Dog Bite Statistics: By Breed, Fatal Dog Bites, and States With The Highest Fatality Rate

Posted: June 30, 2021

Across the United States, there are more than 89 million dogs and 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year, and at least half the dog bites are on children.

Injuries range from minor to life-threatening, but no matter how severe the injury can be, it is important to understand what your rights are when you’re bitten by a dog in order to protect yourself and your family.

We are going to look at dog bite statistics by breed, when and where the most bites happen, and fatality rate by breed, state, and victim age and sex from 2010 through June of 2021.

Table of Contents

Dog Bite Fatalities By Breed

Pitbulls are responsible for the vast majority of fatalities associated with dogs.  From 2010 to June 2021, there were 430 fatal dog bites, with 185 of those coming from pit bulls, and another 41 that were pit bull mixes.

  • 60% had pit bull in their bloodlines (either full-blooded or a mix)
  • 7% had rottweiler in their bloodline
  • 4% had german shepherd in their bloodline

Top Three Breeds Responsible for Fatal Dog Attacks

  1. Pitbull – 185 deaths
  2. Pitbull Mix – 41 deaths
  3. Rotweiller – 26 deaths

Where Do Fatal Dog Bites Occur the Most?

Fatal dog attacks happen much more often in Texas and California than in any other state.

Dog bite fatalities by state

The Top 5 States For Fatal Dog Bites

  1. California = 48
  2. Texas = 47
  3. Florida = 31
  4. North Carolina = 22
  5. Ohio = 21

 

Dog Bite Fatalities By Age & Sex

 

Dog bite fatalities by age and sex

Percent of Fatalities By Age

Out of the 430 fatalities:

  • 32% were age 0-4
  • 13% were age of 75+
  • 10% were age 5-9
  • 5.5% were 60-64
  • 5% were 50-54

 

Interesting Dog Bite Stats

 

How Often Do Dog Bites Happen? (Per minute, day, week)

  • A dog bite happens every 75 seconds in the United States.
  • 1,000 people seek emergency care for severe dog bites every day
  • Each year, 9,500 people are hospitalized for dog bites

 

Possibilities of Rabies After A Dog Bite

  • On average, only 2 people in the U.S. die from rabies each year.

 

Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Husky
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Akita
  • Wolf Hybrid

 

Dog Bite Force

  • Kangal: 743 PSI
  • Doberman Pinschers: 600 PSI
  • English Mastiff: 556 PSI
  • Wolfdog: 406 PSI
  • Rottweiler: 328 PSI
  • African Wild Dog: 317 PSI
  • American Bull Dog: 305 PSI
  • German Shepherd: 238 PSI
  • American Pitbull: 235 PSI
  • Dutch Shepherd: 224 PSI
  • Chow Chow: 220 PSI
  • Malinois: 195 PSI

 

Where Do Dogs Bite the Most (Body part)

  • 80% of severe dog bites in children involve the head and neck

Most Recent Non-Fatal Dog Bite Statistics

  • 81% of dog bites cause no injuries or very minor ones. These require no medical attention.
  • In 2015, 28,000 people had to get reconstructive surgery due to dog bite injuries.
  • We saw an 86% increase in dog bite-related hospitalization stays from 1993 to 2008.

Pitbulls & Large Dogs

  • Pitbulls and Rottweilers make up 77% of all fatal dog bites, despite making up only 6% of the U.S. dog population
  • Pitbulls are 2.5x more likely to bite in multiple anatomical locations than other breeds.
  • Pitbulls are responsible for 60% of all injuries and 63% of ocular injuries.
  • Pitbull terriers are 31% more likely to attack an unknown individual than other breeds
  • Pitbull terriers are 48% more likely to attack without provocation than other breeds
  • Pitbull attacks have higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than attacks by other breeds.
  • During 2005-2017, pit bulls killed one citizen every 16.7 days, totaling up to 284 Americans. Rottweilers killed over 105 days during that time period.
  • From 2005 to 2017, rottweiler and pitbull attacks contributed to 76% of dog bite deaths.
  • When comparing 2005-2010 to 2011-2017, pitbull attack deaths have increased from 58% to 71%. Alternatively, rottweiler deaths decreased from 14% to 7%.
  • According to a 13-year data set, pit bulls caused 72% of attacks that killed a person 10-years and older vs. all other dog breeds put together, 28%.</li
  • From 2005 to 2017, 54% of fatal attacks were inflicted by family dogs. Of that 54%, 64% were done by pit bulls. 52% involved killing a family or household member.
  • When examining a 13-year data set, 54 fatal attacks included a dog killing its primary owner. Pit bulls were the cause of 63% of these deaths, over 8x more than any other type of dog.
  • Between 20015 to 2017, only 21% of fatal dog attacks resulted in criminal charges. 75% of these cases involved a pit bull.
  • It is estimated that by 2021, pit bulls would have mauled 441 Americans to death since 1998 and killed 515 Americans since 1980.
  • The U.S. Army has banned pit bulls from military housing due to their dangerous nature.

 

Costs of Dog Bite Injuries & Insurance

  • In 2017, dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than 33% of all paid homeowners liability claims. It totaled nearly $700 million.
  • More than 28,000 reconstructive surgeries took place in 2015 due to dog bites.
  • From 2003 to 2017, the average cost per claim has risen more than 90 percent nationally. This is an outcome of increasing medical costs, size of settlements, and jury awards given to plaintiffs.
  • Hospital stays for dog bite injuries average $18,200. This is 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
  • In 2008, Medicare and Medicaid combined compensated for 37% of all dog bite-related hospitalization stays in America.
  • The average length of stay in a hospital after a dog bite is 5 days.

 

Dog Bite Claims Statistics from 2019-2020

  • $796.8 Million Paid
  • $44,760: Average cost per claim Nationwide.
  • 2,396 Claims in California in 2019

Coronavirus & Dog Bites

300% Increase in Dog Bites Injuries per 1000 Emergency Department Patients

Wrapping It Up

For a “family pet”, there are still some risks involved with own a dog, but with 89 million-plus dogs in the US, 0.0004% result in fatal dog attacks. As we saw, infants and young kids make up the majority of victims.

If you are bringing a baby or young kid home, remember that dogs are territorial, so keep your dog in a kennel at night or if your kid could be unattended.

The 2nd most common age for fatal dog attacks is the elderly. If you have elder visitors, keep your dogs put up.

Never try to break up 2 dogs fighting, odds are you will get bit.

 

 

Sources:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_States_(2010s)
  • https://petcomments.com/ten-dogs-which-have-the-strongest-bite/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7316443/