They say that there is no such thing as a bad dog, there are only bad owners. For the most part, that is true. In general, even the most ferocious-looking dog can be a big mush if properly trained. That said, it’s never easy to select a new four-legged member of your family, especially when there are so many factors to consider.
If you happen to have small children or other animals in your house, that choice is even more important. It’s a sad fact that not all breeds of dog get along with kids. Some aren’t good with neighbors or are wary of visitors. These are the 30 breeds that might prove difficult or dangerous if not properly trained…
There is no denying that the Caucasian Ovcharka is a big dog. Historically, trained to herd and guard livestock, these enormous, dutiful dogs are very popular in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Nevertheless, they are prone to attacking when they feel threatened, so it’s important to foster a sense of trust in them early to prevent unwanted accidents in adulthood.
The American Bulldog, like so many other breeds, was originally bred for hunting. They also happened to be fighter dogs and as such, have a very strong jaw and bite reflex. This means that they don’t let go of their bite easily. It’s important to train them to “drop it” early in order to ensure that if they do bite the wrong thing or person, they relinquish quickly.
Great Danes are often considered gentle giants by owners who have properly trained and cared for them. They are surprisingly emotional and sensitive dogs and therefore need to be socialized from an early age. Because of their massive size and weight, they can be quite dangerous if they do become aggressive, especially when little ones are involved. So be sure to give them the love and attention they need.
Most of the time, we think of dalmatians as the spotted mascots of innumerable firehouses across the world, but the breed is plagued with some health issues that actually affect their training in a negative way. Some dalmatians are born without the ability to hear, which makes it difficult for them to train and can result in nervous, anxious dogs that might not be safe to leave alone with children.
Because of their powerful bite and jaws, boxers are often used as attack dogs. Their strength and stature make them perfect protectors but it also means the breed has an aggressive streak that must be handled with care from a young age. They are also prone to turn on their owners if they face harsh treatment or punishment. With boxers, a soft touch is key.
It should go without saying that any canine that has been crossbred with a wolf is a bit wilder than your average Shih Tzu. These beautiful dogs are crossbreeds between grey wolves and domestic dogs, and this combination makes them rather unpredictable. Many states in the US won’t even let you own one. They can still be trained but it would take a skilled trainer indeed to tame this wild creature.
Bullmastiffs, by virtue of their impressive size and natural aggressive temperament, make excellent guard dogs. Anyone caught on the receiving end of an angry bullmastiff would be lucky to escape with their lives. They can make loyal companions, of course, but like most large dogs, proper obedience training is essential to avoid a dire result.
On the opposite end of the size spectrum, we have the chihuahua. They may be tiny and cute but those who assume that they are good breeds for children are sadly mistaken. In reality, these stubborn, strong-willed dogs can prove hard to train and become jealous and aggressive of young children if not taught who’s boss very early.
English Toy Spaniel
Just because a dog has the word “toy” in their name does not mean its a good fit for a household with kids. The English Toy Spaniel may look cuddly and cute but because of their diminutive size, they perceive rough play with kids as something threatening; something they need to fight back against with tooth and claw. The same is true for adults too, so watch your face and train them properly.
Listen, it’s no coincidence that one of the dogs most often featured as antagonists in war movies happen to be Doberman Pinschers. These strong, intelligent dogs are excellent guard dogs and loyal companions. Unfortunately, they’re also genetically predisposed to being aggressive toward strangers and their size makes them a danger to very small children if improperly trained.
The Shar Pei may look like a cute, wrinkly ball of fluff, but their docile nature belays some rather bad news for families with small children. Their skin folds often provide them with health issues and can become home to various pathogens that a curious toddler might accidentally lick. They are also difficult to work with from the onset and can become aggressive if improperly trained.
Greyhounds are racing dogs possessed of a great deal of speed and energy. Unfortunately, not only do they require a lot of room to run, they also have a propensity to attack small animals like cats, rabbits, and even small children. They also dislike rough play and don’t like handsy children. If improperly trained, they can also become unpredictable and very attached to their owners.
Pit Bulls have had a bad stigma for years. Sure, these powerfully-muscled, steel-jawed fighting dogs have been bred to keep fighting, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become loving companions. The best way to ensure a lovable pitbull is to train and socialize them from a very young age. If all you show them is love and understanding, they’ll be some of the best pets you could ever hope for.
The Alaskan Malamute may look really pretty, but that beauty hides a wild animal underneath. These dogs were bred to survive the harsh and isolated environment of the tundra and are sort of genetically hardwired against being playful around children. They also have a propensity for attacking small animals. If that wasn’t enough, they can also sense weakness in trainers and thus need an especially strong hand.
Rottweilers were bred for their strength and that breeding clearly shows in the modern examples of the breed. Courageous and loyal, rottweilers are wary of strangers and tend to respond violently towards them. They also have strong personalities but can be reigned in if they are trained properly from the start or else they might respond to rough play from a child as an excuse to attack.
French Bulldogs are playful, affectionate little dogs with obvious personalities, but that doesn’t mean they’re a great choice for those with children. They are demanding in terms of time and affection though, and this can result in behavioral problems like aggression and mischief if they are ignored. To train them, teach all family members, including kids, to be authoritative but attentive when dealing with them.
Thanks to the movie Beethoven, the big, cuddly-looking Saint Bernard has gained worldwide fame. Unlike some of the other dogs on this list, Saint Bernards are adorable, playful, loving and loyal. The only thing that makes them dangerous is their bulk and size. They often unwittingly hurt small children just by being friendly. Also, their playful personalities make them a little hard to train without patience.
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers are an energetic, yappy breed. Because they were bred to hunt small animals, they tend to be aggressive with children and don’t tolerate rough play, and they’ll bite to defend their personal space. They also require near-constant and structured training to reign in their aggressive personalities.
There’s no denying that German Shepherds make excellent police and army dogs. They are loyal, excellent companions who are determined to follow orders and in doing so, often take down whoever poses the most danger to their current pack. This all adds up to a canine companion that, without proper exercise, affection, and training, can be a real danger to anyone outside the family.
Another shepherd that some dog owners should watch out for is the courageous and energetic, Australian Shepherd. These dogs require constant exercise in order to help dissipate their naturally deep well of energy reserves. They also tend to be uneasy when meeting new people for the first time and since they often see children as part of the pack, can become aggressive if the kids play too rough.
Bred to pull sleds across the frigid, icy expanses of the frozen tundra, Siberian Huskies often have more energy than even they know what to do with. They require constant care and exercise and because of their strong personalities, are exceptionally difficult to train. If you’re patient though, they can become some of the most loyal animals you’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing.
The hot-dog-looking Dachshund may be small in stature, but they make up for it in personality. Their history as hunting animals has made them particularly bad for houses with small rodents or even smaller dogs. Their small size can also lead to behavioral issues. They may be cuddly, but they are not fond of very small kids and rough play, and they become aggressive if they feel mistreated.
The Affenpinscher is one of the more mischievous dog breeds on the list, and one of the smallest. Inquisitive and stubborn by nature, they tend to suffer from small dog syndrome and will show aggression if they are overly handled by little kids. They can be trained though and, as long as you exert your dominance, will be more than happy to obey.
Chow Chows look like big fluffy teddy bears but don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re good digs for small children. Chows require constant attention to their beautiful coats and strong leadership, which some kids have trouble displaying when confronted with the dog itself. They also tend to be overly attached to their owners and become jealous of anyone else who approaches them.
The Dogo Argentino may be a little bit ugly to behold but is actually a very skilled hunting and working dog. They are strong, tough, and aggressive, which makes them good fighting dogs but not really great for families, especially those with small children. Over half a dozen countries have banned them as pets for their penchant for attacking humans, even their owners, without warning.
The Tibetan mastiff is a big dog and at 180 pounds, this makes them bigger by far than most other dogs on this list. At first glance, one might almost assume they were a lion rather than a dog. Diligent training from a strong hand will ensure obedience but their size and strength make them unwieldy, worrisome pets for any owner with young children.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large dog breed that hails from southern Africa. African hunters once used them for tracking lions, which unsurprisingly makes them a bit of a liability as a pet if you happen to have little kids at home. That, plus the fact that they have been known to attack children before, means that intense training is required if one wants to own this unique hound.
Akitas may look like little fluffy puppies, but their temperament makes them somewhat unsuited for anything other than guarding their owners. They are loyal to a fault and this makes them overly aggressive towards any strangers who might pass through their gates. That said, they are also highly intelligent, which means a talented trainer can reign them in pretty quickly.
These dogs, nicknamed the “Gray Ghost” by those who don’t know how to correctly pronounce their name, have the habit of being far too energetic and clingy than most people realize at first. They are not good being left alone and can be aggressive when stressed, especially towards other pets like smaller dogs and cats. As with most dogs though, proper obedience training will ensure a well-behaved breed.
Airedale Terriers, like most terriers, are independent, stubborn and intelligent. They are also exceptionally energetic and thus require lots of mental and physical stimulation. Unfortunately, their temperament makes them unsuited for other dogs or small children unless they are properly trained from a very young age. Either way, they’ll certainly keep you on your toes.