Dachshunds Are More Aggressive - Dog Aggression Study

He may look cute, but he's more likely to be aggressive than my Pit Bull
He may look cute, but he's more likely to be aggressive than my Pit Bull

Dog Bite Study

You may or may not have seen the dog bit study that was done by a University of Pennsylvania researcher. If you haven't, then you may be surprised at the top three dogs that are the biggest and most common to bite, and it wasn't the American Pit Bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd Dog.

  1. Dachshund
  2. Chihuahua
  3. Jack Russel Terrier

It appears that the study covered just over 3,500 dogs and tested them for aggression vs humans, their owners, and other dogs. According to the numbers, over 50% of Dachshunds showed some type of aggression.

There are several different ways the data could be interpreted, and different routes that we can take. The one that comes to mind first is to take the "mad mommy" route and ban all Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russels before they do any harm. But, that sounds pretty ridiculous if you ask me, especially considering we're talking about such small breed dogs. But, if you think about it, if larger breeds were found on the top of the list, the "mad mommies" would all unite and have them banned universally.

Another route, is to just ignore the numbers and chalk it up to a small sample size or something saying that the research didn't have a clue about proper testing methods. We can conclude that it was all a mistake.

But, in total, nearly 20% of the dogs showed some form of aggression. 4.4% showed aggression to strangers. 1.9% toward their owners, and 13.5% showed aggression toward other dogs.

Aggression in Dogs

For starters, aggression is not breed specific. Look at the list, all 31 of the dog breeds that were covered showed the capability of having aggression. Every single one had at least one bite directed toward its owner or a stranger. Every single breed showed at least some sign of dog aggression.

Dogs are generally friendly to strangers, with 95.6% of dogs being kind to strangers. No single breed had the majority of its dogs show aggressiong toward strangers. The breed with the highest aggression toward strangers was the Dachshund with 20.6%, Chihuahuas at 16.1%, and the Australian Cattle Dog at 9.6%.

No breeds were prone to bite their owners. Beagles had the highest aggression toward their owners at 7.9%.

Looking at dog aggression to other dogs, this was found to be a little rare. About 86.5% of dogs showed no signs of aggression to other dogs, which is odd considering one of the biggest myth about "pit dogs" is that they are naturally dog aggressive. Over 2/3 of the Pit Bulls in the study never showed any aggression to other dogs. Dachshunds, on the other hand had 30.3% aggression to dogs, and Jack Russels had 30.8%, making the Dachshund and Jack Russel Terrier the most dog aggressive dogs according to this study.

But, in general, about 29% of dogs had some kind of incident, including Dachshunds (25%), English Springer Spaniel (24.6%), Australian Cattle Dog (24.3%), Chihuahua (21.4%), German Shepherd (20.9%), Wheaton Terrier (20.4%), Boxer (20%), and the Border Collie (17.8%).

Results

So, what does the study say and confirm?

  • In spite of what media reports would like you to believe, most dogs are not by nature, naturally aggressive. In fact the vast majority of dogs are not aggressive at all, and the vast majority of all breeds are not aggressive.
  • All dogs can be aggressive if certain instances present themselves, either through lack of socialization, environment, or other learned instances.
  • Dog VS dog aggression is far from a "unique" Pit Bull characteristic and can carry across all dog breeds.
  • If we're ever going to get the very root of aggressive dogs in the country, we're going to have to quite pretending this is a breed-specific problem, and educate and demand that all dog owners take responsibility for the training and behavior of their dogs because until then, people will continue to believe that their breed isn't the problem.

Dog Aggression Studies

The researchers conducted two independent surveys and each resulted in nearly identical data.

They also address the public's concern at length in the study, as many other such reports have relied upon dog bite statistics. The researchers argue that these statistics are misleading because:

  1. Most dog bites go unreported unless medical attention is sought.
  2. The total number of dogs of a given breed in the local community is seldom known, so the degree to which that breed is over-represented among reported dog bites is usually undetermined.
  3. In many cases, the breed of dog involved in the incident cannot be identified.

You'll find that within this study, the article states and identifies that:

  • To date there are currently 75 large breed dogs being targeted by insurance companies that prevent you from owning their targeted bred of dog or you pay through the bum in insurance rates. Then, the various city counsels "piggyback" on new legislation to outlaw or band those dog breeds because Animal Rights Activists are talking to the Legislators in charge.
  • Small dog breeds are now being targeted so that they and their owners are to be controlled.
  • Most surveys that are taken are in intended to destroy our dogs and freedoms to own them without government intrusion.

Summarized from the "Fear the Dachshund" by Brent Toellner from the American Pit Bull Terrier Gazette; Volume 33, Issue 1; Fall 2008

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Comments 32 comments

Pet Artist profile image

Pet Artist 3 years ago

Interesting study. I agree, smaller dogs can have their aggressive side too.


Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

My dachshund-pug mix has definite aggressive tendencies, much more than any of my dachshunds ever have. He would chase people growling ferociously, woe to the UPS driver that tried to approach our house. I've finally got him pretty much under control, but it took a lot of effort. If my sweet rottweiler had ever acted like he did, it would have been truly frightening, and I'm afraid her life would have been in serious danger.


Andy Moore 4 years ago

I feel reasonably qualified to comment on this as I own 2 English Bull Terriers, 2 Dachshunds, a Beagle a Poodle/Schitzu cross and a cairn terrier.

Dachshunds have to be my favourite dog. They are smart with big hearts and will love yo their owner to bits - However they are also pack dogs and they realise that there will always be a pecking order and they pretty much make sure they end up at the top.

When our second dachshund arrived the first went for it straight away and the rather than be scared the puppy went straight back so it was hammer and tongs fighting until each had ascertained its position. If a new puppy arrived - the dachshunds terrifies it into submission with immediate and full on aggression - The same with a small child - any one under 5 is considered another dog which needs to know its place.

Bull Terriers on the other hand just want to protect and love kids, puppies and people - although they can be protective over their owners if they think a stranger is aggressive (don't expect a dachshund to put itself out for you it's only priority is itself - hence any stranger can bribe a dachshund with food and it'll be pretty much best friends straight off provided theres a reward involved!).

In our household the mini dachshund is top dog and thinks nothing of savaging the bull terrier if it invades its space or steps out of line - Beagles have a similar idea but aren't quite as psychologically astute. Bull Terriers are great with any one they know or any type of puppy of kid - in fact they pretty much move into nursing and protection mode the minute you put a small baby anywhere near them - the dachshund on the other hand realising that small child equals pokes in eye and tail pulling will either stays out the way or administers a small snap to put the youngster in its place - nothing too bad but you can be sure that within 5 minutes any small child gives the dachshund a wide birth whilst happily sitting on the bull terrier, poking it in the eye and pulling its tail which generally illicits no response at all or at the worst (if the child is really provocative) the bull terrier just moves.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 4 years ago from San Antonio Texas

I have a rescue doxie, who is fearful of most people. He would definitely bite, and has bitten everyone in the house at least once, but not in a long time. He has to be heavily sedated to go to the vet for anything at all, then IM sedation to knock him out completely for any contact by vet/staff.


Leah 5 years ago

Its funny, these studies. I Have met mean dogs of all breeds. In fact, one of the top breeds that are nice and for kids is a pug. Yet, a pug is the one dog I have been attacked by in my life. Went to a guys house i was dating, his pug charged at me full force and chomped down onto my thigh. he literally had to pry its jaws apart, and i was bleeding and had a huge bruised bite mark. It was terrifying! and this was a purebred pug. Seems to me its how you raise something..I took my 1 year old to play with the neighbors dachshunds (she is a breeder) and she loves going there, yet ive been attacked by a pug.. weird..


melindaregner 5 years ago

In my experience, yes they are. Dachshunds are really aggressive but next only to chihuahuas. I had a very serious problem regarding dog aggression problems when I had chihuahua. They're really unstoppable, but they're cute. :)


Liz 5 years ago

I have owned many dog breed; Irish Setters, Kelpies, Boxers, staffies and finally my Amstaff boy. Out of all of them I would trust the Amstaff boy the most with children to not bite under any circumstances. As it has been stated in previous posts they have been bred to be dog aggressive and NOT people aggressive. They really are good dogs, kids can literally torture these dogs - poke their eyes, pull their ears, jab them in the belly and they will continue to wag their tail and show no sign of aggression. Any other breed I have owned would have at a minimum let out a growl and some I am sure would have snapped at that sort of treatment by children. With that being said though, my boy is dog aggressive and I would never leave him unsupervised with a child, but then again I would never leave any dog alone with a child.


Misty 6 years ago

I agree dachshunds can have a mean streak. Our male dachshund will bite you much more quicker than my Pitbul mix will given the fact if he had a chance. The rest of our dachshund pride is very mellow and will let you do anything to them if you pleased.. Right now we are fighthing a pitbull ban here in my city at which my boy will be affected. ITS ALL ABOUT THE OWNER and how you raise your little fur kid!!


Ralphie the Sweetest Dog 6 years ago

I have a boy dachshund and he has been nowhere near showing aggresion to strangers, nor us. NO WHERE! I don't know where you guys get this Hokus-Pokus. ITS HOW THE OWNER TRAINS THEM, DUFUSES!!!! If you hold my dachshunds paw or touch his tail, or lock your hands around his nose, he will reach up and try to lick you, like that's aggressive. Owners theink they are so small that they could do anything to them and the dog will bite. Any dog bites. This website is dumb.


Sheri 6 years ago

Well I have two pugs and 1 long hair Chihuahua, and none of them are mean towards others or other dogs, that came from me getting them socialized when they were younger. Now as far as Dachshunds go, you bet ya, just got bit twice today from one on my left leg and broke the skin in both places and I didn't even do anything. I was taking care of my neighbors dog (German Shepard) and he just didn't like me for some reason. When I was 10 I also got bit by a neighbors dachshund. So yeah twice in my lifetime and that is more then enough to set my mind on this breed and 32 years apart.


Sophie's Mommy 6 years ago

My little Sophie is half Doxie and half Pommy. You can't even detect her Pommy side; she looks like a purebred Doxie. However, she aggresively barks at my company. If their hand gets too close she growls and threatens to bite. Is this her Pomeranian side or her Dachshund side? And the barking! Help! It is not fun to have people over for dinner. I don't exactly know what to do except to swat her with a rolled up newspaper. sigh....


Jamie 6 years ago

hahaha Have you honestly ever heard of a small breed nibbling someone to death? I sure haven't, but a big dog i have heard of, any big dog can kill someone but... a small dog... that's just silly


Maree 6 years ago

Of course we do not hear about "savage poodle attacks" or "chihuahua threatens schoolgirl" because such dogs are not seen to be able to inflict serious wounds. AND most people could disarm them with a kick or hit with a walking stick or school bag. Sure small needle sharp teeth can draw blood very quickly, but it is not nearly as serious a wound as a pit or a bulldog could inflict. It is a bit like comparing a lion to a tabby house cat, the lion is going to cause far more injury in even just play attack mode than the tabby.

Comparing likelihood to bite is no indicator of a "dangerous breed" it is how much damage such a dog can inflict in any given circumstance that is what should be the question.

I have often considered chis and terriers nasty little dogs because of their proclivity to nip, unprovoked, but if I walk my dog past a daschund, I am not so likely to be on the alert as if we are walking past a dangerous breed.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Jagwyre, actually they were. The fighting pits were still family pets. I've read true recorded accounts from the height of dog fighting, where the top fighting dog at the facility was retired and kept in the house as a family pet. Try true accounts from breeders and fighters. I don't make up my info, honey. I have read books by fighters for fighters. My favorite series is the one written by a APBT breeder who bred fighting dogs all his life, as did his father. Together they actually ended up creating one of the more popular bloodlines in the breed. I can give you the links to the books, if you'd so like to buy them to read. If you'd like to see my collection of APBT and bully breed books, I'd so gladly take a picture or give you a full listing. I read both sides. Can't fight a battle if you don't know both sides. These dogs had to be handled by people; they were human friendly and dog aggressive. They were put down if they showed any signs of human aggression, never allowed to fight or breed again. It's just not what they wanted in a dog.

Chris, dachshunds like many small dogs can be quite nippy. Try consulting a behaviorist or professional trainer. You may be able to work out the problem.


chris 6 years ago

hi my girlfriend has a dachshund and it's been several times that it has tried to bite me, my girlfriend,her mother, and my brother in law. we thought was just something that would go away until yesterday when my girlfriend went to give the dog a kiss and the dog bit her in the upper lip area. we had to take her to the emergency room and she had part of her lip reattached.now we don't know what to do with the dog. she has had him since he was a puppy and now he just turned 3.


Jagwyre 6 years ago

Lets get other people's thoughts.. I'm shure there are more out there than just me that think the same way.. people that have pit's think the same way... they are great dogs..

and they where bred for (fighting in a PIT) not as a babysitter!.. where you get your info from is beyound me..U need to read more about them..


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You don't hear about it much because it's not reported. When it is reported, they generally have pit bull in the title instead of lab attack. I've seen a few of those recently. You have to read into the article to find out it was a lab or golden retriever instead of the reported pit that was in the title.

If you look at the numbers, pit bull attacks do not occur as often as you may think. Dog attacks in general are actually pretty rare, fatal ones even more rare.

Plus, most people can't even ID a pit properly. I'm sorry to hear about your dog being attacked, but not all are like that in in the grand scheme of things, compared to the number of pits that are kept as pets or fighting dogs the overall attacks on dogs and people are pretty few.


Jagwyre 6 years ago

Hi Whitney05:

Like I say I blame the people that have Pitbull's that go out of the way to train them to be mean.. It's nothing to do with you.. I'm shure your Pit is a great dog as is my Labs.. and I have seen some great Pits. I seen on the news about 5 years or so where a golden Lab ripped a child apart.But you don't hear of that much.. I almost lost My Male lab from a pitbull when the pitbull came for my face and my Lab went after him.. and there was no reason for that..


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I preach you entire comment over and over again about media portraying breeds incorrectly and without proper evidence when they hear of an attack. I'm not saying that no breed can attack and kill. I'm merely stating a recent study. Let's not get our panties in a wad here.

I'll be the first to tell you a lab can kill, terrier, APBT. I'm not saying all Dachshunds are like this. I'm just stating a study.

By the way did you know that Labs have been proven more likely to bite than any other dog breed? Saw that in a study from the U.S humane society a good while back.

Did you know that APBTs were bred for dog aggression and to never harm a human. They were to be family pets that needed to be handled, and the minute they showed signs of human aggression even if it was just a growl, they were no longer allowed to breed or fight. Many were put down. Human safety was always the first and foremost thought when in the height and origins of dog fighting. Let's keep that in mind. So let's not go to when a pit bull has a person's face ripped off, when there are many other breeds who were actually bred for guard and protection.

Did you know that APBTs were once bred as nanny dogs to protect the children in the house? Stuff like that doesn't get out often.

You can be guaranteed I'll continue to have the breed even when I do have a child. My cousin has two 65+ pound males in his house with a brand new baby. My favorite picture is of Kain and Emma; Kain being the more dominant of the two males that he has- the one who has instigate numerous fights some of which have ended up a little bloody.

Dogs are dogs. They are animals. All dogs have the potential to kill. Many were bred for aggressive means, but you know what? That doesn't mean they will attack and pull a person's arm off.

This article was a mere summary of a study. Let's not point fingers as to what breed can rip a face off.


Jagwyre 6 years ago

Whitney05 says ( Any dog can kill a man. They just don't post the ones killed by retrievers, poodles, labs, etc. Half of the time the title screams a pit bull did it, and when you read it's a lab. Or it yells a rottie did it, but a retriever really did. In most cases, it's all alleged bc they didn't see the dog or couldn't properly ID it, so they assume it was a pitbull. Either way, any dog can kill. In reality, media portrays the breed worse than they are. These dogs were bred for dog aggression not people aggression, which is completely different.)

I don't blame the pitbulls but I blame the people that have them and say what a great dog they are. they are great to they have a person or a child by the face or arm and ripping into the flesh.. now I'm not saying they are all like that but how do people know what ones are the good ones and what ones are not! should we take your word for it?

I have two Labs and yes they can do some dammage but they are more to protect a child from any harm than to hurt a child..

Lets ask the people ! What would you rather have your kids around A Lab or a Pitbull ?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks. I'm glad that you enjoy them.


Eternal Evolution profile image

Eternal Evolution 7 years ago from kentucky

once again great hub. i don't think i've read one hub from you that hasn't been good.


Anonymous  7 years ago

Every dachshund I've ever met has been mean. I'm sure there are nice ones out there...but I've yet to meet one in my personal experience, and I work with dogs everyday as a kennel assistant! It's always the little breed dogs that are the meanest IMO.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Definitely seek assistance of a trainer just in case. The bites were probably from excitement of the quarrel with the other dog though.


jackie 7 years ago

I have a 5 yr old dachshund and never thought I would have to say she would bite a person. Over the last 2 weeks she has bitten me once and my partner numerous times. Granted we were trying to break up a dog fight but she was excessively aggressive and would not stop biting my partner. Not sure what to do with her..guess I will seek training for her and me!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Any dog can kill a man. They just don't post the ones killed by retrievers, poodles, labs, etc. Half of the time the title screams a pit bull did it, and when you read it's a lab. Or it yells a rottie did it, but a retriever really did. In most cases, it's all alleged bc they didn't see the dog or couldn't properly ID it, so they assume it was a pitbull. Either way, any dog can kill. In reality, media portrays the breed worse than they are. These dogs were bred for dog aggression not people aggression, which is completely different.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I don't doubt the ankle-nippers bite more often (Napoleon complex?). Still, you can settle that pretty quickly with kick in the jibs. The problem is the pitbulls can kill a man. And that makes them dangerous. I mean I haven't seen a headline, "Man killed by Chihuahua!"


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Gypsy, I'm not necessarily saying they're prone to biting or nipping, just that the study showed that Dachshunds, on average, were more prone to aggression to stangers, owners, and other dogs. But, again that's all just looking at those 3,500 dogs in the study.

Belief, I think it's all in the dog. Breed really doesn't have much to do with biting and attacks, which is why the CDC has stopped spending money on trying to figure out which breed is the most dangerous.

Cenny, I don't think that the country is dog un-friendly by any means. It's just a matter of safety and cleanliness. People don't watch after their dogs much less clean up after them most of the time at pet stores, so why would they at a book store, library, restaurant, or grocery store? I think that's more along why dogs aren't allowed in other places.

Chicamom, you're right. You never know what a dog will do and what will upset him.


chicamom85 profile image

chicamom85 7 years ago

We have a shih tzu we rescued from a shelter and you should see the scars on my hands from the early days. You never know what will set a dog off, but I learned quickly. Nice hub, thanks.


CennyWenny profile image

CennyWenny 7 years ago from Washington

It makes me sad how dog unfriendly we are in this country. I am a homebody anyway but add to that the fact that I really can't take my dogs out in public (except for Petco) and I virtually never leave the house on weekends. Saves money!:) Jack Russels are really high strung, the one I grew up with bit my mom several times over pig ears. I knew a lady who bred Doxies as a kid though, and I played over there all summer and never had any agression from the swarm of weiner dogs. But they were all really well socialized. It's more about nurture than nature!


belief713 profile image

belief713 7 years ago from NJ

I can 100% testify to the fact that my daschund was more aggressive than my pit. I've had (well, my brother had, but we all lived together) a daschund and pit bull, and the daschund bit more people. He was much more aggressive towards humans [he didn't know], but not other dogs.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

In the whole of my long life I have only suffered two dog bites, a fox terrier ( my fault as we kids raced to a tree while the owner set the dog after us and I was bitten on the bum as I was climbing the tree) and a Dachshund that I found wandering in the local village center parking lot with no collar and I rather stupidly tried to pick it up.

Our family has a long history with dachshunds and I would describe them as "nippy" rather than " bitey". Currently we have a pitbull cross that is the sweetest dog I've ever met. I don't think that it is all up to how they are handled. Very interesting hub especially as we are just contemplating adding another Dachshund to the family. Thank you

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