Why Would Anyone Want an Aggressive Dog?

Thanks to Pets with Problems UK for the photo

Thanks to Pets with Problems UK for the photo

I see aggressive puppies all the time!

Some of these puppies have been very carefully bred and even line bred (which means relatives being bred to one another and yes this is still frequently done in the dog world) to be aggressive.

People tell me or try and argue with me that no puppy is born aggressive; it is all about how the dog is “raised”.

Simply Put this is BS

We want to live in a world where we think that animals aren’t born aggressive or with aggression issues, or that people are always at fault but the truth is you can see pretty severe aggression in a 5 to 6 weeks old puppy.

Now let’s get this straight, HUMANS ARE STILL AT FAULT but not in the way that you are thinking.

Sometimes great people who try and do all the right things get aggressive puppies!

Why Would Anyone Breed an Aggressive Dog?crazy-leash-dog

Some people don’t believe it; they don’t believe that people intentionally breed two aggressive dogs in the hopes of getting even more aggressive puppies.

I suppose it is like any other trait; if you breed to traits together there is a higher likelihood that they will pass the traits onto their puppies.

So Who Would Want an Aggressive Dog?

Hunting Dogs

People who use their dogs to hunt vermin; want an extremely aggressive dog that will hunt and kill anything small so excellent hunter is bred to excellent hunter to get even more excellently aggressive puppies.

Fighting Dogs

Unfortunately people still breed and fight dogs, even though it is illegal, and they too breed the most dog aggressive dog to the most dog aggressive dog that they can find to breed litters of fighting puppies.   I could pretend that it doesn’t exist and I wish it didn’t, but it does.

Police and Military Dogs

Police and military dogs are another variety of dog where aggression is taken (to some extent) and bred and manipulated to create a more confident and aggressive dog that can apprehend dangerous people.  It takes a very specific kind of dog to do this kind of work, it wasn’t your average dog that took down Bin Laden.

Protection Dogs

biteThis is where the line starts to get blurred.

I work with and see a lot of police dogs, but I also live and compete in the world of protection sports, Schutzhund or IPO, French Ring, Mondio Ring, PSA, North American Dogsport Federation etc.

People who breed the dogs that are successful in these sports are or at least should be very careful about what traits they are manipulating.  It isn’t easy to live with a dog that is bred to do sport work, they are often very high drive (excitable) have some aggression issues and biting, and are hard to control; these are all traits that make them great at sport work but horrible as pets.

And, there is only a limited amount of us crazies that enjoy competing in these sports and living with these dogs.   There are some great breeders that only breed social dogs (meaning the dog doesn’t want to kill all people; it’s aggression is trained and on command) but there are some bad breeders who want to breed the most aggressive and anti-social dog to the most aggressive and anti-social dog.

And, there has to be a workable component (in my opinion); meaning I don’t want a dog that is going to try and kill me or disembowel me for putting him into his crate.  These dogs exist and are bred; don’t even think I am kidding (I wish I were).  I also don’t want a dog that wants to aggress at every person it sees, this is not a controllable or clear headed dog, I want a dog that is social but knows how to play the game!

And some of these nasty puppies enter the world as “pet dogs” they may not be good enough or fast enough or even aggressive enough to be placed in working homes so sometimes these dogs are placed out with regular people who have no idea how to deal with a puppy like this and usually they get placed time and time again until finally they are euthanized.

Some good people end up with these dogs and just simply don’t know how to live with a dog like this.

Protective Dogs

Not all Breeds You Think You Trust are Trust Worthy. thanks to Kingwood Underground for the photo

Not all Breeds You Think You Trust are Trust Worthy. thanks to Kingwood Underground for the photo

I put this in a different category because these people aren’t usually in the “protection world” where they have titled dogs or compete in a sport.

These people usually have a dog that may be aggressive or they think is “protective” and they want to breed it and have other “protective” dogs.

If you breed one dog that doesn’t like people, to another dog that doesn’t like people… chances are you are going to get a litter full of puppies that have a propensity not to like people as a whole.

If you breed two adult dogs who have severe possession or resource guarding issues, chances are you are going to have a litter of pups with the same problem.

The real problem is people don’t understand what they are doing, or that most people can’t handle these dogs and then they end up in rescue or shelters and people unintentionally adopt aggressive puppies.

The Moral of the Story

There are a couple of morals actually.

People do breed dogs to make aggressive puppies, and it is possible!  Don’t believe me google  Malinois working puppies to see how aggressive young puppies can be!

Be careful what you ask for; you may think you want a puppy from a competition or police working dog… but chances are you don’t, I am a professional and I find it hard to live with these dogs!

You may also think you want a dog to protect you and "be protective" but again chances are you don't want the work and the liability that goes along with this; what you really want is a well behaved, well trained dog that's mere presence keeps people at bay for more on that and why it works click here.

Always meet the parents if you can so that you can see the inherent nature of the dogs and what is likely to be the nature of their offspring.

Don’t blame!!!!  When you see a person with an aggressive dog don’t blame them.  It may not be their fault, they may have gone to the shelter or a rescue and taken a dog or a puppy and they didn't see outright aggression at first; they may be trying to work with and give it every opportunity at a normal life, it is not always the owner's fault!

Until you adopt or work with one of these dogs, you don't know the true heartbreak and constant judgement you get for trying to save the life and modify these dogs behavior.  I have had several of these dog in my career and it is never easy, and judgement just makes people feel bad and want to give up and/or hide which never helps the situation.

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  1. Mitchell says:

    Beautiful article and so very important to help us understand these challenges.

    Good one!


  2. J Finn says:

    It was quite refreshing to read your post, all you seem to hear these days is there’s no such thing as a bad dog, just bad owners.

    I myself have a 2 year old Alaskan Malamute bitch, and she is a bitch in every sense, and has been that way since we picked her up when she was 10 weeks old.

    My fiance and I work hard with her training, exercise her for hours each day, she’s had consultations with numerous behaviorists, and eventually decided to have her dressed too.

    Unfortunately nothing has had that great an effect on her temperament so far.

    Friends and family have said we should re-home her, but that won’t solve her issues, we would effectively just be passing on her problems for someone else deal with – which I would never do.

    So we carry on, and deal with other dog walkers underhanded comments and disapproving looks each day. If only they could understand we are trying to do the best by our dog and have even just an ounce of patience and understanding.


  3. Kat Roberts says:

    I have 2 Shih Tzu,a male age9 and a female aged 8. Both dogs have become very aggressive toward other dogs lately and I don’t understand why. They are not aggressive toward people,just other dogs. The male will drive the female back from other dogs,so I think he tries to protect her but he is still nasty if she isn’t there. Any ideas?


    Peter Mungulube Reply:

    Hai Kat,

    This is normal for a male dog to behave like this towards other dogs especially when its companion is on ‘heat’. Even if its not an aggressive dog, it always protect the female one from other males. They become very bossy and jealousy. Well, kat, encourage it by tapping or scratching its head.


    Peter Mungulube.


  4. Shawn says:

    I have a 9 year old shepherd mix. During puppy time until 5 years old she loves other dogs and was never on a leash. Even till this day I take her to off leash doggy day care and she does great with other dogs. She is even awesome with my 20 month old baby. She just does not like workers coming into our house and touching my belongings. She is great with my friends also who come over. I dot think she is aggressive just too protective. Any advise.


  5. Jeannie says:

    I adopted a pit bull at 8wks, bought completely into the “it’s how the dog is raised” mentality, and at 5 months (and yes, she was spayed) she began displaying aggression toward other dogs. This increased and she is now 3 yrs old and on a crate and rotate system. We have five other dogs. The very saddest part of this is that 99% of the time she would be fine interacting with the other dogs – she does not initiate aggression but has fear based dog aggression and that one percent when she perceived dog play to be threatening, she would be lethal. She is not aggressive toward people or our cats. We joke that other than the killing thing, she’s a great dog…she’s smart, affectionate, easily trained and weirdly she IS part of the pack. But she is fearful by nature and that combined with her dog aggression really limits her experiences. I get up at 4am, muzzle her and run with her on a harness and short leash. Then we hang out until the rest of the household wakes up. She knows when she hears the other dogs rustling that it’s time to go back to her crate. She has a big dog yard all her own and she can be outside as much as she wants. The other dogs understand the word “rotation” means that they have to go outside so that she can go out or come in. It isn’t her fault, and I’m a really good dog owner and trainer.
    The moral of the story, if there is one, might be not to get a pit bull from some guy in a trailer by the side of the road. On the other hand, if I hadn’t, her life would have been short and brutal.
    But yes, traits can be bred in. That’s why we’ve found dogs to be useful companions in the first place.


  6. Rowena Bathgate says:

    We adopted a 4 month old puppy from a shelter. He was half-starved and had only been at the shelter a few days when we took him. He is an Australian red heeler x dingo and while he is mostly quite easy going he will not tolerate people or our other dog when he has food, nor will he allow us to “do” anything to him. To visit the vet he must be muzzled and then sedated. Fortunately he is food oriented so medicating is easy. Hide the pill in food! He is now three and has gradually learned to accept other people. (He has never attacked a visitor but sounds nasty when he barks.) He tolerates other dogs but occasionally ‘loses it’ and has bitten me and my mother for no apparent reason. Red heelers are cattle dogs and were ‘created’ from dingoes which are the Australian native dogs. The aggression is definitely bred into this dog. We have adapted and learned how to cope with him.


    Taylor Reply:

    Because this dog went through a bad starvation experience, an experiment with his diet might be beneficial. Begin by SLOWLY introducing a better quality food or even a multi-vitamin. His system may still be starving for quality nutrition and that need may overshadow his good intentions.

    Have you tried feeding at regular intervals (2-3) during the day?

    This helped me have success with a Shiba Inu. This dog”s behavior has become more and more predictable; some due to other factors


  7. vickie grayson says:

    I have a dog, now 2yrs old, that has been extremely aggressive since 8wks of age. Her sibling is fearful and I’m sure she is somewhat fearful, but to compensate, she is aggressive. I don’t know how to break her. SHe is aggressive to other animals, people and even goes after the dogs on tv (only dogs). She has cats and is good with them and seldom tries to go after them on our walks, but it other dogs and some people that she acts aggressive with, to the point is hard to control her. I have always had dogs that were on a :verbal” leash and I don’t trust her. Great with kids. The one exception is, the dog wants to put her mouth on everything. A variety of different corrective procedures have been tried for weeks to months on end and with little luck. I’m sure that if I had not taken her as a pup, she would have been put down by now. Ihave had GSD all my life (protection/security trained) and have never experienced a dog like mine before. I have spoke to others that had taken a pup form my dogs litter and most of the litter has been put down for aggressive behavior. My dog must have come from the breeding of 2 aggressive dogs because the odds of almost an entire litter being too aggressive seems to dictate such an event.


  8. birgit says:

    I live in the Arab world ( now since about 20 years )and I have to say, aggressive dogs in these parts are in high demand. And the problem is, nobody really knows what they are getting themselves into. They buy puppies, “teach” them to attack anything that moves to impress the girls and then you read in the papers that some kid was attacked in the garden of somebody by mistake.
    I have two dogs ( one “germatriever” and one german shepherd) both trained ( I used to train dogs professionally in my home country Austria )and everybody around me including my father in law wonders, why they don’t bark and growl and every schoolkid passing outside the gate.
    For them a guard dog has to bark 24 / 7 and attack everything that moves.
    It is frustrating sometimes, but it shows again, it is us humans, not them dogs who need the education and the manners


  9. salim says:

    I live in Tanzania and there is alot of cases of home robberies .
    I have two dogs which I would like to improve in protecting the house
    Can you please tell me some tricks how I can train them to be so


  10. cody says:

    but wait a sec! Can’t dogs be aggressive in protecting our homes? Like my dog should b since we have alot of crime and robberies in our neighborhood.


  11. Wow, interesting comments and situations. I can really relate to Kat and your schitzu situation, s well as Jeannie as owner of 5 dogs. Until recently, I owned 7 dogs. First, the 12 yo King Charles died of old age / bad heart. Secondly, separated from my partner of 14 years and he kept the two shitzus. Thirdly, our lemon beagle has become more aggressive, especially around food, living in a hotel for four months. When she bit another beagle, that beagle went to join the scitzus. Now I have three dogs and move into a home, tomorrow.
    What I wanted to share is how much education needs to occur in pet resorts and with dog walkers. Young women in each situation, were confused about it being a fun thing for Georgia to “give them a hug” by jumping up with paws around neck. I explained how this is aggressive behavior to be disciplined and not encouraged. Frustrating to pay a lot of money for much needed services with poorly trained staff.


  12. Christine browne says:

    My chihuahua is almost 4 but when every anyone visits he constantly barks and has bitten 3times, I’m at my wits end with him, admittedly he hasn’t been socialised much as he’s very nervous but he got on well with my dearly departed yorkies and I now have an 10 month old cockerpoo he gets on ok with him but he does have his moments, all my darling dogs past and present have all been neutered and spayed so any advice would be greatly appreciated


  13. Michael says:

    Thanks for the article. I have a high strung Dobe. He’s not aggressive at all, but is a handful. He really is sweet and loving but excitable. Most people don’t understand the difference.


  14. Patch says:

    I have a male 4year old pocket dog who hates males but also hates my identicle twin brother with a passion. I can’t keep them in the same room without attacking my brother, is there anyting I can do to change my dogs agression?


  15. Rhonda says:

    I recently adopted an 8-week old Blue Heeler, her name is Maggie. Can you guide me as to how to get Maggie from nipping & biting so much every time we play with her, pick her up, or attempt to train her, etc. We understand she is teething. But Maggie seems to be teething extremely hard. We’ve bought Maggie many proper chewing toys for her biting anxiety, but she insists on nipping/biting everything and everyone, including our fat 14 year old red heeler which she thinks is a sheep, so she constantly nips/bites after her ankles at every move she makes, and of course everyone else? Help?


  16. Patti D says:

    Just recently encouraged my niece to euthanize her one year old American bulldog. The dog had never been mistreated in anyway. They had gotten him at the age of 8 weeks. But that dog was a lawsuit waiting to happen. My niece’s family was clueless as to reading the dogs body language. He was neutered. He snapped, bit, growled, showed his teeth. The dog would not allow my niece’s husband to get near her on the couch, or in the master bedroom. I worked with the dog when we visited, used positive training. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. They are a quiet, soft, loving family. Why work so hard with a dangerous dog when there are so many really nice dogs out there who need loving homes? Yes she did put the dog down. Several neighbors stopped by and thanked us for helping our niece with this very difficult decision.
    The next step? Helping her find the right dog for her family.


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