Dog bite statistics show that while we love our dogs and consider them part of the family, caring for them has its risks. 

The more people around you have a dog, the higher your chances of being bitten by one. But what happens when our furry friends attack?

Let’s find out all the details and show you how to protect yourself around breeds that bite the most.

Little Known Dog Bite Statistics in 2021

  • Around 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US annually.
  • Chained-up dogs cause 25% of the bites.
  • Between 1993–2008, dog-related hospital stays increased by 86%.
  • If you live with two or more dogs, you’re five times more likely to be attacked.
  • 90% of children injured by dogs knew the animal.
  • Pitbulls caused 65% of all dog-related deaths between 2005–2017.
  • In 2019, California had the highest number of dog bite claims — 2,396.
  • The total insurance claim value for dog bites in 2019 was $802 million.
  • In 2018, 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery for dog injuries.
  • Between 2003–2020, chained dogs caused more than 450 attacks.

Dog Bite Stats

Dog bites are pretty common. But what are your chances of being attacked by one? 

1. Around 4.5 Million Dog Bites Occur Annually in the US.

(Source: CDC) 

  • Out of those, 800,000 require medical care.
  • The 2021 census estimates there are approximately 330 million people in the US. So you have a 1.36% chance of getting bitten by a dog, or 1 in 72.
  • 80% of all dog bites cause slight or no injury.

Now, dog bite fatality statistics may seem high, but it’s not that bad if we compare them to other incidents. 

2. You Have About a One in 112,400 Chance of Dying from a Dog Bite.

(Source: Common Sense Home) 

  • But that’s not all. The chance of dying from a cataclysmic storm is one in 66,335. To be honest, that wasn’t even on my radar of possibilities. 
  • We eat every day, but did you know there’s a one in 3,461 chance of choking to death?
  • Still, you have a chance of getting bitten by a dog, so you should do everything you can to prevent this. Neutering your pup could decrease aggression by up to 30%. 

Dogs are everywhere around us. What might provoke our furry friends to bite? Let’s dive into more dog bite statistics.

3. Chaining Up a Dog Causes 25% of Dog Bites.

(Source: Fatal Dog Attacks) 

  • Surprisingly, the relationship between a mailman and a pup is no joke. In 2018, dogs attacked 5,714 postal service employees.
  • But that’s down by 500 since 2017 (5,200) and by 1,000 since 2016 (4,700). 
  • In 2014, US insurance companies paid out over $530 million in dog bite-related claims.

Unfortunately, high attack rates mean higher hospitalization rates for dog bite injuries.

4. Between 1993–2008, Dog-Related Hospital Stays Increased by 86%.

(Source: DogsBite.org)

  • Pit bulls were responsible for 63% of all unfamiliar dog attacks in 2015.
  • Despite more dogs living in rural areas, you were 5% more likely to get bitten by a dog in an urban area than a rural one in 2020.
  • It was the opposite in 2008, with three times as many hospital stays for dog attacks happening in rural areas. 

While we don’t like blaming dogs for these incidents, you should be aware of breed specific dog bite statistics. 

Between 1993–2008, Dog-Related Hospital Stays Increased by 86%.

5. If You Live With Two or More Dogs, You’re Five Times More Likely to Be Attacked.

(Source: DogsBite.org)

  • That’s compared to people without a dog in the household. Still, off-property pit bull attacks are 2.7 times higher than other top-biting breeds.
  • In 2019, those in the 30–49 age group outweighed child victims for the first time. Pitbulls caused 85% of those adult fatalities.
  • 78% of dog bite fatalities in 2018 were women.

But how many of these dogs were pets? Are we more at risk of an attack by a known dog? And which breed is the most dangerous? Let’s find out. 

6. A 2010 Study Revealed 90% Of Children Injured by Dogs Knew the Animal.

(Source: Web MD)

  • Astoundingly, 51% of attacks were from family-owned dogs. 
  • The dogs belonged to the victims’ neighbors in 15% of the cases, to a friend in 13%, and a relative in 10%.
  • The same study showed that 23% of the dogs responsible were mixed breed. Surprisingly, 13.7% of them were labrador retrievers — the most popular pup in the US.

The study was conducted in Denver, where pit bulls are entirely banned. But the breed is often behind most attacks. 

Dog Bite Statistics by Breed

Over 30 breeds are associated with fatal cases. Here are the most common ones. 

7. Pit bulls Caused 65% of All Dog Related Deaths Between 2005–2017.

(Source: Adam S. Kutner Attorneys)

  • Pit bull dog bite statistics show that the breed caused about 284 deaths in those 12 years.
  • Between 2005–2017, the total number of deaths caused by dogs was 433.
  • The dogs most likely to bite range from small ones, like the chihuahua, to much bigger breeds like the rottweiler, which accounts for 11% of fatalities.

Still, in most studies, one breed shows up more frequently than all the rest. By now, no one can ignore the pit bull victims statistics.

8. In 2019, 16 Children Died From Dog Attacks, and 10 of Them Were Caused by a Pitbull.

(Source: Dog Bite Law)

  • In 2019, pit bulls were responsible for 91% of all fatal attacks on other animals.
  • They also caused 76% of lethal dog attacks on cats.
  • 82% of deadly attacks on other pets, poultry, and hoofed species in 2019 came from a pit bull. 

But breed specific dog bite statistics show it’s not just the pit bulls we should worry about.

9. In 2015, Jack Russells Bit More Humans Than Any Other Breed in Liverpool.

(Source: Independent)

  • Out of the 71 Liverpool dog attacks recorded in 2015, Jack Russells were responsible for six. 
  • Small dog breed bite statistics in a 2016 study showed that, out of 35 breeds, chihuahuas were the most aggressive.
  • Surprisingly, this study found that pit bulls are some of the most tolerant and least aggressive dogs. But the media attention surrounding the breed continues to put them at the forefront of violent animals. 

But does the location have any impact on your chances of getting attacked?

Now that we know what breeds to watch out for let’s look at some dog bite statistics by state. 

In 2019, California Had the Highest Number of Dog Bite Claims — 2,396

10. In 2019, California Had the Highest Number of Dog Bite Claims — 2,396.

(Source: Quote Wizard)

  • The second highest was Florida, with 1,268.
  • Texas followed with 937 claims.
  • In total, the US had 17,866 dog bite claims in 2019.

But where does insurance come into all of this? Let’s dive deeper. 

Dog Bites and the Insurance Industry

The cost of dog bite claims is astronomical and growing steadily.

11. In 2019, the Total Dog Bite Claim Value Was $802 Million.

(Source: Quote Wizard)

  • In 2018, it was only $129 million. 
  • With the rising instances of dog bites, you need to be very careful. In 2019, the average cost of a single dog bite claim was $43,653.
  • New York has the highest amount per claim — $55,800.

But that’s not all. Let’s see more recent insurance claims related to dog bite statistics.

12. In 2020, Homeowners Insurance Paid Out $854 Million for Dog-Related Injuries.

(Source: Insurance Information Institute)

  • The average dog bite claim has increased from $43,653 in 2019 to $50,425 in 2020.
  • 40 countries have breed-specific laws, including the UK and Australia. In the US, 1,160 cities have them in place, too.
  • Insurers often don’t cover known violent dog breeds. For instance, Ohio insists owners of such dogs have at least a $100,000 liability insurance.

Laws and regulations regarding pup bite fatalities are in place not only to protect us but pups, as well. Besides, some are more dangerous than others. Let’s have a look at those with the strongest dog bite.

Dog Bite PSI Statistics

In terms of dog bites, PSI stands for pounds per inch, meaning the amount of force in the bite. Surprisingly, Pit bulls don’t even make the top ten.

13. The Most Powerful Dog Bite Comes From the Kangal, with a PSI of 743.

(Source: Max Sparwasser Law Firm)

  • Next on the list is the Doberman pinscher with a 600 PSI.
  • The English mastiff isn’t far behind, with a PSI of 556.
  • Dog bite force statistics by breed show the rottweiler has a PSI of 328 and the all feared pitbull — 235 PSI.

So it’s not the bite force that increases your chance of a dog bite, but rather how hurt you could get if it happens. The medical costs associated with serious dog bite injuries stats can be excessive. That’s why having the right insurance is crucial. 

14. 27,000 People Underwent Reconstructive Surgery for Dog Injuries in 2018.

(Source: DogsBite.org)

  • In the year 2000, that number was considerably higher — 43,089.
  • The average cost of hospital and surgical fees for a dog bite is $18,000. As an owner, if you don’t have liability insurance for your dog, you are solely responsible, leading to fines or even jail time.
  • A 2010 study found the annual medical cost for dog bites was $43.9 million.

Now that we know so much about dog attack statistics let’s look at the reasons behind the numbers.  

What Leads to Rising Dog Bite Stats?

A pup might lash out for many reasons, and owners have much to do with them. 

27,000 People Underwent Reconstructive Surgery for Dog Injuries in 2018

15. 41% Of Owners Don’t Walk Their Dogs Regularly.

(Source: Psychology Today)

  • 64% of owners believe that walking their dogs is a reflection of their love for them.
  • 57% of pup owners admit to skipping a walk every week, and 56% said it was because of bad weather. Still, your dog needs a way to spend his energy. A doggy treadmill might be the perfect solution for stormy weather. 
  • Boredom also ranks as a possible reason for your pup to lash out. Finding indestructible dog toys, especially for larger breeds, is vital to keep them focused and entertained.

Unfortunately, owners of pups with a bad reputation, like the Pit bull, could be too afraid to take their pets out because of the stigma attached to their breed and fatal dog bite statistics.

16. Between 2003–2020, Chained Dogs Attacked More Than 450 Times.

(Source: PETA)

  • Wandering too close to a chained dog killed three children in 2008. 
  • To make matters worse, chained dogs attacked thirteen children in the same year. Unfortunately, pups often can’t tell the difference between a threat (intruder) and a non-threat (children). 
  • Attacks by chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely. Most of the victims are children because they have trouble recognizing the warning signs.

Torturing and changing a dog won’t make it a better protector. It will only make it more likely to attack anyone, including the owner. But some breeds are born to be the best guard dogs.

17. 55% Of Adopted Dogs from Shelters Will Exhibit Food Aggression.

(Source: Applied Animal Behaviour Science)

  • Have you ever noticed how some dogs get aggressive around food? National dog bite statistics report that 20% of pups show signs of food aggression.
  • Dog food allergies could be causing your pup to act out. But a study found that customizing your dog’s diet could lead to a 98% improvement in behavior.
  • Unfortunately, finding the right dog food for large breeds takes time. If the food isn’t meeting your pup’s nutritional needs, this could lead to behavioral problems. Large dogs need 10% protein and at least 2.4% fiber in their diet. 

So some breeds attack more than others, and there are many reasons for them to do that. But what can we do to prevent the increasing hospitalization rates for dog bite injuries?

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of the Dogs That Bite the Most

Here’s how you can ensure your safety and avoid a fatal canine attack. 

18. Never Run From an Aggressive Dog.

(Source: Pet Safe)

  • Know the warning signs: growling, lunging, barking, and baring teeth. If you see any of these, slowly turn to your side, look away, and pretend to yawn — a non-threatening sign like that can help.
  • If you aren’t familiar with the dog, standing still is your best bet at protecting yourself — that and avoiding eye contact.
  • Dog attack statistics by breed show the dogs you should be most careful around. But make no mistake — any chained-up animals, no matter their size, will attack if provoked. So avoid them at any cost. 

As long as we’re responsible owners and civilians, we can prevent further dog bite fatalities.

Wrap Up

Dog bite fatality statistics can be a bit scary, but it’s better to know what’s going on. Let’s recap what we’ve learned.

Each year over four million dog bite incidents happen in the US. Pit bulls are responsible for many of them, but smaller breeds like the Jack Russel can also cause damage.

The average medical bill for a pup bite is $18,000, so ensure you have liability insurance if you own one. Insurance payouts for dog bites are in the hundreds of millions each year.

Pups are a part of our family, but we must first and foremost understand they are animals. Dog bite statistics remain a serious issue, but they’re predominantly caused by irresponsible owners. 

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