Leading vets say one third of dog deaths are caused by or linked to unruly behaviour – which can be a sign that a dog has a medical problem.
More than three-quarters of dogs to die from undesirable behaviours are put down, RVC said.
The researchers say better training and socialising could save dogs’ lives.
The study – which is the biggest of its kind ever undertaken in Britain – looked at data on a quarter of a million dogs in the UK and found 1,574 dogs that had died before the age of three, the RVC said.
Aggression was the most common undesirable behaviour that led to death, with road accidents coming next.
Breeds with the highest risk were the Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier , and Jack Russell Terrier.
Study supervisor Dan O’Neill said some pet owners use beating of electric shock collars to discipline their pets, which can compromise the animal’s welfare.
Dr O’Neill said: “(The study) suggests the importance of good socialisation of puppies by breeders, of sensible breed selection by owners and of careful dog training after acquiring a dog, to ensure that the lives of dogs and owners are fulfilling for all parties involved.”
He added: “Greater awareness of the scale of this issue can be the first step towards reducing the problems and making the lives of thousands of our young dogs happier.”
Steve Dean, chairman of the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, suggested better training of young dogs could cut the number of animals dying.
He said: “We hope that this new research will create awareness of the significant numbers of dogs that lose their lives because they have never been properly socialised or trained.”