Dog bite statistics ::

Each day, about 1,000 U.S. citizens require emergency care treatment for dog bite injury.1 The following studies examine injury occurrence and the dog breeds most likely to bite.

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, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.

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

Report: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006
to December 2008

A 2009 report issued by DogsBite.org shows that 19 dog breeds contributed to 88 deaths in a recent 3-year period. Pit bulls accounted for 59% followed by rottweilers with 14%.

  • Of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded by DogsBite.org, pit bull type dogs were responsible for 59% (52). This is equivalent to a pit bull killing a U.S. citizen every 21 days during this 3-year period.
  • The data also shows that pit bulls commit the vast majority of off-property attacks that result in death. Only 18% (16) of the attacks occurred off owner property, yet pit bulls were responsible for 81% (13).

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays
Involving Dog Bites, 2008

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a study in 2010 showing that the number of Americans hospitalized for dog bites almost doubled over a 15-year period.

  • The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, approximately 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
  • There were 4 times as many dog bite-related ED visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas.

Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001

In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study that examines the frequency of dog bite-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments.

  • In 2001, an estimated 368,245 persons were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for nonfatal dog bite-related injuries.
  • 42% of dog bites in 2001 occurred among children aged 14 years and younger; injury rates were highest among children aged 5-9 years and were significantly higher for boys than for girls.

Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the
United States Between 1979 and 1998

A 2000 report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed a 20-year period to determine the types of dog breeds most responsible for U.S. dog bite fatalities.

  • During 1997 and 1998, at least 27 people died of dog bite attacks (18 in 1997 and 9 in 1998). At least 25 breeds of dogs were involved in 238 human dog bite related fatalities during the past 20 years. Pit bulls and rottweilers were involved in over half of these fatalities and from 1997 to 1998 were involved in 67%.

Which Dogs Bite? A Case-Control Study of Risk
Factors (1991)

In 1994, researchers released a study of "which dogs bite" based on 1991 Denver County dog bite data. Pit bulls are not included in the study. In 1989, Denver banned pit bulls.

  • Biters are 6.2 times as likely to be male than female
  • Biters are 2.6 times as likely to be intact than neutered
  • Biters are 2.8 times as likely to be chained as unchained
  1. Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008, by Laurel Holmquist, M.A. and Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD., November 2010.