An aggressive dog.

Why Are Dogs Aggressive?

Ever wonder why some dogs are aggressive and others are not? In many cases, the root cause is obvious but sometimes it is not so clear as to why a dog bears their teeth or attempts to bite other people and other dogs. In any case, an aggressive dog is a huge liability, especially if you have a larger dog like a German Shepherd or Great Dane. Aggression in smaller dogs is also a problem however, so every dog owner should take steps in preventing and/or treating aggression.

Problems With Aggression

Dogs will be dogs right, so what is the big deal with aggression? Many people choose dogs to protect their home and thus think that an aggressive dog is not an issue. That is what they are there for after all.

Even if your goal is to have a dog for protection, aggression is a problem. There is a big difference between a dog that is being protective and one that is being aggressive.

Insurance Liability

One big problem with having an aggressive animal in your home is the insurance liability. Dog bites represent a significant portion of homeowners insurance claims with the average settlement being over 50,000 dollars. Not a cheap problem.

Danger To Family

Aggressive dogs are often loyal to one person and one person only. They have trust issues and will generally respect only their immediate owner. This makes everyone else in your home at risk of being attacked. You might think that your dog would never attack a family member, especially a small child, but it happens all of the time.

Danger To Self

If your dog is quick to anger, they are not always using their best judgement. This could lead to aggression in a situation that they can not handle. You see this all the time with small dogs picking fights with animals much larger than them. It can lead to serious injury and some costly medical bills.

What Cause Anger Issues In Dogs?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of dog aggression. If you know the cause, you can take steps to change things for the better.


When a dog is scared, they tend to lash out in order to protect themselves. In rare situations fear is justified, but in most cases your dog has learned to fear things. The general cause of this is lack of socializing. Dogs that are kept at home all of the time never take in new experiences and learn to fear the world and other animals, so attempts should be made to socialize your animal from an early age.


If a dog is hurt, their instinct is often to lash out at those around them. For most well cared for dogs, this is not going to be an issue. Should your dog all of a sudden start acting aggressively though, you might consider taking them to the veterinarian for an exam.


As dogs get older, they naturally get more aggressive. This is likely due to pack culture where older animals have to be more aggressive, lest they get culled from the pack. There is not much you can do to stop the aging process, so responsible owners should just be aware that older animals may have shorter fuses.


There is no denying that smaller dogs tend to be more aggressive. We have all seen the Chihuahua puppy who acts as if they weigh 100 pounds when in fact they are  5 pounds soaking wet.  Pet owners with small dogs should take extra steps to socialize their animals just as soon as they can. Once your puppy receives their last booster, start taking them out to meet people and other animals.

Home Life

Finally, you have home life. You were impacted by your home life as a child and your dog will be as well. If your dog is a single pet and there are no kids in the house, you will need to focus on socialization much more. Isolation breeds aggression.

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