Dog Bite Statistics (How Likely Are You To Get Bit?)

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Aggressive dogs playingNote: This article is based on third-party statistics. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of this website.

According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year, and 900,000 of those bites become infected. The U.S. population is approximately 325.8 million people as of 2017. That means a dog bites 1 out of every 72 people.

These are scary statistics. But scary becomes a lot less so when you’re armed with the right information. From the top breeds to be wary of, to accounting for your own behavior around animals, to why dogs actually bite in the first place, we’re giving you an arsenal of information in this article so you can bite back in the dog bite debate.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

Before we start profiling dogs or analyzing your behavior around them, let’s talk about the question everyone should first be asking: why does a dog bite?

  • Dogs bite as a reaction to a stressful situation.
  • They may be scared or threatened.
  • To protect themselves, their puppies, or their owners.
  • They’re not feeling well or if they’re startled.
  • They may nip or bite during play (which is why rough play should be avoided to ensure you don’t overly excite your animal).

Keep these triggers in mind anytime you’re around a canine. Your awareness of their mental state will help you recognize a potential bite situation more quickly.

Dog Bite Statistics

  • Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year
  • Dogs that bite the most:
  • In 2016, there were an estimated 78 million dogs in the U.S.
  • 81% of dog bites cause no injury at all or only minor injuries that do not require medial attention
  • Dog bites sustained by children have been decreasing in the past decade
  • 30+ breeds of dogs and mixes are incorrectly identified as “pit bulls”* in dog bite incidents, attributing the pit bull with an unfair and overstated number of incidents (*pit bull is not technically a dog breed; breeds that are commonly referred to as pit bulls in the U.S. are American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Bully)
  • You have a 1 in 112,400 chance of dying from a dog bite or strike
    • You are at more risk of dying from:
      • Cataclysmic storm: 1 in 66,335
      • Contact with hornets, wasps and bees: 1 in 63,225
      • Air and space transport incidents: 1 in 9,821
      • Firearm discharge: 1 in 6,905
      • Choking from inhalation and ingestion of food: 1 in 3,461
      • Heart disease and cancer: 1 in 7
  • Most dog bites involve dogs who are not spayed or neutered
  • Fatal Dog Attacks states that 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds
  • The insurance industry paid more than $530 million in dog bite related claims in 2014

Video: Dog Bite Statistics

The video below discusses more dog bite statistics.

What Breeds Have the Strongest Bite?

Below are the top 12 dogs with the strongest bite in terms of PSI (pound per square inch or pound-force per square inch), as reported by PetComments.com. This list is not indicative of any specific animal and should only be viewed as a scientific study.

We certainly recognize that there are many well behaved and sweet dogs of these breeds, especially when paired with responsible owners.

  1. Kangal: 743 PSI
  2. English Mastiff: 556 PSI
  3. Wolfdog: 406 PSI
  4. Rottweiler: 328 PSI
  5. African Wild Dog: 317 PSI
  6. American Bull Dog: 305 PSI
  7. Doberman: 245 PSI
  8. German Shepherd: 238 PSI
  9. American Pitbull: 235 PSI
  10. Dutch Shepherd: 224 PSI
  11. Chow Chow: 220 PSI
  12. Malinois: 195 PSI

How to Protect Yourself Against the Risk of Dog Bites

Dog liability insurance is a special policy that you can get to insure yourself in case you have what a landlord or other important person in your life might consider a “dangerous dog breed.” If you have one of these dogs, you most certainly know it as some people are probably a little scared of your pup. It is unlikely that they need to be, but better safe than sorry in case a situation ever were to arise where your dog bit someone.

Why? Because with liability insurance you would merely file a claim and it would cover the cost of the situation. In many cases, we have heard of dogs’ lives being saved by the ability to cover these sorts of incidents by proactively seeking insurance rather than reacting after a bad situation occurs. Better safe than sorry, right?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims (in dollars) result from dog bites or dog-related injuries, and the average cost is more than $37,000.

InsureMyCanine logoIf you are interested in protecting yourself with dog liability insurance, visit our partner at InsureMyCanine.com to learn more and get a free quote.

Decreasing Your Chances of a Dog Bite Attack

While we’re not absolving the canine completely of its own responsibility in a dog-bite situation, there are always two sides to a story — even a bad one. When it comes to your side, there are more than two things that you can do to decrease your chances of an attack.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog

There are a few key things to consider before bringing a new dog into your home, especially if you already have other animals or children. Below are a few factors that, if considered, can help decrease your chances of an unwarranted attack before an animal ever walks through your front door.

  • Dogs with a history of aggression are not appropriate for a home with children. Period.
  • Before choosing a dog, research and consult with a professional (a trusted vet or dog trainer would be an excellent resource) to find the best breed for your needs.
  • Proper socialization and training for your pup is key.
  • Spend time with your prospective pet before adopting to ascertain aggressive tendencies.
  • Spay or neuter your animal to reduce aggressive tendencies before bringing them home.

How to Prevent a Dog Bite

Just like people, there are always good pets that snap. Even though the dog never displayed any aggressive attitudes, even though you didn’t provoke him to attack, there are still those unaccountable instances that no one can explain or rationalize. However, more often than not, this isn’t the case.

That’s why, when dealing with any dog, you should maintain confident, but cautious body-language. Below are a few things you can do to make sure your attitude doesn’t trigger an attack.

  • Don’t approach an unfamiliar animal.
  • Do not run from a dog, panic or make loud noises.
  • If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, remain motionless. Do not run or scream. Avoid direct eye contact.
  • Don’t disturb a dog while they’re eating, sleeping, or taking care of their puppies.
  • Allow a dog to sniff and smell you before you attempt to pet it. Afterward scratch the animal under the chin, not on the head.
  • Report strays or dogs displaying strange behavior to your local animal control.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and remain motionless. Be sure to cover your ears and neck with your hands and arms. Avoid eye contact and remain calm.
  • Don’t encourage your dog to play aggressively.

Dog Bite Statistics Infographic

Dog Bite Statistic Infographic

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Be Mindful of “Breeds”, But Not Fearful

You’ve likely heard of the Pit Bull, touted as the type most responsible for dog bites. But you can dismantle much of your fear of them with our Pit Bull Facts article.

Unfortunately, claims against Pit Bulls account for the majority of reported fatal attacks in the United States (again, many of these are misreported due to a lack of understanding of dog breeds and types).

While there’s no denying that one should be more vigilant around a large dog than say, a Beagle, there’s also no denying that an animal is part product of its environment.

Remember that any dog can bite, no matter how well-trained it may be. Many popular family dogs have caused fatalities including Labradors and German Shepherds. So it is always a good idea to be a responsible dog owner and make sure pets are supervised at all times with others.

Finally, if you have a dog that’s prone to biting, consider a training collar or online training courses to help change their bad behavior.

Have you had an issue with dog bites before?

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Sara is a writer for Canine Journal. She adores dogs and recently adopted a rescue pup named Beamer. Whole she may be adjusting to life with another being to care for, she needed no time to adjust to all the extra love.

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Lonnie
Oh I know the Wild African dog is a must to have…Lordy, what a dumb list
R swig
Obviously the writer is a bias dog lover
Dayne Creveling
Yes, there are a about 20 breeds that comprise ‘Pit BUlls’, and they are responsible for what percentage of dog-related deaths? Care to share that number? The fact that this site does not give the actual numbers for dog bite by breed (it’s even available on Wikipedia ffs) leads me to believe this is yet another ‘it’s not Pit Bulls’ website.
Jonathan
“Pit Bulls” or associated breeds are supposedly responsible for 70% of the fatal dog attacks in America according to Dogsbite. However In a 2000 review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which examines data from both media reports and from The Humane Society of the United States, pit bull-type dogs were identified in approximately one-third of dog bite-related fatalities in the United States between 1981 and 1992. However, the review notes that studies on dog bite-related fatalities which collect information by surveying news reports are subject to potential errors, as some fatal attacks may not have been reported, a study might not find all relevant news reports, and the dog breed might be misidentified.The AVMA has also noted fundamental problems with tracking breed in dog bite-related fatalities. In a 2013 study of 256 fatalities in the United States from 2000–2009, the AVMA determined that valid breed determination was possible for only 17.6% of cases.
Jennifer
You take the words of one stupid person saying dogsbite is a bad site and delete info about them, but gobs of others who confirm that dogsbite is legitimate, and you ignore theirs and stick with the one dumb idiot who spoke against them??? I will not send anyone to this page now that you’ve done this. You are an ignorant fool.
Claudia
My baby brother was mauled by a neighbors pit when he was 8yo, this dog was kept in a tiny cage with raw meat hanging over it all the time and when the chance arose, he jumped a 5’ fence and charged my brother who was just playing in OUR fenced in yard with a friend and our other brother. The pit “locked” onto my brothers face and did a lot of damage. I had to sit and hold my brothers eye in his face until the ambulance arrived. This event made me deathly afraid of pits my whole life. I am now 51yo and 4 years ago I adopted a 4 month old pit from a kill shelter the day before she was to be euthanized. I have raised and bred Rottweilers and Boxers and I have to say I honestly feel that I am a great pet owner. I have had 2 situations where one of my dogs bit someone. The first one was a Rottie that was leashed as we were walking at a rest stop when a man came out of the trees and approached us at a rather quick pace. My dog turned to protect us and bit the mans hand. I wanted to call the police and the man quickly excused the dog and ran off (I can only speculate what his intentions were). The other incident occurred when I was disciplining one of my children and my Boxer grabbed me by my arm and pulled me away. Yes, she broke the skin and my husband was ready to put her down but I told him that she was only doing her job, to protect my kids even if that was from me. I never had any other problems from ANY of my dogs. My vets were always complimenting my dogs as they were very well behaved. My pit sleeps with 2 cats that totally adore her, she shares her food with said cats and I can take her food away without so much as a growl. I totally and completely believe that a dog’s behavior is controlled by the way they are treated.
I am constantly being asked if my pit bites, and my response is always the same… “She has teeth and she is a dog, she has never bitten anyone as of yet but she can.” I have respect for my dogs and what they can do and they in turn respect me and what I do for them.
Comparing a pit to other dogs simply because of their breed is no better than comparing a man of color to other men simply because of the color of his skin. There are good and bad in all walks of life.
Jack Sprat
Very well said and thank you for being kind and brave enough to take a chance.
Teri
I reviewed the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Australian Shepard Dog did not appear at all, yet the Canine Journal listed this breed. Any explanation?
Kimberly Alt
We didn’t use a list of dog breeds that bite the most from the CDC. We used this source, which is also linked in the article.
Jumpindogs
There can never be an accurate assessment of pit bull bites or fatalities because, as the Huffington Post puts it, “It is commonly accepted that “pit bull” is not a breed but a loosely defined and general category. Definition of this category varies depending upon the source. Any blocky headed dog, or any mix of breeds that is between 35 and 100 pounds and upwards of 30 individual dog breeds may currently fall in this broad category through the use of visual breed identification.”

There are simply too many breeds, and mixes thereof, that make up the pit bull type. Thus, the three breeds that are commonly considered pit bulls cannot logically have dog bite/fatality statistics applied to them since there are so many other breeds (approximately 30) that contribute to the recognized pit bull type.

This doesn’t negate the issue but does require that we recognize that a much larger number of dog breeds are responsible for these horrific bites/fatalities. It’s not primarily “pit bulls”.

Dayne Creveling
Yes, but some people don’t even want to have that discussion. They act as though we HAVE to single everything out by breed and cannot possibly look at the ‘catagory’ as dangerous or some other nonsense.
Lab
The individual referred to as pit bull demonstrates a clear lack of understanding the responsibilities of owning a dangerous animal by simply refusing to recognize what makes it such. I think the responsibility of a pets actions should fall on its owners. It clearly doesn’t at the moment and that’s why these silly pit owners feel empowered by owning such a pitiful creature. Use of responsible breeding methods should be utilized to permanently remove the
Inferior “breed” that is referred to as pit. Fix them all and they won’t be able to kill our pets or children.
Leigh
Humans are the most dangerous (and stupid) animals.
Leanne
Comments like yours are just plain stupid and unkind.
HELLO
Pardon me, but you are stupid. No offence, but you are more likely to be killed by a coconut than a pit bull. A FLIPPING COCONUT. Pit bulls are SO FREAKING SWEET, like you clearly are not.
Mellie
This comment is ridiculous. Your ignorance on the subject is astounding.
lindm0120
This article is not consistent within itself. The first listing of PSI has a Doberman listed with a PSI of 245. Scroll down to the poster and the Doberman’s PSI is listed as 600. Who knows what the real statistics are partly due to the media? Other breed dog bites or fatalities are not always reported on the news or newspapers and if there is mention of a dog attack that is not a pit bull they usually don’t mention breed at all. In the 80’s and 90’s it was always the GS and Rotties that made the news whenever one of them attacked or had a negative behavior reaction and now the media has moved on to a different breed.

When one of my granddaughters was little, she was petting my mother’s Pekingese and when she stood up, Gizmo jumped up and bit her upper lip. I had to take her to ER for stitches and gave all dog info to the ER staff. An animal rescue friend of mine told me that the police and/or HS would contact me and maybe have him quarantined. Apparently the hospital never reported it because I never heard from anyone. But if I had said Gizmo was a Pit the police and HS would probably have beat me to my house. About 6 years later I ended up rehoming my mother’s Peke due to concerns of him taking advantage of my elderly mother. He had bitten her on the face – didn’t break the skin but caused bruising and swelling and would bite the caregivers and mother and even grazed the finger of a nurse when my mother was in a rehab facility and they told me to bring Gizmo to see her.

Emily
Maybe the reason why you think the article is not consistent with itself… is because you somehow saw “Doberman” listed twice, with two different PSIs?
Anna
It is listed once in the mail article as 245psi and once on the graphic as 600 psi
Kimberly Alt
To clarify, Doberman’s have a 245 PSI. I’m not sure why it’s showing up as 600 in the graphic for some. We updated our graphic and it shows up as 245 PSI for me. Perhaps it is a caching issue. I’m sorry for the inconvenience it has caused.
Julie
Dr. Michael S. Golinko, who completed the largest dog bite study to date, states pit bulls are a danger to children.
Laurie
I have just read the entire article of Dr. Golinko and other doctors/veternarians. The article is fact!. As of Thurs. Feb. 16, 2018. Our little Deeto, a small Shitzu/Maltese was let outside to go to the bathroom. He is dead! Killed in our own driveway in Neenah, WI. 2 pitbull/boxer dogs were left out at there house by there owners to do the same reason. They came over here and just chomped him to death. These dogs had no collars on or any other identification. Neglect on the pitbull owners? I would say yes. I wish people who want these dogs to WAKE UP! They can be a family pet to you, but they are also extremely unpredictable and very strong! This breed and other dangerous/aggressive breeds should be labeled by vets as possible/probable dangerous animals to children, adults and other pets/animals. There needs to be more action from all cities to recognize this and do something to prevent this BEFORE it happens. To the owners who wish to keep an aggressive breed, you need to have a fenced in back yard. Have there dogs microchipped, Have them spayed or neutered. Have them alert their home owners insurance about the ownership of this breed. And take out additional insurance on them.
Our little dog Deeto is in our chest freezer waiting for burial in another place. We miss him terribly and so do the many people who have know him. He was 10 yrs. old.
Kimberly Alt
I am so sorry, Laurie. What a terrible story to share. Thank you for your courage in sharing it with us and our readers and please know we are thinking of you and your sweet Deeto.
Pitbull
Before I begin, I am sorry for your loss losing a pet is like losing a family member but that being said I want to let you on something, ANY dog can be aggressive not just a specific “breed” when I was younger my family and a black lab and he was one of the best dogs ever! But he get aggressive if you would try to touch or move him while he was laying down, I do agree it is the owners part of how a dog is treated and later on how that neglect or how it is treated is how the dog will be but after my lab passed away my parents were devastated and that following Christmas the most kind hearted lady told a shelter she would pay for every adoption from the 1st of December until the 30th so I took my opportunity and adopted a 10 month old pitbull(crazy right) and let me tell you since I’ve gave this guy a new life and home he has been the best dog despite the numerous threats given by neighbors and others. So this so called “aggressive breed” in my own opinion doesn’t exist, the media has portrayed a this breed as a monster and an article that I just read from an unbiased website stated that actually the top 5 most dogs bites came from dogs that were “family friendly” and weren’t even categorized has “aggressive breeds”
Emily
I agree! I had a chocolate Lab that was food-aggressive. We had to be VERY careful around her! I always raise my puppies with my hand in their food bowl while they eat, and in my 52 years, Coco was the ONLY dog who just couldn’t be trained! Still, we loved her for 16 years. Quirks and all. 🙂

We now have a Pit Bull, (and a Malti-Zhu, and a Cocker) and I raised him the same way… hand in the bowl. You CAN train a Pit how to have a soft bite, contrary to what Pit-haters think. He refuses to bite down if my fingers are anywhere near his mouth. As a matter of fact, I was being a goof and fed him a piece of chicken with a fork. (That’s because he thinks he’s human. LOL!) Anyway, the moment he sensed something ‘different’ in his mouth, he refused to take the chicken! I couldn’t believe it! He LOVES chicken! So I had to take it off the fork and hand it to him. But even then… he tested the waters to see if it was okay.

That ‘leave them alone while they’re eating’ thing should NOT be confused with proper training. (Strange dogs? Yes! Family pets? No.) You should have your hands in the bowl, in their mouths, touching them, interrupting them, taking the food away, but ALWAYS giving it back, and then leave them in peace. They need to learn that fingers aren’t food. I’ve had SO MANY dogs in my life! (I lived on a ranch for part of it), and have never had a problem. Until Coco.

These Pit-haters? They have NO IDEA what they’re talking about.

I rescued my Pit from a lifetime in a fighting ring. But the ONLY thing he fights now? Are his stuffed animals.

My Malti-Zhu, on the other hand, is a little monster. LOL! My Pit always just lays there, looking amazed. LOL!

Kimberly Alt
Emily that is such a great training tip for being in your dog’s business while they’re eating. This is so important and I love the way you worded it. Fingers are not food and this helps them learn it. And it’s so funny that your pup wouldn’t eat the chicken off the fork because the fork was unfamiliar. So stinking cute! Thanks for sharing!
Emily
Oh! Laurie! You must be having so many nightmares! Daymares, even!

If something like that happened to me while I was walking my Malti-Zhu, I would never be the same! I’m so sorry for your loss!

See, that, right there, is irresponsible ownership. Those Pits should’ve NEVER been allowed to do their deed on their own! All dogs require supervision… even if it’s just to be courteous and to pick up their poop! In all of my years, I’ve never allowed my indoor dogs to go out on their own. (My outdoor, ranch dogs were a different story. We lived on a MASSIVE amount of land, and they had a job to do. And we had no neighbors.)

Now, I live on seven acres, but STILL won’t let them walk, unsupervised.

A while back, I was walking my brother’s miniature Greyhound, when a hawk swooped down to try to get her. I saw this in time, and protected her. But if I wasn’t there? It scared the daylights out of me!

Another time, I was watering my garden… and came within a few yards of a black bear! (Thankfully, my dogs were inside. They think they’re bigger than they are!)

I have a Pittie. And not only is it my responsibility to have him on a leash and supervised (even though he’s a mush). I have to make sure that the people around me feel safe!

I also keep my Malti-Zhu and Cocker on a leash at all times while we’re walking.

They’re like my furry kids! (Not literally, of course.)

When my children were young (they’re adults now), I never let then go out, unsupervised. In this day and age, you never know what might be lurking out there.

The same goes with my ‘furry boys’. But different dangers. Hawks, bears, other dogs…

With the ‘big guys’, its courteous to those around you to keep them on a leash. It makes people feel more comfortable, because you can’t tell the temperament of a dog just by looking at them. (My Pit is 70 pounds and looks intimidating. But he’d rather curl up with a teddy bear and sleep.)

But not all Pits are like my Ozzy. ALL dogs are different! But whether they’re aggressive… or passive… it doesn’t matter. Those dogs should’ve been on a leash! They should’ve NEVER been free to do what they wanted.

That angers me!!!

And you should’ve been PERFECTLY SAFE walking your dog! I don’t know the laws where you live, but here? All dogs must be on a leash. And if they ARE the same for you? Than there REALLY was no excuse for those Pits to be out and about like that! ZERO!!!

My Jellybean, even though he only weighs about 7 pounds, thinks he’s a big guy, and tries to protect me from everything! Leaves, airplanes, the wind. Then he looks at me as if asking, “Are you proud of me? Did I do a good job?” And I always have to praise him and give him love.

I’d bet your little guy thought he was protecting you, too… showing you love! And even though that must’ve been the most traumatizing experience for you (I don’t know HOW you’re able to function… my heart goes out to you… TRULY!) these little guys are SO loving and loyal! I’d bet that, even though his little spirit is no longer here, he’s watching you, and he’s so happy you’re safe!

Oh… I mean I hope you weren’t hurt! My apologies if you were! And if you were, I hope you’re all healed up now.

The owners of those dogs did wrong by you! Yes, I love my Pittie. But I’m also a responsible dog owner. And even though my dog has a mushy temperament, I would’ve NEVER allowed him to be out there, unsupervised!

Just like THEY shouldn’t.

They really did wrong by you… AND your poor furbaby!

I’m so sorry!!! :’(

Tammy
We are mourning the loss of our own Taz, who was killed March 10 in his own yard, ripped out of the hands of my little seven year old daughter, by a loose pit bull terrier. My daughter also sustained a bite wound on her hand. This dog was chained and left to get loose, which she did often. My daughter went outside before I could do anything to stop her, and it happened so fast that I couldn’t have prevented it. Our Taz was only 3, and his life was just beginning. I’m so heartbroken that she had to witness this kind of violence and that she lost her dog. Our family is devastated.
Kimberly Alt
Tammy, I am so sorry that your family is experiencing this. What a terrible event with such a great loss. We are thinking of you and your sweet Taz.
Leanne
Tammy, I am also very very sorry for your loss. And I wonder and wonder why people keep dangerous dogs around. I know too many people and animals viciously attacked by large poorly trained dogs.
Eilidh Somerville
And these bite force tests. Were they done under controlled studies or were they done when the adrenaline was pumping during a full on sustained mauling? Testing during the latter would reveal something different and would no doubt put a certain breed nearer the top and that certain breed has certainly dismembered and disemboweled more than a few grown adults.
Connie Price
I am concerned about your link to “training collars” which goes to shock collars-which have been shown to supress or even exacerbate fearful or aggressive behavior, but not change it-remember that the 91 yr old woman killed last year was by a dog “trained” with a shock collar, sent home with that collar, and attacked shortly after the collar was removed. A more realistic plan would include basket muzzle training, management, and true Behavior Modification that includes Counter Conditioning and Desensitization, CAT or BAT training. This has been done many times with many dogs by many Veterinary Behaviorists, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists, and Positive Trainers, with dedicated and diligent owners, without the use of shock or prong collars.
I would also be interested in the testing perimeters for the dog bite strength numbers-how was it done? How was it measured?
This is a very volatile topic, I do not believe any breed is “bad” but do believe genetics can and do contribute to behavior as well as bad breeding and training/upbringing-there are also exceptions-I have seen dogs horrible abused still loving towards human and those where everything was done “right” turn out very dangerous. Overbreeding, and irresponsible breeding, have created aggressive dogs in breeds not normally known for aggression. Add bad training and upbringing to the mix and there are bites and deaths as a result. We have to communicate not attack each other to try and better this situation.
Kimberly Alt
You can learn more about the dog bite strength by viewing the source we found the information from and linked to.
Jack
Your source lists Dobermans at 245 PSI, not 600.
Kimberly Alt
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Looks like our source also updated it from 10 breeds to 12. I will be sure to update those breeds and numbers. Thanks again!
Jack Tremain
What is your source’s source? I couldn’t seem to find any on the page linked here and knowing how they got their information would be valuable.
Kimberly Alt
Great question, Jack. Unfortunately, the author doesn’t source where they got their information from. I commented on the article asking for sources and encourage you to do the same to increase our odds of getting a response since it doesn’t appear that they are active in the comments.
Naomi Carpenter
AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
“Dog bite statistics are not really statistics, and they do not give an accurate picture of dogs that bite. Invariably the numbers will show that dogs from popular large breeds are a problem. This should be expected, because big dogs can physically do more damage if they do bite, and any popular breed has more individuals that could bite. Dogs from small breeds also bite and are capable of causing severe injury. There are several reasons why it is not possible to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds.”
Source

Honestly, if a true study were conducted, using an equal number of dogs from each breed, the results would be different.

Tim
But, why count dogs that are too small to seriously injure? That’s the issue. And, it looks to me like the existing studies consistently demonstrate that pit bulls — whether they are a breed or general type, we know them when we see them — maim and kill. Sure, if a chihuahua had the size and strength of a pit or mastiff, they’d kill and maim, too with their temperament. But, comparing them is like comparing mosquitoes with nuclear missiles.
Jeff
Good gosh the ignorance is disturbing. I got pulled into this because my best friends dog. They can’t have children so they got a pit bull and treated it like like their child. It was the sweetest dog until after six years, out of the blue, while walking past the sleeping dog that lives next door – like it had thousands of times – without warning it turned and killed it before we could reach them.
Quit trying come up with stupid stuff like “oh, Chihuahuas bite way more!” or “other dogs have a stronger bite!” Wow. And how many people have Chihuahuas killed? Gee that was a great comparison. And how many of those other dogs bite more than once, and once get a good hold lock down and shake to do maximum danger. Gee another great compassion.
So many of you are getting so angry right now without rational thought. Want to call me ignorant. And I’m not a pit bull hater. I am just not swayed by passion. Of course you can greatly help by conditioning a dog and good ownership. But a pit bull will turn and kill more than all other dogs in the US combined. All others combined! Are you really going to deny that? Really? Are you going to defend it with, “oh, everyone calls my mastiff a pit bull” or “my lab mix doesn’t fetch, so nah!” Really, everyone mistakes a mastiff for a pit bull… really, or maybe that has happened once or twice. Or because you had a lab mix that that wouldn’t fetch, that nulls the the fact that most deaths by mauling in the US are by pit bulls?? Even if you take out chained dogs?? Really??

Just say you like Pit Bulls. Just say that. Just say you like the breed and want to have one.

Guess what? A lot of horses kill people. I don’t know the numbers of horses to pit bulls IN THE US. Actually, the PERCENTAGE would be the honest tell. What has that got to do with trying to make up in your head that pit bulls even when raised well are more likely to kill than all other dogs in the US combined?? Don’t try to skew pit bull mauling by the population of the world.

Don’t just get angry because you like pit bulls and scream I’m ignorant. I’m just honest.

Tammy
Thank you for saying this! I’m sick of this statement that it’s the owners and not the breed. If the statistics on pit bull attacks weren’t so completely beyond any other breed reported (along the lines of 70% of reported bites when the breed accounts for 6% of the dog population), I’d be more inclined to defend this breed. And I say this as the daughter of a woman who owns a docile pit bull. My mother still doesn’t let her dog off leash, keeps him inside as a family member, has a muzzle for him when he goes to the vet, doesn’t take him to dog parks, keeps a fenced yard, and doesn’t let him around any children without adult supervision. That breed needs cautious, conscientious owners who have them obedience trained, and still plan for the worst. A chihuahua isn’t going to rip a child’s throat out, and a chihuahua isn’t going to kill another dog just because it wants to in that moment.
markend
Dear Pit Bull breeders and owners,
There have been 36 (thirty-six) cases of pit bull fatalities in the US so far this year (2017).
Two additional fatalities were caused by mastiff-mix dogs.
This number does not include people who were permanently disfigured and pets and livestock which were killed or seriously injured.
You (Pit Bull breeders and owners) have a very serious problem with your breed.
Why are the Pit Bull people NOT coming forward to research and make every effort possible to correct this very serious breed issue?
Michelle
Where are you getting that number from? Wikipedia lists 13.

Secondly, any dog that has a short coat and a blocky head is called a “pit bull” by the media (which is where the CDC gets their info on dog breeds). Most of these dogs are NOT pit bulls and are be some sort of mixed breed of completely unknown origin (which may or may not include pit bull). Actually APBT breeders are breeding for human friendliness. So there’s nothing for them to “come forward” for or any need to research. The breed is MEANT to be human friendly. You can’t account for random bred mixed breeds (aka that “100 lb pit bull” that attacked someone when pit bulls aren’t nearly that big!).

Eilidh Somerville
Isn’t it funny that when pit bulls do something good, when they are receiving free spaying and neutering and when they are being portrayed positively by the media they are pit bulls and can be identified as such. Yet when they maul and kill and when BSL is being spoken about they all of a sudden aren’t pit bulls and pit bulls become impossible to identify!
Miss Jenn
Have you even considered that it is not a “breed issue” but instead a people issue? People need to be more educated on training dogs and dog behavior. There needs to be more accountability and harsher punishments for people who mistreat them and/or raise them to be mean. Pit bulls are more potentially dangerous because of their strength and instinct to hold on, however if raised, trained and treated correctly, they can be just as sweet, gentle and loving as many other breeds people revere. People are responsible.
Mr J
So you admit they are more dangerous and it takes more responsibility to own one?
dks64
I can’t believe you cited Dogsbite, which is run by a woman who hates pit bulls. Does Canine Journal support BSL? Because that’s the only reason I could see you citing DB. In the About Us section, the first sentence is: “DogsBite.org is a public education website about dangerous dog breeds, chiefly pit bulls.” The numbers Colleen cites are completely made up or deceptively given. She often cites Merritt Clifton, who has been outed as a fraud (faking his credentials). His numbers don’t add up (literally). Her blog has been up for 10 years and has been debunked many times. I suggest rewriting this and using credible sources. It’s a shame dogs get such a bad rep because people who claim to love dogs spread lies about them.
Kimberly Alt
Heather, thank you for bringing this to out attention. We have removed information in our article from DogsBite. We are saddened by what we found about the woman who runs the website. Canine Journal does not believe in breed specific legislation and we are pro all breeds. Thank you again for mentioning this to us and giving us the opportunity to correct it.
dks64
Thank you so much!! I really appreciate that.
Charlie
Seriously you are going to believe that? I have researched the attacks that dogsbite.org cites – every single one has a news story connected to it to prove they are legitimate. Heather’s supposed “debunking” has been debunked.
Tammy
It is a complete shame that you would remove that data just because it is compiled by someone who is against a breed. I’m the daughter of a woman who owns a docile pit bull, and even my mother will tell you that the dog breed is a dangerous breed and needs a specific kind of handling, keeps her dog calmly restrained at all times, won’t let strangers on her property without putting the dog away completely, and has a muzzle for vet visits even though he has shown no sign of aggression at the vet. However, I will also tell you that as the mother of a pit bull bite victim, and the owner of a dog that was mauled to death by one in an unprovoked attack while my dog was on leash in my daughter’s arms, this breed needs to be controlled.
Eilidh Somerville
Would you please provide proof of all that debunking and please tell me how you can condone a completely unprovoked mauling! And no, running/jogging past a pit bull is no excuse for a mauling!
dks64
I’m not saying there were no unproved attacks by pit bulls (which isn’t even a single breed). I’m saying that the information is cherry picked and often the dogs in stories she cites aren’t even APBT or a bully breed. She also ignores other dog attacks, to make it seem like bully breeds are the top attackers. The media often falsely labels dogs in attacks too. The University of Florida completed a study fairly recently about how shelter workers commonly mislabel dogs as “pit bulls” when they’re not. Without a DNA test or papers from a reputable breeder, you cannot say what breed a dog is. “Pit bull attacks” gets clicks and sells papers. I know people who have been violently attacked (unprovoked) by other dogs, varying in size, and it never made the news. KC Dog Blog has written many great articles that break down the fake research on DB and by MC.
Eilidh Somerville
First of all there are only a few breeds that are considered ‘pit bulls’. In the US it’s the American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and dogs that conform to the majority of breed characteristics of the APBT. I am not including the American Staffordshire Terrier because it is the exact same as the APBT. The AKC would not register the APBT so the UKC was formed so that fighting pits (or ‘working’ as they like to call it) could be officially registered. The AKC did start registering pits several decades later, but under the name American Staffordshire Terrier. In the UK it is only the APBT and dogs that conform to most of the characteristics of it. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is considered a separate breed. So there is not a large number of different breeds that are considered pit bulls.

As for DNA. How do you think the breeds that the foundation DNA samples (to which future samples would be compared) were identified? They were identified visually. But, DNA is unreliable for testing for breed and that is why it is not permitted in court in a lot of countries. As I have said before it is only after an attack or when BSL is being spoken about that pit bulls become so hard to identify. At any other time (when pits do something good, when they are receiving free spaying and neutering, etc) they are easy to identify and their breed is never ever questioned. Besides identifying them has never been so easy. You’ve got the TV shows fronted by Cesar Millan, Pit Bulls and Parolees, Pit Boss, DogTown, It’s Me or the Dog and a whole host of other shows that feature dogs which all demonstrate what pit bulls look like. People have also plastered thousands of pictures of their pit bulls all over social media and countless more pictures of them can be found with a search engine. So all this talk about them being so hard to identify is baloney. It’s just a myth conjured up by advocates.

With regards to DogsBite. I have had a look at that blog and there is nothing on there that actually debunks the site. Most of the organizations it cites make money (and lots of it) from pit bulls. Do you really think they would speak out against something that makes them money? However, there are many dog professionals that are in favor of BSL or at the very least restrictions placed on pits. The blog also states that it is possible to teach a TWO YEAR OLD to be cautious around dogs. Really? Yes I am all for teaching kids to be careful around dogs, but it is impossible for a two year old to fully comprehend the possible dangers, to read and interpret body language and to have full impulse control. I am sorry, but such a suggestion is absurd! It also brings up science. What science would that be? The scientific studies that are often supported and funded by pro pit organization like Animal Farm Foundation?

DogsBite doesn’t cherry pick anything either. The site reports non pit bull fatalities and when it comes to identifying the dogs involved the media will often confirm that with police reports, veterinary reports, hospital records and the very people who had the attacking dogs. If breed cannot be confirmed then the site will state as such.

And would you please provide the names of those people you know who were violently attacked by non pits so that I can research to see if they were actually reported or not. Thank you.

Charlie
DogsBite.org is a legitimate source. Evidently you’ve never spent any time there checking for yourself if the stories they post are true or not. Try it. Every attack they post can be verified by Googling it – there will be a news story that corroborates it.

You are doing an injustice to truth. No one has legitimately “debunked” DogsBite. Anyone who has tried twists and spins everything. Shame on you.

By the way, the site also lists bites by other breeds. They are not “pit bull haters”. You, on the other hand, are a “pit bull nutter” – someone who denies the very existence of proof.

Malena
I really like this article. It helped me with my controversial paper in my english class.
Kimberly Alt
Glad we could help! Hope you get an A!
Rain
One day I answered the door to someone asking me if I had seen something outside, they were with there 4 year old yellow lab Trixie. I guess she had seen my cat through the door and rampaged into my apt. to get it by the throat. I was horrified and the owner was only yelling at it drop it Trixie drop it he said over and over. The dog ignored him she held down on my cats throat and i could hear the pain in my cats meow as he started to slip away. I told the owner of that dog you have less than a min to get that dog off my cat! He didn’t really try harder afraid to hurt his dog he didn’t do anything. So, I grabbed a pen that had been sitting on my night stand in the very room this was all happening in and i stabbed the dog in the eye! It cried and let go of my cat, my cat was saved and took a huge gulp of air i felt relieved. The owner of the dog was so mad he was saying WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY DOG? Yelling at me and i looked at him and said this is my apt. that dog just about killed my cat in my own home and you yell at me? I kicked him out of the apt. and kept his dog. I called the police and told them that the dog broke in with his owner at my door and attacked my cat. I told him the details and the cop gave the man a ticket for not leashing his pet, also the dog lived even without an eye and my cat had a crushed bone in his throat that Trixie’s owner took care of the bill at the vet for. My cat doesn’t meow anymore and stays away from windows and doors, I don’t feel bad for blinding that dog after all I was trying to kill it. Moral to the story if you don’t know how to control a pet then don’t own it and if it gets out of hand and your pet gets hurt or killed don’t get mad at anyone but yourself.
Cynthia
I believe the 2 biggest causes of dog bites are irresponsible dog owners & negligent parents
Crysania
Bingo! That’s it right there, 100%.
kaiden
yes 100% true exactly
David Kay
I have owned four Golden Retrievers. They were all bred, per the name of the breed, to retrieve. Throw a ball in front of a Golden Retriever and the dog can’t help it, they will chase it, and bring it back. Pit Bulls were bred to do what? They will do that, they can’t help it. If retrieving offends you, don’t get a Golden Retriever. If biting with unbelievable pressure, until the prey or child no longer moves offends you…
Phil
You’re an idiot David Kay
Dogs replicate there surroundings like everything in this world, influence and environment shapes personality please read the “chained” dog part
I bet you’d hate life if you were always restricted by 5kg of steel hanging from your neck.
I have 1 red nose x mastiff female and 1x mastiff x bull dog male and they are socialised daily with children at the local tennis complex and every week people’s opinions at developed in how beautiful “pit bulls” are as dogs.
David Kay
Phil, you can’t even write. You exemplify Pit Bull ownership: foolish, uninformed, and a danger to society.
kylee
I work at the local animal shelter, and I deal with hundreds of dogs daily! I have never been bitten by a pit bull…Greyhounds, huskys, terriers, labs, retrievers? Yes, but pit bulls? Never have I been bitten by one of them!!
Rain
I feel like you a danger to yourself and one day someone will make you look like the fool you really are and that is a shame
Brad
David Kay , just a thought but maybe you shouldn’t concern yourself about Phil’s writing prowess and worry about the fact your using a discredited , bias organization as your source. I’m going to have to agree with phil and Lanaa you are a idiot. Idiots like this organization who blatantly misinform are perpetuating unneeded hate and fear toward a great breed.
James
Never seen a pit bull herding sheep.
Srod0311
Back in the 1920’s and 30’s pitbulls were farm dogs, and were considered the all American dog. Some people used even leave them with their kids all day while at work. That being said, I have four kids that stay home with my pit all day long during summer brakes. With out any incidents. My dog plays, eats and sleeps with my kids, and never shows any signs of aggression. Now that being said would i trust my dog with a baby? No!

The problem with all dog owners, is that they humanize their dog. When you stop treating your pet like an animal, and start treating it like it completely understands you, that’s when the problems start. I know what kind of dog I own, and I train it and treat it accordingly. Also, I always remind my kids about the fact that our dog is an animal and not a teddy bear.

Memee
Slowly over time we may breed out the aggressive nature in pits but someone else can do it, I have children. I know a woman who will not own a pitbull because she had a bad experience with one as a girl. She got it as a puppy and loved it, her sister liked to hold its paws and make it “dance” with her, they took it with them when they roamed the neighborhood. One day they were walking about a mile from home with their dad and the pit when another man passed by with a dog on a leash, without warning the pit attacked the dog and got a grip on its throat. Her Dad was a tough man and known for being strong but could not get it to let go. It finally did on its own when the dog was dead. He took the pit home and shot it after that. She grew up with German Shepherds and Rottweilers galore and has had ones of her own as an adult but she says she will never own a pit after seeing hers suddenly turn into a monster. Thank God her pit’s offender was another dog and not a child!
Stephanie
dog aggression and people aggression are two different characteristics and shouldn’t be confused with one another
Michelle
1. That wouldn’t have happened if they had actually kept the dog on a leash.
2. Dog aggression =/= human aggression. And dog aggression is a definite issue with the breed (and especially so with random mixed breeds as breeders are trying to breed such things OUT).
Lanna
David, I’m going to have to agree with Phil on this one, you are an idiot. I have a Golden Retriever, and let me tell you what is the one thing that dog never does: retrieve. You throw the ball, she gets it and then she just stands there and waits for you to chase her, ’cause that’s how the game goes. It’s how you raise them, not what you think they’re bred for. We didn’t want an employee, we wanted a family member and that’s how we treated her from the beginning. So now, at eight years, she’s useless as a hunting assistant, but she’s the best dog one could ask for. Also a great substitute for a bed for our two cats who prefer sleeping on her.
Pit Bulls are what you make of them, every dog is what you make of it, you treat it as a killing machine, it’s gonna turn into a killing machine. You show it kindness and fun and just treat it as what it is, an animal wanting affection, and you’re going to get a friend for life.
joe
Neighbors Pit was treated with much love and was part of family, next thing you know it barged in our house before I could stop it, killed our dog who did not even bark to provoke. Never know when the pits will turn. explain that. Sorry pits can go to hell.
Tammy
Agreed. Neighbor’s dog attacked my child and killed my dog in my front yard. My dog didn’t do anything. My child did nothing to provoke. She was two feet from the home’s entrance. The pit was loose and killed just to kill. And I’ve been around plenty of pits, even docile ones. I’m still not going to trust a breed that accounts for over two-thirds of bites. (I didn’t get that from dogs bite.)
edaw
First of all, calling someone an idiot because you disagree with them is not a good way to communicate and it’s extremely disrespectful! It is the problem with computers. I seriously doubt you would say that to someone’s face if you were having the conversation face to face. Second; I’ll agree on one point… I have a 2 year old Golden that thinks that it is my job to fetch and retrieve, not hers. Third; I have to disagree on your point about showing a pit kindness and fun and getting a friend for life. I have an acquaintance who had a 6 year old pit… sweetest dog you could ever imagine… yada yada… long story short, he was standing in his living room about 5′ away from his 2 year old daughter and his pit, who was about 8′ away from the daughter, decided to charge and attack her face. He was watching the whole thing and it was completely unprovoked. The dog had never shown any signs of aggression in the past. Everyone loved this dog. The daughter never bothered the dog and they got along great. The dad killed the dog because he would not stop tearing and shaking and was going to kill his little girl. She was badly disfigured and received a med flight to a hospital and will never be the same. He will never be the same. This is an unpredictable breed. This is the first one that I have known the people, but this is not the first story I have heard where a pit bull has attacked a family member without provocation. This is the big difference between this breed and others. I can’t think of another breed that attacks it’s own pack. They are usually protective of their pack instead.
Rain
I see your point but by that logic you obviously don’t know why golden retrievers were originally bred for also what they are meant to do is not fetch your ball but heard and capture small live stock animals the funny thing is pit bulls were also bred for the same reason but they were meant to heard and control large live stock like bulls please know something about the breeds before stating things pick up a book and read so that you don’t look so foolish next time.
Grace
Obviously you’ve never encountered a loving pitbull. Assuming all pitbulls are bad are like assuming all humans are bad because they’ve hurt a person.
Michelle
Pit bulls were bred to bait bulls and bears. When that was outlawed, they fought the dogs against each other. That’s why you see some with dog aggression issues. They were NOT bred to attack people (also the “pressure” of their bite is no stronger than most medium sized breeds and is weaker than some of the larger breeds, e.g. Rottweilers and Mastiffs).
Lisa
Really? Pit Bulls were not bred to bite!!! Most Pit Bulls that bite it is because of the environment that they are raised. I have seen a pit bull puppy with chains hanging from it’s neck to make him stronger-why do you think the idiot that owned that puppy was doing it? My parents had a weimaraner that but my friend-and guess our dog had been teased outside of our fence by the kids in the neighborhood. I have a lab/mastiff that will bite smaller dogs-guess what I keep him away from other dogs…..I had a Labrador that would retrieve but also he didn’t like other dogs and would bite. And yes I have a pit bu!! I have a pit bull as well and he is so sweet, my nephew has a pit as well and he is also so sweet. So I believe any dog can bite and sometimes there is something wrong with the dog that can cause aggression like a Thyroid issue which my labrador had. BSL is bullshit and should not be in place and those who think that pits are bread to bite across the board are a special kind of crazy!!!!
kaiden
That is completely true.
catman
“Dog bite statistics” The only thing I was looking for is which dog bites the most. Bad job.
Kimberly Alt
Sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for. We’ve now added which dogs bite the most to our article. It may take 24-48 hours to show up in some areas due to caching.
Rain
you must not be able to read then because they clearly state these breeds that bite the most: Chihuahua
Bulldog
Pit Bull
German Shepherd
Australian Shepherd
Lhasa Apso
Jack Russell Terrier
Cocker Spaniel
Bull Terrier
Pekingese
Papillion
Miss Jenn
They listed “pit bull” as one of the breeds that bite the most, then later said that “pit bull” isn’t actually a breed. So which is it? If it isn’t a breed they need better research on the different breeds mislabeled as “pit bull” and to be way more specific.
Kimberly Alt
Our source listed for dogs that bite the most is one of the sources that lists pit bulls as a breed. This is why we then explain in our article that pit bulls are mislabeled often. Unfortunately, there is a huge stigma associated with pit bulls and there is a lack of thorough research done. This is why we deemed it necessary for our readers to know that when a source says “pit bulls are responsible for X number of bites” they are aware that pit bull is not a breed and you may want to look into the source further or find another one.

We feel we did the best research possible for this article and tried to represent the facts in an unbiased manner. Unfortunately, we cannot do further research on the breeds mislabeled as pit bull because we do not have access to each specific dog’s genetic makeup.

Elizabeth
These are the breeds that they label as Pit Bulls. It can be any one of the breeds or a dog that is a combination of breeds….American bulldog.
American Staffordshire terrier.
American pit bull terrier.
Staffordshire bull terrier.
English bull terrier.
Mot
Psi stats are bs, each individual dog have different bite presure. Just like each human has different strengths.
Mike Powers
dogsbite.org is a biased website that skews statistics. You should not be using them as a source. It is run by an individual with a vendetta against Pit Bulls.

Source: Care2 and various others. Do a Google search for Dogsbite bias

Victor R Peters
I have been a dog owner for 61 years. Have never had a dog that caused an injury requiring medical attention. I have had Rotweilers, German Shepards, Labs, Cockers, Beagles, hounds, Rhodesian Ridgeback and many mutts. The English Black Lab is the best dog I ever owned. They are more subdued than the American and absolutely LOVE children. I now have a Ridgeback. He nipped (no broken skin ) my granddaughter twice. Both were when she was playing rough with him. He is more dangerous than my labs. But not a killer. She knows how to act around him and no problem. Both times she was playing rough with me. He is VERY protective. She loves him now. Just train well and watch any dog around kids. I am 67 and want a protective dog, but I teach him and those around him how to react to each other.
Jim Page
No mention of Pakistani fighting dogs such as Bully Kutta, Gull Dong etc re strength of bite. Then there are also the various central asian & east european shepherd/ livestock guarding breeds eg caucasian shepherd, sarplaniac, etc