Even The Smallest Breed Of Dog Can Be Aggressive

Marley and Kita are pit bull mixes. Their owner, Melissa Nichols says despite the reputation of being aggressive and vicious, her dogs have never shown a mean streak Melissa says a dog's behavior is dictated by the way it's treated.

"I think it's a lot on how people raise their animal. They've always been around people, they've seen kids, my dogs have and they're never aggressive towards anybody."

Even so, just as a precaution, Melissa says she would never leave any dog, no matter how gentle, unattended with babies and young children.

"Small breed dogs are very, can be very snappy towards children, so it's not just one breed of dog. I think people are more intimidated by large dogs and they don't think little dogs would do anything but I've had a small yorkshire terrier and he was way more aggressive than these two are."

Humane society workers say any dog can be jealous of other animals or toward a new addition to the family, like a baby.

Assistant Director Julie Parks says, "There's always that potential when the dog and the child or even the new pet owner have not properly interfaced with each other where they trust each other and it's clearly understood who is the leader of the household. There's always a risk so we recommend training for the pet and always cautious introduction with pets and smaller children."

Animal shelters use discretion when it comes to letting people, especially those with young children, adopt dogs like pit bulls, chows and rottweilers. Shelter workers say not all of those breeds are dangerous or vicious, but because of their reputations, they don't take chances.