Are you curious to know which dog breeds are considered the scariest, most intimidating, and even dangerous? Discover the results of a fascinating study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, in collaboration with 6,000 dog owners. They aimed to uncover the truth behind the common perceptions of certain dog breeds.

Contrary to popular belief, the study found that breeds like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers scored average or below average in terms of aggression. So, which breeds ranked highest in the aggression study?

Surprisingly, the Dachshund was found to be the most aggressive out of the 33 breeds surveyed. This lovable and small-bodied breed may come as a surprise to many, as it doesn’t fit the typical image of a fearsome or formidable dog. Other breeds that ranked low in aggression included Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Siberian Huskies, and Greyhounds.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Dachshund, a small and seemingly harmless breed, was found to be the most aggressive in the study.
  • Pit Bulls and Rottweilers scored average or below average in terms of aggression.
  • Breeds like Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Siberian Huskies, and Greyhounds ranked low in aggression.

Small but Mighty: Aggressive Small Dog Breeds

When it comes to aggressiveness, size doesn’t always matter. Contrary to popular belief, small dog breeds can also be quite feisty and assertive. A comprehensive study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania revealed that among the aggressive dog breeds, some small breeds stood out, including the Dachshund, Chihuahua, and Jack Russell.

The study found that approximately one in five Dachshunds has either bitten or attempted to bite strangers. Similarly, a similar number of Dachshunds have shown aggression towards other dogs. The Chihuahua, often seen as a delicate lap dog, also demonstrated a considerable level of aggressiveness, challenging the perception of its nature. Jack Russells, known for their high energy levels, exhibited a comparable level of aggression as well.

These findings defy the stereotype that only larger dog breeds possess aggressive tendencies. While size can influence a dog’s physical strength, it is not a reliable indicator of their temperament or disposition. It is crucial to understand that a dog’s behavior is influenced by various factors, including genetics, training, socialization, and individual personality traits.

“Small dogs are often underestimated when it comes to their potential for aggression. It’s essential to remember that every dog is an individual, and their behavior should not be generalized based on their size or breed.”

Proper care, training, and socialization are critical regardless of the breed or size of your dog. This will help ensure good behavior, reduce aggression, and promote a well-balanced and harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend.

Aggressive Small Dog Breeds at a Glance:

Breed Level of Aggression
Dachshund High
Chihuahua High
Jack Russell High

While these small dog breeds may exhibit aggressive behavior more frequently, it is important to note that individual differences exist within each breed. Responsible ownership, positive reinforcement training, and early socialization can greatly contribute to shaping a calm and well-behaved small dog.

The Public’s Perception: Scariest Dog Breeds Voted in the UK

A UK-wide survey revealed that public perception considers certain dog breeds to be the scariest. Topping the list is the Rottweiler, followed by the Mastiff and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Other breeds that made the list include the Doberman, German Shepherd, and Husky.

It’s important to note that public perception may not necessarily reflect the actual behavior of these breeds. While certain characteristics or stereotypes may contribute to their perceived scariness, it’s vital to approach these beliefs with caution and consider individual factors such as training, socialization, and temperament.

Understanding the public’s perception of these breeds helps shed light on the influence of popular culture, media, and personal experiences in shaping opinions. However, it’s crucial to recognize that every dog is unique, and responsible ownership plays a significant role in preventing aggressive behavior.

scariest dog breeds

Family-Friendly or Not? The Public’s Opinion on Dog Breeds

When it comes to finding a family-friendly dog, the public’s opinion can vary widely. In the same UK survey that identified the scariest dog breeds, participants were also asked to vote for the least family-friendly breeds. The results are both interesting and insightful, shedding light on how certain breeds are perceived in terms of their suitability for families.

According to the survey, the top three least family-friendly dog breeds, as voted by the public, are:

  1. Rottweiler
  2. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  3. Mastiff

The rankings reveal these breeds are commonly seen as less suitable for families, despite their unique characteristics and qualities. It’s essential to note that these results are based on public perception, rather than behavioral data or scientific studies.

Additionally, the survey identified other breeds that were considered to be less family-friendly:

  • Doberman
  • Husky
  • Chihuahua

It’s important to remember that general perceptions can sometimes be influenced by media portrayal or misconceptions. For example, Rottweilers often get labeled as aggressive or dangerous due to their history as guard dogs. However, with proper training, socialization, and responsible ownership, many Rottweilers can be loving and gentle family pets.

The same applies to Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Dobermans, Huskies, and Chihuahuas. Each breed has its own unique traits and characteristics that can make them suitable family companions when given the right environment and training.

Remember, no breed is inherently family-friendly or unfriendly. It ultimately depends on factors such as individual temperament, early socialization, training, and the environment in which the dog is raised.

Now that we’ve explored the public’s opinion on family-friendly dog breeds, let’s take a closer look at the friendliest dog breeds according to the survey participants.

Friendliest Dog Breeds According to the Public

The survey conducted among dog owners revealed the friendliest dog breeds, as voted by the public. These breeds are known for their warm and affectionate nature, making them excellent companions for families and individuals alike. Let’s take a look at the top friendliest dog breeds:


The Labrador Retriever is renowned for its friendly and outgoing temperament. They are known to be excellent with children and other pets, making them a popular choice for families. Labradors are highly intelligent and trainable, making them versatile and adaptable in various environments.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are known for their gentle and friendly nature. They are often described as eager-to-please dogs, making them highly trainable and sociable. Golden Retrievers make excellent therapy dogs and are highly regarded for their patience and loyalty.


Spaniels, such as the English Cocker Spaniel and the Springer Spaniel, are known for their playful and affectionate demeanor. They are great with children and are highly adaptable to different living situations. Spaniels thrive on companionship and are always eager to make new friends.

Border Collie

The Border Collie combines intelligence, loyalty, and friendliness. They are highly trainable and excel in various activities such as agility, obedience, and herding. Border Collies enjoy being a part of the family and form strong bonds with their owners.


The Cockapoo, a crossbreed between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, is known for its friendly and sociable nature. They are often considered hypoallergenic and make great companions for families with allergies. Cockapoos are loving, intelligent, and thrive on human companionship.

These friendliest dog breeds have captured the hearts of many dog owners with their loving and playful personalities. They are often known to bring joy and happiness to their households and make lasting bonds with their owners.

Friendliest Dog Breeds Description
Labrador Renowned for its friendly and outgoing temperament
Golden Retriever Known for their gentle and friendly nature; excellent therapy dogs
Spaniel Playful and affectionate; great with children
Border Collie Intelligent, loyal, and friendly; excel in various activities
Cockapoo Friendly, sociable, and hypoallergenic; great companions

Expert’s Perspective: Scariest Dog Breeds to Avoid

When it comes to finding the scariest dog breeds, expert dog behaviorist Will Atherton shares his personal experiences and insights. Based on his observations, two breeds stand out as particularly intimidating: the Doberman and the Caucasian Shepherd.

Atherton finds Dobermans to be incredibly athletic, which adds to their overall intimidating presence. With their well-muscled bodies and sleek aesthetic, these dogs can strike fear into the hearts of many. The combination of their physical prowess and swift movements can make even the bravest person think twice before approaching a Doberman.

“Dobermans have a certain intensity about them that can be quite intimidating. Their speed and agility, paired with their assertive nature, can make them appear like formidable opponents. They demand respect and should be approached with caution.”

As for the Caucasian Shepherd, Atherton admits that these dogs make his heart race as well. Known for their massive size and powerful build, these guardian dogs are bred for protection. With their thick fur, strong jawlines, and sturdy frame, they are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

“Encountering a Caucasian Shepherd can be quite an awe-inspiring experience. These courageous dogs exude confidence and can establish dominance just by their sheer presence. They are incredibly protective and any intruders would think twice before crossing paths with them.”

While Dobermans and Caucasian Shepherds may be considered intimidating, it’s important to remember that proper training and socialization play a significant role in a dog’s behavior. With responsible ownership and a nurturing environment, even these seemingly scary breeds can become loyal and well-behaved companions.

scariest dog breeds

Comparing the Scariest Breeds: Doberman vs. Caucasian Shepherd

Breed Height (inches) Weight (pounds) Temperament
Doberman 24-28 60-100 Intelligent, Alert, Fearless
Caucasian Shepherd 25.5-30 99-170 Loyal, Protective, Strong-Willed


Understanding the factors that contribute to a dog’s level of aggression and perceived scariness can help dispel misconceptions surrounding certain breeds. While some breeds may have a reputation as being the scariest or most intimidating, it’s important to remember that individual behavior and training play a significant role in a dog’s temperament, regardless of breed.

Responsible ownership and proper socialization are key in ensuring a well-behaved and non-threatening pet. It is essential to provide dogs, regardless of their breed, with a loving and safe environment, regular exercise, and appropriate training. Remember that aggression in dogs can often be a result of fear, anxiety, or inadequate socialization, rather than solely genetics.

By focusing on responsible breeding practices and providing proper care and training, we can help mitigate the negative stereotypes associated with certain breeds. Educating ourselves and others about dog behavior, understanding breed-specific traits, and promoting positive interactions between dogs and humans are crucial steps toward a more harmonious coexistence with our furry companions.


Q: Which dog breed is considered the most aggressive?

A: According to a study, the Dachshund was found to be the most aggressive breed.

Q: Are larger dog breeds more aggressive than smaller ones?

A: No, the study revealed that small breeds like Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russells were among the most aggressive.

Q: Which dog breeds are perceived as the scariest?

A: Rottweilers, Mastiffs, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers are commonly perceived as the scariest dog breeds.

Q: Which dog breeds are considered the least family-friendly?

A: Rottweilers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Mastiffs are frequently seen as the least family-friendly breeds.

Q: Which dog breeds are considered the friendliest?

A: Labradors and Golden Retrievers are often regarded as the friendliest dog breeds.

Q: According to an expert, which breeds are considered the scariest?

A: According to dog behaviorist Will Atherton, Dobermans and Caucasian Shepherds are considered the scariest breeds.

Q: Are certain dog breeds inherently more aggressive than others?

A: It’s important to remember that individual behavior and training play a significant role in a dog’s temperament, regardless of breed.

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