Whether you are already a dog owner or are considering becoming a dog owner, at some point,
the thought of which breed is best for you may come across your mind. There are many dog
breeds to consider, however, today we will discuss aggressive dog breeds and whether they can
be trained or not.
The Most Aggressive Dog Breeds
According to a 14-year study, pit bull terriers and Rottweilers are the most deadly dog breeds
in America. These dog breeds, according to the study, took the lives of more than 471 Americans
from 2005 to 2018. Looking at the numbers, on the surface, staying away from breeds that have
been labelled as aggressive dog breeds could seem like a smart thing to do. In fact, back in 2013,
there was a big push to ban ownership of aggressive dog breeds in the United States.
To address the issue, when former President Barak Obama introduced his family’s newest
puppy, Sunny, a one-year-old female Portuguese Water Dog, who would be joining their four-
year-old dog Bo as a member of the family, as president, he decided against legislation to ban
specific dog breeds. At the time, activists were seeking to ban pit bulls. Obama noted that dogs
are individuals and should be treated as such.
In addition, the National Bar Association agreed that banning specific dog breeds was not the
answer, because banning specific breeds still did not provide a solution to ensure public safety.
However, it must be noted that many courts in the United States have declared pit bulls as “lethal
weapons.” As a matter of fact, police offices have the right to shoot and kill pit bulls when under
threat or protecting citizens.
But just as Obama pointed out, all dogs are individuals so it is more important to understand the
specific dog in which you are considering. As it relates to aggressive dog breeds, knowing the
history of the specific breed can be helpful to your understanding of the breed in general.
Just as an example, we will provide a short history of one of the two aggressive dog breeds we
Historical Look at the Pit Bull
Today’s pit bull is a descendant of the original English bull-baiting dog—a dog that was bred to
bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals around the face and head. When baiting large
animals was outlawed in the 1800s, people turned instead to fighting their dogs against each
other. These larger, slower bull-baiting dogs were crossed with smaller, quicker terriers to
produce a more agile and athletic dog for fighting other dogs.
Some pit bulls were selected and bred for their fighting ability. That means that they may be
more likely than other breeds to fight with dogs. It doesn’t mean that they can’t be around other
dogs or that they’re unpredictably aggressive. Other pit bulls were specifically bred for work
Can Aggressive Breeds Be Trained?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. However, the ASPCA said it best that training any dog breed aggressive
or not at an early age is the best approach. But there’s no guarantee that a dog that has already
developed aggressive behavior can be completely cured. In many cases, the only solution is to
manage the problem by limiting a dog’s exposure to the situations, people or things that trigger
her aggression. There’s always risk when dealing with an aggressive dog.
Post written by Nicholas Cole
Image by Gilberto Reyes
Fire Hydrant Pet Sitting Co., LLC is comfortable with aggressive breeds to an extent. We do highly recommend training to help them with their reactivity. Please review our Pet Resources page for our top recommendations. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!