Are certain dog breeds really more dangerous than others?

There are 250,000 dog attacks a year. Is there a relationship between breed and how dangerous a dog is? One study says there is not.

Highly publicised news reports of dog attacks give a bad image of certain breeds. But are Pitbulls and Rottweilers more dangerous than Labradors or Dachshunds for example? The legislation in force seems to support this idea. These so-called ‘dangerous’ dog breeds are subject to stricter regulations than others, such as the compulsory wearing of muzzles.

Rottweiler Unsplash

Can one dog breed be more dangerous than another by nature?

It is true that the jaws of a Rottweiler are much more powerful than those of a Poodle, but is it nevertheless more aggressive by nature? Every year, 250,000 dogs bite their best friend, man. According to the figures, German Shepherds are the most numerous attackers (with 17.8% of attacks), followed by Labradors (15.6%), and Jack Russels (10.3%).

Rottweiler and Pitbull bites account for only 5.7% and 4.2% of attacks, respectively. But these figures should be put into perspective: German shepherds and Labradors are the most widespread dogs in the UK, hence the high percentage of bites.

The Department of Health and Social Care wanted to know more and carried out a vast investigation which shows that there is no link between the breed of a dog and the risk of it attacking you. The authors point out that no scientific study ‘shows a higher risk of attacks by category 1 and 2 dogs,’ i.e., attack dogs. Countries such as the United States, ‘which have adopted similar categorisations, abandoned them after finding them ineffective in reducing the risk of attacks.’

Pitbull Unsplash

It all comes down to training

An animal's aggressiveness seems to depend more on the training it has received (and other factors, such as abandonment or mistreatment) than on any 'dangerousness' written in its genes.

It is recommended that you monitor your dog's stress level. If it licks its nose a lot, yawns often, or looks away, these are symptoms, as well as if it growls and snarls, of course. Don't bother a dog when it is eating, this is the best way to get bitten. Never leave a child alone with a dog.

Before adopting a dog, if he or she is an adult, find out about his or her history and background if possible. If you are adopting a puppy, be careful with early weaning: not before eight weeks. Then it's a question of training. Structures and limits accompany training but kindness, listening, and love will provide you with a loving, faithful, and obedient dog. Even if, with animals, the unpredictable is always possible.

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