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Dangerous Dog Breed List Has No Bite
Daily Beast fearmongering should be muzzled
My Pit Bull mix, Shelby, relaxes in the backyard.

I don’t know how to break it to my family and friends, but there’s a Pit Bull mix and two Dalmatians in my house! According to the Daily Beast, I should be scared to death to live among the #1 and #11 most dangerous dog breeds, respectively.

Just because you don’t have one of the common banned breeds—Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds—you think you’re safe? Greyhounds, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Beagles, Golden Retrievers and Poodles all made the list of 39 dangerous dog breeds. Guess all of us dog lovers should run for our lives!

The irreverent online news digest (founded by former Vanity Fair and The New Yorker editor Tina Brown), attempts to persuade the reader at how much research went into creating its “39 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds” list.

Problem is, it relied on a faulty study—which had been discredited several years ago—as its main source. Not to mention, both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association have stated that breed is not the primary indicator for a bite. As most dog lovers and professional dog trainers know, socialization, training and supervision are key to bite prevention.

When glancing through the photo gallery illustrating the 30 breeds, be sure to note the breed name as printed because the Daily Beast posted photos that do not match the breed listed. For example, the Bull Mastiff “pictured” is a Dogue de Bordeaux, and both the Australian Shepherd and the Collie feature photos of what appear to be Border Collies. Perhaps if the Daily Beast had focused more on finding accurate breed photos than digging up muzzled and mean dog pics, readers could take this pet project a little more seriously.


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by Pamela | November 4 2010 |

Accurate or not, fear mongering sells (ad space, political campaigns, tv shows). A list that would really help would be one that describes the human behaviors that may lead to dangerous behavior from dogs: failing to train, failure to supervise dog around children, teasing dogs, tying dogs out on a line etc.

Submitted by Ann | November 6 2010 |

Thank you Pamela for making such an excellent post. I would love to see someone write an article on exactly what you mentioned. It would certainly be refreshing to see an accurate perspective on the fact that 99.9% of the time the human is at fault for not acting as a responsible dog owner. That is the reason for almost all of the dog bites. There are people that should not be owners of certain dog breeds. All breeds are different and an irresponsible, weak and inconsistent person should never be allowed to own determined, independent minded, strong-willed breed. Those types of people can not be relied upon to train and socialize more challenging breeds. Those breeds were developed to perform specific jobs and when trained correctly do it exceptionally well. Most of the time when a dog is aggressive, it isn't the dogs fault it is the person who owns the dog! I own a large breed that could be dangerous in the wrong hands but, and this is a big but.... I love to train my dogs. It is the joy of my life to spend every day working and training my dogs. I get excited and my dogs get excited when they have mastered a new command or job. That successful moment is what I work towards and time spent bonding with my dogs. When they are puppies they are socialized in classes with other people and their dogs. Our goal is to work up the ladder to more difficult training and then competition. My dogs love to work and enjoy being rewarded for their efforts and we both have a great time doing it. My breed by the way, is the South African Boerboel and for those that are unfamiliar this breed is similar to the mastiff but a larger and more muscular dog. Training this breed is achieved through cooperation and NOT through punishment or negative corrections. This breed is very smart and wants to please and works hard to do just that so, success is a by-product of their trust in me and mine in them.

Submitted by Linda | November 7 2010 |

I so agree with Pamela - if we spent half the time training the humans as we did training dogs we'd be so much closer to a solution. I have a border collie and an aussie, and people are constantly reaching out to pet them on the head without asking or even paying attention. The worst are parents, who let their kids do it without correction. I work hard to educate the kids I come into contact with, but many folks seem offended by the suggestion.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 7 2010 |

I'm sorry, but it's just plain embarrassing to be killed by a chihuahua or a pomeranian. Get real!

Submitted by Cheryl | November 4 2010 |

We lack perspective in this country:

About 40,000 people are killed in automobile accidents. About 4,000 people drown every year.

About 20 people die from injuries received from dogs every year.

Maybe we should ban all cars and swimming pools.

It is sad when a young child dies from a dog attack, but it is unfair to all large dog owners to exaggerate the risk based on partial facts.

Submitted by Felicia | November 7 2010 |

The Daily Beast article was so inaccurate that it did not deserve any attention whatsoever. Look at the information on greyhounds. They were included on a percentage basis, but the majority, like 99% of them, are not registered with AKC. They are either registered with their breed racing studbook or may have ILP/PAL designations for participation. The article was garbage and notorizing it a disservice.

Submitted by Amy | November 8 2010 |

Absolutely correct. I have two of these "dangerous" dogs in my home right now! Plus a pit mix. I also love how they showed a muzzled greyhound to scare people without noting that greyhounds are always muzzled at the track. Ugh. What a disgusting piece of trash.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 8 2010 |

If anyone is on Facebook, please check out the Saving Lennox page. He is an American Bulldog mix from Norther Ireland that was heartlessly removed from his family for no reason other than the fact that he "looks" like a dangerous breed. He was raised from a puppy with the family and never given any indication of being aggressive. They are trying to fight this. I don't know if as Americans our input can help, but it is worth a try. Lennox's owners are asking everyone to write to city council members, Prime Minister. They provide addresses.

And it IS the people, not the dogs. Something needs to be done. I know lots of incredibly wonderful pits.

I've seen a demonstration of a totally placid Lab turn into a growling, barking machine with tension on the leash and the instructor approaching the dog straight on and staring hard.

Submitted by Cyndi | November 8 2010 |

Yes, I completely concur with most of the posts you guys have left -- I worked with a veterinarian off and on from the time I was 14 until several years ago (a total of 27 years) and, in all those years, the ONLY dogs that ever even acted like they might bite me were chihuahuas, dachsunds and poodles! My grandparents and parents raised bulldogs -- back then the dogs were our "backyard babysitters" from the playpen on up. I've had bulldogs my entire adult life and have never worried about any of them biting anyone. I completely agree that it is in the socialization and training, NOT THE BREED !!!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 9 2010 |

I own a dog on the list and she is the love of my life and I couldn't be happier with her!!! Its the owners not the dogs!!!!

Submitted by Mimi D | June 22 2011 |

I feel a little guilty for this, but...I hope I'm not the only one who is a little shocked and a little amused that there's even one death by chihuahua and one death by pomeranian! What a humiliating way to go...

Submitted by Anonymous | July 17 2011 |

some people think that pitbulls are the most likly dogs to bite you but they arent. actully a chiwawa is more likly to bite someone than a pitbull. any dog can bite you, it shouldnt matter what kind of breed the dog is. it all depends how you treat them, but im not saying that the dogs will never turn on you .....sometime if you treat a dog with too much love and dont punish it then there is a 75.5% chance that the dog will turn on you.

Submitted by Anonymous | December 13 2011 |

I own a pit she sleeps with my daughter and with me, she wont show her teeth at you, the only way she would ever hurt anyone is if you tried to hurt me or my children. people need to stop this crap, Im sick of hearing how dangerous my dog is. guess what i was biten by a poodle not my dog..

Submitted by alysia hassinger | December 13 2011 |

so i just saw that siberian husky's are also on this list...i dont understand why. i see nothing wrong with these breeds. as long as they have the right owner there shouldnt be a list. i own to husky's and im about the rescue my third. my kids sleep and spend all their time with my 2 dogs.

Submitted by Anonymous | July 11 2012 |

All dogs can be harmful, but it depends on what kind of life they had. Lennox was KILLED this morning because he was a pit bull type breed. I have a pit bull, if any one were to take my dog away I would be so lost. Golden retrievers are EXCELLENT dogs. But if they feel they're in danger at all their adrenaline will kick in and they might attack. We have the right to bear arms. what about animals? They have feelings too butt people treat them like they don't.

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