Most dog owners’ worst nightmare would be their dog attacking and biting someone, and as well as running the risk of causing serious and even life-threatening injuries to the person in question, might cost you as the dog’s owner a lot of money, and even a criminal conviction and the life of your dog.
All dog owners carry a great responsibility for taking all possible steps to ensure their dogs don’t harm other people; and for the owners of laid back, sociable and generally very friendly dogs, it can be easy to assume that such a dog simply would never attack a person in any situation.
However, there is one particular scenario that tends to greatly increase the risk of even the most kindly natured of dogs attacking a person, and which many dog owners would be deeply shocked by – and that scenario is when somebody enters the dog’s territory and so in the dog’s mind, intrudes upon or threatens their home and even family.
This is an “intrusion” that happens at most homes every day – when the postman calls, and/or other deliveries are received to the home. When a person not part of a dog’s immediate family enters their territory, the dog’s behaviour can become highly unpredictable, and every year, thousands of postal workers and other delivery workers are the victim of dog attacks serious enough to warrant hospital treatment, indicating the sheer scale of the problem.
Dog attacks on postmen aren’t the sole preserve of one breed, and even very small toy dogs will potentially defend their home from a perceived risk. However, data released by the Royal Mail, Communication Worker’s Union, and dog insurance companies indicates that certain dog breeds are responsible for more attacks on postal workers than most others – and the ones that are might surprise you.
In this article we’ll tell you what dog breeds are most likely to attack postal workers, and share some thoughts on why. Read on to learn more.
This makes sense, given that mixed breed dogs are more common than any other dog type overall, when you include hybrids in the mixture.
It also indicates the sheer range and variety of dog types that can and will defend perceived threats to their home and family, regardless of size or general temperament.
The pedigree dog breed most likely to bite the postman is the German shepherd; and this is a breed that most of us associate with a number of core traits such as a strong tendency to guard, a territorial nature, intelligence, strength, and being highly protective of their families.
German shepherds are not aggressive dogs by nature, but they are a hugely popular and versatile guarding breed; and this can be a positive trait, but needs to be very carefully managed and controlled.
This is also something of a numbers game once more, as the German shepherd is a common breed, being the 8th most popular in the UK overall.
The Staffy is the third most common dog type or second most common pedigree breed to bite the postie. Once more, the sheer number of Staffys around definitely plays a part here, and this is the 10th most popular breed in the UK and so, a hugely common one.
Staffordshire bull terriers tend to be soulful, affectionate and very gentle dogs that avoid conflict, but they are very loyal to their families and will potentially defend family and home from any potential threat very strongly if their owner is not there to lead them.
The Border collie being the fourth most common dog type or third most common pedigree breed involved in attacks on posties is something of an eye-opener to many people. Again taking into account the breed’s position as the 13th most popular dog breed in the UK, the proportion of them around compared to other dogs certainly plays a part.
The Border collie might not be what many of us think of as a guarding breed, but these are dogs that have long held working roles involving a lot of independence and autonomy, often working to herd and protect flocks and making important decisions on the go; which can of course result in a sense of responsibility to see off a potential intruder in a domestic situation too.
Finally, the Labrador retriever is a breed that would be right at the bottom of many people’s lists of dogs they’d think would be likely to bite a postie – or anyone, in any situation.
This in itself may be part of the problem. The Labrador tends to be personable, social and very friendly, and they are not by nature aggressive dogs. That said, they are still dogs; and how they behave when they perceive a threat and their owners aren’t there to direct and reassure will be a dog’s reaction, breed notwithstanding.
Labs are as likely as any other dog to defend their home; but their natures mean that many Labrador owners, who might be more speculative with another breed are less likely to recognise this, increasing the risk.
The Labrador is also a very common breed once more, and the 6th most popular in the UK overall.