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There are numerous dog breeds that are known to be highly aggressive. However, new studies have shown that aggressive behavior is not necessarily the result of the dog’s breed, but from its upbringing, socialization and training.

Many communities have banned numerous breeds including Pitbulls, Rottweilers and bull mastiff dogs because of their reputation for being dangerous. However, the facts behind true aggressiveness indicate that things are more complicated than they appear. Many individuals choose dog breeds because of their “natural traits”. However, many of these breeds are simply trained to be more aggressive by highly irresponsible pet owners.

A Display of Aggressive Behavior

A United Kingdom survey was published in Applied Animal Behavior Science released information involving more than 4000 dog owners to report their findings. The survey was based on when and why the dogs in the study exhibited aggressive behavior. The study broke the survey into three specific groups including unfamiliar individuals outside the home, unfamiliar individuals who entered the home and members within the household.

The study results conclusions were as expected. The data showed the most aggressive acts by the dogs were toward unfamiliar individuals who entered the home, while less aggression was directed toward family members. The lowest rate of aggression occurred when dogs came into contact with individuals outside the home. However, the surveyors concluded that it likely was the result of dog owners avoiding taking their pets into busy locations where an incident might occur. More than half of the dogs in the survey struggled with their aggressive tendencies which was challenging to overcome.

No Definitive Aggressive Breed Was Found

Dog owners, especially those that own one that is a breed recognized as dangerous, were likely not surprised by the results. However, there were other interesting results outlined by the survey. One of the conclusions reached by the surveyors is that no specific dog breed or breed type was found to have an increase propensity to display aggression toward humans. This is in direct opposition to other studies that have found aggression in other specific breeds, including dachshunds, which are thought to have an increased propensity to aggression towards strangers.

Alternatively, the results of the survey found that some dog breeds have an increased ability to cause serious injury from their aggression. However, the results did not indicate that the dog breed was more likely to display aggression at all. These results dispel the ongoing myth that specific dog breeds have a higher propensity to attack humans. Instead, it replaces that belief with a concept that specific breeds can cause injury compared to others when aggression is shown.

Survey researchers believe that large pit bull terriers have a greater potential threat of causing serious injuries, especially compared to smaller dogs, but their findings in no way indicate that the potential of the dog attacking is any more likely.

A Product of Their Environment

After discovering that specific dog breeds are no more likely to attack than others, the surveyors noted that their conclusions reinforce the importance of responsible dog ownership. All animals should be provided loving and responsible care, and that certain displays of behavior can happen under different scenarios, which might not be a natural characteristic of that specific dog breed, but instead how they were allowed, taught or trained to behave.

What to Do If You or a Loved One is the Victim of an Attack

Unfortunately, dog bites do occur to more than 4.5 million children and adults in the United States each year. Dog bite victims can seek financial recompense by filing a claim or lawsuit against the dog owner’s renter or homeowner’s insurance policy. However, these types of cases are complex and often require the skills of a competent personal injury attorney who specializes in dog attack and dog bite cases. This is because a claim for adequate recompense will need to be based on one or more legal theories that could include premises liability or neglect.

A skilled attorney who specializes in these types of cases can build a solid case for compensation by proving which parties are at fault for the dog attack. It might include the property owner who failed to protect any visitor from a dangerous attack, and/or a pet owner who did not provide adequate safeguards to others.