Most Dangerous Dog Breeds: Dog Bite and Attack Statistics

Updated on November 1, 2019
susanmariaharris profile image

Susan has a master's in education and likes to research and write about trending topics.

The 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
The 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds | Source

This list that I have compiled is based on dog bite and attack statistics from 1982 to 2013. It should be mentioned that such statistics come with some inaccuracies. For instance, bites and attacks from small dog breeds are often underreported because the injuries these breeds can cause are often minor due to size. I am NOT stating that these dog breeds are bad or evil in any way.

All Dog Breeds Can Make Great Companions

I had a Boxer as a child and I have family members who own Dobermans and German Shepherds—they are wonderful dogs! This article is simply a statistical analysis of attacks per dog breed and subsequent deaths that have been reported.

The Responsibility of the Owner

We have all heard it before: It's not the breed that causes the problems, it's the owner. In some cases that is completely true. Owners must be sure to raise their dogs properly, to socialize them, and to offer them love. NEVER hit your dog ever, and do not teach your dog to act aggressively in any type of way.

Selective Breeding Influences Breed Traits

However, even the best owners cannot change a dog's innate desires. Some breeds are more prone to attack simply because they were bred for a specific purpose. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will attack, it simply means that certain breeds have more of a chance of attacking than others.

Any Breed Can Attack

In reality, any dog breed can attack just as any dog breed can be wonderful with people and children. However, statistics show that certain types of dogs do attack more than others and large-dog attacks are often reported more because they simply cause more damage.

Pit Bull Breeds
Pit Bull Breeds | Source

1. Pit Bull Breeds

The term "pit bull" refers to a group of breeds, many of which were originally bred in England and brought to the United States for blood sports such as cockfighting, bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and dogfighting. Unfortunately, from the very beginning, these breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog) were bred to fight, attack, and kill.

These breeds have strong, muscular bodies and are known to be highly protective of their owners and their owner's property. This is why it's important to socialize pit bulls from a very young age and to expose them to strangers, adults, other dogs, and children.

Characteristics

  • Height: 14–24 inches
  • Weight: 22–78 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 2,792 attacks
  • Child Victims: 1,114 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 1,047 attacks
  • Deaths: 263
  • Maimings: 1,677

Rottweiler
Rottweiler | Source

2. Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a large-size dog that is very smart, agile, athletic, and strong. They originated as a herding dog. They do tend to have a pack mentality, so it is important for owners to serve as good leaders. Rottweilers can be very docile and calm if socialized and raised correctly, however, they are very protective of their families and tend to be wary of strangers.

Characteristics

  • Height: 22–27 inches
  • Weight: 85–30 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 514 attacks
  • Child Victims: 290 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 136 attacks
  • Deaths: 81
  • Maimings: 294

Husky
Husky

3. Husky

The Husky is a strong sled-pulling dog from the Arctic. Huskies are known to be very energetic and playful. They have thick, furry coats that can vary in color. In general, they are known to be very intelligent, docile, gentle, relaxed, and friendly dogs. Huskies can, however, be very difficult to train and can be stubborn. A bored or lonely Husky can very destructive and ill-behaved.

Even though this breed has a lot of positive characteristics, it is powerful and strong enough to harm or kill its victims if it attacks.

Characteristics

  • Height: 21–23 inches
  • Weight: 35–60 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12–15 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 79 attacks
  • Child Victims: 49 attacks
  • Adults Victims: 5 attacks
  • Deaths: 25
  • Maimings: 24

Wolf Hybrid
Wolf Hybrid

4. Wolf Hybrid

A wolf hybrid is exactly what it sounds like—it is the combination of a Gray Wolf and a dog. Wolf hybrids are very skittish animals and dislike loud noises, fast-moving objects, strangers, and new people. They require a lot of patience and consistent training from owners.

Hybrids are not recommended for homes with children or for inexperienced pet owners. This type of dog needs a lot of space to run and roam and will not do well in small houses or apartments.

Characteristics

  • Height: around 26 inches
  • Weight: about 100 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Can live up to 17 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 85 attacks
  • Child Victims: 70 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 5 attacks
  • Deaths: 19
  • Maimings: 49

Presna Canario
Presna Canario | Source

5. Bull Mastiff (Presna Canario)

The Presna Canario originates from Spain and was originally raised to work with livestock. This large breed makes for a very good guard dog and is wary of strangers. It is very important that everyone in the family feels comfortable around this breed or it may act aggressively towards some people.

Again, early socialization is very important in the development of a healthy and affectionate dog, and this breed must see humans as the leader of the pack. Presna Canarios have short and coarse coats; they come in all colors of fawn and brindle.

Characteristics

  • Height: 21–25 inches
  • Weight: 80–100 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 9–11 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 105 attacks
  • Child Victims: 42 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 39 attacks
  • Deaths: 15
  • Maimings: 61

German Shepherd
German Shepherd

6. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are very popular in the United States. They are strong, intelligent, agile, muscular, and fearless. It's important that these dogs are habituated to people, and for this reason, they should never be isolated or kept in a cage.

German Shepherds require a lot of socialization when they are young, and it's important for owners to establish themselves as the leader early on. German Shepherds are used as police dogs, guard dogs, and service dogs because they are very intelligent and well-behaved if properly trained.

Characteristics

  • Height: 22–26 inches
  • Weight: 77–85 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: About 13 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 102 attacks
  • Child Victims: 63 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 30 attacks
  • Deaths: 15
  • Maimings: 63

Akita
Akita | Source

7. Akita

The Akita originates from Japan and is a large working dog. The Akita is known to be affectionate with its owners but very aloof towards strangers or new people. They are docile and gentle with members of the family and people they see regularly, but they can be very difficult to socialize with other pets and strangers.

The Akita has a thick fur coat which it sheds very heavily. The breed is powerful, hardy, and athletic and tends to get bored easily. Children should learn to be authoritative and respectful when interacting with this breed, and owners should be patient when training the Akita.

Characteristics

  • Height: 24–28 inches
  • Weight: 75–20 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 68 attacks
  • Child Victims: 43 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 21 attacks
  • Deaths: 8
  • Maimings: 50

Boxer
Boxer | Source

8. Boxer

Boxers are compact and very powerful dogs. Originating from Germany, the Boxer has short hair and varies in color from brindle to fawn. Boxers are very energetic and playful dogs. They are known to be naturally protective of their owners and act like guardians.

These dogs are affectionate towards humans, especially children. This has made them a very popular choice for families. But like all dogs, the Boxer needs early socialization when young as it can be distrustful of strangers.

Characteristics

  • Height: 21–25 inches
  • Weight: 50–70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11–14 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 62 attacks
  • Child Victims: 19 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 21 attacks
  • Deaths: 7
  • Maimings: 29

Chow Chow
Chow Chow | Source

9. Chow Chow

This medium-sized working breed is strong and very muscular. Originating from China, Chow Chows were brought into war in ancient times. The Chow Chow is a very difficult dog to train and may not like being around other pets or animals, so training should begin at a young age. For this reason, the Chow Chow should be introduced to children, other pets, strangers, etc. at the earliest time possible. The earlier the training begins with this breed, the more likely the dog will be well-socialized.

Characteristics

  • Height: 18–22 inches
  • Weight: 45–70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: About 15 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 58 attacks
  • Child Victims: 37 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 17 attacks
  • Deaths: 7
  • Maimings: 39

Doberman
Doberman

10. Doberman

The Doberman is a medium-sized breed that is known for its strength and speed. They are very intelligent and can be a well-trained guard dog if owned by the right owner. Doberman's have a lot of energy and spirit.

This breed has a short coat that varies in color from black, red, blue, and fawn. They like to run around a lot and need a lot of room to roam. They should not be kept outdoors because they are very sensitive to the cold.

Like all breeds, the Doberman needs to be trained from an early age and must understand that humans are the leaders. The dog must be respected but consistently trained in a stern, authoritative manner. Dobermans can be very loyal and gentle.

Characteristics

  • Height: 24–28 inches
  • Weight: 65–90 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: About 13 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 18 attacks
  • Child Victims: 9 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 9 attacks
  • Deaths: 7
  • Maimings: 10

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        galxy 

        14 months ago

        love all dogs please they bite becase they are protecting themselfs

      • profile image

        .......... 

        16 months ago

        rottweilers can be gentle gaiants

      • profile image

        Alyson 

        18 months ago

        Actually, the breed know as the "English" bulldog is a relatively recently developed animal designed strictly for the show ring. In fact, "bulldogs" were not even created until several years AFTER bull baiting (the purpose for which it was supposed to have been bred) was banned and discontinued in the United Kingdom. So, it is impossible for the pit bull to have been developed from a breed younger than itself. In fact, the show "bulldog" is developed from the original working bulldog - the pit bull.

        There is some terrier blood in the modern pit bull. Terrier blood was added, just as mastiff blood was also added. This explains why some lines of pit bulls are quite "bully" in build, and at the larger end of the standard, while others are quite "light" in build, and may weigh as little as 25 pounds. However, the pit bull is a "bulldog" in action and appearance. He is a gripping dog - not a terrier (which means "Earth dog" which pursues its quarry underground.

      • profile image

        Erik 

        23 months ago

        I appreciate you included stats and not just conjecture and "what ifs" like some blogs. However, I must inform you bullmastiffs and presa canario aren't the same breed. They look similar upon first appearance however, the bullmastiff, originating in Europe (England) is taller and generally heavier. Canarios tend to be a bit longer and come from Italy. Canarios are the more aggressive of the two breeds and have a more unstable temperament. I'd highly recommend bullmastiffs to anyone wanting a giant breed that looks intimidating they are true gentle giants and will be a great companion to your children and even other pets if raised with them from puppyhood.

      • profile image

        Nunya2017 

        2 years ago

        Pitbull is not a breed...

      • profile image

        chris 

        2 years ago

        I do appreciate statistics, even if some have such a negitive view. It seems helpful thank you. Can i ask where this information was gathered from?

      • profile image

        FoxiMaiden 

        2 years ago

        It's spelled "Presa Canario," and it is a different breed from the Bullmastiff. Those careless errors make it tough to take the info in this article very seriously :/

      • profile image

        DoggieDoc 

        2 years ago

        Hi Susan,

        Despite the unwarranted, but not surprising, negative comments about your article from 2 years ago re: bite/maul/death statistics, I appreciate your efforts and your article. Although I would have liked to read a little more about the source(s) from which your information was derived, I found the article to be very helpful and extremely similar to my 20 years' worth of experience as a veterinarian and dog owner/rescuer of various breeds. I hope you won't let people who unjustly or unfairly criticize your article from keeping your comments coming our way. (I see there are several readers who accused you of lying, and we all know THEY ought to know whether you're lying or not because THEY are obviously the ONLY authorities on this subject... excuse me....gag, cough, cough, choke, lol) Please continue to share your comments, opinions, facts, and other remarks with those of us who don't judge your writing, but consider your writing as yet another source from which we all may learn something valuable. Worst case scenario, we agree to disagree. Thank you for your article!

        Dr. Lori :)

      • profile image

        Kat Vineyard 

        2 years ago

        You don't think that these numbers have anything to do with populations? Not only does #1 include 5 different breeds of dogs but they are the most popular also. This list could actually be called, "The most poplar big dogs owned in the US since pittie type dogs are the most popular (because everyone groups them into one group). Then rottweilers, then huskies...if there are 1 million homes that have pittie type dogs and 500k that have huskies, and 250k have German Shepard's, then obviously there are going to be "reported bites" from pitties because there are more of them. This can happen with any large dog, especially if it's untrained. Boxers?? Really?? This is ridiculous.

      • profile image

        Madddie 

        2 years ago

        This list is complete trash. There is NO way a simple pit bull is more "vicious" then a freaking wolf Hybrid. I'm sorry I'm calling you out on your bullshit. You must have gotten this so called "research" from Wiki.

      • srai01 profile image

        ARADHYA 

        2 years ago

        Hi Rachel!

        I agree that the Pittbull have terrible reputation.

        But as you say - "they train these dogs to be viscous! ".

        So I will say in other way "Pittbull are the best option, if you need a dog that look macho and can be viscous".

        But also they can make a good family pet, if you will train them to be polite.

      • profile image

        Racheal 

        2 years ago

        I'm sorry but the pittbull has a terrible reputation.. and things like this don't help.. pittbulls are loved by the urban community where the bad reputation is loved .. and people get these dogs to look macho or tough.. they train these dogs to be viscous! This is why there's more bites and incidents.. if these dogs didn't have this tough reputation bad people wouldn't want them for all the wrong reasons.. I hate it because they are the sweetest!

      • profile image

        Rancho domingo 

        3 years ago

        So from 1982-2013, a doberman has a statisical history as a bully breed.

        Hardly. This stale, you call factual data must have been collected by one of the nations lowest common denominators simply because poodles are not on the list which account for a much greater "bite" and "maim" statistic.

      • profile image

        breakherlegs 

        4 years ago

        That 'pit bull' picture is an American Bully.

        Maybe pit bull attacks wouldn't be so high if so many breeds weren't all lumped into the same category.

        I mean, you've got American Pit Bull Terriers, American Bullies, American Staffordshire Terrier, English Staffordshire Terrier and Bull Terrier.

        That's 5 breeds.

        Plus, all the mixes in-between. Just googling 'pit bull' comes up with a whole bunch of different dogs. American Bulldogs are often referred to as pit bulls, as well as mastiff crosses, boxer crosses. I even saw an attack by a lab x mastiff called a 'pit bull'.

        I wonder if I lumped all wolf breeds together, or all toy dogs, as well as mixes in between, I'd get similar bite rate statistics as pit bulls. :/

      • susanmariaharris profile imageAUTHOR

        Susan Harris 

        5 years ago from Earth

        Attic 505 I am a strong believer in sharing our opinions but please note that these are simple statistics that researchers have gathered over the years. They are not lies but facts. However one thing you said was true. We don't know why the dogs in the study attacked. More than likely they were treated badly, which I state again and again in the article that the training of the dogs and the owner of the dogs is very important. Any breed of dog can attack a human, but these are the top dogs as per research collected on attack/deaths that have been linked to show death. You are right little dogs have probably attacked lots of people, but the truth is how many people has a shit Tzu or a wiener dog killed? I think it was incorrect of you to say I am writing lies. This hub was based off of statistics only. I understand you have opinion and I respect that, but please sir do not call me a liar. Respect the writers of the hubs especially when I made it very clear what my statistics were based off of and the fact that I stated again and again it depends on the owner. Please note that I was the happy owner of a lovable Boxer for over 10 years but yet statistics still show it is more prone to attack. I wish you would put more time and effort into reading up on dog breeds and statistics, instead of bashing writers on hubpages.

      • profile image

        attic505 

        5 years ago

        I'm sorry but this information is misinformation. I am 32 years old and I am an Electrician. I am in and it if peoples houses all day everyday. The only dogs that I have ever had any issue with and or have bitten my boots are the small little viscous snappers. And not any specific breed if snapper either. I'm sorry but this article is totally false, you need to stop lying please.

        Now if there was a pit bull or Rottweiler that was not people friendly the homeowners have them kenneled prior as a responsible owner should.

        Now the attacks?

        How many attacks were from foods that were improperly trained by their HUMAN owners? How many were improperly trained by THUG HUMANS?

        This article is false and portrays purrs in the wrong way.

        The problem is that we don't post the type and mentality of pet owners next to the dogs that attack people.

        Then you can write the TRUTH about dogs.

        Have a great day..

      • srai01 profile image

        ARADHYA 

        5 years ago

        Hello Susan,

        Thanks for nice article and useful information.

        It's really surprising to know, that Boxers had been reported for more bites than Doberman and Dalmatians.

        Voted up!! - thanks

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