If you pay attention to news stories, then you may think that dog bites are a big problem in the United States.
However, that’s not exactly true.
While dog bites and dog attacks to happen, the occurrence is not as wide spread as you my think.
And, those dog bites and attacks may not be coming from the breeds getting all the blame.
Below we’ll go through the latest data on dog bites and attacks in the US, including dog bites by breed.
General Dog Bite and Attack Statistics
The most recent data on dog bites and attacks in the USA is from 2020, and we have pulled out the most important findings for you below.
How Likely Are You To Get Bit By A Dog In The US?
As an American, you may be wondering what your chances are of getting bit by a dog.
It doesn’t matter if you have a dog as a pet or if you don’t have any dogs, because anyone can get bit by a dog.
Based on data that you will see below, an estimated 4.5 million dog bites happen each year in the USA. That means you have a 1 in 73 chance of getting bit by a dog in the US.
Odds Of Dying From A Dog Bite
We’ve all seen those stories on the news of people who were killed from a dog attack, but how many people actually die each year from a dog bite?
As of 2020, your odds of dying from a dog bite were 1 in 118,776.
That means you are much more likely to die from choking, a bee sting, a car accident, an accidental firearm discharge, or from a fall. (source)
How Deadly Are Dogs To Humans?
Since dogs are animals, then you may be curious where they rank when it comes to the most deadly creatures to humans.
Here’s the ranking for the top three most deadly creatures to humans, in order:
- Other Humans
According to Statista, mosquitos cause 750,000 humans deaths each year.
Other humans cause 437,000 human deaths each year.
Snakes cause 100,000 human deaths each year.
And, dogs cause only 35 human deaths each year.
How Many People Get Bit By Dogs Each Year?
While death from dogs is quite rare in the grand scheme of things, dog bites are considerably more common.
And when you consider that there are almost 90 million dogs being kept as pets in the United States, these numbers seem even smaller.
Since 1994, the reported number of dog bites has remained constant at around 4.5 million per year.
In the early 2000’s another survey came up with the same number, though it could be as high as 4.7 million dog bites per year.
How Many Dog Bite Victims Need Medical Attention Each Year?
If you’ve ever owned a dog, then you know that puppies go through that bitey phase where they’re basically a cute little land shark always nipping at you with those sharp little puppy teeth.
We assume that some of those bites are included in the numbers above, so how many of those 4.5 million annual dog bites result in someone needing medical attention?
That same study from the early 2000’s reports that around 885,000 thousand of those dog bites require medical attention.
The medical attention is either due to severity of the bite or just to prevent future infection.
We also assume that some of those doctor visits are due to worry of rabies, but that data was not included.
How Many Dog Bites Require Emergency Room Visits Each Year?
Of those 885,000 dog bites above that require medical attention, some are so severe that the victim is taken to the emergency room.
Just how many dog bites result in a visit to the local ER?
The most recent CDC report on this counted a total of 344,202 emergency room visits from a dog bite.
However, a majority of those visits were for children between the ages of 5-years-old and 9-years-old.
Another study reports that emergency rooms see 900+ dog bite victims each day, which tracks with the math from the CDC report above.
How Many Dog Bites Require Hospitalization Each Year?
There are some dog bites that are so bad that the victim requires an extended hospital stay.
That same 2018 study from the CDC counted 9,415 dog bites that required extended hospital stays for the victims.
It is worth nothing that none of the people who were hospitalized with dog bites were younger that age 25.
How Many Dog Bite Fatalities Are Children?
Most of the news stories that you see about people dying from dog bites are kids, but what’s the reality here?
Are kids most of the fatalities?
According to the most recent data, the age group with the highest death rate from dog bites is 0 to 2-years old.
The age group accounts for 26% of all dog bite fatalities.
How Many People Die Each Year From Dog Bites In The US?
From year to year, the number of people who die from dog bites varies, but it falls in the 40-50 deaths each year range. (source)
- In 2019, 48 people died from dog bites in the US
- In 2020, 46 people died from dog bites in the US
- In 2021, 51 people died from dog bites in the US
One interesting thing to note is that in Canada, only 1 to 2 people each year die from dog bites. (source)
Dog Bite Fatalities By State
As you will see in the chart below, you are at a higher risk of dying from a dog bite if you live in Texas or California.
Based on the the data above, the top 5 states for dog bite fatalities are:
- California (48 deaths)
- Texas (47 deaths)
- Florida (31 deaths)
- North Carolina (22 deaths)
- Ohio (21 deaths)
It is also worth noting that more dog bites happen in rural areas than in non-rural areas.
Dog Bites By Breed Statistics
If you’re trying to minimize your risk of a dog bite or a dog attack, then you may be curious if there are certain breeds to stay away from.
Statistics do show that some breeds bite more often than others.
Below we’ll give you a breakdown of the dog bites by breed data that you should know.
Dog Bite Fatalities By Breed
As you might expect, certain breeds are responsible for more deaths than others.
Below is a look at a 16-year dog bite fatalities by breed in the USA covering the period of 2005 to 2020.
This data covers a total of 568 Americans who dies from dog bites.
† This category includes: Italian, English, South African and Neapolitan mastiffs, bullmastiffs
and mastiffs. This category excludes: cane corsos, presa canarios and Dogo argentinos.
‡ 4 dog breeds contributed to 10 to 6 deaths, 12 breeds contributed to 5 to 2 deaths, and 23 breeds contributed to 1 death. 10% of all fatal attacks involved multiple breeds, thus the total number of deaths attributed to each breed will always exceed the actual number of deaths.
Dog Breeds With The Strongest Bites
As you might expect, some larger breeds just have a stronger bite than others, which means they have a greater potential to inflict bodily harm with a bite.
Keep in mind that a strong bite does not mean that you are more likely to get bitten by a dog of this breed.
To measure the strength and pressure of a dog bite, we use PSI. PSI stands for “Pound per Square Inch” or “Pound-force per Square Inch.”
This data sourced from PetComments.com.
Most Aggressive Dog Breeds
Some dog breeds are known for being more aggressive than others, which means your probability of a dob bite is higher.
Looking at data on aggression by dog breed, the following breeds are the most aggressive:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Bull Mastiff
- German Shepherd
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- Wolf Hybrid
You’ll notice that some of these breeds to match up with the dog bite fatalities by breed, listed above.
Keep in mind that owning one of these breeds does not mean that you will be bitten by your dog.
Remember, it is not a dog’s breed that determines whether it will bite you, but rather the dog’s individual history and behavior.
As you can see, there are lot of dog bites happening each year in the USA.
It seems that certain breeds are more responsible than others for these attacks.
Use this data to avoid putting yourself in a situation that could lead to you getting bitten by a dog.