Personal injury law firm Bisnar Chase undertook a comprehensive study to examine this contentious issue.

Each week seems to bring a fresh headline featuring a dog attack, stirring public debate and concern. This trend has led authorities in recent years to implement breed-specific legislation, with measures that often include bans or severe restrictions on certain breeds, notably pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans, and other large breeds. These laws have sparked a counter-argument among large breed enthusiasts who contend that it’s not the dogs that are inherently dangerous, but rather the training and treatment they receive from their owners. In response to this debate, movements advocating for responsible dog ownership have gained momentum across the country, presenting a humane alternative to breed-specific bans.


Personal injury law firm Bisnar Chase undertook a comprehensive study to examine this contentious issue. Their goal was to gauge whether public skepticism is directed more towards the so-called ‘dangerous’ breeds or the owners who may fail to provide proper training. They surveyed 3,000 people, asking them to reflect on their personal encounters and identify the dog breed owners in New York they find least trustworthy.

Public Perception Rankings: The Breeds and Their Owners

#1 Pit Bulls: Topping the list, Pit Bull owners are perceived as the least trustworthy in New York, a stigma fueled by media portrayals and controversial headlines. However, advocates argue that pit bulls can be among the most loyal and affectionate breeds when raised in a loving environment.

#2 Rottweilers: The second least trusted dog owners are those who own rottweilers. Owners of this German breed are often met with skepticism. Despite the breed’s capacity for loyalty and guardianship, the imposing nature of rottweilers can be intimidating if not paired with rigorous and consistent training.

#3 German Shepherds: German Shepherds are third on the list among New Yorkers, which may surprise some given their esteemed role in police and service work. Nevertheless, the breed’s strong protective instincts can be misinterpreted as aggression, highlighting the need for thorough training and socialization. 


#4 Siberian Huskies: Taking the fourth spot, Siberian Husky owners often face trust issues from the public, largely due to the breed’s independent nature and resemblance to wolves. Owners must actively work to channel the breed’s energy and intelligence in positive ways. 


#5 Wolf-Hybrids: Landing in 5th place are owners of wolf-hybrids. Known for their close genetic ties to wild wolves, these canine owners face skepticism due to the unpredictable nature often associated with these animals. The debate continues on whether their wild instincts can be entirely domesticated.

#6 Bullmastiffs: Known for their strength and protective nature, Bullmastiffs can be gentle giants under the guidance of a firm, caring owner.


#7 Doberman Pinschers: In the seventh position, Doberman Pinschers and their owners are often viewed warily. Historically bred for protection, these dogs can exhibit a powerful presence that demands an owner who is committed to their disciplined training.


#8 Alaskan Malamutes: Similar to Siberian huskies in their thick fur and robust build, Alaskan Malamute owners are challenged to meet their high exercise needs, often a point of contention for those unfamiliar with the breed.   

#9 Boxers: At ninth, boxer owners are often perceived as having their hands full managing the high energy and playful antics of their pets. While boxers are generally friendly, their boisterous behavior requires dedicated training to manage effectively in public spaces.

#10 Akitas: Akitas carry a noble stature and a reserved temperament, and while they can be fiercely loyal, they require an owner who understands the nuances of the breed to prevent aggressive tendencies.

As a personal injury law firm handling dog attack cases, we have witnessed firsthand the complex issues surrounding large dog breeds and public safety. The majority of dogs, if given proper training and care, are not inherently a threat to public safety. The real issue arises when owners neglect their fundamental responsibility to train and socialize their pets. In most states, the law is clear: owners can be held strictly liable if their dog bites someone, even if the dog has never bitten before. This means owners could face not only civil penalties but also criminal charges in severe cases of negligence,” says Brian Chase of Bisnar Chase. 

He continues: “Furthermore, many state laws stipulate that owners are liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by their dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place. It’s imperative that dog owners understand the gravity of these laws and the very real consequences of an attack, which can include extensive fines, destroying the animal, restitution, and even jail time. Responsible ownership is the cornerstone of preventing unnecessary harm and upholding the legal standards set forth by our community.


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