Prospective owners should note that different breed of dog are likely to show differing levels of aggression.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a new dog then you’re not alone – Kennel Club figures show that the number of people looking for puppies has surged to record levels in the last few years.
But with 221 different breeds of pedigree dog to choose from, there’s plenty of thinking to do before you select your family’s latest four-legged addition – whether you want a large dog, family-friendly dog, or crossbreed.
There’s even academic guidance to seek out, with Psychologist Stanley Coren’s book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ ranking breeds by instincts, obedience, and the ability to adapt.
Before they were domesticated, dogs had to fight for everything from food to territory – so signs of aggression were essential to their survival.
Many of these has been bred out to create the perfect family dogs we know today, but some breeds are more likely to retain an aggressive side than others.
There can be good reason for this – for example for those used as service or guard dogs – but prospective owners should be aware that this is the case before choosing to welcome a certain dog into their homes.
It should also be said that individual dogs may display attributes that are unusual for their breed, and all dogs have the potential to be aggressive in certain situations.
Here are the 10 breeds most likely to show signs of aggression – including growling and snapping.
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1. Labrador Retriever
Starting with the dogs unlikely to have aggressive traits. One of the reasons that the Labrador Retriever is the world's most popular dog is its lack of aggression. Vigorous licking of faces is the main thing to look out for with this good natured breed. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. Golden Retriever
What's true of the Labrador Retriever is also usually true of close cousin the Golden Retriever. That's certainly true when it comes to levels of aggression. Other than enjoying a nibble of their owners when teething, this is a dog whose main emotion is love and devotion. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
As puppies, you could be forgiven for mistaking a Cavalier King Charles Spaniels for a suddly stuffed toy. If treated well they present about the same level of danger to humans. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
The huge Newfoundland is the very definition of a gentle giant. Their lack of aggression means that they are known as 'nanny dogs' due to their gentle nature and the fact that they get on so well with young children. Photo: Canva/Getty Images