RSPCA Shop Next Gen Education
Colour mode

Aggression in dogs

Aggression is a normal part of the way animals behave. People often only consider aggressive behaviour in dogs to be a problem when it results in biting. However, aggression includes 'grumbling', growling, snarling, teeth-baring and snapping at the air (without making contact). Bites can vary from light touches with the teeth to inflicting serious injury.

What is canine aggression?

Aggression is an outward emotional expression used to communicate various intentions. Aggression is one of many behaviours dogs use to help them cope.

Many of these behaviours are passive. We label 'aggression' when the dog changes from moving away or showing unhappiness to actively responding.

Learn more about dog aggression

Clinical Animal Behaviourist David Ryan answers our FAQs about canine aggression.

The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) recognises this advice as best practice.

Find out more