Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Top 10 Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite Humans

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dog trying to bite man

You don’t have to be around dogs a lot to realize that their personalities vary widely. Some pups like Golden Retrievers or Bernese Mountain Dogs are more people-friendly than others. However, that is a general statement. Many factors can drive even a beloved pet to nip. Some are more territorial than others. Getting close to their food or toys will get their attention.

Some breeds like the Giant Schnauzer had a job that, well, involves a bite that is worse than their bark. Genetics and selective breeding aside, it boils down to one inescapable fact—the relationship between the owner and the pet. If an individual doesn’t socialize their dog, the pup is more likely to be less friendly and stranger-wary. They may not tolerate children or other people on his turf.

The statistics are sobering. Nearly 5 million Americans get bit each year, with about 800,000 having to see a doctor or visit ER because of it. The sad thing is that most involve kids. On average, 34 individuals die as a result of their injuries annually. The numbers show that some dogs bite people more than others. The lineup may surprise you.Divider 2

Top 10 Dogs Most Likely to Bite Humans:

1. Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers
Photo credit: Oldiefan, Pixabay

The Jack Russell Terrier shows one common thread among the biters. They are hunters that are not just trained to find or retrieve prey. They learn to kill them. It’s not surprising to find ratters like this one on the list. Sometimes, it’s a matter of them relying on their prey drive. If something—or a child—runs away from them, they will give chase. It’s a case in point of the need for early socialization.

2. Collie

a close up of Border Collie with collar
Image Credit: Helix_Games, Pixabay

The Collie illustrates another reason that dogs with their job bite more often than others. Their purpose is to herd and protect livestock. Using his teeth to reinforce this role is par for the course. Running away or roughhousing is likely to trigger this instinct in an otherwise very people- and kid-friendly breed. This pooch is also sensitive and reacts strongly to harsh words and stern commands.

3. Rottweiler

Image credit: Dolores-Preciado, Shutterstock

The Rottweiler shares a similar herding history as the Collie. He also served as a protector. It’s not a stretch that he would react quickly and decisively if he perceives a threat. The dog is muscular. We believe that sometimes he may not know his strength, especially with children and smaller individuals. He is a smart pup and actually is quite playful.

4. Cocker Spaniel

English Cocker Spaniel lying on bed
Image Credit: Alkhaine, Pixabay

Sometimes, a dog is so cute that he invites big hugs. After all, the Cocker Spaniel is a family pet. He adores his loved ones. He has a tendency to nip, which, combined with a strong prey drive, creates the perfect storm for a biting pup. The breed probably has also suffered from overbreeding because of his popularity that may have perpetuated some of these undesirable qualities.

5. Siberian Husky

a siberian husky
Image Credit: BARBARA808, Pixabay

Often recognized for its wolf-life appearance, the Siberian Husky is an intelligent and playful dog. However, this dog can be a bit rowdy and displays destructive behavior when bored. In addition to those characteristics, Siberian Huskies can display mood swings and have a high prey drive, hence why they are on this list. Without proper socializing and training, there is a risk of this breed showing aggression through biting.

6. Chow Chow

chow chow sitting in the park
Image Credit: Debbie Kanders, Shutterstock

The Chow Chow is an aloof dog, even as a puppy. He’s not a pooch that will rush up to greet you. While he was bred as a companion, he was also a protector. That can explain his wariness of strangers and loyalty to his owner to a fault. He is a fastidious animal to the point of almost being cat-like in his habits. This pooch wants to call the shots and have everything on his terms.

7. Pit Bull Types

a Pit Bull mix dog relaxing on artificial grass in backyard
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

The Pit Bull type dog describes several breeds that look alike. People often call many of these pups by this generic name, whether they are a Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier. Unfortunately, it’s the bane of their history to fight, and, thus, bite. One of the reasons that some fear them is because of the damage they can cause if they do get aggressive because of the high PSI of their bites.

8. Tosa Inu

Tosa Inu dog standing on grass
Image Credit: acceptphoto, Shutterstock

This Japanese canine breed is a massive dog, weighing up to 200 pounds. Due to their powerful bite force, the Tosa Inu is often used in illegal dog fights. If a Tosa Inu has been traumatized by being a fighting dog or has never had proper training and socialization with people and other dogs, there is a risk they could bite out of fear or stress. This is something people should be aware of if they want to welcome a Tosa Inu into their home. This breed can make wonderful and devoted pets—but training is an absolute priority.

9. Chihuahua

Chihuahua dog scared
Image Credit: Mylene2401, Pixabay

Sometimes, the smallest dogs can be the nippiest! While there are several reasons why they might bite, the tiny but mighty Chihuahua might be suffering from small dog syndrome. Smaller dogs get possessive over things and areas, so if you get too close to something of theirs, they might bark and nip. Not all Chihuahuas do this, but the ones that do are acting in defense, not aggression.

10. German Shepherd

german shepherd lying near food bowl
Image Credit: Snezhana_G, Shutterstock

The German Shepherd tops the list for many studies as the number one breed most likely to bite. Again, let’s look back to his purpose. He was a military and police dog, trained to fight and bite. That made him more alert and watchful of threats. A child running toward him can incite his instinct to react in a sometimes-undesirable way. It also shows why you must pick the right dog for the home.Divider 5

Final Thoughts

Dog bites are a serious problem. The unfortunate thing is that many are preventable. It’s imperative to research a breed to learn about his personality to decide if he is a good fit for your home. The responsible pet owner will also take charge early on with the puppy’s training and socialization. It is the single best way to avoid the distress of a dog-related injury.

Feature Image Credit: Parilov, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database