Quick statistics ::
A collection of national and medical study-specific nonfatal and fatal dog bite injury-related statistics. Notably, each year, an American has a one in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog.1
- Dog bite statistics (national)
- Severe dog bite injury statistics (study-specific)
- Dog bite-related fatality statistics (national)
- Breed-specific law statistics (national)
Dog bite statistics
Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2017, costing almost $700 million.
The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 90 percent from 2003 to 2017, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.
In 2016, dogs attacked over 6,750 U.S. Postal Service employees -- over 200 more attacks than last year. The city of Los Angeles had the most attacks (80).
Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 5 bites becomes infected.
In 2015, more than 28,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.
There was an 86% increase in dog bite-related hospitalization stays between 1993 and 2008 in the United States.
The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, about 50% 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 in 2008.
In 2008, Medicare and Medicaid combined paid for 37% of all dog bite-related hospitalization stays in the United States.
Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs in the home.
Dog bites occur every 75 seconds in the United States. Each day, over 1,000 citizens need emergency medical care to treat these injuries.
Dog attack victims suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually. JAMA reports this estimate to be as high as $2 billion.
Severe dog bite injury statistics
Our data were consistent with others, in that an operative intervention was more than 3 times as likely to be associated with a pit bull injury than with any other breed.
Our data revealed that pit bull breeds were more than 2.5 times as likely as other breeds to bite in multiple anatomical locations.
Most alarming is the observation that when attacks come from unfamiliar dogs, the pit bull was responsible for 60% and 63% of all injuries and ocular injuries, respectively.
Ocular Trauma From Dog Bites: Characterization, Associations, and Treatment Patterns at a Regional Level I Trauma Center Over 11 Years, by Prendes et al., Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, June 2015
Of the more than 8 different breeds identified, one-third were caused by pit bull terriers and resulted in the highest rate of consultation (94%) and had 5 times the relative rate of surgical intervention.
Unlike all other breeds, pit bull terriers were relatively more likely to attack an unknown individual (+31%), and without provocation (+48%).
Although a number of dog breeds were identified, the largest group were pit bull terriers, whose resultant injuries were more severe and resulted from unprovoked, unknown dogs.
In this series, dogs causing the injury were overwhelmingly familiar with the patient: 53% of dogs belonged to the family ... In our series (as in Philadelphia), Pit bulls were most commonly responsible.
Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs.
Dog bite-related fatality statistics
From 2005 to 2017, pit bulls killed 284 Americans, about one citizen every 16.7 days, versus rottweilers, which killed every 105 days.
From 2005 to 2017, pit bulls and rottweilers contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths. When mastiff-type guarding and war dogs are added, this group of dog breeds accounts for over 80% of all deaths.
When comparing two close periods, (2005-2010 vs. 2011-2017), deaths inflicted by pit bulls increased from 58% to 71% and deaths inflicted by rottweilers decreased from 14% to 7%.
Newborns, infants and toddlers, ages 0-2 years old, made up 27% of all dog bite fatality victims from 2005 to 2017. The highest age specific fatality rate is infants <1, accounting for 48% of all 0-2 victims.
From 2005 to 2017, 52% of all fatality victims were 10-years and older, a 73% rise from the early CDC study years (1979 to 1988) when victims 10-years and older only comprised 30% of all deaths.
In the 13-year data set, pit bulls inflicted 72% of attacks that killed a person 10-years and older vs. all other dog breeds combined, 28%.
From 2005 to 2017, family dogs inflicted 54% of all fatal attacks. 64% were perpetrated by pit bulls. Of the 284 fatal pit bull attacks, 52% involved killing a family or household member.
In the 13-year data set, 54 cases involved a dog killing its primary owner. Pit bulls inflicted 63% of these deaths, over 8 times more than any other breed.
Over the 13-year period, 47% of fatal attacks involved 2 or more dogs. This is a 57% rise from the government study years (1979 to 1994), when only 30% of deaths involved 2 or more dogs attacking.
From 2005 to 2017, there were 97 fatal attacks involving 3 or more dogs. Death resulted 16 times more frequently when 2 or more pit bulls were involved than when the group of dogs only included 1 pit bull.
From 2005 to 2017, only 21% of all deaths resulted in criminal charges. Pit bulls were implicated in 75% of these criminal cases.
By 2021, pit bulls are projected to maul 441 Americans to death since 1998, the year the CDC stopped collecting breed data after fatal attacks on humans, and over 515 Americans killed since 1980.
The data indicate that rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities.
Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States Between 1979 and 1998, by Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC and Lockwood R, J Am Vet Med Assoc, 2000 Sep 15;217(6):836-40.
Breed-specific law statistics
Jurisdictions in 50 countries regulate pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds. In 39 of those countries, the regulation is a national-level law.
Over 1,000 U.S. cities have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid 1980s, just after pit bulls began leaking into the general population from the shadowy world of dogfighting.
Over 290 U.S. military bases governed by the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Space Command, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and Navy regulate dangerous dog breeds.
- Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2003; 52(26): 605-610.