When choosing from all the dog breeds out there, it can be difficult to find all of the attributes you want in a loving pet. We all want a cuddly, friendly dog in our homes. Some breeds fit this description perfectly. But there are so-called “dangerous dogs” out there, too — some who earn the label unfairly.
Dangerous dogs are relatively uncommon, all things considered. Sure, you’ll hear about the occasional dog attack. But given how many dogs Americans have as pets — roughly 78 million — running into dangerous dogs isn’t much of a concern. But what if you want to get your pet insured? Well, then owning certain dog breeds can become an issue.
Insurance and ‘dangerous dogs’
Pet insurance might not be worth the money, but it provides peace of mind for many pet owners. Flying with a pet can be dangerous, as can many household items. Insurance can alleviate some of the worry associated with these dangers. But insurance companies label several types as “dangerous dogs” they don’t want to cover. Is your dog one of those breeds? Let’s take a look.
1. American Staffordshire terriers
Also known as the “Am Staff,” this breed falls under the pit bull umbrella. They look and behave alike, and mixed breeds are common. They also have the same muscular “linebacker” build that many other breeds on this list possess. The breed is strong and confident, so training is a must to keep the dogs in check.
Next: Some people call this dog a “gentle giant.”
2. Great Danes
Insurance companies seem to be wary of dogs who are roughly the size of Seabiscuit. Great Danes surely fit that description, and due to their size, they are often considered dangerous. A Great Dane can easily overpower children and smaller adults, though they rarely attack. Plus, your neighbors probably won’t be stoked if you decide not to pick up after your Great Dane — this could create sizable problems.
Next: This breed has been known to help out the armed forces.
3. German shepherds
German shepherds are pretty common, and most of us don’t run away in fear if one approaches. They are used by police departments and for security purposes around the world because of their strength, intelligence, and obedience. But their use in law enforcement — and ability to take down suspects — might be one reason why people fear them.
Next: The next dog breed was originally bred to herd cattle.
If you’ve seen a DMX video, you know Rottweilers can be somewhat fearsome. They’re not as common as many other breeds, so people might only know them from menacing media images. Originally bred to herd cattle and pull cargo, Rottweilers rarely become dangerous. They’re generally more aloof than aggressive in situations where they might be uncomfortable.
Next: This Japanese dog is known for its loyalty.
Akita sounds like a Mortal Kombat character, but it’s actually a relatively common dog breed. Akitas are powerful and built somewhat like a linebacker, meaning they could probably do some damage if they wanted to. There are isolated instances of Akita attacks, and it’s fueled the idea they’re a dangerous breed.
Next: This snow-loving breed could take you on a ride.
6. Alaskan malamutes
The Alaskan malamute is a close offshoot from the wolf. These dogs are energetic, and sometimes that energy can run amok. Like other breeds, there are reports of malamutes attacking people, but they’re relatively rare. Still, when an insurer sees a malamute, it could complicate your ability to get insurance.
Next: Don’t let this breed off-leash.
7. Siberian huskies
Similar to an Alaskan malamute, Siberian huskies are close cousins to their wild wolf counterparts and might make people nervous due to their looks. Generally not aggressive, they tend to be highly energetic, sometimes to the point of hyperactivity if they’re not exercised enough. They also tend to be mischievous and are excellent escape artists. Your insurance company probably won’t like that.
Next: This breed’s looks may scare people.
8. Wolf hybrids
You can’t blame insurance companies and neighbors for being wary of your wolf hybrid. These animals are literally part wolf. They have the capacity to kill and are more or less naturally inclined to do it. For that reason, wolf-hybrids are considered dangerous and problematic to have as pets.
Next: This fluffy dog breed looks harmless.
Chow chows won’t often turn you or your family members into chow. But they freak people out, and insurance companies notice. You do hear of chow attacks here and there, and their lion-like appearance might be unsettling to some. Fiercely protective of their owners, these dogs are generally more aloof and won’t attack.
Next: These dogs have the same reputation as German shepherds.
10. Doberman pinschers
Maybe playing Resident Evil spawned a fear of Doberman pinschers in you. Often used for security purposes, Doberman pinschers have actually been used by the military during wartime. They’re typically not vicious, but there are exceptions. Because of their use with law enforcement, Dobermans carry the same reputation as breeds like German shepherds.
Next: You could call these pets misunderstood guard dogs.
Developed by gamekeepers in the 19th century, Bullmastiffs originally guarded estates. You can trace their bloodline from the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog. Due to their fierce loyalty and love for their families, they make great family pets but they will also aggressively guard their families against intruders. It’s worth thoroughly researching the breed before adding one to your family.
Next: Dog rescues are working hard to change the public’s perception of this breed.
12. Pit bulls
Pit bulls are actually a terrier mix, not necessarily a breed, which explains its differing looks. But there’s still a lot of concern about them, even as campaigns hope to change that perception. Pit bulls are strong and agile, and their use in dog fighting likely led to their label as “dangerous.” However, the United Kennel Club doesn’t recommend using pit bulls as guard dogs because they are “extremely friendly, even with strangers.” Maybe insurance companies don’t like that they’d let someone rob your house.
Next: The name of this dog breed is a mouthful.
13. Presa Canarios
Originally bred in the Canary Islands, the Presa Canario (or Perro de Presa Canario) is sometimes called a Canary Mastiff. They’re typically big, dominant dogs who are used for working with livestock. But this isn’t your granddaddy’s sheepdog. The Presa Canario has garnered a dangerous reputation. There is an argument as to whether that reputation is fair, of course, but attacks have been documented.
Next: This stubborn, loyal dog loves to protect its family.
14. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is actually an Italian mastiff bred to hunt wild board. These days he can make a great guard dog because he’s not a huge fun of strangers or other animals. However, he loves his family, similar to the Bullmastiff, and will do just about anything for them. Cane Corsos may get their “dangerous” reputation because of their strong prey drive.
Next: Only a DNA test can fully reveal this kind of dog.
15. A mix of any of these breeds
Finally, the research team from Einhorn Insurance Agency says a mix of any of the preceding breeds can be dangerous. But it’s important to remember that any individual dog isn’t necessarily dangerous. Many factors can influence whether a dog becomes violent. But if you hope to get insured, owning any of these breeds can make it difficult or more costly.
Additional contributions by Ali Harrison.