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The Fear of Dogs
Symptoms, Signs & Treatment
What is Cynophobia?
How to Pronounce Cynophobia
Cynophobia Signs & Symptoms
How to Overcome Cynophobia
21 Tips for Kids to Overcome Fear of Dogs
19 Steps to Help Your Child's Fear of Dogs
Risk Factors for Cynophobia
Reasons of Cynophobia
Are you Afraid of Dogs?
8 Dogs to Test your Fear
10 Interesting Facts about Dogs
Do Dogs Smell Your Fear?
What is Difference between Phobia & Fear
How to Help Children to Overcome Fear of Dogs?
Why Are Some People Afraid of Dogs?
Origins of Fear of Dogs in Childhood
Dog Bite Statistics
Top 25 Dogs with the Strongest Bite
Fear of Dogs After Attack
I am Scared of My Dog!
Celebrities with Cynophobia
Cynophobia Treatment
Biological Causes of Cynophobia
Self-Help Treatment for Fear of Dogs

Cynophobia is the irrational fear of dogs

Cynophobia comes from the Greek words that mean "dog" (cyno) and "fear" (phobia).

Specific phobias, like cynophobia, affect some 7 to 9 % of the population.

Cynophobia can be debilitating - feelings of panic, terror, feeling like your life is in danger

Researchers highlight that the main causes of cynophobia are related to traumatic childhood experiences

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1. Rottweiler Cynophobia
The aggressive nature of the Rottweiler was put to good use many years ago as they were often used to herd livestock. They are also sometimes used as police dogs, guard dogs, or rescue dogs. However, this position is commonly filled by the German Shepherd instead. Although such uses of the Rottweiler can still be seen today, this dog can also be commonly seen as a house dog coexisting with their human family.

They can get up to a weight of 132 pounds and a height of 27 inches. If the aggressive nature of the Rottweiler wasn't enough to evoke symptoms of cynophobia within you, then its sheer size and muscularity may. Those with cynophobia may find the Rottweiler to be truly terrifying. However, you can still use recommendations of how to deal with aggressive dogs and discover ways to prevent aggression in dogs.

2. Siberian Husky Cynophobia
The Siberian Husky can be commonly found in Russia. It can weigh up to 65 pounds and get up to a height of about 24 inches. Russians experiencing cynophobia will likely have a very difficult time coping with the fact that this very tenacious animal is commonplace among the cold Russian landscape.

The Siberian Husky was once bred to be a sled-dog to help aid the people living in some of the harshest snowy conditions to travel long distances, as well as to aid them in transporting goods back and forth to different areas. The Siberian Husky can be commonly seen sporting two different eye colors, which may only increase someone's symptoms of cynophobia due to the eeriness of it.

3. German Shepherd Cynophobia
The German Shepherd can get up to a weight of 88 pounds and a height of 26 inches. This dog can be commonly seen aiding police officers as they can be easily trained, can be very aggressive, and are quite intelligent. Such prowess may exacerbate someone's symptoms of cynophobia at first glance. This is especially true when we look closer at all that the German Shepherd is used for by humans.

The German Shepherd was commonly used to herd sheep, but can now be seen aiding in military endeavors, search-and-rescue, as well as aiding the disabled. Although this dog is a very popular house dog among Americans, those suffering from cynophobia may not share the same endearment for the German Shepherd, given its strength, aggressiveness, and overall intelligence.

4. Boxer Cynophobia
The Boxer can get to a weight of about 71 pounds and a height of about 25 inches. Although this dog can be perceived to appear quite adorable, its very powerful bite may make you think otherwise. Its strong jaw muscles can be seen in action as they will oftentimes use them to hang onto large prey. Such foreknowledge may instill a great amount of fear in those experiencing symptoms of cynophobia.

There are several different color variations of the boxer which gives it a unique look, such as the Red Fawn Boxer and the Reverse Brindle Boxer. Be that as it may, do not let its attractive colors fool you, the Boxer can hold its own among the roughest dogs on the planet. The Boxer is a pretty common house dog among Americans as it does not have the reputation of being nearly as aggressive as the Rottweiler or the Siberian Husky.

5. Doberman Pinscher Cynophobia
The Doberman Pinscher can get up to a weight of 99 pounds and a height of about 28 inches. They are known for their graceful posture and symmetrical gait. Looking past the Doberman Pinscher's pretentious gait and shiny coat, they have also been known to become quite aggressive if the situation calls for it. Such aggressiveness may evoke high amounts of anxiety in those suffering from full blown cynophobia or in those who just have some symptoms of cynophobia. All things considered, the Doberman Pinscher is also known to be a very loving and devoted companion. In addition to this, they are also known to be very intelligent and adept at being alert watchdogs.

6. Pit Bull Cynophobia
The Pit Bull can get up to a weight of about 65 pounds, though they can get much larger than this as they are quite muscular animals. They can also get to a height of about 21 inches. Pit Bull's have a reputation as being very aggressive dogs which are not fit for the average household. Although, when trained correctly, these dogs can coexist very harmoniously with most families as they are known to be very loving and affectionate animals.

Be that as it may, given its sheer muscularity, its aggressiveness in the midst of a potential threat, and the the mere size of its head and jaw, the Pit Bull is likely to give those suffering with cynophobia a very high influx of unwanted anxiety. It is also due to the reasons just stated why many people engage in underground dog fights with Pit Bulls as they can be extremely vicious and deadly when in such a fight or flight situation.

7. Great Dane Cynophobia
The Great Dane can get up to a weight of about 180 pounds and a height of about 31 inches. However, when the Great Dane stands on two legs, it can reach heights close to that of the average human. Such a chilling fact may mean even more anxiety for someone suffering with cynophobia. The Great Dane comes in many different colors and sizes and is most notably known for its towering height when standing on two legs.

There are many different color variations, from jet black to the one shown in this article. Although Great Dane's don't have the reputation that a Pit Bull or a Rottweiler has insofar as we are looking at its sheer aggressiveness or killer instinct, its impressive height and overall size will likely be enough to make those with cynophobia even that much more frightened.

8. Wolfdog Cynophobia
Wolfdog's can get up to a weight of around 60 pounds and a height of about 33 inches. The Wolfdog can only be found in certain areas as their thick coat may not be well adapted for warmer climates. This may come to some relief for those suffering from full blown cynophobia who also reside in warmer climates.

However, although the wolfdog may not be found naturally in such climates, this dog has been known to also be a household pet. The Wolfdog can hold its own among some of the other aggressive dogs on this list. Such foreknowledge make make it that much more difficult for someone suffering with cynophobia to be able to cope when seeing such an animal.


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There is an old proverb that says that dogs can smell our fear. But is this true? What is it that dogs see when they look at a scared and nervous human? Do they get a whiff of your terror, and if yes, will it have an impact on their behavior toward you? Does the fear of dogs increase or decrease your chances of being bitten?

Psychologist Stanley Coren opines that the ability and versatility canines display has led many to believe that dogs possess minds almost similar to humans along with moral sensibilities. He claims that dogs can understand human speech and their vocabulary can comprise more than 150 words. According to Coren, dogs can solve complex problems and even trick other dogs.


Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that dogs study humans for cues and can interpret facial expressions. For instance, scientists at Azabu University in Japan have managed to train canines in differentiating between a smile and a blank look in pictures of human faces. In fact, in the view of certain canine experts, a dog will be able to detect your fear even if you maintain a calm front and stay still when terrified. The physiological changes that humans experience due to the flight or fight response - such as, changes in breathing pattern and sweating are responsible for this.

When we are fearful, our body involuntarily releases chemicals known as pheromones. According to Alexandra Horowitz, author of "Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know," a dog is quick to recognize these chemicals due to its heightened sense of smell. But the question foremost in your mind is likely to be โ€“ do the chances of a dog attack increase if the animal senses you are afraid? There is no solid evidence to prove that a dog's awareness of your fear is something that triggers an attack. What is critical is whether the dog is scared of you or generally anxious.

Research Study Shows:
Dogs Can Smell Fear!

According to researcher Biagio D'Aniello of the University of Naples, Italy, science has proved that dogs can pick up on human emotions, but no one has studied whether they can recognize the scents that humans give out. He says that dogs have a keen sense of smell when compared to humans and the role of the canine olfactory system has been largely glossed over by experts. This is because humans rely more on the visual system and mistake this to be the case with dogs too.

D'Aniello and his fellow researchers analyzed whether dogs could identify human emotions simply through smell. They got human volunteers to see videos that caused fear, joy, or neutral emotions, and collected samples of sweat. Then, these samples were proffered to domestic dogs while their behavior and heart rates were monitored.


The results showed that dogs who smelled fear displayed heightened stress than those who smelled happiness and neutral emotions. Along with higher heart rates, they needed reassurance from their owners and did not make too much social contact with strangers during this time.

Marta Gacsi of Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest says that it is an established fact that dogs collect sensory data about their social partners while deciding how to respond to different situations. But it is not an easy task to determine which of the senses assume greater importance. The sense of smell has now been identified as the key element in this study.

Dogs Can Read Your Face
Another detailed research study has shown that dogs not only use their sense of smell, but they also process facial expressions of humans. Researchers led by Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth, UK have established that dogs faces tend to be most alert when they are aware that people are looking at them. As part of their study, the researchers placed a few dogs before a human who was doing one of these four things โ€“ looking at them, facing away, handing out food, and offering nothing.

They assessed the variations in the dogs' facial movements in all these scenarios. The researchers concluded that the changes in the dogs' behavior were most conspicuous when the human subject was looking at them. Kaminski says that this reinforces the theory that dogs are extremely sensitive to human attention.

How Dogs Evoke Sympathy?
Monique Udell of Oregon State University in Corvallis opines that more extensive research is essential to fully comprehend the bi-directional facet of the human-dog relationship. Only this will help us understand how dogs visually signal us and how we react. But there is evidence to support the fact that humans are susceptible to these dog signals.

According to Kaminski, dogs often raise their eyebrows in a specific manner when they are being watched. This can make the dogs' eyes look "sad" and evoke empathy in humans. Shelter dogs increase their chances of finding a new home by using this subtle move.

There is no clear evidence to indicate whether domestication of dogs plays any role in the development of such behaviors. Some researchers believe that the remarkable emotional intelligence that dogs display could be the result of thousands of years of close interaction and co-existence of dogs and humans.

Your Fear of Dogs

If you are someone who believes that dogs are dangerous and you fear approaching them, it is vital for you to learn how to overcome your phobia of canines. This intrinsic fear that every dog on the street will turn aggressive or irritable is more of a psychological problem. Therefore, in order to overcome your fear, you will need to recognize that you are dealing with a friendly animal and not a vicious beast that only thinks of attacking and biting people.

Yes, it can be tough to learn to control your emotions and reactions in front of a dog, if you are scared of them. But it is necessary to do this in order to prevent your irrational fear from becoming a serious phobia. There are quite a few therapeutic ways in which you can address your fear. Many people who are afraid of dogs respond poorly in front of the animals making themselves vulnerable albeit unknowingly. Thus, by preparing yourself for a dog encounter, you can lessen your fear while boosting your confidence.


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Rosemary Black

A person who has cynophobia experiences a fear of dogs that is both irrational and persistent. It is more than just feeling uncomfortable with barking or being around dogs. Instead, this fear may interfere with daily life and trigger a number of symptoms, like trouble breathing or dizziness. Specific phobias, like cynophobia, affect some 7 to 9 % of the population. Cynophobia falls under the "animal" specifier.

As is the case with most phobias, the object of their fear is often completely irrational and out of touch with reality. However, with cynophobia, there is a modicum of logic in their irrational fear of dogs due to the fact that in some instances, dogs can actually be quite dangerous.

However, someone suffering from full blown cynophobia will likely magnify such rare cases of vicious dog attacks and believe them to be commonplace in society. Their inability to think about their fear of dogs in a rational way is the crux of their anxiety. In fact, though some people suffering from cynophobia may in fact be able to rationalize that their fear is somewhat illogical, when they are in the presence of a dog they will likely be unable to withhold the same disposition. Thus, reverting back to their hyperbolic anxious behavior.


Someone suffering from cynophobia may in fact experience anxiety that is so extreme and intrusive that they may even endure full blown panic attacks which can result in leaving them hospitalized insofar as their anxiety is intense enough. In such an instance, they can expect to experience an increase in heart rate, an increase in their rate of breathing, muscle tension, shakiness, and perspiration, among other symptoms.


Animal phobias are among the most common of the specific phobias and 36% of patients who seek treatment report being afraid of dogs or cats. Cynophobia is the fear of dogs and canines in general. Cynophobia is classified as a specific phobia, under the subtype "animal phobias". A current theory for fear acquisition presented by Dr. S. Rachman in 1977 maintains that there are 3 conditions by which fear is developed. These include direct personal experience, observational experience, and informational or instructional experience.

For example, direct personal experience consists of having a personal negative encounter with a dog such as being bitten. In contrast, seeing a friend attacked by a dog and thus developing a fear of dogs would be observational experience. Whereas both of these types of experiences involves a live dog, informational or instructional experience simply includes being told directly or indirectly - information read in a book, film, parental cues such as avoidance or dislike, that dogs are to be feared.

A study was conducted at the State University of New York to distinguish the significance of these three conditions upon the development of cynophobia. 37 women ages 18 to 21 were first screened into two groups: fearful of dogs and non-fearful of dogs. Next, each woman was given a questionnaire which asked if she had ever had a frightening or painful confrontation with a dog, what her expectation was upon encountering a dog (pain, fear, etc.), and subjectively, what was the probability of that expectation actually occurring.

The results indicated that, while non-fearful subjects had a different expectation of what would happen when encountering a dog, painful experiences with dogs were common among both groups, therefore, the study concluded that other factors must affect whether or not these painful experiences will develop into dog phobia.

What is the difference between a phobia and fear?
"Phobia" and "fear" are different concepts, meaning that they are expressed differently. As humans, it is in our nature to feel fear. Other animals can also feel fear. We use it as a defense mechanism that is essential to our survival. Fear makes us alert, and recognize and act in stressful or dangerous situations. It is a very useful emotion to have.

However, a phobia is an irrational fear of everyday situations that can be harmless and sometimes unrealistic. Indeed, dogs can physically hurt people. Sometimes the dog is defending itself, or it could have been trained poorly. Cynophobia is a fear that goes beyond this.


When we have healthy fear levels, we analyze situations rationally. We then choose whether we want to adapt and overcome the fear, or avoid it and try to cope with the situation. However, when this fear is irrational, we lose some control. It is an unpleasant situation. The feeling then exceeds rational capacity and our imagination often makes symptoms worse. This can reach the point where any rational explanation is lost to fear. For example, when a person is afraid, they will keep their distance from large, powerful, and agitated dogs. This is quite a healthy reaction.

But when a person develops a phobia of dogs, they will show signs of panic when they see a small dog walking calmly on a sidewalk. Even if the dog is friendly and completely harmless, the phobia will prevent them from being rational.

How does the Cynophobia begins?
Many people have a fear of dogs from a very young age. As with many other anxiety disorders, a person may have a genetic predisposition to developing a phobia such as cynophobia, she says. But genetics do not necessarily mean that you will develop it. Your environment and experience can have a great influence on whether you develop a phobia or not. If you are not sure if you have cynophobia or you simply do not prefer dogs, ask yourself whether you go out of your way to avoid dogs whenever you can.

Does the perceived need to keep dogs out of your life interfere with your daily functioning? Do you feel like you are having a panic attack when you see a dog? Do you recognize that your fear of dogs is not only excessive but also unrealistic? You may have cynophobia. Understanding where this fear stems from and getting acquainted with available treatment techniques can help people with even the biggest fear of dogs overcome this phobia and start feeling friendlier towards man's best friend.



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Researchers estimate there are more than 62,400,000 dogs living in the United States. So your chances of running into a dog are relatively high. With cynophobia, you may experience symptoms out when you are around dogs or even when you are just thinking about dogs. Symptoms associated with specific phobias are highly individual. No two people may experience the fear or certain triggers in the same way.

Though avoiding dogs or places where dogs could be at will give them some relief from their painstaking anxiety, such a behavior could actually be causing much more damage than they may realize. For instance, if someone with cynophobia is altering their day to day life by making conscious efforts to avoid dogs, then they may actually be worsening their cynophobia due to them reassuring to themselves everyday that dogs are worthy of being feared and avoided. Such reinforcement may make for a vicious cycle which can exacerbate their symptoms of cynophobia in the long term. Your symptoms may be physical, emotional, or both.


Physical Symptoms include:

Muscle Tension

Trouble Breathing

Rapid Heart Rate

Pain or Tightness in your Chest

Shaking or Trembling

Dizziness or Lightheadedness

Upset Stomach

Hot or Cold Flashes


Emotional Symptoms include:
Panic or Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety when thinking of dogs

Anxiety when near a dog

Intense need to escape situations that trigger fear

Detached Feeling from self

Loss of Control

Feeling you may pass out or die

Feeling powerless over your fear

Children have specific symptoms as well. For example, a child may refuse to leave a caregiver's side when a dog is around. When exposed to the thing the child fears they may:

Have a Tantrum

Cling to their Caregiver



To be formally diagnosed with a specific phobia like cynophobia, you must have experienced your symptoms for six months or longer. If you have noticed your fear of dogs has started to impact your daily life, you may want to keep a personal journal to share with your doctor. To get diagnosed with cynophobia there are strict criteria which must be met. According to the DSM-IV-TR, the criteria of getting diagnosed with cynophobia are as follows:

Constant fear of an object or of a specific situation

Exposure to the feared object or situation evokes immediate anxiety

Adults realize that their fear is excessive and irrational - this is not always the case with children

Exposure to the feared object or situation is often avoided or is endured with intense dread

Their fear significantly hinders with their day to day activities

Patients under the age of 18 have symptoms that last for at least six months

Their anxiety, panic attacks, or avoidance behavior cannot be due to another mental disorder


Ask yourself:

Do I excessively anticipate situations in which I am going to be around dogs?

Do I immediately feel fear or have a panic attack while I am around dogs or think about being around dogs?

Do I recognize that my fear of dogs is severe and irrational?

Do I avoid situations in which I may encounter dogs?

If you answered yes to these questions, you may fit the diagnostic criteria set by the DSM-5 for a specific phobia. Your doctor can help. Once you make an appointment, your doctor will likely ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as questions about your psychiatric and social history.

Auditory-Visual Virtual Reality as a Diagnostic and Therapeutic Tool for Cynophobia - PDF GUIDE

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You may or may not be able to hone in on exactly when your fear started or what first caused it. Your fear may come on acutely due to a dog attack, or develop more gradually over time. There are also certain situations or predispositions, like genetics, that may put you at higher risk of having cynophobia. Specific risk factors may include:

Experience - Did you ever have a bad experience with a dog in your past? Maybe you were chased or bitten? Traumatic situations may put you at risk for developing cynophobia.

Age - Phobias affect both children and adults. In some cases, specific phobias may first show up by age 10. They can begin later in life as well.

Family - If one of your close relatives has a phobia or anxiety, you may be more likely to develop irrational fears as well. It may be inherited genetically or become a learned behavior over time.

Disposition - You may be at higher risk of developing phobias if you have a more sensitive temperament.

Information - You may be at risk for developing cynophobia if you have heard negative things about being around dogs. For example, if you read about a dog attack, you may develop a phobia in response.


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There is no known cause of cynophobia. However, genetics and one's environment may play very significant roles. For instance, if someone has a family history of mental illness, then they may have a higher chance of developing cynophobia. This may be due to them also having a higher chance of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness in general.

If someone were to have such a genetic predisposition, then it may only take them experiencing some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown cynophobia.

Personal Experience
Someone may develop cynophobia due to a very traumatizing personal experience where they were bit or attacked by a dog. The event may have been so traumatizing and anxiety provoking that the occurrence itself caused a permanent irrational fear of dogs in them that is out of touch with reality.

Their irrational fear may be so great that even watching a dog on TV or seeing a picture of a dog can bring forth intense feelings of anxiety, fear, and vulnerability. Essentially, seeing a dog at a park or on TV may muster up the same emotions they experienced when they were attacked days or even years prior.

Observational Experience
According to the theory for fear acquisition, an observational experience would be witnessing someone else getting attacked by a dog or watching a documentary about dog fighting on TV. These observational experiences can make a permanent imprint or lasting impression on the individual to where they may develop cynophobia over time. For example, someone may develop cynophobia after their sibling was violently attacked by a dog.

Informational Experience
Informational experience involves fearing something due to reading or hearing about it. You may have heard several gruesome stories about people getting attacked by dogs or you may have read statistics of dog attacks in your country and the numbers - as minuscule as they may be, took you by surprise. If someone is genetically predisposed to develop mental illness, then informational experience may be all that is necessary for someone to develop cynophobia.

Genetics is another very significant factor for someone developing cynophobia. One person may be more vulnerable to developing cynophobia than someone else is due to their genetic makeup. For example, someone who has no traceable family history of mental illness of any kind may have a much smaller chance of developing cynophobia than someone whose parents both have anxiety disorders. So, taking a closer look at your family's mental health may help you to shed some light as to whether or not you are at risk for developing cynophobia.

Also, research has been done which shows that memories and learned experiences may indeed be able to be inherited biologically via chemical changes that occur in DNA. Researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, have found that mice can pass down learned information about traumatic or stressful experiences to their offspring. In this experiment, the mice inherited the fear of the smell of cherry blossom. This research provides evidence that cynophobia and other phobias may be caused from the inherited experiences of their ancestors.

Because dogs are so popular as pets and companions, avoiding them can be nearly impossible. You might find yourself limiting contact with dog owners, even to the point of avoiding family gatherings. You may be unable to enjoy outdoor activities such as walking in the park, hiking, or camping since many outdoor enthusiasts bring their dogs. Over time, your normal routine may become extremely restricted as you attempt to prevent any accidental contact with a dog. Cynophobia is highly stressful and as a result, it is common for for patients with the disorder to be diagnosed with:

Social Phobias



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There are no treatments that are specifically designed to treat cynophobia. If your cynophobia is mild, you may benefit from different lifestyle choices that can help alleviate symptoms triggered by your fears. Try different relaxation techniques when you feel anxious, like engaging in deep breathing exercises or practicing yoga. Regular exercise is another powerful tool that may help you manage your phobia in the long term.

For more severe cases, see your doctor. Treatments like behavioral therapy are generally more effective the sooner you start. Without treatment, phobias may lead to more serious complications, like mood disorders, substance abuse, or even suicide.The most common methods for the treatment of specific phobias are systematic desensitization and in vivo or exposure therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be incredibly effective at treating specific phobias. Some people report results in as few as 1 to 4 sessions with a therapist. Exposure therapy is a form of CBT where people face fears head-on. While some people may gain benefit from in vivo exposure therapy, or being around dogs in real life, others may gain a similar benefit from whatโ€™s called active imaginal exposure (AIE)Trusted Source, or imagining themselves performing tasks with a dog.

In a study from 2003, 82 people with cynophobia went through either in vivo or imaginal exposure therapies. Some people were asked to attend therapy where they interacted with dogs on leashes, while others were asked to simply imagine doing different tasks with dogs while acting them out. All people showed significant improvement after exposure, whether real or imagined. The improvement rates for in vivo therapy were 73.1%. The improvement rates for AIE therapy were 62.1%. The researchers concluded that AIE is a good alternative to in vivo therapy.

Relaxation Training
This type of phobia treatment involves using calming techniques to help reduce irrational anxiety caused by cynophobia. Such relaxation training may include breathing techniques, mindfulness, and positive affirmations, among many others. Mindfulness meditation is a very common technique that people use to help them minimize daily stress. Fortunately, it can also be used as an effective way to cope with cynophobia as well. There are many ways that one can implement mindfulness, such as by focusing the attention on the breath, on a specific sound such as the trees rustling in the wind, specific tastes while eating, sensations such as the way the heels of the feet feel while walking, and observing colors. Essentially, paying close attention to one or more of your five main senses can help to greatly reduce the anxiety experienced with cynophobia.

To help relieve some of the symptoms of cynophobia or at least some of the day to day stress that is a result of it, you may benefit from engaging in what is called mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). This very effective educational approach to mindfulness meditation is centered around helping patients to improve their overall equanimity. However, someone doesn't have to engage in MBSR to merely meditate as this can be done by simply noticing the sensation of the breath with each inhale and exhale. Doing so may help to calm your mind and reduce the anxiety caused by cynophobia.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from anxiety disorders and can also be very effective for treating cynophobia as well. It can help the patient to learn new and effective ways to cope with their anxiety. Such skills can be extremely beneficial during the onset of a panic attack. Besides this, they can also expect to learn how to improve their cognition by discovering the root causes of their fears. Upon engaging in CBT, the patient can expect to also make much healthier behavior changes as a result.

CBT may be a healthy alternative to exposure therapy if the patient's symptoms of cynophobia are simply too extreme for them to be exposed to any sort of stimuli involving dogs. This form of therapy may also be very beneficial for someone with cynophobia if they also have symptoms of social anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder as CBT can help to improve these conditions as well.

CBT is very effective at helping the patient to think about their fears in a more logical way. So, someone with cynophobia can benefit immensely from this form of treatment due to the fact that much of the stress and anxiety experienced with this disorder is a result of illogical thoughts that are out of touch with reality. Also, CBT can help with emotional regulation too. This alone makes CBT very beneficial for anyone who suffers from cynophobia or any other severe form of mental illness.

Systematic Desensitization Therapy
Systematic desensitization therapy was introduced by Joseph Wolpe in 1958 and employs relaxation techniques with imagined situations. In a controlled environment, usually the therapist's office, the patient will be instructed to visualize a threatening situation - being in the same room with a dog. After determining the patient's anxiety level, the therapist then coaches the patient in breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to reduce their anxiety to a normal level. The therapy continues until the imagined situation no longer provokes an anxious response. Final results indicated the study was fairly successful with 75% of the participants showing significant improvement eight months after the study.

In Vivo or Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from phobias. Fortunately, this form of therapy can be effectively used to treat cynophobia as well. Moreover, this is not the case with cynophobia as the patient can safely be exposed to a real dog, such as a small puppy and not be at risk for actually being harmed. Using this form of treatment for cynophobia would involve the person becoming exposed to a dog in some capacity. Depending on the severity of their cynophobia, they will probably start off slow. Their therapist may first prompt them to look at a picture or a video of a dog. Then, the therapist may increase the exposure by having the patient observe a dog in a park while the patient is in their car, for example. Eventually, the goal would be for the patient with cynophobia to be able to be fully exposed to a real dog with little to no irrational fear.

Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to that which they fear, the less it will bother them over time. So, the more someone is exposed to dogs, the less anxiety they should experience as time goes on. Exposure therapy can be very challenging for patients, so it is very important to find a therapist that is very adept and experienced at treating phobias. For example, if the therapist were to expose the patient to too much too soon, then it may actually have a counterproductive effect by worsening their cynophobia as opposed to gradually improving it. 90% of the patients were much improved or completely recovered after a mean of 2.1 hours of therapy.

Anxiety Medication
Psychotherapy is generally effective at treating specific phobias like cynophobia. For more severe cases, medications are an option that may be used together with therapy or short-term if there is a situation where you will be around dogs. Types of medications may include:

Beta blockers - Beta blockers are a type of medication that block adrenaline from causing symptoms like racing pulse, elevated blood pressure, or shaking.

Sedatives - These medications work to reduce anxiety so you may relax in feared situations.

Anti-anxiety medication or antidepressants can be very advantageous for someone suffering from cynophobia. When taken in a low dose alongside exposure therapy or CBT, these medications can prove to be a very effective strategy for improving someone's symptoms of cynophobia. Be that as it may, merely taking medication alone without the use of any sort of therapy may not be very effective at long-term improvement. This would likely be due to the fact that the patient would not have learned the many skills needed to improve their anxiety and behavior. Nevertheless, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor.

Pursed Lip Breathing
This technique can be used to help reduce the overall anxiety experienced from cynophobia. Pursed lip breathing is often used as a mindfulness meditation technique to help calm the mind and to allow the individual to become centered into the present moment. Such a technique can prove to be substantially beneficial for someone suffering from cynophobia. For example, it can be used at the onset of anxiety, during spells of anxiety, as well as a coping mechanism to help experience greater equanimity.

This technique works by taking a deep breath through your nose, pursing your lips together as if you were blowing out candles, and then blowing out through your pursed lips to lengthen the amount of time it takes for the air to be completely expelled from your lungs. This may be very advantageous for someone with cynophobia. Essentially, when your exhale is longer than your inhale, the vagus nerve sends a signal to your brain to increase activation of your parasympathetic nervous system and to decrease activation of your sympathetic nervous system.

For someone suffering form cynophobia, this can be very beneficial as the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for releasing hormones such as cortisol which help to prepare the body for fight or flight. The is the nervous system which is responsible for someone having a panic attack. So, if pursed lip breathing can help to turn down or limit sympathetic nervous system activation, then this may help to limit someone's symptoms of cynophobia from exacerbating.

This is another technique which may help to reduce the amount of anxiety experienced with cynophobia. Though it may seem counterproductive at first glance, half-smiling can significantly help to positively alter the way you think about your fears. So, for someone suffering with cynophobia, they can use this technique when they are in the presence of a dog or when they are in a safe environment to help them become more equanimeous.

With reference to cynophobia, this technique works by thinking of a dog which frightens you. As you think of a dog which gives you anxiety, gently raise the corners of your lips by slightly smiling. As you anxiously think of the dog while half-smiling, maintain a disposition of good-will, forgiveness, and understanding all while being nonjudgmental. Though this will likely be very challenging and antithetical to your true feelings toward dogs, it can significantly help you to improve your cynophobia if done correctly.

It is very important when using this technique to try and feel positive emotions and to have positive thoughts when thinking of a dog. If someone with cynophobia using the half-smiling technique were to do so while thinking about how much they fear dogs, thus allowing their anxiety to worsen, then this technique will likely not be beneficial. It is imperative that someone suffering with cynophobia tries to be nonjudgmental throughout the practice. Doing so should significantly help to improve their symptoms of cynophobia in the long run.

If you think you may have cynophobia or if you are suffering from some of the symptoms described in this article, then you should talk to your doctor to get properly diagnosed and treated. Upon seeing your doctor, you may then be referred to see a specialist such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist for further treatment. To ensure that all of your concerns are understood by your doctor, you may want to write down a list of questions that would like answered. This can be very useful so to ensure that you have a better understanding of all of your options for treatment.

Self-Help Treatment
Although most commonly done with the help of a therapist in a professional setting, exposure to dogs is also possible as a self-help treatment. First, the patient is advised to enlist the help of an assistant who can help set-up the exposure environment, assist in handling the dog during sessions, and demonstrate modeling behaviors. This should also be someone whom the patient trusts and who has no fear of dogs. Then, the patient compiles a hierarchy of fear provoking situations based on their rating of each situation. For example, on a scale from 0 to 100, a patient may feel that looking at photos of dogs may cause a fear response of only 50, however, petting a dog's head may cause of fear response of 100.

With this list of situations from least to most fearful the assistant helps the patient to identify common elements that contribute to the fear - size of the dog, color, how it moves, noise, whether or not it is restrained, etc. Next, the assistant helps the patient recreate the least fearful situation in a safe, controlled environment, continuing until the patient has had an opportunity to allow the fear to subside thus reinforcing the realization that the fear is unfounded. Once a situation has been mastered, the next fearful situation is recreated and the process is repeated until all the situations in the hierarchy have been experienced.

One way to minimize the risk of developing cynophobia is to interact with a dog as soon as possible after a personal or witnessed negative encounter with a dog, Dr. Vitagliano says. If you have a friend, loved one, or neighbor who has a well-behaved dog, ask if you or your loved one who has a fear of dogs might spend some time with the well-behaved dog. Educate yourself. Read all you can about dogs. Just learning how rare it is to be bitten by a dog may be comforting, the same way it can be comforting to know how unlikely it is that something bad will happen to your airplane when flying.

Get help. Share with your loved ones that you have an irrational fear of dogs. And ask your health care provider for the name of a therapist who treats phobias and who could help you overcome cynophobia. Recognizing your fear, discussing it with others, and seeking help will allow you to overcome your phobia.

Recovery Timeframe and Maintenance
Whether utilizing systematic desensitization therapy or exposure therapy, several factors will determine how many sessions will be required to completely remove the phobia, however, some studies have shown that those who overcome their phobia are usually able to maintain the improvement over the long-term. As avoidance contributes to the perpetuation of the phobia, constant, yet safe, real world interaction is recommended during and after therapy in order to reinforce positive exposure to the animal.











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Meryll Diane Sanano
Yvonne Eland

How dogs know when someone is fearful of them? When a person is nervous and sweating, a hormone associated with adrenaline will pump through the body, the dog will detect the adrenaline scent which is not a scent humans can smell. There has been much debate as to dogs detecting the scent of fear in a person, so what other explanation could be given? Body Language is the hint - dogs are masters at figuring out our emotions by observing our body language, a person's body will communicate to the dog exactly what the person is feeling โ€“ in this case FEAR.

Firstly, not all dogs are dangerous and if you are afraid of all dogs you encounter, it is more than likely a psychological problem. For example, you were bitten as a young child or witnessed another person being attacked by a vicious dog. Remain calm and do not show fear, keep emotions and reactions under control when confronting a dog. This is fine in theory but it is also almost impossible for a child to understand. This is why they need careful guidance.


Dealing with children who are fearful of dogs is not much different to dealing with dogs that are fearful of people. Getting a child to accept the fact that the dog is not a monster can be done in the following manner:

A good place to start would be a visit to a pet shop, showing them pictures in books or watching positive dog programmes on TV. Choose a quiet environment with no distractions for the introduction between child and animal.

A hall is an ideal venue. You will need an adult dog which is calm, not hyperactive but friendly, handled by the owner. The dog should be dressed in funny clothes, with a hat on his head, which should immediately draw the child's attention, and relieve some of the tension. The behaviourist can comment, "Hey, look! Is that Paddington Bear?"


Acknowledge Their Fear
It can be tempting to dismiss their fear as irrational or unfounded or even "a phase". But fear is not rational and rational conversation is not going to help your child through their agitation. That means the first step to helping your child overcome fear of dogs is to recognize and accept that that terror is there and that you are there to help them.

Watch What You Say
Maintain a positive attitude when you approach someone with a dog. Instead of asking, "Is it safe to pet your dog?" or "Does she bite or growl?" ask questions like "Can we meet your dog?" Explain that dogs like to sniff and lick people to get to know them, and let them watch you interact in a gentle and respectful way first. Words have great power to inform a child's view of dogs as dangerous, or as new friends to meet, so choose your words carefully.

Do not Rush It
Do not rush your child into a dog playdate. Instead, gradually introduce them to dogs with with picture books, toys and movies. Then from a distance, perhaps in a park or sitting outside a pet supply store. Or take a photo of a pooch and show it to your child before you set up a meeting with it. Talk about the dog so that your child feels like they are getting to know it. And explain what the dog may do โ€“ it may bark because that is how it talks or it may wag its tail because it is happy to see you. Gradually increase their exposure so that it is not a shock.

Arrange a Meeting
You may want to initiate a meeting with an adult dog, rather than a puppy who jumps and nips. You can also look for a group that does doggy meet and greets or library programs where therapy dogs go to. Try to lead by example. If you are thinking about suggesting to your child that they pet a dog or give them a treat, do it yourself first then invite them to try as well.

Reward Bravery
Praise your child when you can see that they are feeling a little nervous or unsure but are not backing away: "Look how brave you are being right now even though you may be a little scared." Consider starting a bravery reward chart. Each time your child does something brave with a dog, they earn a sticker or a stamp for their chart. When they fill up the chart they get a big prize. If you do this well, your child should start looking for opportunities to be rewarded. You know it is working when they ask "Can I get another sticker for my bravery chart if I pet that dog?"

Get Professional Help
If traditional methods are not doing the trick or if after a few weeks or months of de-sensitization, you child is not overcome their fear, you may want to look into cognitive behavioral therapy. But if your child seems stuck or it is become a safety issue, contact a psychologist or psychiatrist. It is s a wonderful way to help children get rid of the negative associations they have with dogs, and replace them with positive ones. Hypnotherapy can also be an alternative method in helping your child get through their phobia.



Repeat session 1: Once the handler and dog are ready for the introduction the child and a suitable person - an animal behaviourist enter the hall. In this way you will be allowing the child to approach the dog in their own time. The dog should be approached from the side, so no eye contact is made between the child and the dog. If the child shows fear or discomfort with the situation, back off and talk calmly to the child. There is no reason to rush. If you do rush or force the child you could increase the child?s fear. The time period for this session should not be more than 30 minutes, or until the child shows fatigue.

When the child has progressed to the stage where she can happily approach the dog from the side, the animal behaviourist can pat the dog. Here it is important that the dog be kept very calm by the handler. Do not ask the child to pet the dog, wait for a positive response from her.

Repeat sessions 1 and 2. Accompany the handler and walk with the dog and handler around the hall. If the child shows any signs of fear increase the distance between yourself and the handler and dog. Slowly move closer to the handler and dog.

Repeat sessions 1,2,3. Change position so that the child is walking next to the dog. This should be done at a safe distance so that the child does not feel under any stress โ€“ decrease the distance slowly until the child is close to the dog. The child should be comfortable with the situation. If she is not increase the distance.

Repeat 1, 2, 3, 4. It is now time for the behaviourist to walk the dog on one side and the child on the other. In this way the child is becoming more at ease in the dog's company. The behaviourist gives the dog the sit command when the dog sits the behaviourist treats the dog.

Repeat 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The child now gets to treat the dog. The behaviourist places the treat in her own hand, letting the child put her hand under that of the behaviourist. The dog takes the treat from the behaviourist and if the child is showing no fear, let the child give the dog a treat. The correct manner is to always place the treat in the open palm of the child's hand. This will prevent the dog from grabbing the treat and rather eat the treat out of her hand.

When success has been achieved in session 6, the child is approached by the handler and dog. If she is completely comfortable with the situation, she is allowed to walk the dog. This is the most rewarding thing a behaviourist can ever experience. This whole procedure could take weeks or even months before it is 100% โ€“ it all depends upon the severity of the fear. These sessions should be under the supervision of a qualified animal behaviourist.





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Dr. Thomas Ollendick

Your child can not walk down the block because there is a cat staring out the neighbor;s window and is so scared of dogs that he runs out of the room when a show about puppies comes on the television. Kids of all ages can be afraid of animals, even common animals that most of us encounter on a daily basis. In some cases, kids become more comfortable with animals with time. In other cases, though, a child's fear of animals can paralyze him, leaving him unable to function.

Dr. Thomas Ollendick gives steps that parents can take to help their child overcome a fear of animals. Helping your child to overcome her fear can be a slow process, so do not expect it to happen overnight. With some patience and encouragement, your child will gain self-confidence from the experience that will make the journey entirely worthwhile.

1. Recognize that it is normal
Fear is a very appropriate emotion to have, when it comes to kids interacting with animals, says Ollendick. Young children are hardwired to be afraid of unfamiliar or unpredictable things. As a child grows, she gains knowledge of how animals "work" as well as self-confidence in being able to deal with their unpredictable nature. Handling her fear with this attitude will give you a calmer, more understanding angle to approach the issue from.

2. Decide whether to intervene
Although it is normal for young children to be afraid of animals, Ollendick explains that there are three main factors to take into account when deciding whether to give your child assistance in overcoming that fear: frequency, intensity, and duration. If he just gets a little nervous walking through the zoo, then there is a good chance he will grow out of his discomfort naturally, without any extra help. However, if your child's fear seriously affects his life in any way - his ability to go to school, to go outside and play, or to visit a friend or relative's house - it is important to intervene.

3. Hear him out
Decided it is time to help your child tackle her fears? Ollendick recommends that you listen to your child before embark on the journey to conquering her fear. Encourage her to articulate why animals make her so scared. Ask open-ended questions like "I see that you seem to be afraid of the neighbor's dog. Can you tell me about it? What are you afraid the dog will do? Has something happened to make you afraid?" If she can express what she's afraid of in a more specific way, it will give you clues as to how you can best help her confront her fear.

4. Validate his fears
Yes, you are trying to help your child overcome his fear of animals, but he has to feel that you understand where he is coming from. Let him know that you understand that he is afraid, and that there is nothing wrong or shameful about his fear. It is a fine line, however cautions parents not to reinforce the fear by encouraging the child to avoid the animal he fears. Respond with something like, "I know that dogs can make you feel scared because they are big and like to be close to you. But, dogs do that because they like you, and we will work together to help you feel better around them."

5. Empower your child
Kids often think that if they are scared of animals, there is nothing they can do to feel differently. Teach your child that even when you are really afraid of something, you can overcome your fear by teaching yourself to face it. Admit that it is tough, but tell him that if he can be brave, he can make his fear go away. Point to examples from his own past when he is overcome something that made him nervous or scared, like riding his bike solo for the first time, to remind him that he is able to face these challenges.

6. Break it down
If your child is afraid of dogs, letting Fido come up and lick him right off the bat is probably going to end in tears. Instead, set up a step by step process that helps your child get more and more comfortable with dogs. First show him pictures of dogs, then read books together about dogs, and then get him a stuffed dog to play with. When you see that your child is able to talk about dogs without showing fear symptoms, let him see a dog behind a fence so that he feels completely safe. Take it slowly, progressing to being in the same room as a dog, sitting next to a dog, and when he is ready, petting a dog.

7. Reinforce success
Work out a motivation and reward system to help your child to face her fears, whether it is as simple as a sticker on a chart, earning "fun time" with a parent, or a tangible reward. When you recognize her success, you are letting her know that you understand what she is going through. Rewarding your kid will show her that you both are in it together, and that you are confident that she can succeed.

8. Make it exciting
You do not want your child to view this process as a chore, or as something you are forcing her to do. Get her pumped up by giving her high fives or telling her how brave she is getting when she sits next to a dog without running away. One way to inspire a kid to confront her fears is to teach her to use that avid imagination to give her more courage instead of making her more scared. Help her identify with her favorite superhero, and let her wear a cape when she is around animals to boost her confidence.

9. Consider professional help
If you share the same fear as your child, or if you have tried to help him work through his fears and have not succeeded, it could be time get a professional involved. According to Ollendick, this is especially important if the fear really impairs the ability to function normally and causes distress. A child psychologist will be able to give both you and your child direction on how to proceed.


It is best not to pass close to a dog that did not see you prior to your approach

Do not try to isolate the dog or direct it to a place where it cannot escape from because if it realizes there is nowhere to run to, it can become aggressive

Do not try to caress a dog you do not know before it gets the chance to smell you first or see that you are friends with its owner

Do not step back when you see a dog

Do not step back if a dog comes towards you

Do not look directly in a dog's eyes

Do not stand still, giving the dog a chance to react. Stay calm and continue to walk.

Do not scream or get nervous because you might be considered a threat

Do not touch a dog that is unattended

Do not try to run from a dog because it might be faster than you

Do not run because a dog will likely follow you thinking you are playing

Remain indifferent for as long as you can. If a dog sees you have no interest in interacting with it, it will do nothing.

Cross the street if you see a dog from a considerable distance to avoid contact

Try to be indifferent, ignore it and act like it is not there

If a dog comes near you just to smell you, you should let it

Speak to yourself, trying to calm down

If you trip, raise your knees to your chest and put your arms over your neck. A dog will have no interest in attacking you if you seem silent and motionless




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1. They can get really jealous
Most of us have experienced petting one dog while another dog watching walked over to get some of the love too. In such a situation, the dog not getting pet can often be heard whimpering. The mere fact that dogs can overtly experience a very human-like emotion such as jealousy may greatly exacerbate someone's symptoms of cynophobia insofar as it adds to the erriness of the animal. This is especially the case when realizing that there are not many other animals that overtly express the emotion of jealousy in the way that dogs do.

2. They have an amazing sense of smell
This should come to no surprise to most people as a great sense of smell is what dogs are most known for. In fact, it is been shown that dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. This is especially impressive when we take into consideration that we only have about 6 million. That means that dogs can smell about 50 times better than we can. Such a keen sense of smell may give those suffering from cynophobia a high influx of unwanted anxiety simply due to the fact that dogs will be able to know of your presence far before you will know of theirs insofar as they are detecting you using their nose.

3. They can see very well in dim lighting
Dogs do not have a great sense of vision as it is estimated that their eye for detail is 6 times worse than that of a human. However, it has been shown that dogs can see in light that is around 5 times dimmer than humans can. Such a fact can invoke a lot of unwanted anxiety in someone suffering from cynophobia and may make them much more hesitant to walk outside in the night.

4. They only sweat on their nose and paw pads
The sweat glands that dogs have are located everywhere except where fur is seen. So, this means that the only areas where dogs can sweat are in their paws and on their nose. Someone with cynophobia may find this to be unsettling insofar as it may sound odd to them due to the sheer uniqueness of it. Nevertheless, with such a sparse amount of sweat glands in dogs, this may be why they can get overheated so easily, causing them to heavily pant after running or when they are in a hot environment.

5. Dog petting lowers blood pressure
It has been shown that petting your dog may in fact help you to lower your blood pressure. The same can likely be said for virtually any other experience which helps to increase your overall equanimity. Nevertheless, even though dog petting may be able to help lower blood pressure in the person doing the petting, such a realization may fall on deaf ears with those suffering from full blown cynophobia as the opposite will likely be the case. Someone with cynophobia can expect to experience a much higher blood pressure when petting a dog.

6. They sometimes roll around in dead animals
Dogs may roll around in a dead animal they killed or just a dead animal in general as a means of them masking their own scent with the scent of the dead animal. This may aid them in more adeptly sneaking up on unsuspecting prey as they would not be able to easily identify the scent of the dog due to the blood and tissue remains of the dead animal overpowering the scent of the dog. Such a disturbing and grotesque display may make those with cynophobia gawk with horror due to the mere unsettling image that this behavior evokes.

7. They eat grass for added nutrition
Most of us have seen dogs occasionally eating grass just like a cow would. At first glance, this display appears to be out of their nature. Thus, rendering it a strange and rare occurrence. However, dogs may eat grass to help them improve their digestion, to help treat intestinal worms, or to help them fill some other nutritional void. Though this is not nearly as unsettling as some of the other dog facts in this list, those with cynophobia may still find this to be anxiety provoking merely due to the fact that by eating grass for reasons of self-nourishment means that they are quite intelligent as they are doing so by means of their instinctive nature only.

8. A newborn pup is toothless, deaf, and blind
Just as human babies are completely vulnerable to the environment around them, so are newborn puppies. Though this may not sound too surprising, it is to a certain degree as there are many different animals who can not only see and hear right out of the womb, but can even walk and run soon after birth. So, if anything, the fact that dogs come out of the womb quite helpless may give some relief to someone suffering from full blown cynophobia.


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Dom Naish

Even normally well-ยญbehaved dogs can become dangerous in certain situations. If you have the advantage of knowing the dog's owner, it is easier to discover when the best and worst times to approach the dog might be.

If not, it helps to know a few general situations which might make a dog more aggressive or defensive. When you are in a safe location, take a moment to contact someone who has experience dealing with dogs and ask if they are able to help the animal. A local animal rescue may be able to safely handle the dog and get him the attention he needs.

When are dogs typically aggressive?

1. Nearly every female dog will get defensive when her pups are involved. Even though they might be adorable, do not approach a dog or her puppies without the dog's owner or other responsible party present. Do not let children pick up puppies either. If the little balls of fur are just too irresistible, have the owner bring you a puppy to hold, preferably when the mother is in another room.

2. Dogs have a natural inclination to protect their territory. This is why certain breeds are so popular for use as guard dogs. But even small dogs can get defensive when strangers near their home. For this reason, it is never a good idea to enter a yard or home where a dog lives without his owner around, unless you know the dog very well.

3. Another wellยญ-known behavior in dogs that can lead to a risky situation is called "food aggression." As with the two points above, this is a very natural condition and it must be trained out of dogs who have it. For those with cynophobia it is best to refrain from approaching a dog who is munching away on a bowl of food or a tasty bone, even if the owner says that he does not become aggressive when he has food.

4. A sick dog can be just as dangerous as a mother dog can, if not more so. When a dog is suffering from an illness or an injury, he is more likely to feel threatened and afraid. If you see a dog that looks unwell or diseased, it may be a good idea to pick an alternate route that does not take you into contact with the animal.


English Bulldog
English Bulldog
Pit Bull
German Shepherd
Australian Shepherd
Lhasa Apso
Jack Russell Terrier
Cocker Spaniel
Bull Terrier

81% of dog bites cause no injury at all or only minor injuries that do not require medial attention.

You have a 1 in 112,400 chance of dying from a dog bite or strike

Most dog bites involve dogs who are not spayed or neutered

Fatal Dog Attacks states that 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds

Over 30 breeds and dog-types were associated with dog bite-related fatalities.

You are at more risk of dying from:
Cataclysmic storm: 1 in 66,335

Contact with hornets, wasps and bees: 1 in 63,225

Air and space transport incidents: 1 in 9,821

Firearm discharge: 1 in 6,905

Choking from inhalation and ingestion of food: 1 in 3,461

Heart disease and cancer: 1 in 7



This article is proudly presented by
Casey Bradford

Did your dog make the cut? All these dogs are ranked by their bite force which is measured in Pounds per Square Inch or PSI. This is not a reflection of any single animal and should only be taken as a scientific study.

What is PSI?
PSI is a unit made to calculate the pressure released upon any given point. The full meaning of psi is "Pound per Square Inch" or "Pound-force per Square Inch". PSI is a measured result of all the pressure applied over one square inch of a pound. It is a very commonly used system and is easy to understand for even some of the most scientifically challenged people. To understand this a little better, take a tire for example. The average tire's pressure generally falls around 32 psi or pounds per square inch. PSI is the scientific method used to explain the force that a dog is able to put forth through their bites. This list documents the twelve strongest dogs based on the psi system.Meanwhile, the PSI that the jaws of animals will make use of is normally average.


However, the pressure may vary based on - What gets bitten, Feelings of the dog - its mood, The dog itself. If compared, while humans make use of an average bite force that ranges from 120-140 PSI, the Nike crocodile's bite force is 5,000 PSI. Well, the bite force of the average dog is placed around 230-250 PSI even though some of these dogs have more strength. Measuring the exact bite force of dogs gets very complicated.

What Dog has the
Strongest Bite?

Dogs with the strongest bite
1. Kangal
Dog with the Strongest Bite!
Bite Force - 743 PSI

Kangals are guard dogs originating from Sivas City in Turkey. They are the strongest dogs in the world and hold the crown for the top bite. These dogs have been used as guard dogs to protect sheep and other flocks against bigger predators such as wolves, jackals, and bears. They are known for their loyalty, protectiveness, and for their gentleness towards children and other animals. This breed is not the best when it comes to strangers due to their protective nature. This means that taking them out for a walk can be a little troubling at times. As with all breeds, be sure to give them proper socialization at a young age to keep them used to meet new people. Luckily, this only adds to the amazing job they can do when involved with the police force or as a home protector. This dog breed can easily take down any medium-sized predator in minutes with their strong muscles and agility. They have great amounts of strength and when talking about bite force, they have the highest pressure per square inch currently recorded. According to the many research tests available, evidence points to the Kangal as having the strongest dog bite in the world.

Dogs with the strongest bite
2. American Bandogge - 730 PSI
Just one look at this big boy and you will know it's a dog not to mess up with. If you think its burly frame is fearful enough to behold, wait till you learn how much pain its jaw can inflict! The Bandog has a bite strength of 730 PSI, which is strong enough to tear a limb and haunt you with scars. The American Bandogge is not a standardized breed recognized by the American Kennel Club or any major canine organization. Simply known as "Bandog" since the Middle Ages, it is used to refer to any muscular and heavily built crossbreed whose parents fall underneath the Molosser category, particularly war dogs who participated the Holy Crusade. Bandogs were developed with the sole purpose of serving as a formidable guardian. The term "Bandog" was derived from the fact that strong metal chains were used to bind this ferocious beast. The exact origins of the Bandog remains a moot point but one thing is for sure, this dog has man and beast stopping capabilities!

Dogs with the strongest bite
3. Cane Corso - 700 PSI
Second on our list is Italy's most valued canine, the Cane Corso. This large and imposing dog is the descendant of the great canines of Roman antiquity. In the recent past, dogs of this breed served as catch dogs in rural areas. They were also employed as sentries and attack dogs by carters, night watchmen, and tax collectors. The Cane Corso's most prominent feature is its large and imposing head. It also flaunts a lustrous short coat that is either jet black or fawn in color. The Cane Corso has an atrocious bite force of 700 PSI. Hence, this puma-like dog is a fearless opponent to anyone who poses a threat to his master. Although the Cane Corso packs a considerable bite strength, these dogs are obedient and affectionate to their family members once they display a definite preference. They are quite intelligent and eager to learn, which makes them practically easy to train. However, their strong prey drive and overprotectiveness should concern you if you have pocket pets or if you always seem to have frequent visitors at home.

Dogs with the strongest bite
4. Dogue De Bordeaux - 556 PSI
Next up is the oldest Molosser-type hailing from Bordeaux, the port city in southwestern France. The Dogue De Bordeaux, also known as the French Mastiff and Bordeaux Mastiff, has been around since the 14th century. Fanciers of this breed made sure to preserve the line pure in future generations. In the distant past, these dogs were assigned to various capacities involving brute strength. They pull carts, haul heavy objects, guard livestock, and watch over the mansions of the nobles they serve. Today, the Dogue De Bordeaux is best known as a laidback companion who snores and drools a lot. Inside the home, these dogs are calm and quiet. Likewise, they are quite tolerant of kids, unlike other mastiffs. As long as you won't hurt or threaten this dog, there is no reason for him to demonstrate his bite strength of 556 PSI. The Dogue De Bordeaux has a powerful build and a monstrous skull, which is claimed as the largest in the canine world. So, it comes as no surprise that its jaw packs a lot of punch.

Dogs with the strongest bite
5. Tosa Inu - 556 PSI
The Tosa Inu is the product of crossbreeding European dogs with the purpose of creating the fiercest canine gladiator. Tosa breeding was at its peak between 1924 and 1933. Back then there were roughly 5, 000 breeders in Japan who aspired to create an impregnable hybrid. It has a bite strength of 556 PSI but unless you are a thief, you won't have to worry about getting your arm lacerated. Like a samurai, these dogs are honest, dignified, and loyal. Tosa Inus can easily cope with a variety of activities as long as they receive proper training and good leadership. However, the Tosa Inu is often presented as a wild menacing dog due to its dark history. Many countries, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Malaysia, have currently banned the ownership of the said breed.

Dogs with the strongest bite
6. English Mastiff - 556 PSI
English Mastiffs are a larger breed of dog. These dogs tend to be calm and very powerful when needed. The ancestors of the Mastiffs are the "Molossus", who were noted as being ferocious and talented war dogs. Today English Mastiffs are very calm and gentle dogs. Despite this dog being giant in stature, they are an extremely gentle breed who will even watch over your children with caring and grace. This dog is also noted to be one of the largest dog breeds in the world and can be a bit of a lazy partner at times. They do not require as much play as some of the other breeds on this list, but they do require a huge portion of food to keep them going daily. Their bite force is enormous and they have one of the highest "bite forces" recorded in dog breeds with 556 pound per square inch. With this enormous about of bite force, the breed can easily break any bone in your body.

Dogs with the strongest bite
7. Presa Canario - 540 PSI
This majestic dog hails from the beautiful Canary Islands and is a far cry from the gentle, dainty canary. The Perro de Presa Canario, simply known as Dogo Canario, is considered as one of the most lethal canines. In fact, it has been linked to numerous fatal attacks to date. The Dogo Canario is a historical war dog and were also used in dog fighting before it was illegalized in the 1940s. This bad boy shows off a heavy, rectangular body and a massive head. It can slam its powerful jaw shut with 540 PSI thus, causing serious injury or even death due to hemorrhage. Dogo Canarios are still prominently aggressive. So, it comes as no surprise that this breed is outlawed in many countries. Regardless, the Dogo Canario is much loved in its native land. They have proven themselves an exemplary guard dog and a lovely family member. Do take note that this dog is not ideal for the average family. They need a big yard to play, regular mental stimulation, and most of all, an unyielding Alpha. If your dog thinks he is a better Alpha than you, he is more than willing to take the role.

Dogs with the strongest bite
8. Dogo Argentino - 500 PSI
The Dogo Argentino was developed in Argentina for the purpose of creating a dog that would exhibit tenacity in hunting as well as an unshakeable resolve in protecting its owner. It descended from the Cordobra Fighting Dog along with other vigorous breeds. With a bite strength of 500 PSI, quick reflexes, and a heavy stature, the Dogo Argentino is unsurprisingly feared by many. These dogs can take on wild boars and buffalos with ease. They are also quite neat. True, the Dogo Argentinos are inherently aggressive but they do not snap without a reason. With early socialization and obedience training, these dogs can be a wonderful addition to the family, a relentless guardian, and a skilled hunter that will bring you dinner.

Dogs with the strongest bite
9. Wolfdog - 406 PSI
This dog is a hybrid between a wolf and a domestic dog. Due to this, keeping them can be slightly more dangerous than keeping your average dog. They also can be a bit harder to come by when looking for a breeder to purchase one from. The physical characteristics can also be a little unpredictable due to the complicated process of mating dogs with feral wolves. Even when the wolf is not completely feral, there currently is no completely domesticated wolf to breed from. That being said, these dogs have a pack mentality and can be extremely loyal.

Dogs with the strongest bite
10. Leonberger - 399 PSI
The Leonberger hails from the city of Leonberg in Baden-Wรผrttemberg, Germany hence, the breed's name. They were bred to resemble lions but truth be told, these dogs look more like cuddly teddy bears, do not they? Despite their enormous size, Leonbergers are as gentle as they are adorable! These giants are prized by their playfulness, nimble wits, and leniency towards small children and the elderly. Families who have owned a Leonberger mentioned how this breed thrives in close-knit families and also gets along well with other pets. They are also quite sensitive, which makes them ideal therapy dogs. Although the Leonberger may have a big heart, it is best not to push this gentle giant to its limits. When angered, it can unleash a bite force of 399 PSI. These dogs are also aggressive chewers and excessive barkers. And although they love children, it is wise that you supervise playtime with these dogs as their size can easily knock down a toddler.

Dogs with the strongest bite
11. Akita Inu - 350-400 PSI
Does the name Hachiko ring a bell? Hachiko was the Akita Inu that waited at the Shibuya Train Station for 10 long years to see his master return. The dog's story caught media attention and was later adapted into films and storybooks. The Akita Inu is showered with love and admiration not only by the Japanese but also by the entire world because of the stout heart and working spirit they possess. While this breed has a couple of commendable traits, the potential is there for this dog to attack with deadly consequences. The Akita Inu can slam its scissor-like jaw shut with up to 400 PSI and you really could not force the dog to open its mouth until it decides to let go. Its sheer size alone is a reason why this breed is feared by some. Despite having an irresistibly cute fox-like face and fluffy coat, some find the Akita Inu intimidating due to its strong striking physique. The Akita Inu, in general, do not have the tendency to bite although they can be stubborn at times. As expected of a brave and loyal dog, they only attack other humans and animals if their family members are in danger. Their territorial personality makes these dogs prone to defend their human family, even if it costs them their lives.

Dogs with the strongest bite
12. Rottweiler - 328 PSI
Rottweilers are a toughened breed of dogs. Originally, they were bred to help with work such as pulling carts and guarding the homestead. They were one of the first dog breeds formally adopted by the police, which still help out in the force today. They are medium in size with a great build and amazing amounts of strength. They are very agile and have high levels of endurance to keep them going. They are also commonly used in many different search and rescue missions by the police and military. This breed is a wonderful combination of strength, intelligence, and endurance. Rottweilers are considered to be fearless, good-natured companions that can beat out just about any breed with their good behavior. This breed is also very alert and can go into defense mode in a matter of seconds when threatened by danger. This dog is used in police operations due to their confidence and powerful build. The bite force in an average Rottweiler is 328 pounds per square inch. That is more than double the weight of this dog's breed.

Dogs with the strongest bite
13. Siberian Husky - 320 PSI
Huskies are delightful pets! They will always be a sled dog by heart so you need to provide them with a huge playground and energy-depleting activities. Otherwise, they will run around your house like a lunatic or cause a community meltdown with their loud howling. Aside from being annoyingly playful at times, there is nothing negative to say about this breed. But do take note that these gentle, happy go lucky dogs have a tremendous bite force of 320 PSI. So, it is quite a relief that they only inherited the lupine facial features of their wild and menacing ancestors, not their temperament.

Dogs with the strongest bite
14. African Wild Dog - 317 PSI
Unlike most of the other dogs included in this list, this breed falls under the rare category of being a "cape hunting dog." This means that this breed is seen as a type of ultimate hunter. This dog breed is a relative of the Sub-Saharan Dog and it is one of the largest dogs in this particular family. They are also known for being hypercarnivorous meaning that at least 70% of their diet is made up of meat. It is also worth noting that according to the IUCA, this breed is considered an endangered species. African Wild Dogs are very social animals and tend to live in packs. They even have been observed to have social hierarchies for bothmales and females within the pack. This breed tends to be a great hunting dog by nature. You can estimate this animal's competitive hunting nature by comparing them to wild animals such as hyenas. This animal is very agile at catching their prey and is only topped in game by bigger threats such as the lion. One of the breed's favorite types of prey is the antelope, which they can easily catch as they can be found in large numbers throughout the Sahara. Of course, living in the wild combined with many years of evolution has made their jaw very strong. Their amount of bite force is enough to break any bone in a deer.

Dogs with the strongest bite
15. American Bulldog - 305 PSI
American Bull Dogs are a strong and powerful breed of dog. They tend to be well built with muscular body types and sport a large head with strong neck muscles. These dogs make great family pets and can adapt to your home's daily life rather easily. They tend to care for their owners and will form strong bonds to anyone they are in regular contact with. While this breed is a cuddler, they are very strong and confident in their abilities. One thing you may want to watch out for is their reaction to strangers. While this dog can be very loving at home, the breed tends to regularly not be trusting of new people. This, of course, can be overcome by regular social interaction in their puppy hood. Also, be warned that this breed can get a bit destructive if not given proper playtime and exercise daily. This breed has quite a bit of power behind them when needed and won't hesitate to confront any attackers if they are truly threatened. Their build topped with the agility of the breed makes them a force to be reckoned with for all intruders that may try to enter your home. They are powerful not just with body stature, but also with their jaw strength.

Dogs with the strongest bite
16. Doberman - 245 PSI
Dobermans are a medium to a large sized dog which are very popular as a domestic house pet. This breed came to be around during the late 19th Century when a tax collector from Germany named "Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann" developed the breed. Doberman dog breeds are highly intelligent, alert, and strong by nature. This extremely loyal breed will stick beside their owner no matter the circumstances, and because of this has become a favorite among owners looking for a dog to protect their home and family. Dobermans are very adaptive and when trained they behave gently with little kids and adults alike. They are very muscular in build and have an athletic body type, which gives them extra points in defense. While many Doberman have tails, you can find a significant number in the breed that have knobs or are generally lacking in the tail department. These dogs are extremely strong and have the build and intelligence to prove it. Their jaw is a bone-breaker and this is why they are also used by many different police forces as guard dogs.

Dogs with the strongest bite
17. German Shepherd - 238 PSI
The German Shepherd ranks as one of the most commonly found domestic dogs in the world. In countries like the United States of America, the German Shepherd ranks as the second most popular dog breed. This breed was initiallybred as a working class dog in Germany. They are highly intelligent dogs and can often be found being used in roles where rescue missions are being carried out by the local police force or even the military at times. These dogs are hard working, easy to train, and can easily adapt to a new environment. Shepherds are known to be very gentle in nature and extremely calm around children or in family settings. They also make wonderful guard dogs due to their intelligence, loyalty, and overall strength. While these dogs are generally passive, they can become defensive if they or their families are put in danger. Their biteis strong enough to break any bone in the human body or to confront any other animal that may threaten them.

Dogs with the strongest bite
18. Great Dane - 238 PSI
The Great Dane, also referred to as the โ€œApollo of Dogs,โ€ will surely intimidate you with its imposing size. This dog can take up your couch, bed, and the rear seat of your car. However, this elegant and well-muscled canine has a heart as big as he is! Great Danes are sensitive creatures. Their patient, sweet, and loving disposition is an irony to their gargantuan size. These dogs can thrive when they are in contact with their family members. Otherwise, they become mentally unstable and aggressive to boot.

Dogs with the strongest bite
19. American Pit Bull - 235 PSI
American Pit Bulls are a medium size dog that can hit between 30 to 90 lbs in weight by the time they are adults. They are a powerful, muscular, and strong breed that is popular throughout the U.S.A. In fact, they currently own the honor of being the strongest dog in their size category. The American Pit Bull was initially bred to guard livestock and watch over them in the event of an attack by predators. While this breed has had a bad rap in recent years, their nature can generally be translated to that of being an overgrown child. These dogs are extremely gentle to those they guard and will only turn vicious in the face of a threat to their families. That being said, this breed will give their own life in defense of those it cares about and is an extremely loyal partner to anyone who is willing to take one into their home. Pit Bulls are a very athletic breed of dog and require you to exercise with them daily. If you miss playing time, do not be too surprised to find some up-turned couch cushions when you return home the next day. They have a wide face with a powerful jaw which is their main defense. They can easily break many hard to damage things if they desired.

Dogs with the strongest bite
20. Labrador Retriever - 230 PSI
America's favorite dog for three consecutive decades is the Labrador Retriever. It comes as no surprise as they are energetic, outgoing, goofy, and simply affectionate. But according to Animal Friends, the family favorite is also a culprit of canine attacks and they all seem to dislike delivery workers. Labradors are notable for their soft mouths. They were originally bred as sporting dogs whose special talent includes retrieving their master's game unharmed or unmarked. Later on, they were employed to operate various tasks as they are quite intelligent, gentle, and eager to learn. Aggression, however, has not exited from this breed's genes, only suppressed. True, Labradors rarely cause fatal harm to their victims but you cannot deny that these dogs pack a powerful punch.

Dogs with the strongest bite
21. Dutch Shepherd - 224 PSI
Dutch Shepherds are sheep herding dogs, originally used by farmers to keep check of their flocks. The breed is originally from the Netherlands where they were primarily bred as a working-class pet. This particular breed is not too choosey or demanding in nature and has the ability to easily adapt to different habitats around the world. They have similarities to the Belgian Shepherd as well as the German Shepherd in their nature. Dutch Shepherds are said to be one of the most active dog breeds out there. More than anything they love to be involved with their family and sink into play time with your kids. This breed is also known for being very calm, but due to their working-class origins will need plenty of daily exercises to wear them out! This breed is commonly used by police and other security agencies as well, due to their powerful jaw and outstanding intelligence compared to other breeds. They are calm and gentle until danger finds them or their loved ones.

Dogs with the strongest bite
22. Alano Espaniol - 227 PSI
Being really big dogs, they come from a line of bull baiting dogs in Europe. They were once the battle dogs off the Middle East. Very serious and reserved, they are not loud and always in your face. They love being at the top and can actually be obedient its owners. They are energetic and acts best with an emergency owner too. Cautious of strangers, they desire a powerful leader of the pack. This leader will be trained to avoid being dangerous. They do better as outside dogs than being inside.

Dogs with the strongest bite
23. Boxer - 230 PSI
This breed does have a powerful bite. Originally bred to hunt, the Boxer was essentially "designed" to have power in the jaw. In effect, the head itself was perfected to allow the dog to be a successful hunter. The wide, undershot jaw was thought to give the dog strength to lock onto prey and hold it in place as his humans worked their way over. It is thought that the wide nose and open nostrils were features bred in to allow a Boxer to breathe easier while his mouth was locked into his prey.

Dogs with the strongest bite
24. Chow Chow - 220 PSI
This breed of dog originally hailed from northern China. They were bred to be a general purpose working dog and despite their fluffy appearance have overseen the safety of livestock for years. Some records have even indicated that this dog might have helped support Mongolian armies in battle. This dog is built quite sturdily and even has a double coat to protect it from bad weather. These dogs do have a tendency to be aggressive or over-protective as adults, so they will require proper socialization when young. This dog can be a good choice for smaller living arrangements such as in an apartment due to the fact that they have lower amounts of energy than most breeds.

Dogs with the strongest bite
25. Malinois Dog - 195 PSI
Malinois is a medium breed of dog that is also known as "Belgian Shepherds". They originated in the French city of Malines, hence the given name of the breed. This breed is recognized for its amazing sense of smell. They are commonly used as detection dogs to help detect explosives and narcotics that otherwise may go unnoticed by most human senses. These dogs are easy to train by nature and have a very high level of intelligence. If you choose to bring one home to your family, expect them to be extremely playful and able to calmly handle your children. This breed was originally bred to become working dogs and this has stayed true to their nature over the years. Many police agencies in the world are using Malinois within their squads still today. In fact, you can find these dogs working everywhere from the United States Secret Service to the Royal Australian Air Force, they are helping to find dangerous explosives and uncover illegal drugs. This breed is very powerful and built to be strong. They also have an impressively strong jaw. An average adult Malinois has a bite force of 195 psi. This means when they bite, 195 pounds of pressure is applied to each square inch. That is more than enough to break one of your bones in one try.



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