What Is The Most Aggressive Dog Breed?
- Posted by Taylor Ernst on
- August 1, 2018
- There were approximately 78 million dogs in the United States in 2016.
- 81% of dog bites do not result in injury or they only result in minor injury.
- About 900,000 of these bite wounds become infected.
While many people fear being bitten by a dog, most don’t know how common dog bites really are. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are about 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. Just under a million of those bites become infected.
When you take into account the population of the country, that means that about 1 out of every 72 people is bitten by a dog each year, and those are just the bites that are reported.
The thought of being bitten by a dog strikes fear in the heart of many people. It’s less scary when you have information on your side, however. You know that you are more likely to be bitten by a pitbull than any other breed of dog. But wait. What if you’re wrong? Even though they are thought of as the most aggressive dogs, the numbers tell a different story.
The CDC stopped keeping records of attacks by specific breed of dog in the late 90s so it can be difficult to say without a doubt which dog is the most aggressive. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, the numbers point to the Chihuahua as being more likely to bite than any other dog.
There is a group called the American Temperament Test Society that performs temperament tests around the country, typically at dog shows or gatherings. The test, which simulates a normal walk through a park or neighborhood, aims to gauge how shy, friendly or aggressive a dog is. As of early 2016, the group had tested more than 30,000 dogs at their owners’ request. The average pass rate is 83.4 percent.
Taking a look at the latest data available for dog breeds people are most likely to have in their homes as pets:
- Scottish Terriers had a pass rate of 65.7 percent.
- Basenjis had pass rate of 68.9 percent.
- Chihuahuas had a pass rate of 69.6 percent.
On the other hand, dogs often thought to comprise the most aggressive dog breeds had the following pass rates:
- Rottweiler: 84.7 percent
- German shepherd: 85.3 percent
- American Staffordshire terrier: 85.5 percent
- American pit bull terrier: 87.4 percent
In short, these bigger dog breeds who are often seen as aggressive were actually more friendly than other breeds. However, it’s important to note that any dog breed can be aggressive under the right (or wrong) circumstances.
Dog Bite Facts
Knowing why a dog may bite and which breed to watch is often the best way to protect yourself from an attack.
1. Why Dogs Bite
Dogs bite for a variety of reasons. We aren’t talking about play biting, but aggressive bites. A dog may bite when they are stressed, physically ill, to protect themselves or their owners, to protect their puppies or even when they feel threatened and can’t get away from a situation.
2. Breeds to Watch
There are dog breeds that bite the most and then there are breeds that have the strongest bites. These aren’t always the same. Chihuahuas, bulldogs, pit bulls, German shepherds and Australian shepherds round out the list of breeds most likely to bite.
Alternatively, the Kangal shepherd, English mastiff, wolfdog, rottweiler and African wild dog are often considered some of the most dangerous dog breeds and have the strongest bites. These lists are certainly not all inclusive. Any dog can bite, and any dog can cause injury.
3. Preventing Dog Bites
There are things you can do to decrease your chance of being bitten by a dog. Do not approach dogs you don’t know, especially those without a human owner in the immediate vicinity. If a dog approaches you, don’t run and don’t make eye contact.
Do not touch a dog while they are eating, drinking, sleeping or taking care of puppies. Never encourage your own dog to play in an aggressive way.
4. The Numbers
There are more than 70 million dogs in the United States. Most of the bites that are inflicted by dogs come from animals that have not been neutered or spayed.
A quarter of fatal dog attacks were inflicted by dogs that were chained or tethered to an object. You have only a 1 in 112,400 chance of incurring a fatal dog bite in your lifetime.
Insurance agencies frequently ask what is the most aggressive dog breed in an effort to protect themselves from having to pay out lawsuits and provide adequate coverage. In most states, if your dog bites someone, you are liable.
Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if dog bites are covered. If you have a dog and aren’t currently covered, call your agent and find out how much it would be to protect yourself.
It’s important to understand that California adheres to the idea of strict liability. In states that follow the legal idea of strict liability, there are specific rules in place. A dog owner will be held liable in specific situations and events, regardless of their ability to prevent the bite from having occurred.
The defendant may be liable if their dog bit someone and:
- The victim was legally permitted in or on the area where the attack occurred, and
- The victim did not provoke the dog.
Under this legal concept, the owner of the dog does not have to know the history of the dog. Each case is considered unique. This means that if a person adopts a dog from a shelter and it bites someone the next day, the owner has no defense in saying that they were unaware the dog was aggressive or had a propensity to bite.
Speak to a San Luis Obispo Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you are bitten by a dog in San Luis Obispo and want to pursue your legal rights, reach out to our team. We will review the details of your incident and advise you of your options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical treatments and more.