These breeds can still make great pets but will need to be firmly handled so that their natural aggression can be controlled.
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. German Shepherd
Aggression isn't always a bad thing in a dog - the German Shepherd's temperament means that it excels as a forces dog, police dog and guard dog. While it's not a dog to get on the wrong side of, if the aggression is channelled in the right way it can be a great pet that is sure to protect its beloved family. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
While the Rottweiler's reputation for aggression is slightly unfair, it is a breed of dog that has the potential to be aggressive. The dog's upbringing is key - a well-trained Rottweiler with an experienced owner can be a placid and loving dog, but this isn't a breed for novices. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Rough Collie
The elegant Rough Collie probably isn't what most people think of as being an aggressive dog. It came as a surprise to researchers from the University of Helsinki when they carried out a survey of 9,000 dog owners and found that this breed topped the table. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
A classic example of small dog syndrome, the Chihuahua has a tiny body but a big attitude. Regular unpredictable bouts of aggression are not uncommon, meaning they are not a good choice for families with small children. Photo: Canva/Getty Images