The real significance to this information, for me, is that it reminds us that ALL DOGS can bite, under the right circumstances for that particular dog. Small dog bites are not often reported and the same holds true for small dog fights. However, if a person attacks another person, no matter the attacker’s size, they are held responsible under the same laws. Not so for dogs. Society hears a lot about attacks by big dogs because the injuries are more severe due to the dog’s size and power. Remembering that WE bred ALL breeds based on the desired physical and mental attributes we humans desired. If every, single bite and attack by small dog breeds was reported in the media, society might not be as quick to ban or stereotype larger, more powerful breeds. THEY ARE CANINE ANIMALS, NOT HUMANS! All of them! A 4 pound dog can be a bully, or a fearful-aggressive, or even a dominant-aggressive dog. They are not restricted by the sense of self-image as most people. In other words, they don’t think “oh, I’m little, I better not antagonize that big dog.”
The study involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania as well as 6,000 dog owners. The number one aggressive breed out of the 33 dogs surveyed? The Dachshund. Yes – the wiener dog. The study found that “one in five dachshunds have bitten or tried to bite strangers, and a similar number have attacked other dogs; one in 12 have snapped at their owners.”
Number two on the list is an even more diminutive breed – the Chihuahua, while Jack Russells came in third.
The researchers say that the bite statistics that have been released in recent years are skewed because most dog bites are not reported. Big dog bites are more likely to require medical attention, but this does not mean that those breeds are doing the majority of the biting.
One of the teams researchers, Dr. James Serpell, believes that smaller breeds may be more genetically predisposed to aggressive behavior than their larger counterparts. Serpell says, “Reported levels of aggression in some cases are concerning, with rates of bites or bite attempts rising as high as 20 per cent toward strangers and 30 per cent toward unfamiliar dogs.”
Pit Bulls and Rottweilers scored average or below average in the aggression study. Breeds that scored on the low end are Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Siberian Huskies and Greyhounds.