Research Finds Greyhounds Are The Safest

Greyhound
A University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine study by the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society has found that the much maligned greyhound is rated the most docile or least aggressive canine by breed.

The research involved researchers from the University of Pennsylvania questioning 6,000 dog owners.

Breeds scoring low for aggression included Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors and Siberian Huskies.

The Rottweiler, Pit Bull and Rhodesian Ridgeback scored average or below average marks for hostility towards strangers.

Greyhounds rated the most docile and were the least aggressive toward both humans and other dogs.

The most vicious breed ?

Heading the list of 33 dog breeds that were rated for their aggression in a study that analyzed the behavior of thousands of dogs, was the Daschund.

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 Aggressive Top Ten

  • 1. Daschund
  • 2. Chihuahua
  • 3. Jack Russell Terrier
  • 4. Akita
  • 5. Australian Cattle Dog
  • 6. Pit Bull
  • 7. Beagle
  • 8. English Springer Spaniel
  • 9. Border Collie
  • 10. German Shepherd

Past Discussion

  1. JanetBidwell It is my understanding that in Australia (perhaps other countries too), owner of pet greyhounds are subject to a law requiring their dogs to be muzzled when taken out in public.  That is not a requirement for other breeds, and reflects an ignorant misunderstanding of the greyhound’s typical temperament.  Because they are muzzled during racing, it was assumed that they are unusually aggressive dogs.  I live in the USA, where people who have no knowledge of or experience with the breed frequently share this misapprehension.

  2. JanetBidwell It is my understanding that in Australia (perhaps other countries too), owner of pet greyhounds are subject to a law requiring their dogs to be muzzled when taken out in public.  That is not a requirement for other breeds, and reflects an ignorant misunderstanding of the greyhound’s typical temperament.  Because they are muzzled during racing, it was assumed that they are unusually aggressive dogs.  I live in the USA, where people who have no knowledge of or experience with the breed frequently share this misapprehension.

  3. John Tracey RuthVanWhyHagenbaugh KittyIsHerselfTheElf  You’re talking about greyhounds in the UK, I’m referring to retired racers in the USA. Totally different. The UK has a long way to go to protect their greyhounds, but here in the US, we work very hard to keep our greyhounds protected and make sure they retire into good forever homes. Puppy mills for other breeds and mixed breeds are a big problem here, that’s why we’re fighting to keep greyhounds away from that.

  4. John Tracey RuthVanWhyHagenbaugh KittyIsHerselfTheElf  You’re talking about greyhounds in the UK, I’m referring to retired racers in the USA. Totally different. The UK has a long way to go to protect their greyhounds, but here in the US, we work very hard to keep our greyhounds protected and make sure they retire into good forever homes. Puppy mills for other breeds and mixed breeds are a big problem here, that’s why we’re fighting to keep greyhounds away from that.

  5.    Here is a 32-yr survey of dog bites, by breed, which resulted in human injuries/deaths in the USA and Canada:   http://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/dog-attack-deaths-maimings-merritt-clifton-2014.pdf

       As for this article, I agree that it lacks references and supporting data.  I notice that some of it is identical to a different news article, written 7 years ago: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2254479/Sausage-dogs-are-the-most-aggressive-dogs.html    

  6. greygarious JanetBidwell

    I have had people mention she has scary teeth, LOL! Usually children, who then fall all over her. I’m in the US, too.

  7. greygarious JanetBidwell

    I have had people mention she has scary teeth, LOL! Usually children, who then fall all over her. I’m in the US, too.

  8. RuthVanWhyHagenbaugh John Tracey KittyIsHerselfTheElf I’ve often thought their general good nature had to do mostly with their environment and upbringing. They’re usually pretty social, they don’t get excited around other dogs (well mine does sometimes. :) ), and their demeanor is so pleasant. While I understand people want to shut down racetracks, I think the breed would change.

  9. RuthVanWhyHagenbaugh John Tracey KittyIsHerselfTheElf I’ve often thought their general good nature had to do mostly with their environment and upbringing. They’re usually pretty social, they don’t get excited around other dogs (well mine does sometimes. :) ), and their demeanor is so pleasant. While I understand people want to shut down racetracks, I think the breed would change.

  10. It’s great to see such a selfless fight on behalf of the Greyhounds by trainers to continue racing. It’s obviously the very existence of the breed that is at stake here. We would all lament the disappearance of Greyhounds the way that Dalmatians went when there was no longer a demand for carriage dogs. You are saints and should be awarded the recognition you deserve from the animal welfare groups. Instead, you receive ignorant skepticism that, just perhaps, there is a financial motive that clouds your obvious selfless animal welfare campaigning.

  11. It’s great to see such a selfless fight on behalf of the Greyhounds by trainers to continue racing. It’s obviously the very existence of the breed that is at stake here. We would all lament the disappearance of Greyhounds the way that Dalmatians went when there was no longer a demand for carriage dogs. You are saints and should be awarded the recognition you deserve from the animal welfare groups. Instead, you receive ignorant skepticism that, just perhaps, there is a financial motive that clouds your obvious selfless animal welfare campaigning.

  12. StacieDinkel this is rather belated, but Tracker is correct that many greys (some estimates are up to 1/3) have thyroid issues.  If you get your dog’s levels tested, please be certain your vet is familiar with the greyhound norms as they are different from that of other dogs!!  What is normal for another breed could very well indicate a need for medication for a greyhound.

  13. StacieDinkel this is rather belated, but Tracker is correct that many greys (some estimates are up to 1/3) have thyroid issues.  If you get your dog’s levels tested, please be certain your vet is familiar with the greyhound norms as they are different from that of other dogs!!  What is normal for another breed could very well indicate a need for medication for a greyhound. 

  14. One of the posts on this site mocks the passion of people involved in greyhound activity and thats Okay as far as it goes but there is a reasonable case for people being concerned about the future of their sport and the advancement of greyhounds.

    The USA has 77.8 million dogs in households in 2015 this is down from the peak of 83.3 million in 2014 but is well over the 2000 figure of 68 million. The rate of dogs in the population being born has probably dropped as the euthanasia numbers (recorded) have dropped from 11.5 million to around 5 million.

    While the number of greyhounds live on the ground is not exactly known it is believed that the numbers in the USA and Canada combined are about 80,000. which means that 1 in 1,000 dogs registered are greyhounds.

    Australia breeds the same number of greyhounds yearly as does the USA but the numbers of greyhounds live on the ground is not known but has been estimated at about half the USA/Canada live population. The population of humans in Australia is about 24 million compared to 321 million in the USA and the dog population is 4.2 million meaning that 1 in 100 households in Australia has a greyhound and if the American figure could be reached this number would increase to 2 in 100.

    While the greyhound is amongst the most desirable pure bred dog bred its numbers are not reflected in the show dog resume and the reasons for this appear to be due to the greyhounds origins being attached to the blood sports of hunting which have been discredited by polite society. The sport of baiting ie contests between animals (mastiff fighting to the death, bear baiting, cock fighting. which was reported as rife a few decades ago is all but gone.

    Evidence of greyhound blooding has been revealed in Australia and needs to be cut out. Once the above happens then the link between all breeds of dogs should be able to be re-established.