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Dog Bites by Breed [infographic]

Posted on August 29, 2016

Dogs attacks cause thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year in the United States. The fact is that man’s best friend isn’t always so friendly, and some dogs have genetic traits that make them downright dangerous to be around. From 2005 to 2015, 360 Americans died as a result of dog attacks, and many thousands more were injured. From the 1980’s to 2012, there was an 82% increase in the number of fatal dog attacks in the United States. These include attacks from the following breeds that dog attack lawyers deal with on a regular basis:

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Pit Bull – Pit Bulls were responsible for 232 fatal attacks in the United States. This represents 64% of all fatalities. These statistics include attacks from the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Indeed, an attack by a pit bull is nothing less than terrifying. The dog’s sharp teeth and powerful jaws coupled with the history of selective breeding for the purposes of fighting create a lethal machine that has the strength and ability to kill humans and other pets.

Rottweiler – These large dogs were responsible for 41 deaths. This represents 11.4% of all fatalities. These dogs are highly territorial and were bred to be security dogs. Their size and demeanor makes them a threat to both owners and passerby. If the dog decides that something is theirs to protect, they will attack anyone they perceive to be a threat, even if that perceived threat is a member of the household.

German Shepherd – German Shepherds attacked and killed 13 individuals from 2005 to 2015. This was 3.6% of the total fatalities caused by dogs during this timeframe. Like the Rottweiler, the dog was bred for protection. It is inherently aggressive and even thorough conditioning and socialization does not remove this trait from its temperament.

Mastiff – The Mastiff, or Bull Mastiff was responsible for 12 fatal attacks, or 3.3% of all fatal attacks between 2005 to 2015. Known as a stubborn breed, the dog has the tendency to lash out when it feels threatened. It will also seek to assert its dominance in any situation where it feels the need to protect its owners or its possessions such as toys, dog beds, etc.

Husky – The humble Husky is anything but tame. In the past 11 years, the dog has been responsible for killing 12 individuals, or 3.3% of total fatalities. Huskies are natural predators and enjoy hunting prey. Their speed and strength makes them inherently dangerous to have around children or the elderly.

American Bulldog – The squashed face of the American Bulldog masks the animal’s dangerous personality. American Bulldogs have killed 11 individuals over the past 11 years, or 3.1% of the total number of fatalities. Similar in size and stature with Pit Bulls, this breed is highly protective of owners and property.

Dog Attack Statistics are Alarming

There are currently 83.3 million dogs in the United States, and nearly 56.7 million households have a dog within them. From 2001 to 2003, these animals caused 4.5 million dog bites per year. Of the millions of dog bites per year, nearly 885,000, or 1 in 5 require medical attention. Of these, nearly 368,000 victims are treated in hospital emergency rooms. From 1993 to 2008, there was an 86% increase in the number of dog bites that required hospitalization.

In 2012, 27,000 people had to undergo reconstructive surgery following a dog attack. When dogs attack, their teeth and nails can cause significant damage to soft tissues. Larger dogs may also have the ability to break bones and cause significant damage to internal organs.

Based on data from hospital admissions, the following are the most common treatments required following a dog bite:

  • 43% are treated for damage to skin and infection of the underlying tissue.
  • 22% have significant wounds on their legs or arms.
  • 10.5% have wounds on the head, neck, or torso.

Contrary to popular mythology, it is not just the mailman who is at risk. Of the millions of attacks that occurred in 2012, only 5,900 were to mail carriers. The majority of dog attacks each year occur to family members, visitors to the home, or people passing by the that the dog may encounter on the street, in the park, or at a shopping center.

Cost of Care is Significant

Statistics gathered by healthcare providers, insurance companies, and dog attack lawyers show that the cost of dog bites exceeds $1 billion per year in monetary losses. These include the cost of emergency treatment, reconstructive surgery, and lost wages. In 2012 alone, dog bites accounted for $489 million dollars, or 1/3 of all homeowners insurance claims paid out that year. The average cost per claim that year was $29,752 per attack. It is a number that’s rising due to the increasing cost of care and the damage dangerous breeds continue to cause.