|Posted on July 31, 2010 at 8:14 PM|
Dog Bite Study
You may or may not have seen the dog bit study that was done by a University of Pennsylvania researcher. If you haven't, then you may be surprised at the top three dogs that are the biggest and most common to bite, and it wasn't the American Pit Bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd Dog.
- Jack Russel Terrier
It appears that the study covered just over 3,500 dogs and tested them for aggression vs humans, their owners, and other dogs. According to the numbers, over 50% of Dachshunds showed some type of aggression.
There are several different ways the data could be interpreted, and different routes that we can take. The one that comes to mind first is to take the "mad mommy" route and ban all Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russels before they do any harm. But, that sounds pretty ridiculous if you ask me, especially considering we're talking about such small breed dogs. But, if you think about it, if larger breeds were found on the top of the list, the "mad mommies" would all unite and have them banned universally.
Another route, is to just ignore the numbers and chalk it up to a small sample size or something saying that the research didn't have a clue about proper testing methods. We can conclude that it was all a mistake.
But, in total, nearly 20% of the dogs showed some form of aggression. 4.4% showed aggression to strangers. 1.9% toward their owners, and 13.5% showed aggression toward other dogs.
Aggression in Dogs
For starters, aggression is not breed specific. Look at the list, all 31 of the dog breeds that were covered showed the capability of having aggression. Every single one had at least one bite directed toward its owner or a stranger. Every single breed showed at least some sign of dog aggression.
Dogs are generally friendly to strangers, with 95.6% of dogs being kind to strangers. No single breed had the majority of its dogs show aggressiong toward strangers. The breed with the highest aggression toward strangers was the Dachshund with 20.6%, Chihuahuas at 16.1%, and the Australian Cattle Dog at 9.6%.
No breeds were prone to bite their owners. Beagles had the highest aggression toward their owners at 7.9%.
Looking at dog aggression to other dogs, this was found to be a little rare. About 86.5% of dogs showed no signs of aggression to other dogs, which is odd considering one of the biggest myth about "pit dogs" is that they are naturally dog aggressive. Over 2/3 of the Pit Bulls in the study never showed any aggression to other dogs. Dachshunds, on the other hand had 30.3% aggression to dogs, and Jack Russels had 30.8%, making the Dachshund and Jack Russel Terrier the most dog aggressive dogs according to this study.
But, in general, about 29% of dogs had some kind of incident, including Dachshunds (25%), English Springer Spaniel (24.6%), Australian Cattle Dog (24.3%), Chihuahua (21.4%), German Shepherd (20.9%), Wheaton Terrier (20.4%), Boxer (20%), and the Border Collie (17.8%).
So, what does the study say and confirm?
- In spite of what media reports would like you to believe, most dogs are not by nature, naturally aggressive. In fact the vast majority of dogs are not aggressive at all, and the vast majority of all breeds are not aggressive.
- All dogs can be aggressive if certain instances present themselves, either through lack of socialization, environment, or other learned instances.
- Dog VS dog aggression is far from a "unique" Pit Bull characteristic and can carry across all dog breeds.
- If we're ever going to get the very root of aggressive dogs in the country, we're going to have to quite pretending this is a breed-specific problem, and educate and demand that all dog owners take responsibility for the training and behavior of their dogs because until then, people will continue to believe that their breed isn't the problem.
Dog Aggression Studies
The researchers conducted two independent surveys and each resulted in nearly identical data.
They also address the public's concern at length in the study, as many other such reports have relied upon dog bite statistics. The researchers argue that these statistics are misleading because:
- Most dog bites go unreported unless medical attention is sought.
- The total number of dogs of a given breed in the local community is seldom known, so the degree to which that breed is over-represented among reported dog bites is usually undetermined.
- In many cases, the breed of dog involved in the incident cannot be identified.
You'll find that within this study, the article states and identifies that:
- To date there are currently 75 large breed dogs being targeted by insurance companies that prevent you from owning their targeted bred of dog or you pay through the bum in insurance rates. Then, the various city counsels "piggyback" on new legislation to outlaw or band those dog breeds because Animal Rights Activists are talking to the Legislators in charge.
- Small dog breeds are now being targeted so that they and their owners are to be controlled.
- Most surveys that are taken are in intended to destroy our dogs and freedoms to own them without government intrusion.
Summarized from the "Fear the Dachshund" by Brent Toellner from the American Pit Bull Terrier Gazette; Volume 33, Issue 1; Fall 2008
Does your dog bite? Penn's study says your Dachshund might
JUL 11, 2008
Much attention has been paid to this bit of weird science from the hallowed halls of none other than my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Out of thirty-three breeds of dogs, this study concludes that Dachshunds were the likeliest to grace a human hand with an unwanted nibble.
The study talks a good game about the 6,000 thorough surveys conducted but let me state now for the record that no dog bite study has ever managed to convince me of its validity—at least no study that reports on the breed of dog doing the biting.
Just ask Terrierman for an entertaining explanation as to why most dog bite studies deserve a round of debunking.
Here’s the short version: Any study relying on owner/bitee recall/opinion is necessarily riddled with bias. Bias means there’s not likely to be much significance in the data obtained.
Sure, sounds like fun, hearing that none other than this Napoleonic hotdog pooch is responsible for more bites than 29 other breeds of dogs. The study made me smile, not least because its findings attempt to debunk the myth of the big breed bully.
The mighty Rottweiler divested of his crown, the notorious pit bull yanked off his throne and the German Shepherd turned pussycat in the face of…the nasty little sausage-dog.
And that’s the best thing I can say about this study: It beats hearing another round of pit bull bashing in the news media.
Fear the Dachshund
Unless you've been in a cave for the past few days, you've probably seen the story about the a dog bite study that was done in part by a University of Pennsylvania researcher that named the Dachshund as the biggest biter among dogs. The Chihuahua and Jack Russel Terrier finished #2 and #3 respectively. This story has been covered virtually everywhere, in newspapers and in blogs. Even the Kansas City media jumped on this.
No one really published the actual data behind the study, although I did finally find a copy of it here.It appears from the chart that the study covered just over 3500 dogs and tested them for aggression vs humans, their owners and other dogs. According to the numbers, over 50% of Dachshunds showed some type of aggression (I do not know if the numbers are mutually exclusive, so I've assumed they are for these purposes).
There are several different ways we could interpret the data. We could take the "mad mothers" route and push to ban these dangerous dogs, known for their eating of toes and genetalia. It sure sounds ridiculous when I say that in the context of Weiner dogs and Chihuahuas, but let's face it, if we'd seen Rottweilers or pit bulls top the list, these news stories would certainly have had a different twist.
Or, we could simply ignore the numbers, citing things like small sample sizes, the reality that no body seems to have a clue about their methodology, etc and decide that this isn't really accurate and get nothing from it. That seems like a mistake too. So what should be the takeaway?
In total, nearly 20% of the dogs showed some form of aggression. 4.4% showed aggression toward strangers. 1.9% toward their owners, and 13.5% toward other dogs.
For starters, aggression is not breed specific. Look at the list. Every single breed (all 31) that was covered in the story showed the capability of having aggression. Every single one had at least one bite directed toward its owner or a stranger. Every single breed showed at least some signs of dog aggression.
Dogs are generally friendly to strangers, with 95.6% of dogs being kind to strangers. No single breed had the majority of its dogs that showed aggression toward strangers. The highest were Dachsunds at 20.6%, Chihuahuas at 16.1%, and Australian Cattle Dogs at 9.6%.
No dog breeds were likely to bite their owners. Beagles topped this list at 7.9%.
Dog vs dog aggression is really quite rare also, with 86.5% of the dogs studied showed no signs of dog vs dog aggression. While a good many people perceive 'pit bulls' to be "naturally dog aggressive", over 2/3 of the pit bulls covered in this story did not show any type of dog vs dog aggression. Their numbers comparatively high, but their 30.3% number trailed Jack Russell Terriers at 30.8% as the two most "dog aggressive" breeds. However, many other breeds had over 29% of their dogs have some type of incident, including: Dachsunds (25%), English Springer Spaniel (24.6%), Australian Cattle Dog (24.3%), Chihuahua (21.4%), German Shepherd (20.9%), Wheaton Terrier (20.4%), Boxer (20%) Border Collie (17.8%).
So what do I take away from it? I guess the same thing that I've always thought.
- 1) In spite of what media reports would have you believe, most dogs are not by nature aggressive. In fact the VAST majority of dogs are not aggressive at all. And the vast majority of ALL breeds are not aggressive.
- 2) That said, all dogs can be aggressive if certain instances present themselves, either through heredity, lack of socialization, environment, or other learned instances.
- 3) Dog vs dog aggression is far from a "unique" pit bull characteristic and can carry across all breeds of dogs.
- 4) If we're ever going to get at the very root of aggressive dogs in this country, we're going to HAVE to quit pretending this is a breed-specific problem, and educate and demand that all dog owners take responsibility for the training and behavior of their dogs. When we start doing that, we will start making progress. Until then, people will continue to believe "their breed" isn't a potential problem and the problem will not be solved.
Attention, America, or at least all you state and local politicians who are banning or considering banning ownership of pit bulls, Rottweilers and other big, scary dogs: In the midst of your rush to pass breed specific legislation, a new study has shown that the most aggressive dog breed in the world is ...
Yes, the dachshund, the weiner dog, better known in some countries as the sausage dog.
This vicious beast, despite enjoying a good reputation, is at the very top of a list of 33 dog breeds that were rated for their aggression in a study that analyzed the behavior of thousands of dogs.
One in five dachshunds have bitten or tried to bite strangers; about one in five have attacked other dogs, and one in 12 have snapped at their owners, according to the study, which was reported in the London Telegraph.
Before all you dachshund owners start experiencing the same fears as pit bull owners, and begin contemplating how to hide your pet from authorities (a large bun, perhaps?), it should be pointed out that, as a small dog, a dachshund won't inflict the same amount of damage as a large one, or the same amount of headlines.
So you're probably safe. Now that we're all relaxed we can move on to No. 2 on the most aggressive list .... German Shepherd, maybe? Perhaps the Chow Chow, or Doberman.
Nope. It's the chihuahua. Look out, Paris Hilton.
Chihuahuas, even smaller than dachshunds, and the fashion accessory of choice for Paris Hilton and other celebrities, were the second most hostile breed.
According to the study, they are fairly regularly snapping or attempting to bite strangers, family and other dogs.
In third place was another small dog ... the breed that captured our heart in the television show, Frazier -- the Jack Russell terrier. The study shows beyond any doubt: Small dogs are not to be trusted.
Just kidding, of course. But that is precisely the sort of generalization those passing laws against pit bulls are making. (Then again, they are probably small politicians, who really can't be trusted.)
There may, however, actually be some basis behind my theory that small dogs often display a bit of a Napolean complex -- at least judging from the number that yap and snap at my big dog.
Dr. James Serpell, a University of Pennsylvania researcher who worked on the study, said smaller breeds might be more genetically predisposed towards aggressive behavior than larger dogs.
"Reported levels of aggression in some cases are concerning, with rates of bites or bite attempts rising as high as 20 per cent toward strangers and 30 per cent toward unfamiliar dogs," he added.
Most research into canine aggression up to now has focused on dog bites, but researchers said that data (pit bulls aren't at the top of that list either) is misleading. Most dog bites aren't reported, and because the bites of big dogs are more likely to get reported, they are generally viewed as more aggressive.
The study, published this week in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania questioning 6,000 dog owners. Breeds scoring low for aggression included Basset hounds, golden retrievers, labradors, Siberian huskies. The rottweiler, pit bull and Rhodesian ridgeback scored average or below average marks for hostility towards strangers. Greyhounds rated the most docile.
The study also showed that "temperament testing" isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Owners of 67 dogs temperament tested and subsequently adopted from one shelter were interviewed by telephone within 13 months of adoption. The interviews included questions about jumping up, house soiling, separation-related behavior, barking and aggressive behavior.
In evaluating dogs that passed the temperament test used by the shelter, it was found that 40.9% exhibited lunging, growling, snapping, and/or biting after adoption. When barking was included, this percentage rose to 71.2%.
"Our results indicated that there are certain types of aggressive tendencies (territorial, predatory, and intra-specific aggression) that are not reliably exhibited during temperament testing using this particular evaluation process," the researchers said The researchers said temperament tests often fail to identify certain types of aggression.
June 26, 2008 -- Little dogs -- think Chihuahuas and Dachshunds -- tend to be feisty, while certain breeds, like Golden and Labrador Retrievers, are as mellow as their reputations suggest, found a new study that identified the most and least aggressive common dog breeds.
Although certain pooches appear to be more cantankerous than others, the study supports the old adage that "there are no bad dogs," since aggression is often balanced by other more beneficial attributes, such as watchdog skills.
"Most dogs are a mixed bag of positive and less desirable traits -- just like people," lead author Deborah Duffy, a research specialist at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, told Discovery News.
Duffy and colleagues Yuying Hsu and James Serpell collected basic and behavior-related dog data from two separate groups.
The first consisted of members of 11 American Kennel Club recognized national breed clubs, such as The Labrador Retriever Club and The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association. The second involved an online survey posted at the university's Web site.
The study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science, represents one of the most extensive of its kind and is the first to report replicated findings of breed differences in aggression, since both of its data sets led to similar conclusions.
Chihuahuas and Dachshunds scored higher than average for aggression directed to both humans and dogs, putting them towards the top of the list.
Akitas and Pit Bull Terriers, which have "bad boy" reputations, mostly scored high for dog-directed aggression. When they did injure humans, however, the injuries tended to be more severe than those inflicted by the scrappy, smaller dogs.
"Small size very likely plays a large role in the development of fear-based aggression among some breeds," Duffy explained. "Smaller dogs may feel more threatened by other dogs and people -- a perception that may be well founded."
"There is some evidence that smaller breeds are more often the targets of aggression by other dogs," she added, "and small breeds, particularly Dachshunds, are more prone to injury due to rough handling by children, so this form of aggression among small breeds may be a learned response due to negative past experiences."
Other breeds with a greater tendency to bite humans included Jack Russell Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, American Cocker Spaniels and Beagles.
On the "least aggressive" end of the spectrum were Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Brittany Spaniels, Greyhounds and Whippets. Interestingly enough, several of these dogs also rated low for "watchdog behavior" and "territorial defense" behaviors, suggesting that they tend to be lovable family pets, but are less vigilant watchdogs than Chihuahuas and Dachshunds.
Having a tough appearance, however, can make up for a lack of skill.
"Certain breeds, through either their reputation or their size, are inherently more intimidating than others even if they show little or no aggressive behavior," Duffy explained.
A more complete list of the breeds included in the study and how they rated may be found here.
As in humans, behavioral patterns in dogs seem to arise from a combination of environmental influences and genetics.
The DNA component is supported in a separate study published this week in the journal Genetics.
Paul Jones, a Mars Veterinary genetics researcher at the Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition, and his co-author identified locations in a dog's DNA that contain genes believed to contribute to behavior, trainability and longevity, as well as body and skull shape, weight, fur color and length.
"By applying this research approach, we may be able to decipher how genes contribute to physical or behavioral traits that affect many breeds," said Jones, who indicated future applications might include tailor-made foods and medicines, along with specific recommendations to individuals about what would be the "most lifestyle-appropriate pet for an owner."
Duffy countered that "just because there is a genetic component to behavior does not necessarily mean that it is predestined."
"Anyone looking to bring a dog into their home should find out as much as possible about the individual dog's history and temperament," she advised. "Certainly some breeds are better with children than others on average. However, it wouldn't make sense to pass up a well-socialized, well-trained, non-aggressive Rottweiler for an atypically aggressive Labrador Retriever."
They may be small, but new research found that one in five dachshunds have bitten or tried to bite strangers, and a similar number have attacked other dogs; one in 12 have snapped at their owners.
Known as sausage dogs for their elongated bodies, dachshunds have not, until now, had a fearsome reputation, although they were originally bred to hunt badgers in their setts.
However, they topped a list of 33 breeds which were rated for their aggression, after academics analysed the behaviour of thousands of dogs.
Chihuahuas, an even smaller breed, were the second most hostile, regularly snapping or attempting to bite strangers, family and other dogs. Another small favourite, the Jack Russell, was third.
In Illinois last week, Linda Floyd had to have her dachshund, called Roscoe, put down after the dog gnawed off her big toe while she slept. Mrs Floyd, 56, woke up too late because nerve damage from diabetes had left her with no feeling in her toes.
Dr James Serpell, one of the researchers, said smaller breeds might be more genetically predisposed towards aggressive behaviour than larger dogs.
"Reported levels of aggression in some cases are concerning, with rates of bites or bite attempts rising as high as 20 per cent toward strangers and 30 per cent toward unfamiliar dogs," he added.
Until now, research into canine aggression has almost exclusively involved analysis of dog bite statistics. But the researchers said these were potentially misleading as most bites were not reported. Big dogs might have acquired a reputation for being aggressive because their bites were more likely to require medical attention.
The findings have angered owners of small breeds. Chris Moore, secretary of the Northern Dachshund Association, said: "As far as breeders in the UK are concerned, this is rubbish. It is not in the dogs' nature. I have never been bitten in 25 years."
Tony Fitt-Savage, president of the British Chihuahua Club, added: "I have had Chihuahuas for 30-odd years, and they've never put anybody into hospital. They can be a little bit stroppy."
The study, published this week in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania questioning 6,000 dog owners.
Breeds scoring low for aggression included Basset hounds, golden retrievers, labradors, Siberian huskies and greyhounds.
The rottweiler, pit bull and Rhodesian ridgeback scored average or below average marks for hostility towards strangers.
Joyce Summers, treasurer of the Rottweiler Club in Britain, said: "I have lived with rottweilers for 40 years and they give nothing but love and affection. I am not surprised Jack Russells are up there near the top; they are yappy little things."