Some dog breeds have bad reputations for aggression and violence towards other dogs and people. A dog can severely injure a person, especially a child, and cause physical harm, permanent scarring, and psychological trauma. It’s not just certain breeds that should concern you, but the characteristics of individual dogs that should make you wary.
Tyler Fleck represents the victims of vicious dogs who seek compensation for their injuries. Often the problem is an owner who’s indifferent to the safety of others and who fails to take preventative measures after their dog bites someone, allowing the bad behavior and injuries to continue. If you need a Kentucky dog bite lawyer, contact The Fleck Firm today.
Aggression Goes Beyond Breed
The severity of dogs’ aggressive behavior goes from growling and barking to snapping and biting. The probability of aggression increases as dogs age. Male and smaller dogs had greater chances of aggression than dogs who were female and larger (though there was no difference between medium and small dogs).
These are the findings of a team of researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland who released a study about aggressive dogs earlier this year. It’s based on questionnaires filled out by dog owners. Data concerning 9,270 dogs is used, with 1,791 of them having frequent aggressive behavior toward people and 7,479 without that problem.
Perhaps the most significant factor was whether the dog tended to be fearful. Those generally considered scared are more than five times more likely to be aggressive than those not fearful. Smaller dogs are known to be fearful, but their human owners may cause their behavior. They may not take aggression by small dogs as seriously as when larger ones display it. Since owners may not feel threatened by a small dog, they may be less likely to discipline the dog, so the behavior persists.
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Aggressive Breeds = Fearful Breeds
The breeds with the greatest chances of aggression were Rough Collie, Miniature Poodle (toy, miniature and medium-sized), and Miniature Schnauzer. Those breeds with the lowest odds were Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Lapponian Herder.
Graphic from “Aggressive behaviour is affected by demographic, environmental and behavioural factors in purebred dogs”
The American Bull Terrier, or pit pull, didn’t make the list but its ownership is restricted in many areas of the US because of its reputation for violence. But the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states, “A well-socialized and well-trained pit bull is one of the most delightful, intelligent, and gentle dogs imaginable.” Generally, pit bulls aren’t aggressive to people but don’t tolerate other dogs as well, according to WebMD.
Why a Particular Dog May Turn Aggressive
Factors that can lead to a dog being more aggressive include they’re the only dog living in a home and owned by a first-time dog owner. The first-time owner may not be aware of the importance of early socializing to reducing a dog’s aggression. They may not also recognize aggression issues early or know how to deal with them effectively.
If you have several dogs, the chances one of them will be aggressive decreases. Researchers state that:
- Dogs in multi-dog families compete with each other for their owners’ attention. The better behaving dogs get more attention which rewards obedience
- These dogs are less aggressive to owners and other dogs. Playing with other dogs may decrease aggressive behavior due to frustration over the fact their movements are limited, and they can’t do what they want
- Owners who experienced aggression from a given breed may decide not to get another to reduce conflicts between the dogs and make handling their dogs easier
Even dogs with the best reputations can turn aggressive. Other reasons for aggression may be due to their:
- Individual personalities
- Fearfulness due to past abuse
- Being teased or tormented by a person
- Feeling they’re backed into a corner and need to attack
- Poor health
- Stress because they’re lost and in unfamiliar territory
- Possessiveness of a toy or object
- Desire to show dominance
Don’t let your guard down near an unfamiliar dog, even a Golden or Labrador Retriever. It may be having a terrible day and cause you to have one too.
Bitten By A Dog in Kentucky? Take the Next Step.
Kentucky is a strict liability state (KRS Chapter 285). If a dog bites you, the dog owner is automatically liable. This is true even when the dog has never shown aggression before and if the owner took reasonable steps to prevent the dog from biting. In Kentucky, whatever the breed or the individual’s characteristics, you may have a right to obtain compensation for the harm caused by a dog.
If you have any questions about your rights as a dog bit victim and want to speak to Tyler Fleck about your injuries and how they affect you, please contact The Fleck Firm today at (270) 446-7000. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.