Dominance and aggression are two concepts that are often associated with each other, but their relationship is more complex than many people realize. While dominance can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior, it is not always the case, and there are many factors that can influence how these two concepts are related.

What’s dominance?

First, it’s important to understand what we mean by dominance. In animal behavior, dominance refers to a hierarchical relationship in which one individual (the dominant) has priority access to resources such as food, water, or mates. Dominance is often established through displays of aggression or other assertive behaviors, such as standing tall, baring teeth, or making loud vocalizations.

What’s aggression?

Aggression, on the other hand, is a behavior that is aimed at causing harm or intimidation to another individual. A lot of aggressive behaviors are the outcome of fear where the dog goes into fight/flight mode. It can range from simple displays of warning or threat, such as growling or snarling, to more serious forms of physical violence such as biting or attacking.

What’s the relationship between dominance and aggression?

While dominance and aggression are often associated with each other, it’s important to recognize that the relationship between the two is not always straightforward. In some cases, dominant individuals may use aggression as a means of establishing and maintaining their dominance. For example, a dominant individual may use physical force to prevent others from accessing resources, or to punish subordinates who disobey them.

However, it’s also important to recognize that aggression in many occasions is not a product of dominance. Some individuals may be naturally more aggressive than others, regardless of their position in the social hierarchy. Additionally, there are many situations in which aggression may be provoked by factors other than dominance, such as fear, frustration, anxiety or specific triggers. 


To sum up, dominance and aggression have a complex relationship.  Dominance can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior, but aggression can also be provoked by a variety of factors unrelated to dominance. Understanding the relationship between these two concepts requires a nuanced understanding of the social and ecological