Lists are useful when it comes to the breeds considered the most dangerous, but a list like the one referred to herein is the result of generalities and therefore should not be considered as damning evidence about any one particular dog.
The spotlight shines brightest on the pit bull as the most dangerous of dogs. This is the breed responsible for the vast majority of fatal maulings of human beings, and the worst injuries. The best reference works concerning the pit bull problem are:
- Safety Before Pit Bulldogs
- The writings of Merritt Clifton at Animal People, such as The Shelter Killing of Pit Bulls, and currently at Animals 24-7.
However, there are many breeds that have killed, disfigured and disabled people. Efforts aimed only at the pit bull and not other breeds, and efforts that focus on breeds and not the conduct of irresponsible owners and breeders, will not succeed in significantly reducing the losses caused by dog attacks upon people. Because the pit bull problem essentially a people problem, Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips (the author of dogbitelaw.com) advocates "PSL" rather than "BSL" -- "People Specific Laws" rather and "Breed Specific Laws." See “BSL,” Out! Welcome “PSL”! - People Specific Laws to Reduce Dog Bites.
Lists nevertheless are important. For one thing, there are people who go to adoption groups and accept a dog without knowing anything about its breed. The result is an unhappy family and an upset dog that ends up on the street, at the pound, or in another strange home. Potential dog owners also need to keep in mind that serious prejudice and fear will be directed their way if they harbor certain breeds of dog. The dogs on this list need special attention, a lot of care, sufficient training, and all the other things that combine to make a "good" dog, not because every dog of a certain breed is vicious, but because these are the most powerful dogs and therefore the ones that can do the most damage. Finally, the list referred to herein is valuable as a reference item because if one wishes to exercise an abundance of caution in one's affairs, one might want to steer clear of associating with the members of these breeds.
The best list of breeds considered most dangerous can be found at Daxton's Friends: Potentially Dangerous Breeds. While there, read the home page for its cautionary story about getting the wrong kind of dog for your household.