By Isabel A
You hear lots of talk today about “dangerous breeds”. People talk about dangerous dogs on the news and you can read about so-called “dangerous breeds” in newspaper stories. But, do dangerous breeds really exist? Or is dog behavior really based on the dog’s environment?
Although newspapers and TV stations often report on any story where a dog bite is involved, in fact most dog bites in the United States are not serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about 4.5 million people are “bitten” by dogs every year. However, only about 1/5 of those “bites” require medical attention. Included in those figures are things like scratches, nips from puppies, accidental bites, and especially bites that occur to veterinarians, vet techs, and groomers who are particularly likely to be bitten by dogs because of the nature of their jobs.
Research indicates that the rate of dog bites among children appears to be decreasing. If you do have children, kids between the ages of 5 and 9 are most likely to be bitten, perhaps because they are at eye level for many dogs or because they have the most interaction with the family dog. Young boys and adult men seemed to be more likely to be bitten in comparison to young girls or adult women in most cases.
Breeds Most Likely To Bite
Although dogs like the Pit Bull and the Rottweiler often make the news, a recent study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, with researchers from the University of Pennsylvania questioning 6000 dog owners, provided some startling information about which dogs were most likely to bite. The breed most likely to bite is the Dachshund. Second on the list is the Chihuahua and the third breed most likely to bite is the Jack Russell Terrier.
Breeds that scored low for aggression in the study, and which were considered less likely to bite included Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and Greyhounds.
Breeds which rated as having average or below average aggression and which were not considered likely to bite included the Rottweiler, the Pit Bull, and the Rhodesian Ridgeback. These dogs were not considered to be particularly hostile toward strangers.
Are There “Dangerous Breeds”?
There are breeds which the general public and the media consider to be dangerous however, there are certainly dogs that are raised and encouraged to be more aggressive. Evidence shows that there are no innately dangerous breeds. Dogs behave the way they are raised and trained to act by their owners. A dog’s behavior is based more on his environment than on any other factor.
Dogs are animals and bites will occur from time to time, as they can with any pet. However, the evidence shows that the breeds which have been singled out by the public and the media are not innately dangerous. A dog’s behavior depends on the way he is raised and trained by his owner. If you have children it is very important that you teach them how to behave properly with dogs and most importantly do not leave small children alone with dogs even for a split second.