Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 31, 2014

By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2014, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, shows the dog breeds most responsible for disfiguring injuries and deaths.1

Study highlights

The combination of molosser breeds, including pit bulls, rottweilers, presa canarios, cane corsos, mastiffs, dogo argentinos, fila brasieros, sharpeis, boxers, and their mixes, inflict:

  • 86% of attacks that induce bodily harm
  • 81% of attacks to children
  • 89% of attack to adults
  • 76% of attacks that result in fatalities
  • 86% that result in maiming
  • Embody 9.2%+ of the total dog population

Discussion notes:

  • Even if the pit bull category was "split four ways," attacks by pit bulls and their closest relatives would still outnumber attacks by any other dog breed.
  • Pit bulls are noteworthy for attacking adults almost as frequently as children. This is a very rare pattern, only seen elsewhere in the bullmastiff/presa canario line.
  • If a pit bull or rottweiler has a bad moment, instead of a person being bitten, often a person is maimed for life or killed. This has created off-the-chart actuarial risk.
1982-2014 chart
Breed Bodily harm Child Victims Adult Victims Deaths Maimings % of total dog population
Pit bull 3397 1355 1312 295 2110 6.69%
Rottweiler 535 297 141 85 296 2.76%
Husky 83 51 8 26 27 1.04%
Wolf hybrid 85 70 5 19 49  
Bullmastiff (Presa canario) 111 46 41 18 63 .02%
German shepherd 113 65 41 15 73 3.72%
Pit bull-mix 206 78 54 12 115  
Akita 70 44 22 8 52 .07%
Chow 61 37 18 8 40 .01%
Doberman 23 12 9 8 12 1.70%
Unidentified 81 16 29 8 32  
Boxer 64 19 23 7 31 1.25%
German shepherd-mix 45 28 14 7 30  

*Chart ordered by number of deaths; includes only a portion of breeds listed in report.

Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 31, 2014, by Merritt Clifton, Animals 24-7, December 31, 2014.
  1. This report is ongoing. New attacks are recorded as they occur. Older reports showing fewer attacks include: 2013, 2012, 2011,2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.