If it seems like every other household in America has a pet dog, that’s because they do. A 2017 survey shows that there are approximately 89 million pet dogs in the United States, an increase of more than 20,000,000 since the start of the new millennium. For the most part, they are affectionate and playful animals that certainly earn their position as man’s best friend.
Unfortunately, not all dogs are perceived as cute and cuddly like Toto. This article reveals the supposed four most dangerous dog breeds in the United States. It is based on a report published by Forbes which examines the races involved in the deadliest attacks on humans between 2005 and 2017.
However, the main goal of this article is to break down these statistics and dispel some of the stereotypes surrounding these animals. Not all dogs in the same family are dangerous, nor are any of them inherently vicious beasts. There are a number of factors that contribute to its negative reputation, many of which will be discussed below.
4. American Bulldog
According to the report published by Forbes, the American bulldog is the fourth dangerous breed of dog in the United States. In total, they are responsible for fifteen deaths. However, put into perspective, this number does not seem so surprising. Between 2005 and 2017, the ever lovable Labrador Retriever has killed nine humans, just six fewer. So is the American bulldog really a dangerous breed? Or does it come down to reputation?
Bulldogs can be aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex and certain smaller animals, but take just about any dog to a park off-leash and see what happens when they set their sights on a slithering squirrel. They are energetic dogs that need constant exercise to keep from becoming boisterous, but again, this is not a unique bulldog trait. For those who stay active, Bulldogs are good-natured, calm, respectful, and incredibly loyal.
Beyond exercise, the most important thing for any owner is to socialize their dog with other canines and humans. They are very protective creatures by nature, so breaking down those barriers early on is critical.
In truth, most of the stigma against bulldogs stems from the fact that they look a bit like pit bulls. Because of this, some people are uncomfortable with them. In this case, it is up to the owner to prove that the only really dangerous thing about bulldogs is that they can drown in a puddle of their slime.
3. German Shepherds
While German Shepherds certainly have a reputation for being ferocious beasts, they are also America’s second most popular breed of dog. Because of this fondness, they seem to experience a little less prejudice than the other breeds on this list, which is curious considering they are responsible for five more deaths in that twelve year period than the American bulldog.
They are remarkably intelligent animals that are capable of dedication and application to many tasks. This makes them excellent working dogs not only for disabled people, but also for police, military, and search and rescue.
The prejudices they experience tend to be based on appearance. They are large, muscular dogs and therefore can be quite intimidating. But the truth is that aggression is not their natural tendency. They have earned their bad reputation simply because they can be easily trained to show aggression. Think of any police thriller. What breed of dog usually protects “goods”? Their ability to exhibit particular behaviors is exactly why certain people prefer German Shepherds as guard dogs.
The Rottweiler is another breed of dog that has earned an unfortunate reputation due to its brute strength – think of them as a bunch of muscles on all fours. Between 2005 and 2017 they have been responsible for 45 human deaths. This statistic, however, is simply an indication of our general ignorance around race. Randall Lockwood, vice president of educational research and outreach for the Humane Society, argues, “It’s not a Rottweiler problem…it’s a people problem.”
Rottweilers are naturally territorial creatures. If left unchecked, they can easily become aggressive if they feel their home is being threatened. Unfortunately, many people and families lead busy lives and don’t have the time or energy to train their pets. Because of this, it is up to the buyer to understand which breed of dog is most compatible with their lifestyle.
Like Bulldogs and German Shepherds, Rottweilers will get along with most people and other dogs as long as they have been socialized from a young age. They like to show dominance, but when put in their place, they lovingly submit to their owner. With proper training, they are calm, confident, and adorably goofy animals.
1. pit bulls
For much of the 20th century, pit bulls were widely adored in the United States. Until 1980, there was only one case of a pit bull attack that made national headlines, but even then, the owner had intentionally unleashed a pack of 26 dogs on a young woman. Has the expression “there are no bad dogs, only bad people” ever seemed so true to you?
But recently, when it comes to crowning the champion of disrepute, no breed comes close to the pit bull. Such a bad image is due in part to the fact that they have been responsible for 284 fatal attacks on humans in just twelve years.
In reality, Pit Bulls are some of the most loving, loyal, and dedicated companion animals we can have as humans. This number is so high due to several factors, including poor ownership, improper training, or a lack of understanding of the needs of the breed.
Another more specific reason dates back to the 1980s, when illegal dog fighting slowly revived. Due to their muscular build, Pit Bulls were often singled out for fighting. Due to their growing reputation as wild dogs over the following decades, they soon became the animal of choice for people involved in illicit activities and were therefore often placed in violent situations.
Unfortunately, the entire breed has fallen victim to stereotypes and widespread fear, leading some countries to ban these poor creatures. Some experts refer to this as “canine racism,” a not-so-subtle comparison to racial profiling of humans. By spreading the truth, owners and animal welfare enthusiasts can hopefully rehabilitate the image of pit bulls and the other dog breeds on this list.