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Dog Attack Statistics By Breed In 2024 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Updated: Oct 2, 2023, 1:37pm
Dog attacks can be frightening and can cause devastating injuries. While any dog can bite, some breeds tend to have much higher rates of aggressive incidents than others. These dog attack statistics by breed shed light on which animals may present the greatest danger.
Dog bites and aggressive incidents happen every year, but just how often does man’s best friend turn on their human companions? Here’s what you need to know.
Dog bite incidents are not a small problem. In fact, an estimated 4.5 million people annually sustain a bite from a canine.¹
While some of these bites may be nothing more than minor nips, an estimated 800,000 people each year must seek medical attention after a bite.¹ Hospital bills can be very expensive, and an ER visit could necessitate a dog bite lawsuit in order to recover monetary compensation for damages.
Dogs tend to target certain body parts more than others, with a 2004 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealing that nearly half (45.3%) of all bite injuries occur on the arms or hands.
The CDC also reported that puncture wounds were the most common injuries after bites, which is unsurprising since dogs have strong jaws and powerful teeth that can puncture the skin even in a minor incident.²
Dog attack statistics offer some good news for owners and their animal companions. Bite incidents are becoming less common. In fact, there has been a significant decrease in reported bite incidents in major U.S. cities between 1972 and 2011.³
This decrease may be explained by the changing role of dogs within the family structure. As dogs have become increasingly viewed as important members of the family, more canines have received proper socialization. Leash laws, stray dog control, and spay/neuter movements have also been instrumental in reducing bite risks. Dog bite laws also make owners responsible for acts of aggression, which provides incentive to restrict or euthanize dangerous animals.
While a dog biting a postal worker may seem like a cliché, the reality is that this stereotype is grounded in reality. In 2022 alone, more than 5,300 postal workers were victims of dog attacks. Dogs often view mail carriers as intruding on their personal space and may engage in aggressive behavior with the goal of defending their territory.
Stray dogs present a significant bite risk as they may engage in aggressive behavior as a fear-driven response or due to a lack of proper socialization and training. In fact, stray animals are responsible for 15.55% of bite incidents. Resource guarding is also a problem among animals that don’t have the luxury of a square meal provided by a caring owner.
Many dog advocates argue that there is no such thing as a bad breed, only a bad owner. Still, it can be helpful to understand which breeds of dogs are most commonly involved in bite incidents or acts of aggression. Dog attacks by breed statistics are invaluable both for individuals looking for a dog to adopt as well as for those who interact with animals who want to minimize risk.
Pit bulls are involved in more dog attacks than any other breed. In fact, the American Animal Hospital Association reports this breed was responsible for 22.5% of bites across all studies. Mixed breeds were a close second at 21.2% and German Shepherds were the third most dangerous breed, involved in 17.8% of bite incidents.
Pit bulls are both more likely to be involved in bite incidents and more likely to cause serious injury or death when a bite does occur. In fact, from 1979 to 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined pit bulls were involved in the most fatal dog attacks, accounting for 28% deaths due to dog bites during that same time period.
Pit bulls may present a greater danger than other breeds for many reasons, such as because they have been bred to be more aggressive, are less likely to back down during fights and are less likely to give a warning before a bite.

Deaths due to a canine are tragic, but how likely is it that a dog attack will be deadly? Here’s what you need to know.
While dog bites can result in serious and sometimes disfiguring injuries, most canine attacks are not deadly. In fact, only around 30 to 50 people die due to dog bites annually.
With 4.5 million bite¹ incidents each year and just 30 to 50 fatalities, that means fewer than 1% of bites result in a death. Of course, each death is tragic and the losses when someone dies are substantial, with surviving loved ones often entitled to large dog bite settlements.
Dog bite incidents are much more likely to result in death when animals attack young victims. In fact 29.4% of fatal dog attacks involved a victim between the ages of one and four.
While very young children and toddlers within this age range experienced the most dog-related fatalities of any demographic group, slightly older children were also at a high risk. In fact, 56.7% of all victims killed by dog attacks were 16 or under.
Children are more likely to be the victims of dog attacks for many reasons, including an inability to recognize cues signaling potential aggression in canines, a childish propensity to engage in behaviors that can be triggering to dogs such as running and squealing and their smaller size which makes them less able to survive an attack.
While the idea of a dog attack can be very frightening, the good news is that dog attack statistics show this is unlikely to occur. The odds of dying as a result of a dog bite are just one in 53,843. By comparison, the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident are 1 in 93 and the odds of dying in a cataclysmic storm are one in 20,098.¹⁰
Dog attacks can occur anywhere, but the remote state of Alaska is an especially high-risk location. From 1979 to 2005, Alaska was the state with the highest fatality rate in dog attacks. There were a total of 18 deaths, or 11.83 fatalities per 10 million people.¹¹
Alaska’s bite risk may be higher due to a large population of working dogs, as well as the fact the state follows the “one-bite” rule, so owners may not be automatically liable for a bite incident unless they had reason to believe their dog presented a danger.

Dogs are more likely to attack certain individuals. The data shows children are most at risk, while seniors face the least jeopardy of a bite incident.
Young children are not just more likely to die due to a dog attack. They are also the group most likely to be attacked in the first place. In fact, emergency room data shows 2.18 out of every 1,000 children between the ages of five and nine were attacked by dogs in 2005 through 2013. This is a higher attack rate than any other demographic group.¹²
Dog bite attacks are a very common reason why children visit emergency rooms. In fact, the Centers for Disease control and Prevention report that:
While children are the most likely to be harmed by a dog, seniors are the least likely. Among adults aged 85 and older, there were just 0.47 dog attacks per 1,000 individuals. Members of this demographic group may be less likely than others to encounter dogs as many live in care settings or have more restricted movement due to their advanced age.¹²
Gender also impacts the likelihood of becoming a victim of a dog attack, as the data below shows.
Children are not the only group at elevated risk of dog attacks. Men are more likely than women to become the victims of aggressive canines.¹⁴ In fact, 52.6% of dog attacks involved male victims while just 47.4% involved females.¹²
Dogs may be more likely to attack males due to some inherently masculine characteristics that can be perceived as threatening, including louder and deeper male voices, facial hair that can obstruct expressions and taller broader bodies that are more intimidating.
Men are also more likely to die in dog attacks. Between 2010 and 2015, males accounted for 54.3% of victims killed by canines while females made up just 45.7% of victims. Men are more likely to be killed for the same reasons they are more likely to be victimized by dog attacks— their masculine features may make them seem more threatening.
One of the best ways to prevent dog attacks is to ensure that male dogs are sterilized. Unneutered male dogs were responsible for between 70% and 76% of dog bites and were 2.6 times as likely as neutered dogs to bite.¹⁵
When a dog bite occurs, victims may be entitled to monetary compensation. A dog bite accident attorney can provide the best insight into how much a claim may be worth. A review of dog bite settlement data can also be helpful to those harmed by a canine attack.
Dog bites can cause tremendous damage, and dog owners may be held responsible for compensating those who have been harmed. Often, it is homeowners insurers that pay and the settlement amounts can be substantial.
In fact, the average cost of a home insurance claim for dog bites or dog related incidents was $64,555 in 2022. This is a 31.7% increase in claim cost from 2021, when the average payout was $49,025.¹⁶
Dog bite incidents are a common cause of homeowners insurance claims. In 2022, a total of 17,597 claims arose out of bite incidents or other injuries caused by a dog.¹⁶
The large number of annual claims and the substantial payouts make dog-related injuries a significant expense for homeowners insurers. In total, home insurance providers spent an estimated $1.136 billion on dog-related claims in 2022.¹⁶
This money went to victims, who sustained billions of losses due to the damage that dangerous dogs can do. Those who are harmed should get the legal advice necessary to ensure they too receive full and fair compensation for the harm they endure.

Dog attacks resulting in home insurance claims are more likely to occur in certain areas than others. California was the most dangerous state, with its 1,954 claims accounting for over 11% of all dog attack claims in 2022.¹⁶
Here are all of the top 10 states where the highest number of claims were made.
Of course dog attacks can occur anywhere, so anyone interacting with an animal should be vigilant in watching for signs of aggression including growling, hard stares and lunging. Tragically, many dog attacks cannot be prevented and victims of any bite incident need to understand their legal rights so they can get the compensation they deserve.
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Christy Bieber has a JD from UCLA School of Law and began her career as a college instructor and textbook author. She has been writing full time for over a decade with a focus on making financial and legal topics understandable and fun. Her work has appeared on Forbes, CNN Underscored Money, Investopedia, Credit Karma, The Balance, USA Today, and Yahoo Finance, among others.


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