Dangerous. Aggressive. Killer. A threat to society. Unsafe.
These are just some of the adjectives the dogs on this list have been called at some point in their history. But the truth is these breeds are loving, loyal dogs that have been given a rap due to bad owners.
My mom grew up in a world where heelers were the “distrusted” breed. She said her neighbor in Alaska bred them and used to hit the puppies to make them mean. It is not the dog that should be feared, but his owners and breeders.
#1 – American Staffordshire Terrier
This breed was made famous in the 1930’s as Petey in the Little Rascals. His sweet and loyal disposition made him easy to work with, and he was trusted around all those kids. Unfortunately, these dogs have also became popular with dog fighting rings where bad treatment and unethical breeding gave them the image they have today.
#2 – Chow Chow
While the Chow is not an easy dog to own because of their independent nature, they certainly do not deserve the “aggressive label” all on their own. They were bred by us to be protectors and they take their job seriously. Yes, they will protect their family, but that does not make them aggressive, it just means they are doing the job WE gave them.
#3 – German Shepherd
For some reason, just looking at a German Shepherd is enough to give some people a shiver. Sure, they have a stern look about them, but part of that is propaganda. Because humans use them in military and police work, they want them to look tough and intimidating. Behind that exterior is a tending breed that was bred to guard livestock, not eat them.
#4 – Rottweiler
When this breed became popular as a junkyard guardian, its reputation as a “controllable herding and guarding” dog went out the window. People began to see it as a scary killer just because it was doing the job his owner asked of him. People who love Rottweilers know that they’re loyal, good natured, and love to work.
#5 – Doberman Pinchers
Like the Rottie, the Dobie got a bad rap as a guard dog. We even cropped its ears to make it “look meaner,” then blamed the dog when people became afraid of him. But that tough exterior hides a very sensitive dog, very loyal and loving. One that can have a hard time with anxiety when left behind by his owners.
#6 – Dalmatian
Believe it or not, this spotted clown makes it onto a lot of “aggressive breed” lists. Honestly, it’s hard to see why at first glance. They are a playful breed, that is eager to please and will do anything it’s owners ask. However, unethical breeding has caused some neurological issues that have caused behavioral issues. But blaming the dog would be like blaming a left-handed person for not being right-handed.
#7 – Boxer
Although ranked among the most popular dogs in the United States based on American Kennel Club registration, they also have a bad rap due to a misunderstanding in their personality. Boisterous, playful, and energetic, their type of hard play can sometimes be mistaken as aggression. While they may be too rough to babysit your toddler, that’s the person’s choice to leave the dog with the child. The boxer can’t come up to you and say, “excuse me, I am too rowdy to be with your young.”
#8 – Presa Canario
The Presa is often mistaken for a “pit bull” as they are not immediately recognized in the United States, where our kennel club does not register them. They are, however, not a bully at all, but a livestock worker. And, like all guardian breeds, we bred them to be protective and are then shocked when they do their job. They are a loving and loyal dog in the right hands.
#9 – American Pit Bull Terrier
This “nanny dog” has now become the most persecuted breed in the United States, maybe the world. It’s the reason Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) has taken flight. Yet, he used to be known as a gentle family dog, capable of being trusted to watch children. Like the Am Staff, unethical owners and breeders and the disturbing “sport” of dog fighting has ruined this dog’s image.
#10 – English Mastiff
Partly due to their massive size, people just tend to be scared of them. However, despite their size, their breed temperament is gentle and loyal. Bred for barbaric baiting and gladiator practices in Roman times, they ended up in the hands of the peasants who used them to protect their homes and livestock. Again, they were bred to protect and will do so if needed, but in the hands of the right owners they are truly gently giants.