Knowing dog attack and dog bite statistics and information can not only dispel myths about different dog breeds, but prevent a potentially life changing situation from happening.
In the guide below, we outline some stats and information which might be most important to know.
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Most Important Dog Attack & Dog Bite Stats & Information To Know
- Dog bite statistics can vary between countries and areas
- From what we see though based on US statistics …
- Most dog bites show only slight, or even no injury (over 80%)
- Children below the age of 12 make up most of dog dog bite cases
- There’s several breeds that are ranked among the dogs that bite the most in total. Total bites by breed can be measured in a number of ways though, and can be influenced by many factors such as the total number of breeds owned in one area or one country (more popular breeds in this instance might make up a higher % of bites)
- Pitbulls and Rottweilers make up most of the total dog bites resulting in serious injury and death according to a range of statistics
- Temperament tests show that Rottweilers and American Pitbulls in particular though have temperament passing rates about 84% – which raises questions on the reasons these breeds are responsible for majority of serious bite injuries (apart from these breeds being bigger and able to apply more power and force compared to a smaller dog)
- This contrast in results suggests that dog bites and dog attacks, or in particular bites and attacks ending in serious consequences, could be influenced by other factors like breeding, upbringing, how the dog is treated, the environment the dog is in, and how humans interact with the dog than the dog’s actual breed
- Additionally, in many dog bite cases, it can be difficult to make a valid determination of the dog’s breed
- But, Pitbulls in particular still make up most of reported serious dog attack injuries and cases regardless of cause and reasons – so this is still worth important consideration, even though calm and gentle natured Pitbulls exist for example. Questions have to be asked of the instincts and drives of the breed overall, and how they are treated by most owners, as well as what causal factors are relevant in most attacks
How Many Dog Bites Happen Per Year?
Just in the US alone, 4.5 to 4.7 million dog bites happen per year.
What Is The Main Result Of Dog Bites?
Of the roughly 4.5 million people bitten a year in the US:
- 81 percent showed slight or no injury
- 18.99 percent were treated for injuries and released
- 0.01 percent displayed serious injuries resulting in hospitalization
How Many Dog Bites Result In Death?
Between 2001 to 2018, deaths from dog bites ranged anywhere between 23 to 43 deaths in a given year.
What Are The Chances Of Dying From A Dog Bite Or Attack?
There’s a 1 in 112,400 chance.
Dog Bite Stats By Breed – Which Breed Bites The Most, & Which One Has The Most Dangerous Bite Rate?
There’s many ways to measure dog bites by breed:
- You could measure total bites and see dog breeds that bite the most.
- You could measure bite rate by breed taking into account what % of total dog numbers a breed makes up.
- You could measure total bites that end in serious injury and death.
- These are just a few examples.
A few relevant stats are:
Total Number Of Bites, Or Breed Share Of Total Bites
- 1. Unknown
- 2. Pit bull
- 3. Mixed breed
- 4. German shepherd
- 5. Terrier
- 5. Rottweiler
Dogs that bite the most:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
- Lhasa Apso
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Cocker Spaniel
- Bull Terrier
One study from Denver Colorado identified that attacks were most common with these breeds, in these %’s, in the Colorado area:
- Labradors – 13.3%
- Pitbulls – 8.4%
- German Shepherds – 7.8%
- Rottweilers – 3.9%
- Chows – 3.5%
Between 1982 and 2014, total number of attacks by breed, that resulted in significant injury or death where the breed was clearly identified by animal control officers or others with related experience, were as follows:
- Pitbull – 3397
- Rottweiler – 535
- German Shepherd – 113
- Bullmastiff – 111
- Wolf hybrid – 85
- Husky – 83
- Akita – 70
- Boxer – 64
- Chow – 61
- Labrador – 56
Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982 (time.com)
According to CanineJournal, between 2005 to 2017, Pitbulls accounted for 65% of deaths from dog attacks in that time period in the US (askadamskutner.com)
Dog bites from Pitbulls and mixed breeds are most severe (aaha.org)
A review of 82 dog bite cases at a level 1 trauma center where the breed of dog was identified concludes that attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs (dogbitelaw.com)
The bottom five breeds for bite risk are dalmatian, pointer, Great Dane, Pekingese, and spitz (aaha.org)
Temperament Testing Of Different Dog Breeds
Maxlawsc.com (resource linked at the bottom of this guide) also lists the most aggressive dog breeds based on a temperament test (albeit on a small sample size). Bearded Collies only passed the temperament test 56% of the time, whilst french bulldogs passed 96% of the time.
Which Demographics Of People Are Most Likely To Be Bitten?
- Men have a higher incidence rate of being bit compared to women
- Children between the ages of 1 and 12 have the highest incidence rate of being bitten amongst all age groups (51% of all dog bite victims are 12 or under)
Potential Causes For Dog Bites
Overall, breed can play a part, but there are other factors that are genetic (related to the parents and genes and drives passed on), related to upbringing and lifestyle (treatment by parents, breeder, the owner, and others), related to individual events (like mistreatment), and situational factors to consider (what they dog was doing at the time of the attack, what humans were doing to it, and other external stimuli and events).
A few reasons might be:
- Over 70% of all dog bites happen because the dog isn’t neutered
- Dogs may also bite if they believe they are in danger, or they feel stressed or scared
- Dogs may also bite to protect themselves, or other animals and humans they value
- Chained and tethered dogs are 2.8 times more likely to bite or attack
- In about 80% of dog bite cases, the breed of the dog could not be identified as a factor in the dog bite, or there was no valid way to determine the breed
- Circumstances that cause a dog to bite vary and may be influenced by breed behavior tendencies and the behavior of the victim, parents, and dog owner.
- Behavior such as teasing the dog comes to mind as a top reason: other studies show that in most dog bite cases, the kid started it. Grabbing at the dog was the behavior most likely to provoke the dog to bite. Specifically, pulling his tail, tugging his hair, or yanking a paw.
[What a dog has been bred for can matter – One of the problems with some breeds of dogs is that they have a history of being bred to fight or be aggressive in their lineage – in the same way that herders have an instinct to herd, pointers have an instinct to point, guardians have an instinct to protect, and so on] (time.com)
A study on fatalities between 2000-2009 in the journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that in over 80 percent of those cases there were four or more significant factors related to the care and control of the dog. These were dogs that had not been socialized; they were large, they were sexually intact; and they had no relationship to the person who was killed. In other words, perfect storm of factor upon factor (nationalgeographic.com)
It’s important to note that in some dog bite and dog attack reports, people may incorrectly identify other breeds as being a Pitbull or Rottweiler for example, when they aren’t. This might be a potential issue for reporting.
The CanineJournal.com resource in the sources list also lists more potential causes/reasons.
Most Common Cause Of Dog Bites To The Face
Some studies show that 75% of dog bites to the face are preceded by a human bending over the top of, or coming down onto a dog (healthypets.mercola.com).
It’s possible that a dog feels threatened, smothered, scared or anxious when this happens, and biting it a reactionary or defensive behavior.
Coming from the front or side of the dog, getting their attention first, and leading with a hand and not the face, might all help in minimising the chances of a dog bite to the face.
Not putting the face near the dog’s face/mouth at all might also be a good way to minimize risk.
Good Resources On Dog Bites & Attacks
These resources have more stats, information and considerations to do with dog bites and attacks:
- Dog Bite Statistics (maxlawsc.com)
- Dog Bite Statistics (petpedia.co)
- Dog Bite Statistics (dogbitelaw.com)
- Dog Bite Stats & Trends (aaha.org)
- List Of Fatal Dog Attacks (wikipedia.org)
- Dog Bite Scale, By Level (apdt.com)