Vicious dogs part 2: Criminal thinking, callousness, and personality styles of their owners

Allison M. Schenk, Laurie L. Ragatz, William J. Fremouw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Every year over 885,000 dog bites require serious medical attention. Based on human injury and insurance claims, six dog breeds were designated as "vicious" (Akitas, Chows, Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Wolf-mixes). This study was conducted to expand on previous research examining antisocial tendencies and personality styles of people choosing to own vicious breeds. Seven hundred and fifty-four college students completed a questionnaire assessing type of dog owned, criminal thinking, callousness, personality, alcohol usage, and deviant lifestyle behaviors. Vicious dog owners reported significantly higher criminal thinking, entitlement, sentimentality, and superoptimism tendencies. Vicious dog owners were arrested, engaged in physical fights, and used marijuana significantly more than other dog owners. However, the homogeneous sample utilized could impact the generalizability of these findings. Choosing to own a vicious dog may be a "thin slice" indicator of more antisocial tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-159
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Criminal thinking
  • Dog owners
  • Forensic science
  • Personality
  • Vicious dogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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