55 Powerful Dog Bite Statistics
This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
Every year over 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States. Dog bites can be serious, but few dogs attack unprovoked. In many cases, dogs react aggressively out of fear. Understanding dog behavior is important for safe interaction and to prevent a situation that might end poorly for someone you love and for the dog. A little knowledge goes a long way in situations like these.
Check out our dog bite statistics infographic and keep reading to learn more!
The Top 5 Dog Bite Statistics
- About 67% or American families (roughly 85 million) own a pet.
- There are an estimated 78 million dogs owned in the United States.
- About 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year.
- Roughly 800,000 dog bites result in medical care each year.
- If you put these statistics together with the estimated U.S. population (around 330 million), that means a dog bites 1 out of every 73 people.
- Over 80% of dog bites result in no injury at all or only result in minor injuries that don’t require medical attention.
- The majority of dog bites involve a dog that isn’t spayed or neutered.
- Insurance claims for dog bite-related injuries totaled $675 million in 2018.
- An estimated 78% of dogs are kept for guarding, fighting, breeding, or image enhancement.
- Dogs attacked 6,244 postal employees in 2017 (lower by 500 compared to 2016).
The Top 5 Reasons Dogs Bite
- Stress – When a dog is feeling stressed or uncomfortable, it may be more likely to respond negatively in a difficult situation.
- Fear – Dogs often have a natural instinct to lash out when they are feeling threatened or frightened.
- Protection – Dog bites are often out of self-protection or the protection of the dog’s puppies or owners. Some dogs are protective of territory.
- Illness – If a dog is feeling unwell, he may be more likely to bite.
- Play – Nipping and play biting is common, especially in puppies.
How Dangerous Are Dog Bites?
Because more than 80% of dog bites don’t result in injury, the risk of death is fairly low. You have a 1 in 112,400 chance of dying from a dog bite.
Your chances of dying from the following are higher:
- Heart disease or cancer (1 in 7)
- Choking on food (1 in 3,461)
- Being shot (1 in 6,905)
- Plane incident (1 in 9,821)
- Bees or wasps (1 in 63,225)
According to the CDC, the risk of being fatally attacked by a dog is 0.00001% (lower than dying from a lightning strike).
Dog Bite Statistics by Breed
- According to Canine Journal, 76% of fatal dog attacks are caused by Pitbulls or Rottweilers.
- Between 2005 and 2017, Pitbulls accounted for 284 dog-related deaths (65% of overall dog-related deaths). Rottweilers make up roughly 10% (45 deaths)
- The other top five breeds associated with dog-related deaths according to Canine Journal are German Shepherds (20), mixed breeds (17), American Bulldogs (15), Mastiff (14), and Huskies (13).
- The top 10 dog breeds with the strongest bite are:
- Kangal (743 PSI)
- English Mastiff (556 PSI)
- Wolfdog (406 PSI)
- Rottweiler (328 PSI)
- African Wild Dog (317 PSI)
- American Bulldog (305 PSI)
- Doberman (245 PSI)
- German Shepherd (238 PSI)
- American Pitbull (235 PSI)
- Dutch Shepherd (224 PSI)
- In 80% of dog bite cases, the breed of the dog could not be identified as one of the factors.
- Dogs are responsible for 99% of rabies cases
- About 59,000 people around the world die from rabies each year. The disease has largely been eliminated from Western Europe, Canada, the USA, Japan, and some Latin American countries.
- Rabies is generally not a problem where 70% of dogs are vaccinated.
- The Pitbull has a higher temperament passing rate (86.7%) than the Chihuahua, Border Collie, or Beagle.
- Mixed-breed dogs and Pitbulls are founded to have the highest relative risk of biting as well as the highest average damage per bite.
- Great Danes and Akitas have a lower relative risk of biting but high average damage from bites.
- According to a study, dogs with short, wide heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds are statistically the most likely to bite.
- The bottom five dog breeds for bite risk are: Dalmatian, Pointer, Great Dane, Pekingese, and Spitz.
- Less than 20% of dog attacks involve small “toy” breeds.
- About 25% of fatal dog attacks are caused by dogs who were chained at the time of attack.
- Pitbulls were responsible for 284 deaths between 2005 and 2017. In 2018, Pitbulls were responsible for 26 fatalities.
- About 58% of fatalities in a CDC study were caused by unrestrained dogs on the owner’s property – 24% were caused by unrestrained dogs off the owner’s property.
- The CDC estimates about 31 fatalities caused by dog attacks each year. About 60% involve adults, 31% children, and 9% infants.
- Since 2016, at least 47 different breeds of dog have been involved in fatal attacks. Some of these includes: Boxer, Akita, Doberman, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Husky, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler, Mastiff, Pitbull, and more.
- About 12 different breeds have a similar risk rate for dog bite-related fatalities: Malamutes, Chow Chows, Saint Bernards, Huskies, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs, Pitbulls, Akitas, German Shepherds, and Bulldogs.
- Over 50% of dog bite fatalities included more than one dog.
- Family dogs made up about 65% of fatal attacks in 2011 and nearly 75% occurred on the owner’s own property.
Dog Bite Statistics Around the World
- There are no global estimates of dog bites, but tens of millions of bites are thought to occur each year.
- Children have a higher risk of being bitten than adults and, in middle- and low-income countries, dog bites account for over 75% of animal bites overall.
- In Canada, 42 dog bites occur every hour – there are 5,000 dog bites each year in Ontario alone. Huskies and Rottweilers are the breeds most commonly involved.
- Canada experiences 1 to 2 dog bite-related deaths each year.
- In Australia, about 13,000 people require medical attention for dog-related injuries each year.
- The UK has experienced a 5% increase in dog bite-related hospital visits between 2015 and 2018.
- People in the UK between the ages of 50 to 59 were the most commonly attacked age group.
Other Dog Bite Statistics
- California has the highest number of insurance claims for dog bites and other dog-related injuries at 2,228 claims in 2017. They totaled over 90 million dollars.
- Florida has the highest cost per claim for dog bites at $44,700.
- The average cost of a hospital stay related to a dog bite is $18,500.
- According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), half the people injured by dog bites are children and most are between 5 and 9 years old.
- Children under 4 years who are victims of dog bites are typically injured around the neck and head region. Injuries tend to be lower for girls than for boys.
- In the United States, 28,000 people had reconstructive surgery after being attacked by dogs in the year 2015.
- Canine-related hospitalization stays increased by 86% between 1993 and 2008.
- The most frequent target for dog bites is the face (77% of casualties) while 97% of attacks to mail carriers happen to the lower extremities.