A Dog for the Family
The Perfect Pet
Of Mutts and Men
The Terrible Ten
When Less is More
Glossary of Dog Terms
Types of Breeders
Dog Personality
Dog Behavior
Little Shop of Horrors
The AKC Pure Bred
Breeding Your Dog
The Top Ten
Frequently Asked Questions


Terrible Ten Combined List

For those who don't want their screen populated by 10 windows with tiny type, here are the "terrible ten" all in one list.

NOTE: The first two breeds on this list account for 60% of fatal dog attacks.  Again, this is NOT MY LIST.  This was created from a list of breeds in a report issued by the CDC. See the full report here.   

  1. "Pit Bull" is a generic term used to categorize several breeds including:

    Broken down into individual breeds, none of the above would make the "terrible ten".  However, one must keep in mind that the above breeds were designed to fight bears, bait bulls, and pit fighting.  
    While properly bred, socialized, and trained specimens of the above named breeds can be among the finest family pets, you must remember the purpose for which the breed was designed.  

    The members of the above breeds are bred to be aggressive, powerful fighters.  Their bite exerts hundreds of pounds of pressure, more than that of the average German Shepherd.  The best bred, best socialized Am Staff, APBT or SBT will exhibit aggressive tendencies.  It is what they were bred to do.  Their enthusiasts love them passionately and would have them no other way.  

    This doesn't mean that there aren't dogs of the above breeds who are submissive and possess no desire to fight.  However, if you've owned one of the above breeds and found your dog to be submissive and not aggressive, be aware that your dog is the exception and not the rule. 

  2. Rottweiler: The Rottweiler is a member of the AKC's "Working Group".  These magnificent, powerful and intelligent dogs posses a calm, confident and courageous manner with a self-assured aloofness.  This is most certainly not a dog to be bought then chained in the back yard.  These dogs need to be a part of the family.
    Properly obtained and trained, these dogs are positively addictive for the confident, strong, uncompromising leader.  Properly bred, trained and socialized, this breed will be fine for households with older, confident and mature children. 

    The popularity of this magnificent breed has been it's downfall.  Unscrupulous breeders, anxious to make a quick profit are as guilty of tarnishing this magnificent breed's name as the reckless owners whose low self-esteem drives them to seek the most menacing, under- socialized dog they can find.

    Finding a reputable, knowledgeable breeder is of utmost importance with this breed as is a commitment to training this marvelous companion.  As great a joy as it is to own a properly bred one, one is asking for unequalled sorrow purchasing this dog from a less than knowledgeable breeder. 


  3. Siberian Husky: The original "sled dog", the Siberian Husky's original purpose as a sled dog was to carry a light load at a moderate speed over great distances.  Remember, a sled dog's place was not inside at his master's feet, but outside with the other sled dogs.  

    His activity level inside is high and he is playful.  This is a large and powerful dog, so think "bull in china shop".   Huskies need a productive outlet for this high energy level.     
    Yet again, the Siberian Husky's appearance on this list is a testament to the greed and selfish ambition of certain breeders.  This breed's high prey drive and strong willed temperament mean it's not for everyone, especially families with small children.  

    Note: whenever you see "high prey drive" regarding a breed, know that this is usually not a breed suited for families with small (under 8) children.  Small children, as they run and squeal, can easily be mistaken for prey.  

    Dogs with a high prey drive are programmed to react to the strong visual and auditory stimulus of an object moving quickly and making high pitched sounds. 

    A dog with a high prey drive is essential for many kinds of competition, but if your family is populated by youngsters, it would be best to wait a few years before adding a breed with a high prey drive. 

  4. Saint Bernard:  Yet another breed that has been shamelessly exploited by poor breeders.  

    If you have the time, space and the commitment to properly train and socialize your puppy (not to mention the ability to tolerate lots of shedding and drooling), this is a wonderful breed.  

    This huge, powerful dog can be calm, sensible, gentle and patient when bought from a careful, caring breeder and properly trained and socialized.  Bought from a pet store, or poor breeder and you could end up with a sickly, dominant or aggressive St. Bernard.  

    He's loyal and anxious to please, but does not respond well to harshness and jerking during training.

  5. German Shepherd: Oddly enough, you'll find this breed listed on the top ten breed for families. In addition, you'll find this breed in the top ten of the AKC's most popular breeds (determined by number of registrations per year).  

    Part of the "new" AKC  "Herding Group" classification, the German Shepherd is known for its intelligence and faithfulness.  It's many roles include family companion, guide dog, and police dog.  

    Once again, another magnificent breed winds up on the "Terrible Ten" because of the popularity of its breed.

    Unscrupulous or uneducated breeders, more worried about turning a profit than breeding the best German Shepherd, have introduced thousands of nervous, timid, territorial, aggressive and dominant, GSD's into homes across America.  

    This is a breed that should never be bought then forgotten in the back yard.  A well-bred German Shepherd with proper training is a joy while an improperly bred and untrained GSD is enough to turn one off of dog ownership forever.

  6. Great Dane: This regal, elegant breed is usually gentle, easygoing and mild mannered.

    Great Danes require lots of space and companionship, so be prepared to take this gentle giant with you and your family where ever you go. They are also notoriously clumsy as puppies and young adults which means adding a Dane puppy to a household with small children could mean trouble.

    A Great Dane bought from a poor breeder or raised incorrectly is anything but gentle.  Many such dogs are often hyperactive, nervous and aggressive, which are less than charming traits in a 150 lb animal. 

  7. Doberman Pinscher  Known world-wide as a guard dog, military dog and Schutzhund dog, the Doberman Pinscher's manner is reserved and protected. 

    While Doberman temperament varies, (some are sweet and mellow, while others are nervous or suspicious) early training and socialization is a must.

    Dobermans bred for show are often more slender, elegant and less aggressive than working lines.  This dog responds to gentle correction.  Hit, slap or otherwise abuse this breed and you're asking for trouble.  (Keep in mind, small children often dole out "abuse" unintentionally.)


  8. Chow Chow:  Under this breed's adorable "fuzzball" appearance lies an independent, serious and protective dog.  

    Ongoing exercise, socialization and supervision are essential when owning a Chow.  

    Leaving your Chow Chow unsupervised in your fenced yard for long periods of time can result in your dog being overly-territorial. (Read: your Chow will be overtly aggressive to strangers entering "his" land.)  

    Chows have limited peripheral vision because of their deep set eyes so it's best to approach the dog within the scope of that vision.

  9. Alaskan Malamute:  The most wolf-like of dogs, the Alaskan Malamute is a true pack animal with the natural instinct to "lead or be led".

    Training of this beautiful dog must begin much sooner than with other breeds, as early as three to five months of age.  

    This is a powerful muscular athletic dog with a high prey drive.  (Too many owners fall in love with this breed's appearance without investigating the other facets of the breed.  

    According to Sapir Weiss's website Digital Dog  "Forcing this breed into submission will only result in incredible aggressive reaction." He follows this statement with the comment "Good luck."  Forewarned is forearmed.

  10. Akita: The last of the "Terrible Ten" is the Akita. A powerfully built dog originally developed to hunt bears in Japan, the Japanese now use the Akita as a guard dog and police dog.  

    This powerful breed can be difficult to train and will bite if threatened. 

    Originally bred to fight bears and protect the owner's possessions, this breed's personality is often described as "bear-like".   

    While Japanese mothers often left their children in the care of the capable Akita, be warned that the breed's tolerance of children does not usually extend beyond the family "pack".  Food for thought for suburban families who live in close proximity to dozens of neighborhood children: the Akita may view as these neighborhood children as "intruders".