Bite Statistics According to Dog Breed
Recent dog bite statistics shared by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) show more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs yearly in the U.S. The news and social media seem to regularly report attacks, with certain breeds getting more of a bad rap. Our dog bite lawyers share what you should know about dog breeds and bites.
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Bite statistics according to dog breed
The most recent dog bite statistics by breed that were responsible for a dog bite-related fatality include the following:
- Pit Bulls: 284 deaths
- Rottweiler: 45 deaths
- German Shepherd: 20 deaths
- Mixed breeds: 17 deaths
- American Bulldog: 15 deaths
- Mastiff: 14 deaths
- Siberian Husky: 13 deaths
- Labrador Retriever: 9 deaths
- Boxer: 7 deaths
- Doberman Pinscher: 6 deaths
Pit Bulls and Rottweilers have received an unfavorable reputation; combining the figures for both dogs adds up to 76% of fatal dog attacks. However, most breeds on the list have stronger bite forces than other dogs.
Why does it seem like pit bulls are the most dangerous dog breed?
One breed that has the worst reputation is the Pit Bull. These dogs are often considered dangerous pets because of razor-sharp teeth and incredibly strong jaws. But are Pit Bull bite statistics accurate?
A Pit Bull’s average bite strength is about 235 pounds per square inch (psi), and they make the top of the list for the highest number of fatal bites. However, many experts believe this isn’t necessarily because the Pit Bull is more aggressive but because its bite is more powerful than many other dogs.
They receive a bad rap because they’re often used in dog fighting, which can lead to them being seen as a more dangerous breed. It’s important to note that these dogs are usually trained to be aggressive. All dogs are individuals, and not all Pit Bulls are dangerous. According to a recent study, irresponsible ownership is the cause of most aggressive behavior in any dog.
Overall, the evidence does not support the idea that pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds of dogs. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious with them. You should be careful with your interactions with any dog, especially if you are not the owner.
How do I avoid a dog bite?
When out in public, be aware of your surroundings and avoid approaching dogs you don’t know. It’s important to remember that dogs are unpredictable animals. Even the friendliest dog can bite if they feel threatened or scared.
Follow these tips to help to reduce your risk of being bitten by a dog:
- If you see a dog you don’t know, give it space
- Avoid sudden movements or loud noises
- If the dog approaches you, stand still and let it sniff you
- Don’t try to pet the dog or make eye contact
- If the dog starts to growl or bark, back away slowly
- If you must approach a dog, do so slowly and calmly
- Don’t reach out to pet the dog without asking the owner first
How to handle an aggressive dog
Every dog is different and will react differently to certain situations. Here are some tips to try to get the situation under control.
- Stay calm and avoid any sudden movements
- Speak to the dog calmly and try to redirect its attention to something else
- If the dog is still aggressive, back away slowly and leave the area
- If you are bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately
- Identify the trigger that is causing the dog to be aggressive. This could be something like another dog, a person, or an object.
- Once you identify the trigger, try to avoid it. If this is not possible, try to desensitize the dog by gradually exposing it to the trigger in a controlled environment.
Aggression is a serious behavior problem and should not be ignored. If you’re unable to handle the aggression yourself with your own pet, please seek professional help.
What to do if you’ve been bitten by a dog
If you are ever bitten by a dog, it is important to take immediate action to reduce the risk of infection and promote speedy healing:
- Clean the wound: Rinse the wound with soap and warm water for at least five minutes to remove dirt or bacteria. Cover the bite with a clean, dry bandage.
- Apply first aid: If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth or bandage. Elevate the affected area if possible to help reduce swelling.
- Talk to the owner: If possible, talk to the owner about the dog’s vaccination history. This could help you avoid things like rabies treatment.
- Seek medical attention: Even if the wound seems minor, you should see a healthcare professional to assess the injury and determine if further treatment — such as antibiotics or a tetanus shot — is needed. If the wound is deep, you may need stitches or other medical care.
- Report the bite: If the dog that bit you is a stray or you don’t know its owner, report the incident to your local animal control agency. This will help identify the dog and prevent it from biting someone else.
- Speak to an attorney: You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or the death of a loved one if they were a dog bite victim.
When to contact an attorney
Many people who have suffered injuries from dog bites find it necessary to enlist the help of personal injury law firms. If you or someone in your family is a dog bite victim, you may need legal intervention if:
- The dog owner is refusing to take responsibility: If the dog’s owner denies that their dog was involved in the attack or refuses to pay for your medical bills or other damages, you may need to seek legal action to hold them accountable.
- The injury is severe: If you have suffered serious injuries due to the dog bite (scarring, nerve damage, infection, etc.), you may be facing significant medical bills and other expenses.
- You’ve lost income or suffered other damages: If you must take time off work or have incurred other financial losses due to the injury, an attorney can help you seek compensation for these damages.
If you’re unsure whether you need legal counsel, it’s a good idea to go ahead and consult with an attorney who has experience handling dog-bite cases. They can help you understand your legal rights and advise you on the best course of action. Our dog bite lawyers are here to make sure you get compensation for any injuries you have suffered from a dog bite. Our wrongful death attorneys can also help your family if you lost a loved one due to a fatal dog attack.
Busting Myths About Pitbull Bites. (2023).
Dog Bite Prevention. (2023).
McCarthy, N. (2018). America’s Most Dangerous Dog Breeds.
Patronek, G. et al. (2013). Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009).
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