Updated on a monthly basis, Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture's dangerous dogs registry keeps tabs on the most threatening dogs in the state. It lists all of the dogs in Pennsylvania that have proven to be a threat.
The list currently includes 641 dogs in Pennsylvania.
While the breeds vary drastically — from chihuahuas to bullmastiffs to chow chows — a handful of breeds consistently show up on the registry.
Nicole Wilson, director of humane law enforcement at the Pennsylvania SPCA, said there are several reasons why some dog breeds might have a bad reputation.
One major factor is that some dogs don't receive the proper training.
"If an individual puts a lot of effort into the animal's behavior and managing the behavior in consideration to the public, it can eliminate (negative) behaviors," Wilson said.
Also, incidents with smaller breeds are less likely to be reported, despite biting just as frequently as larger dogs, Wilson said. The bites are smaller, so they aren't reported as often, she said.
"When you have a smaller dog, people see the dog as more manageable," than a larger dog, Wilson said. "Leeway is not offered to larger dogs."
The size of a population also contributes to why some breeds show up, said Wilson. More people, more dogs, more potential bites.
To prevent your dog from earning a spot on the dangerous dogs registry, Wilson suggests socializing and training the animal at a young age, as a dog that is well-trained is less likely to be aggressive.