What are the Dog Breeds That Frequently Bite Humans? | KNR
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Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
April 29, 2022

When reviewing dog bite statistics, it is important to keep a few facts in mind. Any dog can bite. Whether or not a certain dog is aggressive, hostile, or reactive depends on how it was raised. Any breed of dog can be trained and socialized well, making it safe to be around strangers and children. Also, large dogs are identified in attacks more often because they’re capable of inflicting more significant injuries.

A dog can also be un-trained or trained to fight or protect its family. This makes the dog more likely to act out or bite someone it perceives as a threat. Unfortunately, certain breeds are more often trained to be aggressive or protective. These often include inherently strong breeds like pit bulls and Rottweilers.

Why Dogs Bite

Before we list the dogs statistically most likely to bite, here are the common situations that may lead to an animal attack

  • As a reaction to a stressful situation.
  • The dog is scared or threatened.
  • To protect themselves, their puppies, or owners.
  • They’re sick or startled.
  • Dogs may nip or bite during play.

Keep these in mind if you’re around a canine. Your awareness of their mental state helps you recognize the potential for a bite faster.

Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite

In the 16-year period from 2005 through 2020, canines killed 568 Americans, and the American Veterinary Medical Association indicates 1 in 5 dog bit victims require medical attention.

Here are the breeds of dogs that tend to be involved in dog attacks:

  • Pit bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Pit bull mixes
  • German shepherds
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Wolf hybrids
  • Huskies
  • Akitas
  • Boxers
  • Chows
  • German shepherd mixes
  • Dobermans

Dog Bite Statistics

The Concern Over Pit Bulls

Pit bulls are regularly cited as one of the most dangerous dogs In the 16-year period from 2005 through 2020, pit bulls contributed to 67% (380) of dog bite deaths.

The number of pit bull attacks and fatalities is not because pit bull breeds are inherently violent. Organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) do not recognize any difference between a pit bull’s potential aggressiveness and any other breed’s capacity for violence. However, there are reasons why pit bulls contribute to such a large percentage of animal attacks and fatalities. These breeds of dogs are stocky and have one of the strongest jaws of any type of dog.

Throughout history, pit bulls have been bred to fight. Not only will the breed be tenacious in a fight after being injured, but their strength also enables them to inflict the maximum amount of damage on another dog. When pit bulls bite, they tend to lock their jaw and shake. Unfortunately, this translates to their ability to significantly injure or kill another dog or person.

Abuse and mistreatment can play a large role in a dog’s aggression, and due to the nature of illegal dogfighting and general animal mistreatment, pit bulls are often subjected to such conditions. This can often lead to scenarios where a human is bitten.

Keep in mind, that a pit bull’s reputation and interbreeding may also play a role in instances of pit bulls being misidentified in dog attacks. As a result, they may be overrepresented on the list.

Infographic with pit bull facts


Other Dog Breeds That Cause Fatalities

After pit bulls, there are a number of other dog breeds that caused fatalities between 2005 and 2020:

  • Rottweilers – 9%
  • German shepherds – 4.2%
  • American bulldog -3.2%
  • Mixed breeds – 5.1%
  • Mastiff/Bullmastiff – 3.5%t
  • Husky – 3.2%
  • Unknown, unreleased, or a combination – 2.5%

Infographic that breaks down which dog breeds kill humans more


Be a Responsible Pet Owner

If you are or plan to become a dog owner, keep in mind that how you treat your dog will affect how it behaves. Essentially, if you treat a dog badly, it will likely act accordingly.

Being a responsible dog owner means:

  • Choosing a breed that’s right for your living situation
  • Providing adequate exercise for the breed
  • Monitoring its interactions with other animals and people

Before Getting a Dog

Below are a few factors that can help decrease the chances of an unwarranted dog attack.

  • Dogs with a history of aggression are not appropriate for children.
  • Research and consult with a vet or dog trainer.
  • Proper socialization and training are critical.
  • Spend time with your prospective pet before adopting.
  • Spay or neuter your animal.

Dog Bite Prevention & Safety Tips

If you are visiting someone who has a dog, remember you are in the dog’s territory. A wagging tail while barking is a sign that this dog wants to let you into its territory but is unsure. Let the dog initiate contact with you.

  • Do not give the dog direct eye contact.
  • The dog may come to sniff you, but don’t reach toward the dog.
  • You can lower your hand for the dog to sniff.
  • Dogs that behave in this manner will usually calm down if you avoid eye contact, which dogs consider threatening behavior.

When a dog on a leash approaches you, act with caution, even if the owner assures you that the dog is friendly. Slowly lower your hand for the dog to sniff. Stand sideways to minimize yourself as a target should the dog attack and avoid direct eye contact with the dog.

Runners, Bikers, and Aggressive Dogs

Runners and bikers are vulnerable to dog bites. The movement of these activities triggers the prey drive in a dog. Often a dog will bark to warn you as you are moving toward their territory. Dogs chase you to keep you from advancing into their territory.

What To Do When Dogs Attack

Although your first instinct might be to run or pedal as fast as possible, this only worsens the situation. Instead, stay calm, avoid direct eye contact, and stand slightly sideways. If you have anything in your hands like a stick or water bottle, put it between you and the dog to increase your space and make yourself appear larger. Some dogs will sniff the air and walk away.

If an aggressive dog knocks you down, roll into a ball, cover your head, ears, and neck with your arms and hands in a fist to protect your fingers. If the dog is tugging at your shirt or shoes, remove the item. Sometimes dogs stop attacking if they successfully “capture” something with your scent.

What To Do After a Dog Bite or Attack

Dog bites could transmit diseases through blood or saliva, especially if you have a deep puncture wound.
After any dog bite or attack, the Mayo Clinic recommends that victims:

  • Thoroughly wash the wound with soap and warm water.
  • Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • See your doctor, urgent care, or emergency room as soon as possible.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on keeping the area clean and taking any prescriptions.

Ohio Dog Bite Law & Owner Liability

Ohio is a strict liability state for dog bites. Owners and keepers are liable for your injuries so long as you were not trespassing, committing a crime, teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog. Some owners, if sued, will try to use one or more of these as a defense.

Recovering Compensation After a Dog Bite in Ohio

If you or loved one have been bitten by a dog in Ohio, call us today. Under the Ohio Dog Bite statute, a dog’s owner is almost always responsible for any injuries their dog causes. This is known as strict liability.

The only limitations to this may be if there is evidence of you provoking the dog before the attack or trespassing on another person’s property. However, if neither of these factors are part of your case, contact us about seeking compensation for your or your loved one’s dog bite injuries. You may need to file a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

You may also attempt to recover compensation based on Ohio’s common law regarding dog bites. If you believe the dog’s owner knew it was vicious or had previously been aggressive, then you may be able to pursue a monetary recovery based on negligence.

Contact a Ohio Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a dog attack or have questions about liability for a dog bite, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick. Our dog bite lawyers will review your situation, explain the laws, and seek if necessary represent you in pursuing compensation for your injuries.

With offices all around Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, and other cities near you. Call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW to schedule an initial consultation.