Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to December 31, 2013

By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013,1 Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the dog breeds most responsible for serious injuries and deaths.

Study highlights

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

  • 81% of attacks that induce bodily harm
  • 76% of attacks to children
  • 87% of attack to adults
  • 72% of attacks that result in fatalities
  • 81% 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 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 being bitten, often someone is maimed or killed; that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk.
1982-2013 chart
Breed Bodily harm Child Victims Adult Victims Deaths Maimings % of total dog population
Pit bull 2792 1114 1047 263 1677 6.0%
Rottweiler 514 290 136 81 294 2%
Husky 79 49 5 25 24 .07%
Wolf hybrid 85 70 5 19 49  
Bullmastiff (Presa canario) 105 42 39 15 61 .02%
German shepherd 102 63 30 15 63 2.1%
Pit bull-mix 191 75 45 12 102  
Akita 68 43 21 8 50 1%
Boxer 62 19 21 7 29 1.4%
Chow 58 37 17 7 39 .009%
German shepherd-mix 43 28 12 7 28  
Doberman 18 9 9 7 10 1.4%

*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, 2013, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, December 31, 2013.
  1. This report is ongoing. New attacks are recorded as they occur. Older reports showing fewer attacks include: 2012, 2011,2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.