The Top 15 Aggressive Dog Breeds in 2024

Shiba inu Dog, Isolated Black Background
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Written by Kristin Hitchcock

Published: January 12, 2024

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With improper socialization and training, some dog breeds can be aggressive and territorial. This is a bit different from being a dangerous dog breed, though. Just because a dog is aggressive doesn’t mean it can actually do much. Many aggressive dog breeds are smaller in size, which prevents them from being dangerous.

1. Airedale Terriers

Airedale Terrier (Puppy)

Airedale Terriers are the largest terrier breed around. They’re often nicknamed the “King of Terriers.”

©mb-fotos/iStock via Getty Images

These large terriers originated in England in the Aire River Valley. These dogs were originally bred for hunting and pest control, so they tend to have a strong prey drive. They’re also territorial, though mostly towards other animals.

They can make great companion animals, but they do require plenty of socialization and training.

2. Akita

Loyal akita inu puppy looks at woman in dark-green coat holding rope toy in the birch park. Master is training her dog on the fresh air.

While they can be a bit stubborn, Akitas are often trainable with patience and consistency. Training is vital to ensure they grow into well-behaved dogs.

©Danila Shtantsov/

Akitas were bred in Japan for their protective nature. They were still used as guard dogs until recently, and most lines have serious protective instincts. This protective nature can quickly turn into aggression without training. We only recommend these dogs to experienced dog owners for this reason.

3. American Bulldog

white american bulldog head portrait isolated in blue background and wearing rainbow collar.

While this breed is newer, they’re slowly becoming more and more popular.


American Bulldogs are known for their strength and athleticism. They’re also known for being pretty friendly and can make great companions. However, some lines do have more protective instincts than others. Early socialization is crucial to prevent aggression.

4. Belgian Shepherd

Malinois - Belgian shepherd dog

This breed actually comes in four different varieties, with the Malinois being the most popular. The other three are still rare in the United States.


Belgian Shepherds thrive in police work and during sheepdog trials. Their dedication to their owners makes them wonderous working dogs. They’re also very loyal to their families and are slowly growing in popularity as companion dogs.

However, their extreme guarding instincts do require training and socialization. Otherwise, they can see everyone outside of their family as an enemy.

5. Boxer

Animal, Animal Themes, Blurred Motion, Boxer - Dog, Close To

This breed can be very family-friendly, but it all depends on the exact temperament of the dog. There are several bloodlines that vary in temperament.

© Anderson

Boxers are stereotypically considered friendly and bubbly. These traits do exist in Boxers to some extent, but their temperament varies to a surprising degree. Some are more protective than others, depending on the breeder you purchase from.

In the past, these dogs were used as working animals. They’ve only recently been kept as pets. The purpose of your puppy will dictate their temperament to some extent.

6. Bullmastiff

2015, Adult, Animal, Animal Body Part, Animal Eye

Compared to other breeds, Bullmastiffs can do quite a bit of damage due to their strong bite.


Bullmastiffs are known as “gentle giants,” and they do tend to be very gentle with their families. However, they were bred for guarding and protection, so they aren’t completely gentle all the time. If they think someone is a threat, they will do something about them.

Therefore, it’s important to train and socialize them well. You want them to discern the difference between friend and foe with ease, and the only way to do that is by giving them plenty of experience.

7. Dogo Argentino

white Dogo Argentino dog in the snow

This breed is easily one of the more aggressive and dangerous. However, individual dogs still vary a lot.

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Dogo Argentinos are easily considered one of the more aggressive dogs out there. They are banned in several different countries, including the UK. They were originally bred as big-game hunters, but they also have a healthy dose of guarding instincts. Due to their large size, this can make them potentially aggressive and dangerous.

However, they are also very loyal to their families. Like with all these breeds, socialization from a young age is important.

8. Komondor

running the Hungarian Sheepdog Komondor. High quality photo

These sheepdogs are known for their unique fur. However, they can also be aggressive if not raised properly.


The hairy Komondor is probably the last thing you had in mind when you imagined an aggressive dog. However, these canines were bred for herding and protecting livestock. Those protection instincts are still strong today, which can make them aggressive.

Plus, these dogs are also pretty stubborn, which can make training a challenge.

9. Rottweiler

Ferocious Rottweiler Barking

While Rottweilers can be aggressive, they’re also known as “nanny dogs” due to their gentle nature with children.

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Rottweilers are exceptionally powerful, large dogs that were originally bred to drive cattle. However, they also have serious protective instincts and can quickly become aggressive without the right socialization.

Luckily, these dogs are intelligent and loyal, so they’re very gentle with their family. It isn’t incredibly hard to socialize and train them.

10. Chihuahuas

Cute wet Chihuahua after a bath sits wrapped in a towel, isolated on a white background. Washing your pet.

If you have a


, it’s important to let them explore the world and gain confidence – not just carry them around all the time.

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Chihuahuas are far from dangerous, but they can be aggressive. Many Chihuahuas aren’t very confident due to how they were raised and their smaller size. They’re more likely to become fearful and anxious, which increases the chance of aggression.

Most dog bites on children happen with smaller dogs. While these bites aren’t as dangerous, they can be just as traumatic for both the child and the dog.

11. Doberman Pinscher

3 dobermans in a park

In some cases, Doberman Pinschers can be aggressive. Socialization goes a long way to prevent their aggression, though.


Doberman Pinschers are known for their very sleek, muscular bodies. They were originally bred as guard dogs, and their temperament can quickly turn aggressive if they aren’t raised properly. Socialize and train these dogs from a young age to prevent aggression once they reach adulthood.

Doberman Pinschers tend to be very loyal to their families. Therefore, they often aren’t aggressive within their family – just with strangers and perceived threats.

12. Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer in front of white background Animal, Black Color, Color Image, Cut Out, Dog *Giant Schnoodle

As their name suggests, Giant Schnauzers can grow quite large.

©cynoclub/ via Getty Images

Giant Schnauzers aren’t typically considered aggressive. However, they can be stubborn and loyal, which may lead to aggressive tendencies. They also require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Without it, they can become anxious, leading to more aggression.

While these dogs can make great companions, it’s important to take care of them properly. Otherwise, they can develop temperament problems.

13. Beauceron

training of french shepherd

This breed is also referred to as the “French shepherd” due to their origin.

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These large, herding dogs are a bit rarer than other canines on our list. However, they were bred for herding and guarding, so they have serious protection instincts. Proper socialization can help ensure these instincts are aimed at the right people – not at every stranger they meet.

Beaucerons also need tons of exercise and mental stimulation. They’re a bit of a handful, so we only recommend them for experienced dog owners.

14. Chow Chow

Purebred Dog Chow Chow

Purebred Chow Chows have a blue-black tongue, which sets them apart from other breeds.

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Like most Asian breeds, Chow Chows aren’t the friendliest dogs. They’re loyal to their family but tend to be aloof at best with strangers. Chow Chows require proper socialization to ensure these dogs remain aloof and don’t venture into aggressive territory.

They’re best known for their lion-like appearance and “blue” tongues. Compared to many Western breeds, they look very exotic, which is why they are popular. However, they tend to be very independent and more “cat-like.” We only recommend them to experienced dog owners due to their temperament.

15. Tibetan Mastiff

Two Tibetan mastiff siting in the autumn forest

Tibetan Mastiffs are extremely furry dogs, so they require quite a bit of grooming.

©Ksenia Raykova/iStock via Getty Images

Like all Mastiffs, Tibetan Mastiffs are huge and powerful dogs. They were bred to guard livestock, but this guarding can extend to their home and families when kept as companion dogs. They’re also pretty stubborn, so you need socialization to ensure they can understand friends from foes.

These dogs need plenty of space to roam, so they aren’t the best for apartment living.

Summary of the Top 15 Aggressive Dog Breeds in 2024

NumberDog Breed
1Airedale Terriers
3American Bulldog
4Belgian Shepherd
7Dogo Argentino
11Doberman Pinscher
12Giant Schnauzer
14Chow Chow
15Tibetan Mastiff

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About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

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