U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Vicious Dogs: The Antisocial Behaviors and Psychological Characteristics of Owners

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 54 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2009 Pages: 699-703
Laurie Ragatz M.A.; William Fremouw Ph.D.; Tracy Thomas M.A.; Katrina McCoy B.S.
Date Published
May 2009
5 pages
This study examined whether owners of vicious dogs could be distinguished from other dog owners on various measures of antisocial behaviors and personality dimensions among a sample of 758 college students.
The 66 owners of vicious dog breeds (Pit Bull, Akita, Chow, Rottweiler, Doberman, or Wolf-hybrid) were significantly more likely to report violent criminal behavior compared to owners of large (but not vicious) dogs (n=303), owners of small dogs (n=194), and 181 controls (not a dog owner). Owners of vicious dogs also engaged in more types of criminal behavior compared to all other participant groups. Owners of viscous dogs were also significantly higher than controls on impulsive sensation-seeking and exhibited tendencies of carelessness, selfishness, and manipulativeness compared to other dog owners. No differences were found among the groups on secondary psychopathy (e.g., impulsiveness or self-defeating behaviors) or attitudes toward animal maltreatment. Future research in this area would benefit from examining a sample of community dog owners of diverse education, sex, and ethnic backgrounds. Participants complete a standard demographic information questionnaire, and dog ownership questionnaire, the Illegal Behavior Checklist, the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire, Levenson’s Self-Report of Psychopathy Scale, and the Attitudes Toward the Treatment of Animals Questionnaire. 5 tables and 11 references


No download available