American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and German shepherds are "mean" breeds that some insurance companies consider the riskiest to insure. Insurance companies are particular about which breeds they will cover and which breeds they will not because the companies do not want to handle lawsuits if one of these breeds bites someone. Other "mean" breeds include Akitas, Alaskan malamutes, Siberian huskies, wolf hybrids and Great Danes.
American pit bull terriers are frequently in the news for attacking people, especially children and elderly people. They also cause more fatalities than any other breed, so some insurance companies deny liability coverage to homeowners or renters with pit bulls. Originally bred for aggression and physical strength to bait bears and bulls, modern pit bulls retain some of those fierce qualities. Pit bulls are most likely to bite if startled or provoked.
Rottweilers date back to the Roman Empire and have historically been used as police or guard dogs, and also have a history of herding livestock. The breed's strength increases their risks to children, so owners must socialize the dogs properly. Pit bulls and Rottweilers were responsible for 74 percent of all reported dog bites from 2005 to 2013.