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Types of dogs most likely to bite

The Centers for Disease Control studies dog bite incidents, including the types of dogs most likely to bite. The breeds that the CDC considers highest risk include:

  • Pit bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • German shepherds
  • Huskies
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Chows
  • Great Danes
  • Saint Bernards
  • Akitas

The list of breeds most likely to cause injury or death changes from year to year, and from one area of the country to another, depending on the popularity of a particu breed. In addition, dogs not known to the victim account for approximately 10-20% of all reported dog bites.

Small dog owners often overlook their dog's behavior because of their size and/or think they may not have a propensity for aggressive behavior. The truth is, little dogs bite more than big dogs. There have been numerous cases involving dog bite attacks with smaller dogs. Size should never be used as a predictor toward the likelihood of a dog’s potential to attack.

While there is no clear cut list in which all dogs can be categorized by levels of their dog-bite predictability, generally speaking:

  • Any dog, treated harshly or trained to attack, may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. The owner most often is responsible -- not the breed, and not the dog.
  • An irresponsible owner or dog handler might create a situation that places another person in danger by a dog, without the dog itself being dangerous, for example: leaving an infant alone with a dog.
  • Any individual dog may be a good, loving pet, even though its breed is considered to be likely to bite. A responsible owner can win the love and respect of a dog, no matter its breed. One cannot look at an individual dog, recognize its breed, and then state whether or not it is going to attack. 
Jim Keller
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Senior Partner at Keller & Keller Law Firm

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