News reports of aggressive dogs seems to be on the rise and can make people very wary about getting a dog as a pet. Certain breeds of dogs have gained a very bad reputation as being aggressive but it is important to remember that it is not only the breed of dog that can lead to an attack, but also their temperament, socialisation and training.
Although being attacked by a large dog can be very dangerous, medium and small breed dogs can also attack. There are lots of different reasons why a dog can attack, this can be because of territorial instincts, anxiety, neglect or maltreatment or even because of health issues.
The Centres for Disease Control report that there are 4.5 million people attacked by dogs each year, of these 885,000 require medical treatment due to the attack, over half of which are children. Occasionally the attack can lead to death or long term disability, illustrating that any aggressive tendencies in a dog should never be ignored. Although a multitude of different laws regarding specific breeds have been enforced, this does not stop attacks from still occurring.
The American Kennel Club, the American Veterinary Medical association and the ASPCA are against legislation against particular breeds of dogs, instead they advocate that people should be educated n the importance of proper training and care for their dogs.
70% of all dog attacks has been attributed to un-neutered male dogs, regardless of breed.
Dogs that are maltreated or neglected have also been highlighted as a group which can go on to attack, but this is more of an indication of environment-not breed. Some dogs are bought up to be aggressive, for instance guard dogs and there has been a call for people who are unable to keep their dog under control should be prosecuted.
Although this gives a negative picture of dogs, it is wise to remember that most dogs are friendly companions. If you are considering getting a dog the best thing you can do is undertake dog training and obedience classes with your dog.