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Most Aggressive Dogs 2023: Here are the 10 breeds of adorable dog most likely to show signs of aggression - including the loving German Shepherd 🐶

Snarling and barking are two of the most common signs of aggression in dogs. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
Snarling and barking are two of the most common signs of aggression in dogs. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)

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 surged in the last couple of 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.

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)
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)

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.

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)
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)

Here are the 10 breeds most likely to show signs of aggression – including growling and snapping.

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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)
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)

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Ask any Dachshund owner and they will confess that their adored pup isn't always the easiest pet to have in the house. Sausage Dogs are notoriously badly behaved and are not averse to turning to snarls, growls and nips if they aren't getting their own way. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
Ask any Dachshund owner and they will confess that their adored pup isn't always the easiest pet to have in the house. Sausage Dogs are notoriously badly behaved and are not averse to turning to snarls, growls and nips if they aren't getting their own way. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)

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Dobermanns are usually fiercely loyal to their owners but that can also result in signs of aggression to strangers. Early socialisation is a must with this muscular breed. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
Dobermanns are usually fiercely loyal to their owners but that can also result in signs of aggression to strangers. Early socialisation is a must with this muscular breed. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
The Akita is essentially Japan's equivalent of the German Shepherd - commonly used as police and guard dogs. Again, it's important to make sure its natural aggression is put to good use. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
The Akita is essentially Japan's equivalent of the German Shepherd - commonly used as police and guard dogs. Again, it's important to make sure its natural aggression is put to good use. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
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)
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)
The huge Chow Chow is another dog that should only be considered by experience dog owners. It is a breed that has a dominant personality which can turn to aggression to assert that dominance. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
The huge Chow Chow is another dog that should only be considered by experience dog owners. It is a breed that has a dominant personality which can turn to aggression to assert that dominance. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
The Siberian Husky has been bred to pull sleds over miles of frozen tundra. If they aren't kept busy then their excess energy can spill over into aggression. In short, this isn't the dog for you if you don't have plenty of time to exercise them and keep them mentally stimulated. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
The Siberian Husky has been bred to pull sleds over miles of frozen tundra. If they aren't kept busy then their excess energy can spill over into aggression. In short, this isn't the dog for you if you don't have plenty of time to exercise them and keep them mentally stimulated. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
Originally bred to protect cattle from lions in their native Africa, it's perhaps not surprising that the Rhodesian Ridgeback still retains an aggressive streak. They are another breed particularly likely to show aggression towards people they don't know. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)
Originally bred to protect cattle from lions in their native Africa, it's perhaps not surprising that the Rhodesian Ridgeback still retains an aggressive streak. They are another breed particularly likely to show aggression towards people they don't know. (Photo: Canva/Getty Images)