Aggressive Dogs


Virginia law charges dog owners with the responsibility of knowing the propensities of the breed and cross-breed of their dog.

Negligent dog owners are responsible for dog bites from their dog both on and off their property. Dogs can be overly protective and territorial to the extent that they can cause serious dog attack injuries to others.

A dog owner must take notice of the dog’s general, natural inclinations or characteristics and of the inclinations or characteristics peculiar to that dog. If any of those inclinations or characteristics are of a kind likely to cause a dog bite injury, the owner has a duty to use ordinary care to prevent any reasonably foreseeable injury.

A dog owner will notice how his/her dog reacts when a stranger comes onto the property, when the doorbell rings, or when there is a knock at the door. Some dogs greet all visitors to their home with a wagging tail and gentle, wet kisses. Other dogs will consider the visitor to be an intruder and a possible threat to the family and home. These dogs will consistently exhibit definite signs of aggressive behavior every time a stranger comes onto their property, when the doorbell rings, or there is a knock at the door. It is the responsibility of the owner of that type of dog to acknowledge the dog’s aggressive behavior and to use ordinary care to prevent an animal attack dog bite injury to others.

Signs Of Aggression In A Dog

Dogs are not hypocrites. A dog does not pretend to be anything other than what it is. An aggressive dog will let you know exactly what its intentions are by guttural barking, growling, showing of teeth, hackles (hair along the center of the back and over the shoulders stands up straight), ears pinned back, stiffening of legs, eyes staring straight at you, and tail pointed straight out. It is the duty of the dog owner to acknowledge these signs as acts of aggression and to use ordinary care to prevent your dog from injuring others.

Breeds Of Dogs Most Likely To Inflict Serious Or Fatal Harm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled a list of the breeds of dogs which have the highest potential to inflict serious injuries or death from a vicious dog attack. These breeds are:

  1. Pitt bulls
  2. Rottweilers
  3. German Shepherds
  4. Huskies
  5. Alaskan Malamutes
  6. Doberman pinschers
  7. Chows
  8. Great Danes
  9. Saint Bernards

The dog breeds most likely to cause death as a result of an attack are Pitt bulls and Rottweilers.

It is important to note that small dogs are more likely to bite you than big dogs. Attacks by small dogs are rarely mentioned on the news because the injuries they inflict do not compare with the injuries caused by the larger breeds. When small dogs do attack, a child is usually the victim with the child’s face being the target. The injuries can be permanent.

Free Dog Bite Consultation With Gerald Schwartz 1-800-423-0055

For 30 years, personal injury lawyer Gerald Schwartz has represented the victims of dog attacks serving clients in Northern Virginia, from the Route 1 area of Dumfries,  Stafford, and outlying communities. He has four convenient locations for clients.

Gerald Schwartz has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Virginia Super Lawyers every year since 2007. For a free dog bite injury consultation, call Gerald Schwartz at 1-800-423-0055.