Are Certain Dog Breeds Inherently Dangerous? Debunking Common Myths
If you’ve had a dog or considered getting one, you’ve likely looked up information about the different breeds’ behavior, and you might have heard some claims that certain dog breeds are naturally “dangerous” or “aggressive” and wouldn’t make good pets. These claims are myths, and these myths only add fuel to the fire that is breed-specific legislation in dog liability insurance. The truth? Any dog can be aggressive without proper socialization and training.
Canine behavior is mostly dependent on how they are raised, just like humans. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that no dog is born inherently dangerous or vicious, and the American Temperament Test Society proved that dogs labeled as “dangerous” commonly tend to be friendlier than other dogs thought of as harmless. So where do these beliefs come from?
Myth #1: Larger Dogs are More Dangerous
This is important to address because it is a completely false, yet common accusation. A 200-pound dog may be as harmless as can be. It is common that large breeds such as Great Danes think they are tiny lapdogs and are oftentimes even afraid of the smaller breeds. Many other large dogs can easily disprove this myth. Other than accidentally knocking someone over because of their size, many large dogs are just innocent animals in big packages.
That being said, larger dogs may not be innately more aggressive than smaller dogs but their size does give them a much larger amount of power, and this can be dangerous, especially for children and the elderly. If you own a large dog, it is your responsibility as the owner to train your dog to approach other people and dogs gently. Some people (and animals) are naturally intimidated by a dog that looks more like a bear or a wolf, and the first step to assuaging their concerns is showing them that your dog is sweet and gentle.
Myth #2: Banned Breeds are Aggressive by Nature
This is a controversial topic. Studies have shown that any dog can be aggressive based on previous socialization and training. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that no specific breed is inherently dangerous or vicious and that all dogs have the capacity to bite and show aggression. This is why, at Dog Bite Quote, we do not exclude any breeds in our dog liability insurance policy.
It is true that a large-breed dog can be more dangerous when acting aggressively, pure based on physical aspects. However, any breed can show aggression toward other dogs or humans just as easy as another. It is never caused by the type of breed, but rather the way a dog is raised and treated by humans. Even if a dog hasn’t been mistreated or trained to fight, any dog’s protective instinct has the potential to result in “aggressive” behavior. Therefore, it is a smart proactive idea to obtain canine liability insurance, and work to socialize your dog.
Without any structured training, a dog’s natural protective nature may try to figure out what, who and how to protect all on their own. It is up to humans to provide the adequate rules. Just like children, dogs seek guidance and won’t know what is expected of them without it. Dogs need our help to navigate the human society and learn our expectations for their behavior. It is truly about how each individual dog is conditioned as a puppy. No dog should be banned just based off of their breed, nor is aggression a characteristic of any one breed.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.