

Doberman Pinschers have the uncanny ability to tell good from bad and love being part of every family activity. They’re in your face and intelligent dogs and respond well to training. 

19. Pekingese


These adorable but temperamental dogs were once only fit for the Chinese Imperial family and still retain an attitude. If not trained to understand the rules, these possessive-like pups suffer from small dog syndrome.

Pekingese make great and loving companions for individuals who want to pamper a dog but still instill the rules.

20. Tosa Inu

tosa inu japanese fighting dog
A Tosa Inu was bred in Japan as a fighting dog.

The Tosa Inu caused many injuries and fatalities before being banned in many countries, and breeding has just about eradicated this powerful fighting dog.

This stately and powerful-looking dog is rare and is not a good match for novices or kind-hearted individuals.

21. Rough Collie

rough collie outside
A Rough Collie enjoying the fresh breeze

Surprisingly a recent study of 9000 pets found that Lassie stems from the most aggressive dog breed. They tend to snap, snarl, and bark more than any other breed.

Highly intelligent, protective, and loyal, Rough Collies make great companions and family pets as long as they’re kept busy and allowed to burn excess energy.


All dogs can be loving, fun, and our best friends. However, it’s important to watch over them as miscommunication, loud sounds, and other elements can cause even the sweetest dog to lose its temper. 

Being a dog owner requires dedication and persistence, but it’s well worth the effort.