Believe it or not, the often feared American Pit Bull Terrier has been rated as less aggressive than the tiny Chihuahua in a study by Dognition. Chihuahuas were the most aggressive dog, leading to plenty of personal injury claims, while Pit Bulls ranked toward the bottom of the 35-breed list.
“Seldom aggressive” dogs
In the study conducted by Dognition, pet owners were asked how aggressive their dog is in a variety of situations. More than 4,000 people with dogs responded, noting their dog’s reactions in situations like new or familiar children and adults and when they encounter another dog that is new, familiar, bigger or smaller.
In general, even Chihuahuas weren’t very aggressive – they were mostly rated “sometimes aggressive.” But other breeds including collies, pugs and spaniels were rated seldom or never aggressive. As for Pit Bulls, they almost always ranked below most other dogs in all categories, minus their interactions with new dogs.
What do other studies say?
The American Temperament Test Society, a non-profit organization that promotes uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and mixed-breed dogs, ranks breeds of dogs based on their tolerance of other dogs and humans.
American Pit Bull Terriers pass the temperament test 86.8% of the time – only 115 of the 870 dogs that were tested so far failed. Compare that to 80% of Beagles, 75% of Bloodhounds, 81.5% of Border Collies and 69.8% of Chihuahuas.
Real dog danger
Unfortunately for Pit Bull lovers, most breed specific legislation (BSL) is against Bully breeds. BSL includes housing restrictions, muzzle requirements or even euthanasia. Other breeds like Rottweilers and Chihuahuas aren’t included in BSL as much as Pit Bulls are. Is their reputation fair?
As we’ve written about before, two people in Florida die every year from dog bites, and about 600 people per year nationwide are injured. Children under 10 are most likely to come under attack, while boys have a higher risk than girls in the same age range. The most common kind of bites come from well-known family dogs, so it’s important to monitor your child when they are near any dog no matter what breed and teach them the importance of recognizing when a dog is upset, angry or scared.
In most cases, the owner of the dog will be held liable for injuries to you or your loved one. Don’t forget the importance of filing a claim if you’ve been attacked.