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What Dog Breeds Are Most Likely To Attack Or Bite?

Posted by Sandra Worthington | Feb 27, 2024

It is estimated that 800,000 people each year must seek medical attention as a result of a dog bite.¹ Hospital bills can be very expensive and infections are not uncommon.  Even a short ER visit could necessitate a dog bite lawsuit in order to recover monetary compensation for damages.

What breeds of dogs are in the top category of biters? Many will say it is more about the human owners than the breed, which is a valid point.  However, can we really generalize about which breeds attack the most?   It is difficult to say with certainty but statistically, pit bulls are the most likely to attack and cause serious injury or death.

What breed is most likely to be involved in a fatal attack?  pit bulls.

Pit bulls are both more likely to be involved in bite incidents and more likely to cause serious injuries or death after a bite. It is noteworthy that from 1979 to 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that pit bulls were involved in the most fatal dog attacks, accounting for 28% of deaths due to dog bites during that period.

Why might pit bulls present a greater danger than other breeds? There are many reasons, such as because they have often been bred to be more aggressive, are less likely to back down during fights and are less likely to give a warning before a bite.

Who are most likely to be victims of fatal dog attacks?  Tragically, it is children age one to four.  It is estimated that 29.4% of fatal dog attacks involved victims between the ages of one and four years old.  It is noteworthy that 56.7 % of dog bite fatalities involved minors who were 16 and under.

According to The American Veterinary Association (AVMA) as quoted in the Forbes Advisor, here is the lineup of dog breeds causing the most fatalities in the U. S. from 1979 through 1998-

  1. Pit bull -type-66 bites
  2. Rottweiler-39 bites
  3. German Shepherd-17 bites 
  4. Husky type- 15 bites
  5. Malamute-12 bites
  6. Doberman Pinscher- 9 bites
  7. Chow chow- 8 bites
  8. Great Dane- 7 bites
  9. St. Bernard- 7 bites

Keep in mind only about 1% of dog attacks end in fatality.  How much of this data relates to the actual breed as opposed to poor training and socialization or other factors?  It is impossible to say.  However, the overwhelming number of fatalities appears to be caused by pit bull types.  No doubt there are plenty of pit bulls that are sweet, docile pets but especially among rescues and adopted dogs, there is unknown breeding and "baggage" you won't know about until something bad happens.

If you or a loved one have been attacked or bitten by any breed of dog, call Worthington Law Group for a free, no-strings-attached consultation and order our free book "The PA Dog Bite Book" by Sandra Worthington, Esq.  Note that this free offer is not available to insurance company employees or defense counsel.


About the Author

Sandra Worthington

I am all about YOU. You have been in an accident, and you need a lawyer who understands you and your injuries. Many of my clients are active folks of all ages who are or were involved in walking, running, biking, skateboarding, surfing, yoga, weight-lifting, racquet sports, and countless other a...


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