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
Homeowners insurers paid out $797 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2019.
The average cost per claim nationally has risen 134 percent from 2003 to 2019, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.
Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 5 bites becomes infected.
In 2018, nearly 27,000 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 5 times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs in the home.
Each day, over 1,000 persons are treated in hospital emergency departments for nonfatal dog bite-related 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
The probability of a bite resulting in a complex wound was 4.4 times higher for pit bulls compared with the other top-biting breeds ... and the odds of an off-property attack by a pit bull was 2.7 times greater.
Parental presence was reported in 43.6% of cases ... The most commonly identified breed was the pit bull ... Pit bulls were also the most commonly identified breed involved in major injuries.
Physical characteristics like brachycephalic head shape and weight between 66 and 100 pounds were found to have both the highest bite risk and highest average tissue damage per bite.
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.
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%).
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
In 2019, for the first time on record, adult victims in the 30-49 age group sustained more dog bite fatalities than child victims in the 0-4 age group. Pit bulls inflicted 85% of these adult deaths.
In 2019, pit bulls killed in all age groups. Whereas, all other dog breeds combined primarily killed children ≤ 2 years old and adults ≥ 50 years.
In 2019, poor safety or intake policies at city and county taxpayer-funded shelters contributed to 4 separate fatal dog maulings.
In 2018, 78% of dog bite fatality victims were female, the highest recorded in a single year. Of the 10 owner-directed fatal dog attacks in 2018, 80% killed women between the ages of 28 to 64 years.
From 2005 to 2019, pit bulls killed 346 Americans, a rate over 6.5 times higher than the next closest breed, rottweilers, with 51 deaths.
Children, 0-2 years old, made up 26% of all dog bite fatality victims from 2005 to 2019. Infants (< 1-year) comprised 47% of all 0-2 victims.
During the 15-year period of 2005 to 2019, canines killed 64 infants (< 1-year). Pit bulls inflicted nearly half of these infant deaths, 48%.
From 2015 to 2019, persons ≥ 10-years old made up the majority of victims killed by dogs, 64%. Children ≤ 9-years old made up 36%.
In the 15-year data set (2015 to 2019), there were 74 owner-directed attacks, when a dog kills its primary owner. Pit bulls inflicted 62% (46) of these deaths, over 11 times more than any other dog breed.
From 2005 to 2019, family dogs inflicted 54% of all fatal attacks. 65% were perpetrated by pit bulls. Of the 346 fatal pit bull attacks during the period, over half, 53%, involved killing a family or household member.
From 2005 to 2019, only 20% of dog bite fatalities resulted in criminal charges. Pit bulls were implicated in 76% of these criminal cases.
Fatal multi-dog attacks involving ≥ 3 dogs has risen from 11% to 29% since the late 80s, a 164% rise. In 2019, attacks involving ≥ 3 dogs comprised 38% of all deaths and pit bulls were involved in 78%.
From 2015 to 2018, females comprised 53.8% of victims killed by pit bulls, a 39% rise from a previous period of 38.8% (2005 to 2009).
From 2005 to 2009, rescued or rehomed dogs only inflicted 2% of dog bite fatalities. This rose to 14.7% from 2015 to 2018, over a 600% rise.
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.
By 2024, pit bulls are projected to maul 512 Americans to death since 1998, the year CDC stopped collecting breed data after fatal attacks on humans, and over 590 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 54 countries regulate pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds. In 43 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2003; 52(26): 605-610.