Dogs have lived alongside man for thousands of years since the first wolves were domesticated. There is little doubt this relationship has been hugely beneficial to both, leading to dogs being commonly referred to as “man’s best friend”. But over recent years there there have been a steady stream of stories in the media cataloging what appears to be an increasing trend of horrific attacks. Based on one UK survey (Hospital Episode Statistics) dog attacks resulting in hospitalisation are up over 300% in 20 years.
Whilst there is nearly always a reason for a dog attacking, these incidents show that certain dog breeds are capable of being deadly. This is recognised by the fact many of these breeds are banned in countries throughout the world.
The breeds listed below are those which have been involved in numerous incidents. I haven’t just taken the statistics for which breed has been responsible for the most hospital admissions; this list based on the potential and temperament of various dog breeds. There a three ingredients to a fatal dog attack; size and power of the dog, aggression and not to be overlooked a reason – usually lack of training and maltreatment…
10. Cane Corso
This large breed of Italian mastiff is a descendent of the dogs Roman soldiers used in wars. It has a sleek muscular body weighing up to 50kg (110lbs). The business end of the Cane Corso is its large, intimidating head with powerful jaws. One look would tell most people that this is a dog that could inflict a good deal of damage. The Cane Corso generally has a good temperament but is protective and suspicious of strangers. Therefore training and early socialisation are essential.
This dog is restricted in several US states and European countries.
I imagine the name itself here is enough to start alarm bells ringing! Often referred to as wolfdogs these dogs are at least half wolf and as such may be virtually indistinguishable from a pure wolf.
Behaviour varies according to the dog / wolf content. Wolf-like traits make the animal less likely to attack protectively but they retain a strong prey drive making them a real risk around other small pets, and potentially young children.
The cross-breeding also has implications on how aggressive the hybrid will be. Crossing with a dog with a protective nature, e.g. a German Shepherd can breed out the wolf’s shy retiring nature, making a less predictable more dangerous dog.
Weighing in at up to 55Kg (120lbs), with power and intelligence of a wolf – in the wrong setting these dogs have the potential to be dangerous.
8. Neapolitan Mastiff
On size alone this massive mutt has the ability to intimidate. Reaching up to 90kg (200lbs) that more than an adult human. It was a Neapolitan Mastiff that played the part of “Fang”, Hagrid , the half-giant’s dog in the Harry Potter films. The large mastiff-type head is complemented with an equally large body in which the musculature is barely hidden by thickly folded skin.
The Neapolitan Mastiff is thought to be the direct descendant of the ancient Roman Molossus used for both war and the bloodthirsty arena. In essence this dog was bred to be a capable killer making it a popular guard dog and defender. That said, these are generally calm and loyal dogs but correct training and socialization is essential. As is a firm owner – these dogs have and can kill.
7. Fila Brasileiro
Also known as the Brazilian Mastiff this is another very large powerful dog. Weighing up to 75kg (170lbs) the Fila Brasileiro was bred as a hunting dog trained to restrain but not kill its prey. During the days of slavery the Fila was allegedly used to return fugitive slaves, unharmed, to their masters. More recently it has become a popular guard dog.
What separates the Fila from other big mastiff type dogs is its temperament and potential for aggression. The dog is banned the UK, Norway, Israel and Denmark to mention a few along with being restricted in many more. It is often said that the Fila Brasileiro can be highly aggressive towards strangers if not correctly trained. Given the name Ojeriza, this behaviour may be desired by some owners but can make this a particularly dangerous breed.
6. Dogo Argentino
Although a little smaller than the mastiffs and the Dogo Argentino makes up for it in power. This agile and muscular dog was bred as a big game hunter’s companion able to bring down wild boar and pumas. The Dogo originated from the Cordoba Fighting Dog which was crossed with Great Dane amongst other breeds. The resulting dog is 60kg (130lbs) of lean muscle recognisable with its short white coat.
It is said that the aggressive traits have been largely bred out of the Dogo Argentino and it can even be a good family dog. However, the potential is there for this dog to attack with lethal consequences and as a result it is banned in many countries including the UK and Australia. The fact that it is a breed preferred by dog fighters further cements its reputation as a dog to be feared.