Aggressive behaviours in dogs: a new descriptive-contextual classification  

The descriptive-contextual classification: table  

© Joel Dehasse

Type of aggression Level  Age of start
Education of young / Parental disciplinary and weaning aggression
  • Parental weaning aggression
  • Parental disciplinary aggression
  • Parental educative aggression


Competitive-social aggression
  • Food-elicited aggression

  • Non-food object elicited / possession aggression

  • Resting area-elicited aggression

  • Social interaction/alliance-control-elicited aggression

  • Space-control-elicited aggression

  • Sexual-control-elicited aggression

  • Other resource-elicited aggression, non specified.

  • Dueling fights

    • Dominance aggression


Intrasexual (Intraspecific Intergroup) aggression   
Sexual aggression  
Irritation (irritable) aggression
  •  Frustration-related aggression

  • Pain-related aggression


Defense of young
  • Maternal aggression
Defense of space / Space-eliciting/managing aggression
  • Distancing/Deterring aggression

  • Group-defense aggression

  • Territorial aggression


Redirected aggression   
Pursuit aggression   
Critical aggression 
  • Fear-related/elicited aggression
    • Antipredatory aggression 
Learned aggression  
  • Instrumental aggression  
  • Trained aggression 
Predatory aggressions  
  • Group hunting  
Atypical aggression 
  • Overactivity-related aggression

  • Somatic disorder-induced hyperaggression

  • Idiopathic aggression

  • Dyssocialisation-related aggression




To study any correlation between the different types of aggressive behaviors, it may be interesting to evaluate the intensity/frequency of the behavior and the age when it started. 
The level of intensity/frequency can be appreciated on a scale from 0 to 4, with the following value: 0 (lack of aggression), 1 (a little/low), 2 (medium), 3 (high), 4 (considerable/huge) or any other subjective scale such as 0-10 or percentage. 

© Dr Joel Dehasse - Behaviorist veterinarian - 2004-01-25