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Can dog aggression be predicted by breed?

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, no dog breeds are inherently dangerous. As with all pets, the key to encouraging socially acceptable behavior in dogs is proper training. Responsibility for this, of course, lies with the animal’s owner.

The ASPCA notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has studied dog aggression. The federal agency concluded that breed is not a determining factor in aggressive behavior. According to the CDC, the sex, heredity, early experience, training, reproductive status and socialization of a dog were often better indicators for predicting aggression.

The CDC found a strong correlation between biting and the reproductive status of dogs. Unneutered males were found to be more than 2.5 times as likely to bite. In 2006, 97 percent of cases involving fatal dog attacks involved dogs who had not been spayed or neutered. Additionally, over 70 percent of dog bite incidents involved unneutered dogs.

Socialization is also very important in ensuring a dog is not aggressive. Dogs that were restrained with chains or other tethers were nearly three times as likely to bite. In 84 percent of cases, aggressive dogs were the products of homes with reckless owners. Often, these animals were neglected or actively abused.

It is clear from these findings that the actions of dog owners may carry a greater impact on dog aggression than the animal’s breed. As such, the ASPCA encourages the enforcement of laws and regulations that hold irresponsible dog owners accountable for failing to properly train their pets. 

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