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Dog Bite Statistics And Bites By Breed

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.

Dog Bite Statistics & Dog Safety - State Farm - Friday, May 15, 2015

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:

  1. Mosquitos
  2. Other Humans
  3. Snakes

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.

dog bite fatalities by state
image via Fuicelli & Lee

Based on the the data above, the top 5 states for dog bite fatalities are:

  1. California (48 deaths)
  2. Texas (47 deaths)
  3. Florida (31 deaths)
  4. North Carolina (22 deaths)
  5. 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.

dog bite fatality chart
image via DogBites.org

This data covers a total of 568 Americans who dies from dog bites.

Dog Breed Fatalities% of Total
Pit bull38066.9%
German shepherd244.2%
American bulldog183.2%
Combination of 39 dog breedsಠ10

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.”

Kangal743 PSI
American Bandogge731 PSI
Cane Corso700 PSI
Dogue De Bordeaux556 PSI
Tosa Inu556 PSI
English Mastiff556 PSI
Dogo Canario540 PSI
Dogo Argentino500 PSI
Wolfdog406 PSI
Leonberger399 PSI
Akita Inu350-400 PSI
Rottweiler328 PSI

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
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Husky
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Akita
  • 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.

Final Word

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.

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13 thoughts on “Dog Bite Statistics And Bites By Breed”

  1. Some of these stats are just not believable. For example, “It is worth nothing that none of the people who were hospitalized with dog bites were younger that age 25.” Yet the highest category for deaths was 0 – 2 years of age. This should be a giant red flag about the data. Emergency room visits provide the same problem, 885,000 visits yet most of them were required for children. This suggests that dog bites for adults are highly underreported, especially those that are not serious and do not required hospitalization. 35,000 a year dead by dog bites. That is horrifying.

    • That 35,000 a year number has to be a typo. Their source, dogsbite.org, which tracked dog bite deaths since 2005 showed an average of 34.6 deaths per year from 2005 to 2019, so they probably meant to type 35 and got carried away.

      If you add in 2020 and 2021 deaths, the average since 2005 goes up to 36.2 deaths per year by dog bite.

  2. This material is slanted too big dogs only. I want a show of hands from people who have been bitten by the small breeds that drew blood and needed stitches. You should see some of the scars I’ve seen. Don’t think because they’re small they can’t cause serious damage.

    • Well said and I’m glad, that someone mentioned this really important fact. I can only add, that I absolutely agree as a physician, who worked a lot in the ER. I should also emphasise, that a LOT of times, a rather big wound can be virtually harmless (if treated properly even at home, if the circumstances allow), but a small one can bring you in the worst case in the ICU, even if everything started with a scratch, but unfortunately progressed to a nasty antibiotics resistant infection. Sadly, I must also say, that I learned the hard way, how true all this I wrote is, with some of the ‘evidence’ on my own body. And I’m no novice, with almost 35 years of experience with owning dogs or having a ‘close relationship’ with them in such or another way.

  3. There’s no such thing as an aggressive dog breed. No dog is born aggressive, they are made to be by a human. Aggression is a learned behavior. The last section is complete nonsense.

    • I’m a huge dog advocate and rescuer. Your statement is not true. Dogs are born with innate instincts, traits bred into them for sometimes hundreds of years. There are livestock guardian dogs, for example, bred to protect their flock and are wary of humans they do not know and any animals that come onto their property. Dogs bred for a purpose, or job, in mind will be born with the instinct to do that job. It takes many generations of breeding to remove the trait in a bloodline. Also, that does not mean that every dog from a breed of dog labeled aggressive ( I hate labels because the breed was originally bred for a purpose such as guarding, hunting etc) will be aggressive. I have had German shepherds my whole life. Currently, I have 4 and all are friendly, but one is wary of new people (as she should be). They are herding dogs, and also protect their flock and family. That is what they were bred to do. However, nurturing a dog and properly socializing it and treating it properly has much to do with temperament. Humans fail dogs often, and I hate that the dogs get labeled rather than the owners.

      • I agree totally with Angie. One death mentioned that the dog broke their chain to get away and attack someone. Imagine how this dog was raised, trained, and nurtured by the owner. Do you think that dog ever got praised for its good behavior or training results? At this time I happen to own a 63 lb. American Pit Bull Terrier, Blue nose and she is absolutely the sweetest dog I’ve owned. Perhaps Pamela’s dog below was not socialized with young children so it’s instinct was to protect her from a strange person introduced into her territory. My dog loves children of all ages, dogs, and has never met an adult stranger. This is the result of teaching her socialization skills with them. It takes some effort and time on the owners part to accomplish these results for any dog. Some dogs are lungers but sweet otherwise. This can be remedied but it takes time and effort by the owner. If any of this training is not done, the result is often a partially or untrained pet left to their own instincts. The results are usually not good and the dog gets the wrap not the owner.

    • I must disagree. I will use the Doberman pinscher as an example. I rescued several dogs of that breed from the age of 3 to 8 years old, all fabulous with my small children. My mother had a Doberman she had raised from a puppy. Her dog, who did have a high prey drive, jumped over chairs surrounding my infant daughter’s buggy to try to kill her. She did bite her on the head, but fortunately it was not serious. So that dog, raised from birth by my mother, was the killer. Not the adult dogs I adopted from shelters. Sometimes, yes. Dogs can be trained for aggression. But mostly, dog who are not neutered and left on chains in yards are very aggressive and there’s no need to train them. Their unfortunate circumstances lead to the aggression.

  4. Let’s not overlook the wise words of Angie M. Certain breeds have certain traits that training or socializing may suppress but will not will erase. I have owned a Pit Bull and a border collie. The Pit Bull from a puppy likes to bite and hold, twist and tear. The Border Collie we got at about 5 months and until death at age 16 she loved to herd anything that moves. She partly drug my daughter once when she saw the “herd” (flock) of Geese that lives at the park lake. It is often said that “all dogs will bite”. Well, by traits, some leave puncture wounds and some far worse. Fortunately my only bite was by a chihuahua – and felt like a pin prick. You have to take precautions based on the capability and traits. Not all are equal.


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