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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

Homeowners insurers paid out $797 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2019.

Dog Bite Liability - Insurance Information Institute, 2020

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.

Dog Bite Liability - Insurance Information Institute, 2020

Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 5 bites becomes infected.

Preventing Dog Bites - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 2015

In 2018, nearly 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.

2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report - American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2019

There was an 86% increase in dog bite-related hospitalization stays between 1993 and 2008 in the United States.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), November 2010

The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, about 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), November 2010

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.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), November 2010

In 2008, Medicare and Medicaid combined paid for 37% of all dog bite-related hospitalization stays in the United States.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), November 2010

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.

Dog bites: still a problem?, by Gilchrist et al., Injury Prevention, 2008

Each day, over 1,000 persons are treated in hospital emergency departments for nonfatal dog bite-related injuries.

Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003

Dog attack victims suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually. JAMA reports this estimate to be as high as $2 billion.

Dog Bites Recognized as Public Health Problem, by Voelker, JAMA, 1997

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.

Dog-Bite Injuries to the Craniofacial Region: An Epidemiologic and Pattern-of-Injury Review at a Level 1 Trauma Center, by Khan et al., MS J Oral Maxillofac Surg, March 2020

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.

Pediatric Dog Bite Injuries in Central Texas, by Abraham et al., Journal of Pediatric Surgery, July 2019

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.

Dog Bite Injuries to the Face: Is There Risk with Breed Ownership? A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis, by Essig et al., Int. J. Pediatr. Otorhinolaryngol, February 2019

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.

Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution, by Golinko et al., Clinical Pediatrics, April 2017

Our data revealed that pit bull breeds were more than 2.5 times as likely as other breeds to bite in multiple anatomical locations.

Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution, by Golinko et al., Clinical Pediatrics, April 2017

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 Plast Reconstr Surg, 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.

Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment, by O'Brien et al., Am J Otolaryngol, Jan–Feb, 2015

Unlike all other breeds, pit bull terriers were relatively more likely to attack an unknown individual (+31%), and without provocation (+48%).

Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment, by O'Brien et al., Am J Otolaryngol, Jan–Feb, 2015

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.

Morbidity of pediatric dog bites: A case series at a level one pediatric trauma center, by Garvey et al., Journal of Pediatric Surgery, February 2015

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.

Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs, by Bini et al., Annals of Surgery, April 2011

Dog bite-related fatality statistics

Single Years

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.

2019 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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.

Snapshot of 2019 Dog Bite Fatality Victim Age Groups Compared to Earlier Studies - DogsBite.org, July 2020

In 2019, poor safety or intake policies at city and county taxpayer-funded shelters contributed to 4 separate fatal dog maulings.

2019 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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.

Discussion Notes - 2018 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - DogsBite.org, May 2019

Combined 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.

15-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart (2005 to 2019) - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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.

15-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart (2005 to 2019), Victims by Age Group and Gender - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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%.

Summary of Factors and Scenarios (2005-2019) - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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%.

Discussion Notes - 2019 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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.

Summary of Factors and Scenarios (2005-2019) - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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.

Summary of Factors and Scenarios (2005-2019) - DogsBite.org, July 2020

From 2005 to 2019, only 20% of dog bite fatalities resulted in criminal charges. Pit bulls were implicated in 76% of these criminal cases.

Summary of Factors and Scenarios (2005-2019) - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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%.

Discussion Notes - 2019 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - DogsBite.org, July 2020

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).

Trends: 14 Years of U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities in 3 Periods (2005 to 2018) - DogsBite.org, May 2019

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.

Trends: 14 Years of U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities in 3 Periods (2005 to 2018) - DogsBite.org, May 2019

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.

Discussion Notes - 2017 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - DogsBite.org, 2018

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.

Fatalpitbullattacks.com, 2020, and Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and Adults Disfigured, Maimed and Killed by Dogs - DogsBite.org, July 2014

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 53 countries regulate pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds. In 42 of those countries, the regulation is a national-level law.

Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws - DogsBite.org, December 2019

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.

Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws - DogsBite.org, December 2019

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.

Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws - DogsBite.org, December 2019

Citations
  1. 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.