Most dogs are highly territorial and protective of their masters and family. Whenever dog aggression comes to mind, we usually think of large dog breeds, such as German Shepherds or Pitbulls—that are likely to cause an attack or extensive injuries.
However, although small dog breeds might look cute, they’re also prone to aggressive tendencies. Aggression in dogs can put strangers, other dogs, and even pet owners at risk of attacks.
Below are the signs to tell if a dog has AGGRESSION by exhibiting intense behaviors.
- Suddenly becoming still and rigid.
- Giving a guttural or threatening bark.
- Charging an unfamiliar person.
- Muzzle punch.
- Growling and baring teeth.
- Quick bite that leaves no mark.
- Bite that causes bruises or scratches.
- Bite that can cause puncture wounds.
The Most Aggressive Small Breeds
Any dog of breed or size can be aggressive. With this in mind, dog aggression also depends on nature and nurture. However, with proper training and supervision, you can prevent these incidences by implementing dog behavior management.
Here are the famous dog breeds most susceptible to aggression.
Chihuahua is a popular breed, especially preferred by owners who want to dress up their pets. This lapdog’s weight can only range from 4 to 6 pounds.
Yet, these dogs are intensely loyal and possessive, which also causes them to throw fits of jealousy whenever a stranger approaches their owners.
They might be small in stature, but Chihuahuas have an attitude comparable to large dog breeds. Most owners of this dog breed brush off the signs of aggression since they are small and cute.
However, Chihuahuas can display aggressive behaviors like snarling, lunging, and even vicious barking—which we won’t tolerate in larger breeds.
Chihuahuas act aggressively because of their small size, and we did not breed them to hunt. By being small, they become stressed and anxious. So, they must protect themselves and their owners as much—by exhibiting aggressive behaviors.
Famously known as adorable hot dogs or weenies, these pups became a popular choice among pet owners around the globe. They might appear harmless, but this breed is also prone to aggression because of their long history in badger hunting.
It’s in their genes to hunt small animals, and they also have a heightened predatory instinct. These canines are notorious hunters, so it’s not a good idea to have them as pets when there are children in the household.
Dachshunds can get aggressive whenever a threat approaches. They are bold, constantly ready to hunt, and never back down from any action.
Dog lovers recognize Beagles for their keen sense of smell and for being natural hunters. Like Dachshunds, they are also prone to exhibit aggressive and preying behaviors among smaller animals. These characteristics established Beagles as the choice of breed for security.
Since they are famous for catching smell quickly and tracing its source, they can be impulsive and curious by nature. These dogs are also likely to disobey their owner’s commands and get violent to get what they want.
For this reason, it can be dangerous for Beagles to roam around in unfamiliar areas leash-free. When Beagles track a scent and become startled, this could lead to aggressive tendencies such as growling or biting.
4. Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniels, known for their irresistible puppy dog eyes, can also exhibit aggressive behaviors. These canines are playful and friendly but bred to hunt small animals in complex terrains. They are also energetic but sometimes impulsive.
Considered one of the most aggressive dogs, Cocker Spaniels could also be susceptible to a genetic condition called canine rage syndrome. A condition commonly found among this breed, it causes them to display sudden rage and intense aggression on both dogs and people.
They can violently lash out at anyone during an episode. Their aggressive behavior goes as easy as it comes—and they return to their usual selves a few moments later.
5. Jack Russell Terrier
Developed by breeders to hunt foxes and rats, this 20-pound canine has an energy comparable to large breeds. They’re competitive, protective of their owners, and could charge at full power during a threatening situation—even if their opponent is twice their size.
Because of their high-energy and protective instinct, they can become aggressive among strangers.
They also need a lot of training and mental and physical stimulation to reduce the occurrence of these dangerous behaviors. A well-trained and well-socialized Jack Russell Terrier can be friendly around people of all ages.
A Pekingese has adorable features, a small size, and is also an aggressive breed. Once they become highly attached to owners, they become overprotective and gnarl at anyone who comes close to their master.
Likewise, they’re a devoted dog breed with stubborn personalities and sensitive temperaments. This breed also rarely follows other people’s commands, as they consider their masters as the lone alpha of the household.
However, with proper training and care, these dogs are loyal and affectionate. They’re great sassy companions to have.
7. Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso is a dog breed from Tibet used to guard Tibetan Monasteries. They’re great companions and guardians and are likewise intelligent and obedient when well-trained. However, because of being highly protective and territorial, they can also get aggressive toward unfamiliar people and animals.
As ancient guard dogs of Monasteries, they likewise keep their guard up during training. They can be stubborn and act on their own, and disregard commands. These characteristics can contribute to unwanted behaviors that are hard to stop.
The temperaments of this breed can vary from one dog to another. Yet, they can be friendly even to young children as long as owners train them at an early age.
8. Shih Tzu
Although small-sized, Shih Tzus are bright and courageous breeds. Yet, they have bad tempers, which owners should manage at a young age, or they’ll not obey future commands.
Bred as companions to royalty, they have a significant spot in the hierarchy. These dogs believe they are always in charge and fight any threats to their position. Shih Tzu owners should assert dominance at a young age to prevent this from happening.
These fluff balls can appear goofy, but Pomeranians are one of the most impatient and aggressive dogs. They bark at strangers and anything that causes their annoyance. They are also cynical and will snarl at any unfamiliar external stimuli.
Because of their naturally suspicious personalities, they quickly get anxious and fearful—which can lead to aggressive behaviors. Owners can prevent these circumstances by training their dogs early and exposing them to diverse environments.
This breed looks small and cuddly, but it’s possible to use their strong jaws when upset or jealous. Like most dogs, these canines become aggressive when they are in fear. They quickly get jealous and aggressive toward other dogs and children, not understanding how delicate they are.
Although they have aggressive tendencies, Papillon breeds are intelligent and easy to train. They are a popular breed of choice in agility training and can perform many tricks.
Likewise, loud noises easily scare them, and they’re overprotective of their owners. To prevent aggressive behaviors, paying more attention to these pups can make them the most obedient and loyal companions.
11. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu became the subject of entertaining memes because of their charming appearance and quirky personalities. Although they might appear friendly and gentle, they are also famous for their fiery behavior outbursts. The females are also more aggressive, especially toward other dogs.
Since bred as a mountain hunting dog in Japan, this dog breed bears loads of energy and discipline. They are also physically stronger for their size, making them apt to bring larger dogs and children into their submission.
Shiba Inus are also self-cleaners and capable of house training themselves. They are great companions for cats because of their aloof nature. However, they are not reluctant to be rough, bark, and emit a high-pitched scream when a situation calls for it.
Aggression in small dogs is likely because of small dog syndrome. Because of their tiny stature, they become more defensive when encountering an unfamiliar stimulus when compared with larger breeds. As a result, they manifest a failure to obey commands and create noises—which, if not prevented, could lead to biting.
Dogs are great companions, but they also come with responsibilities for pet owners. With proper training, attention and care, and awareness of the breed, we can prevent these aggressive events from occurring.