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Dangerous and Vicious Large Dog Breeds

Updated on December 15, 2015
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Anna studied psychology, law, English, and animal welfare in college. She is a mother of two and aspires to become a vet some day.

Breeds You may not Expect to be Bad with Children

Whilst many people feel that with proper training and socialisation from a very early age, any dog can make a good family pet, I personally believe that certain breeds are better with children than others. This is primarily down to the fact that some dogs have been selectively bred for specific purposes, for instance, German Shepherds and Rottweilers have been bred as guard dogs, whereas other breeds such as the small Japanese Chin have been bred solely for the use of lap-dogs.

I have to say that the best of both worlds is a dog from a shelter. Not only are you giving a dog a second chance, but you will be able to be advised on the dog's personality and traits as an individual, rather than discovering certain issues with the dog later on down the line. These dogs also have to pass certain behaviour tests to ensure they are safe around children and strangers.

What Makes A Dog Dangerous?

Most dog lovers will tell you that no dog is bad and the vast majority of dog attacks were the result of poor training and as a dog lover I tend to agree. However, there are some breeds which are more high risk than others and need an owner who understands their nature and requirements in order to nurture them and help them develop into the healthy, well-balanced and happy animals they deserve to be.

There are many different factors in the breeds listed below that make them high risk, such as:

High Prey Drive - did you know that they way toddlers move in their little wobbly, stop-start fashion can trigger the prey drive in certain breeds of dog. Experts and dog psychologists believe that the size and movement of very young children can make a dog switch into hunter mode, and possibly therefore attack.

Strength - some dogs are soppy, cuddly, gentle giants. The problem is if they are playing or running, they may accidentally knock or unintentionally hurt a young child.

Selective Breeding - German Shepherds, Collies, Dobermans and many other dogs have one thing in common: they have been selectively bred to be excellent guard dogs, hunting dogs, working dogs or even fighting dogs. This process may mean that they will be over-protective or vicious and unsafe around children.

High Energy Levels - dogs with a lot of energy need a lot of exercise. Some as much as 3-4 hours a day! If the owner doesn't meet this requirement, the result can be a dog who is wound up and unpredictable - possibly aggressive. Family life means very few people can give this kind of time to their dog so before you buy a dog, consider the breeds energy and exercise needs.

Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers were previously used as police dogs but were replaced by German Shepherds as too many people were injured or bitten. This breed is known to be difficult to train, stubborn and extremely boisterous, which can result in accidental injuries.

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a very large breed of dog which is extremely difficult to train. It is closely related to the Neopolitan Mastiff (which incidentally, is another breed to steer clear of), and was bred as a hunter and guard dog. As such it is over-protective and has a high prey drive, making it unsuitable for children.


Whilst Dalmatians were portrayed as loveable, friendly and calm dogs in 'Walt Disney's 101 Dalmatians', in reality they can be anxious and aggressive unless they are very well trained and socialised from an early age.

Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are beautiful dogs, and are friendly, loyal companions... To one person. They don't let others into their (or their owners) lives easily, because they tend to form an extremely strong bond with just one member of the family. If you are going to own this dog, it is best to have already had children, as this breed can become incredibly jealous and possessive of it's owner.

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is affectionately nick-named the 'fluffy lion dog' for it's huge, furry appearance. While teddy-bear like on the outside these dogs have an aggressive side to them and are terribly difficult to train.

Border Collie

While many Border Collies are watchful, patient and loving, some can find children irritating and this breed is renowned for nipping when they have had enough, or when they are trying to direct other animals - or humans. This makes them a breed to be slightly cautious of when they are near children.

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a medium breed with oodles of energy - in fact this breed is recognised to have one of the highest levels of energy, so is unsuitable for anyone who does not intend to spend almost all their time exploring and walking/running/playing with the dog. The main reason this dog is so unsuitable for children is because of it's high prey drive, which can be sparked by small children, making them pretty unsafe.

Boer Boel

The Boer Boel is a large dog originating from South Africa. It is known to be over-protective, dominant and territorial, making it a breed that is unsuitable for families with children. This breed should also not be owned by those who have not got plenty of time to train their dog(s), or by first time dog owners.


Shar-Pei dogs may look amusing and soft/cuddly, but in reality they are not a breed that is patient with children, are prone to nipping and are also aggressive and boisterous, meaning children can be knocked over or accidentally injured when playing with this breed. That said, Shar-Pei dogs can be wonderful pets for experienced adults.


This breed has been selectively bred to be excellent guard dogs, and they fill this role very well, however, they are fiercely over-protective of their owners and this can cause them to be very territorial and aggressive - even to other children who come over to play. They will not hesitate to attack a person they feel is intruding or threatening to their pack.

Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are excellent family pets, but their breed was developed as a working dog and they take their role very seriously - often guarding their families, especially around strangers and whilst they are good with children within the family, if other children want to come to the house and play, this could cause this breed to become over-protective and snappy.

Blue Heeler

Blue Heeler's can be wonderful pets for families with older children, but can be nippy due to the fact that, like the Border Collie, they have been bred as herding dogs and naturally nip the heels of stubborn farm animals such as sheep when herding them. They are also boisterous and their amazingly high energy levels mean that they often accidentally knock children over whilst haring around.

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      What would cause our male Doberman to attack our female Doberman for no reason, this has happened 2 times in a week, any suggestions on what to do, at this time we are keeping them separated. I don't want my female hurt. We got the female when she was 8 weeks old, got the male at 1 year old, we have had them together for 3 1/3 years

    • aliciadonley profile image


      4 years ago

      I feel like a lot of dogs might be over protective and accidentally knock kids over or snip at them, especially if the kid came after. My mini schnauzer is so scared of kids, it's funny.

    • takkhisa profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the great info! I think Chow Chow is the best dog breed for kids, they are cute.

    • MelaniePaige13 profile image

      Melanie Paige 

      4 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks for this information. Very helpful for a future reference :)

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      4 years ago

      Just recently in the news (in my area) two people were killed by pits. It was so sad. Thanks for putting out this information.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      Could you show us photos of these dog breeds in particular to help us identify them? Appreciate the information.


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