By in Animals

Why Do Some Dogs Become Dangerous

Although certain breeds are more likely to become dangerous than others (due to being bred for certain things such as aggression) there are many other factors that contribute to making dogs mean and dangerous.

To eliminate owner responsibility as a major contributing factor in creating a dangerous dog is wrong; as such, the following are the factors that make a dog dangerous.

1. Unsocialized Dogs

An unsocialized dog is one that has been sheltered and not exposed to a variety of situations. Small dogs often fit into this category as do many guard dogs. Small dogs are often carried around by their owners who do not realize that it is important to allow a dog to be a dog and to see things from a dogs point of view. These dogs then panic when faced with unfamiliar situations. These unsocialized dogs become a danger to the dog groomer, the veterinarian, or anyone who tries to catch them if they happen to get loose. They are terrified of the world outside their owners arms. Guard dogs are often intentionally kept unsocialized as a way to make them more aggressive to strangers. Any dog that has not be properly socialized is at risk for being a dangerous dog.

2. Dogs Kept on Chains

Dogs kept tied on chains, rather than in a fenced yard or dogrun, are more likely to become aggressive. Many cities now have laws against keeping dogs on chains. Dogs kept on chains feel easily threatened and make a big show to keep intruders away. Dogs living on chains can easily become dangerous dogs.

3. Alpha Dogs

A dog who thinks that it is the boss is at risk of being dangerous. Alpha dogs often begin as pups jumping up on their owners and their owners do nothing to stop it. They are the dogs who pull during walks and growl when an owner tries to take away their food, or toys. An alpha dog thinks it is the boss and if it feels challenged it will become aggressive. Allowing a dog to become an alpha is setting it up to become a dangerous dog.

4. Untrained Dogs

Similar to the alpha dog, a dog with no training can be a time bomb waiting to go off. Generally when an owner needs to get their untrained dog to do something, that it has never been trained for, it becomes confused and will panic, this instigates their " flight or fight " response. If the dog gets off leash, or escapes the yard, it cannot be controlled and also becomes a problem. Failure to train a dog can result in the dog not having a purpose, and finding its own (often it becomes destructive). An untrained dog cannot be called off in a risky situation.

5. Unsupervised Dogs

Most dog attacks on children happen when people leave the dog and the child together alone. Children can unknowingly send signals to the dog, which may result in an aggression response from the dog. The dog may use the time to establish dominance over the child while the owner is away. Ultimately the dog will be held accountable for any action taken. Many parents are too trusting, not only of their dog, but of their child.

6. Abused Dogs

While most abused dogs do not become dangerous, some do. Abuse can take many forms, including neglect, and these dogs may act in a survival mode. A dog with a history of abuse should be handled by an expert to remove any negative, and dangerous, responses the dog may have.

7. Intact Dogs

A dog, particularly a male dog, who is not desexed will have hormonal issues which can make them more dangerous. This is very true when two intact male dogs are near a female in heat. Intact male dogs are more likely to try to be dominant over their human owner, see Alpha Dogs, above.

8. Nursing Dogs

As with many mother animals a dog, particularly a first time mother, may suddenly show signs of aggression even when she has never done so before. While this generally will not impact the dog long term it is certainly worth considering, as a female dog with puppies can be dangerous.

9. Injured Dogs

We naturally want to help a dog we see injured but often times these dogs may not be thinking straight, confused by the pain, they may act in a dangerous way.

10. Feral Dogs

A feral dog is a dog who has been stray for so long it no longer views humans as its friends. These dogs are often unapproachable. Feral dogs are particularly dangerous when they form packs.


As we see nearly any dog can be a dangerous dog, particularly when not cared for and given proper attention. For this reason we should never take any strange dog, or any dog, for granted.

Of course as mentioned breeding can play an important role in the liklihood of a dog becoming dangerous. Dogs that were bred to hunt and kill (terriers mostly) are likely to be more of a concern particularly as they were bred to be tenacious. However terriers can most certainly be good pets too.

Image is my own.

This article was originally published by me at

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Laura-n-Sasha wrote on June 26, 2014, 1:04 AM

WOW, this is an amazing list of dangerous dogs. This is partly why I do not get close to a stray dog. And we have quite a few here.