People have breed biases when it comes to dogs. Everyone seems to have an opinion about what dog breeds are the worst. Unfortunately, some of the “worst” breeds have gotten their reps because people have misused them for terrible things, such as dog fighting, dog baiting, and keeping prisoners in line during the Holocaust.
If you have one of the dogs on this list, face it: You will be judged. The best thing you can do is to raise a well-trained, gentle, sweet ambassador for the breed. Change people’s opinions one by one, and the next thing you know, they might stop judging you for your choice in canines. Read on to learn about the most scrutinized breeds, and see whether you agree.
1. American bulldog
Tragically misunderstood, according to the website Dog Reference, people often mistake the American bulldog for a pit bull. Because American bulldogs were bred at first to bait bears and bulls, they ended up being a very hearty breed. Many people have trained them for dog fighting because they are very strong and tenacious. In fact, one can kill a human with its 235 pounds of force when it bites. But if properly trained, they can be loving, loyal pets.
Next: People’s positions on pit bulls
2. American pit bull terrier
Pit bull isn’t a breed — it’s a term people use for the American pit bull terrier, bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, and Staffordshire bull terrier. So yes, people will judge you for having an American pit bull terrier because it’s a pit bull. Unfortunately, this breed has a history of people teaching it to fight. Because they are trained to kill in dogfights, they often react aggressively to other dogs. That said, a pit bull can make a fantastic companion if you raise it correctly and make sure it gets plenty of socialization at an early age, according to Dog Reference.
Next: Pit bull impersonator
Once again, people often lump boxers into the pit bull category due to their strong jaws and powerful builds. If you don’t exercise a boxer enough, according to Dog Reference, he or she can be a handful. Still, most people judge boxer owners because the dogs remind them of pit bulls, even though boxers can be friendly and good with people. As long as you give your boxer plenty of exercise, he or she should be able to work out a lot of excess energy, and everyone will be safe.
Next: Tiny, but fierce
How could people judge anyone for having a sweet, little Chihuahua? They have mighty big personalities, which might make strangers view them as tyrants. Because Chihuahuas are so loyal to their owners, according to Dog Reference, they tend to intimidate strangers. In addition, because they are easily provoked, it’s best not to keep them around children, or they might bite the tots. Chihuahuas aren’t great with other dogs, either. The good thing is if one attacks you, you likely won’t sustain life-threatening injuries.
Next: The No. 1 type of dog people will judge you for having
5. Any dog from a breeder or pet store
You might not know this, but if you happen to get a dog from a breeder or a pet store, lots of people will judge you simply for buying instead of adopting. Because we have such a problem in the U.S. with pet overpopulation, many great animals are living in shelters. Pro-shelter peeps feel as though we should stop breeding dogs altogether and adopt instead. Another reason to get a mixed breed at a shelter is because purebred canines are prone to health problems, including skin issues, hip dysplasia, and bloat.
Next: The Rottweiler ranks
The Rottweiler’s bad reputation is based on its powerful build and sometimes aggressive behavior. Irresponsible owners are responsible for the breed’s notoriety. Often, they use Rottweilers as guard dogs, so the breed typically shows signs of aggression around strangers and other dogs. And a Rottweiler has more pressure in its bite than a pit bull — to the tune of 328 pounds. Unlike pit bulls, which people bred to fight, Rottweilers were bred for protection and herding, according to Dog Reference. Despite its rep, you can train this dog to be obedient and good-natured.
Next: Police dogs
7. German shepherd
The German shepherd is strong, smart, and hardworking. Many police officers use these dogs, which makes people nervous. If you mistreat or don’t train a German shepherd correctly you could be in for trouble. With an average bite force of 238 pounds, it can be a formidable opponent in a confrontation. German shepherds also tend to have physical issues due to overbreeding. If you want one, make sure you get one from a reputable breeder, then make sure you give your puppy a lot of exercise, socialization, and obedience training.
Next: The quintessential guard dog
8. Doberman pinscher
Doberman pinschers are stereotypical guard dogs, according to Dog Reference. They are fast, strong, and smart — and they won’t hesitate for a second to protect their families. Because Dobermans are often aggressive toward other dogs and strangers, people have come to fear them. Like the German shepherd and Rottweiler, people view the Doberman as intimidating and vicious. Dobermans are, however, easily trainable — and bad owners who don’t train them are responsible for their poor reputation.
Next: Wolf woes
9. Wolf dog
The wolf dog, aka the wolf-dog hybrid, is a dog who has wolf heritage within the last five generations of its line, according to Dog Reference. This breed not only looks like a wolf, it’s about as unpredictable as one. You can’t really tell what this breed will be like until it’s grown, which makes it a risky one to own. Keep in mind that wolves aren’t domesticated, so it’s best not to leave one alone with small kids — those natural instincts could kick in and cause a disaster. Also keep this in mind: A wild wolf can have 406 pounds of pressure in its bite, so the amount your hybrid has in his or her bite could be very, very high.
Next: Handsome but dangerous
Lots of people are afraid of Akitas, according to Dog Reference. Unfortunately, not all of those fears are unfounded. The breed is typically powerful and independent — and dominant. Akitas don’t dig strangers or some other dogs. Although this big dog doesn’t look particularly intimidating, it can be extremely hard to control if you don’t train it properly and socialize it early. Keep in mind that Akitas are very protective of their families, so supervision around strangers is an absolute must.
Next: Killer husky
11. Siberian husky
Beautiful Siberian huskies also have a bad reputation, mostly due to their high energy levels. Huskies have caused multiple deaths, according to Dog Reference, which makes people nervous, suspicious, and judgmental. Agile and fast, a husky likes to wander, and it has a strong prey drive. Huskies have a reputation for killing cats — or even kids — if they run, causing the dog’s prey drive to kick in. Proper training, exercise, and avoiding situations that might make that prey drive surface are all ways to raise a gentle husky.
Next: Chow chow concerns
12. Chow chow
People judge chow chow owners for their dogs’ aggressive personalities, according to Dog Reference. These little balls of fluff grow into big dogs who are uber protective of their families and property. They are not good with strangers, and they reject authority from anyone who hasn’t earned their trust by the time they’re grown. Once again, proper socialization is key to raising a sweet chow, but it’s really best only to have this breed if you’re an experienced dog owner.
Next: The dreaded dachshund
You’ve likely heard people call dachshunds “wiener dogs.” And if you have one, you’ve likely had people back away while you’re walking it. Stubbornness and nastiness is at the top of the list of qualities people judge these dogs for, and they could be right. The dachshund is aggressive in nature and will bark or growl at strangers and other dogs. They’re really difficult to train, according to Dog Reference, and suffer from destructive separation anxiety. Socialize a dachshund pup early, and closely monitor it around strange children in particular, who might move too quickly or tease the dog with bad results.
Next: The poop on poodles
14. Standard poodle
The poodle: You either love it or you hate it. And haters will judge you for having one, no doubt. Considered a symbol of etiquette and wealth, according to Dog Reference, people often judge the poodle as a “sissy dog.” Those people are quite wrong. The standard poodle is high strung, yes, but it is also a hearty dog people originally bred for duck hunting, And this dog is smart as a whip. If you’re willing to put in the time to exercise and train a poodle, you’ll likely end up with a great dog. So who cares who’s judging?
Next: Afraid of heights
15. Great Dane
People are scared to death of Great Danes, according to Dog Reference. Given their immense size, it would be hard not to be frightened. But these gentle giants are judged unfairly. They are a very sweet breed, actually, and do quite well with people and other animals. People will judge you for having this breed because of its sheer size, which is a real shame because a well-socialized Great Dane can be a great addition to any family.
Next: Yappy Yorkies
16. Yorkshire terrier
Oh yes, people will judge you for owning a Yorkshire terrier. People, however, won’t be afraid of it as much as annoyed by it. Known for their yappy barks, Yorkies are actually delightful, sweet creatures. The yappy bark, however, is beyond what most humans can endure. The breed is easy to train and can make a great companion for kids. So put in the time to train one, and you’ll end up with a great little dog who hopefully doesn’t bark when the wind blows. One way to stop a Yorkie from barking is to make sure you give it a ton of exercise — and enough mental stimulation to avoid boredom.
Read more: 18 of the Easiest Dog Breeds to Train
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