Anyone who has had a small dog snapping at their feet will declare that themost dinky of pooches often are the most inclined to start a fight.

Now, a new study has found that smaller dogs are almost always more aggressivethan their larger counterparts.

Miniature Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers top the list of most aggressivedogs in a new study, published in Scientific Reports.

Larger dogs including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and LapponianHerders were found to be the most docile.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki studied over 9,000 dogs to analyseaggressive behaviour, including growling, snapping and biting.

As well as breed, other factors which impacted aggression include fearfulness,age, the company of other members of the same species and the owner’s previousexperience of dogs.

Older dogs were more likely to be aggressive than younger, with scientistssaying this could be because of the pain caused by health conditions, and maledogs were more likely to be aggressive than female. Smaller dogs within breedswere also found to be more ready to snap than larger counterparts.

“Understanding the factors underlying aggressive behaviour is important. Inwhat kinds of circumstances does aggressive behaviour occur and what is thedog’s motive for such behaviour? In normal family dogs, aggressive behaviouris often unwanted, while some dogs with official duties are expected to havethe capacity for aggressiveness. At the same time, aggressiveness can becaused by welfare issues, such as chronic pain,” explained doctoral researcherSalla Mikkola from the University of Helsinki.

The study investigated aggressiveness towards both dog owners and unfamiliarhuman beings. Dogs were classified as aggressive if they growled often and/orhad attempted to snap at or bite a human at least occasionally in thesituations described in the survey.

Although small dogs are more likely to be aggressive, the study found that thebehaviour was less likely to be addressed by owners as they are not seen as athreat.

“Aggressive behaviour is a serious and common behaviour problem in domesticdogs,” the study said.

“Aggressively behaving dogs can cause public concern by biting people andother pets, with medical or even lethal consequences for the victim.”

They add: “The severity of aggressive behaviour varies from biting andsnapping attacks that can even lead to the death of a victim to less severe,but more common growling and barking.”

Prof Hannes Loi from the University of Helsinki added: “People who areconsidering getting a dog should familiarise themselves with the backgroundand needs of the breed. As for breeders, they should also pay attention to thecharacter of dam candidates, since both fearfulness and aggressive behaviourare inherited”.

The most to least aggressive dogs

  1. Rough collie
  2. Miniature poodle
  3. Miniature schnauzer
  4. German shepherd
  5. Spanish water dog
  6. Lagotto
  7. Chinese crested
  8. German spitz mittel
  9. Coton de Tulear
  10. Wheaten Terrier
  11. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  12. Cairn Terrier
  13. Border Collie
  14. Finnish Lapphund
  15. Chihuahua
  16. Smooth Collie
  17. Jack Russell Terrier
  18. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  19. Shetland Sheepdog
  20. Lapponian Herder
  21. Golden Retriever
  22. Labrador Retriever

Source: Helena Horton Yahoo News

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