Most Dangerous Dog Breeds: Dog Bite and Attack Statistics

Susan has a master's in education and likes to research and write about trending topics.

This list that I have compiled is based on dog bite and attack statistics from 1982 to 2013. It should be mentioned that such statistics come with some inaccuracies. For instance, bites and attacks from small dog breeds are often underreported because the injuries these breeds can cause are often minor due to size. I am NOT stating that these dog breeds are bad or evil in any way.

All Dog Breeds Can Make Great Companions

I had a Boxer as a child and I have family members who own Dobermans and German Shepherds—they are wonderful dogs! This article is simply a statistical analysis of attacks per dog breed and subsequent deaths that have been reported.

The Responsibility of the Owner

We have all heard it before: It's not the breed that causes the problems, it's the owner. In some cases that is completely true. Owners must be sure to raise their dogs properly, to socialize them, and to offer them love. NEVER hit your dog ever, and do not teach your dog to act aggressively in any type of way.

Selective Breeding Influences Breed Traits

However, even the best owners cannot change a dog's innate desires. Some breeds are more prone to attack simply because they were bred for a specific purpose. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will attack, it simply means that certain breeds have more of a chance of attacking than others.

Any Breed Can Attack

In reality, any dog breed can attack just as any dog breed can be wonderful with people and children. However, statistics show that certain types of dogs do attack more than others and large-dog attacks are often reported more because they simply cause more damage.

1. Pit Bull Breeds

The term "pit bull" refers to a group of breeds, many of which were originally bred in England and brought to the United States for blood sports such as cockfighting, bull-baiting, bear-baiting, and dogfighting. Unfortunately, from the very beginning, these breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog) were bred to fight, attack, and kill.

These breeds have strong, muscular bodies and are known to be highly protective of their owners and their owner's property. This is why it's important to socialize pit bulls from a very young age and to expose them to strangers, adults, other dogs, and children.


  • Height: 14–24 inches
  • Weight: 22–78 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 2,792 attacks
  • Child Victims: 1,114 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 1,047 attacks
  • Deaths: 263
  • Maimings: 1,677

2. Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a large-size dog that is very smart, agile, athletic, and strong. They originated as a herding dog. They do tend to have a pack mentality, so it is important for owners to serve as good leaders. Rottweilers can be very docile and calm if socialized and raised correctly, however, they are very protective of their families and tend to be wary of strangers.


  • Height: 22–27 inches
  • Weight: 85–30 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 514 attacks
  • Child Victims: 290 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 136 attacks
  • Deaths: 81
  • Maimings: 294

3. Husky

The Husky is a strong sled-pulling dog from the Arctic. Huskies are known to be very energetic and playful. They have thick, furry coats that can vary in color. In general, they are known to be very intelligent, docile, gentle, relaxed, and friendly dogs. Huskies can, however, be very difficult to train and can be stubborn. A bored or lonely Husky can very destructive and ill-behaved.

Even though this breed has a lot of positive characteristics, it is powerful and strong enough to harm or kill its victims if it attacks.


  • Height: 21–23 inches
  • Weight: 35–60 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12–15 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 79 attacks
  • Child Victims: 49 attacks
  • Adults Victims: 5 attacks
  • Deaths: 25
  • Maimings: 24

4. Wolf Hybrid

A wolf hybrid is exactly what it sounds like—it is the combination of a Gray Wolf and a dog. Wolf hybrids are very skittish animals and dislike loud noises, fast-moving objects, strangers, and new people. They require a lot of patience and consistent training from owners.

Hybrids are not recommended for homes with children or for inexperienced pet owners. This type of dog needs a lot of space to run and roam and will not do well in small houses or apartments.


  • Height: around 26 inches
  • Weight: about 100 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: Can live up to 17 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 85 attacks
  • Child Victims: 70 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 5 attacks
  • Deaths: 19
  • Maimings: 49

5. Bull Mastiff (Presna Canario)

The Presna Canario originates from Spain and was originally raised to work with livestock. This large breed makes for a very good guard dog and is wary of strangers. It is very important that everyone in the family feels comfortable around this breed or it may act aggressively towards some people.

Again, early socialization is very important in the development of a healthy and affectionate dog, and this breed must see humans as the leader of the pack. Presna Canarios have short and coarse coats; they come in all colors of fawn and brindle.


  • Height: 21–25 inches
  • Weight: 80–100 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 9–11 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 105 attacks
  • Child Victims: 42 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 39 attacks
  • Deaths: 15
  • Maimings: 61

6. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are very popular in the United States. They are strong, intelligent, agile, muscular, and fearless. It's important that these dogs are habituated to people, and for this reason, they should never be isolated or kept in a cage.

German Shepherds require a lot of socialization when they are young, and it's important for owners to establish themselves as the leader early on. German Shepherds are used as police dogs, guard dogs, and service dogs because they are very intelligent and well-behaved if properly trained.


  • Height: 22–26 inches
  • Weight: 77–85 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: About 13 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 102 attacks
  • Child Victims: 63 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 30 attacks
  • Deaths: 15
  • Maimings: 63

7. Akita

The Akita originates from Japan and is a large working dog. The Akita is known to be affectionate with its owners but very aloof towards strangers or new people. They are docile and gentle with members of the family and people they see regularly, but they can be very difficult to socialize with other pets and strangers.

The Akita has a thick fur coat which it sheds very heavily. The breed is powerful, hardy, and athletic and tends to get bored easily. Children should learn to be authoritative and respectful when interacting with this breed, and owners should be patient when training the Akita.


  • Height: 24–28 inches
  • Weight: 75–20 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 68 attacks
  • Child Victims: 43 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 21 attacks
  • Deaths: 8
  • Maimings: 50

8. Boxer

Boxers are compact and very powerful dogs. Originating from Germany, the Boxer has short hair and varies in color from brindle to fawn. Boxers are very energetic and playful dogs. They are known to be naturally protective of their owners and act like guardians.

These dogs are affectionate towards humans, especially children. This has made them a very popular choice for families. But like all dogs, the Boxer needs early socialization when young as it can be distrustful of strangers.


  • Height: 21–25 inches
  • Weight: 50–70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11–14 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 62 attacks
  • Child Victims: 19 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 21 attacks
  • Deaths: 7
  • Maimings: 29

9. Chow Chow

This medium-sized working breed is strong and very muscular. Originating from China, Chow Chows were brought into war in ancient times. The Chow Chow is a very difficult dog to train and may not like being around other pets or animals, so training should begin at a young age. For this reason, the Chow Chow should be introduced to children, other pets, strangers, etc. at the earliest time possible. The earlier the training begins with this breed, the more likely the dog will be well-socialized.


  • Height: 18–22 inches
  • Weight: 45–70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: About 15 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 58 attacks
  • Child Victims: 37 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 17 attacks
  • Deaths: 7
  • Maimings: 39

10. Doberman

The Doberman is a medium-sized breed that is known for its strength and speed. They are very intelligent and can be a well-trained guard dog if owned by the right owner. Doberman's have a lot of energy and spirit.

This breed has a short coat that varies in color from black, red, blue, and fawn. They like to run around a lot and need a lot of room to roam. They should not be kept outdoors because they are very sensitive to the cold.

Like all breeds, the Doberman needs to be trained from an early age and must understand that humans are the leaders. The dog must be respected but consistently trained in a stern, authoritative manner. Dobermans can be very loyal and gentle.


  • Height: 24–28 inches
  • Weight: 65–90 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: About 13 years

Attack and Bite Statistics From 1982 to 2013:

  • Bodily Harm: 18 attacks
  • Child Victims: 9 attacks
  • Adult Victims: 9 attacks
  • Deaths: 7
  • Maimings: 10

More Information

  • Dog Bite Statistics in the U.S. for 2019
    Why these friendly animals bite? Which breeds are more prone to attacks and how to protect yourself in that case? Find the answer to these questions here!

galxy on September 25, 2018:

love all dogs please they bite becase they are protecting themselfs

.......... on July 21, 2018:

rottweilers can be gentle gaiants

Alyson on May 23, 2018:

Actually, the breed know as the "English" bulldog is a relatively recently developed animal designed strictly for the show ring. In fact, "bulldogs" were not even created until several years AFTER bull baiting (the purpose for which it was supposed to have been bred) was banned and discontinued in the United Kingdom. So, it is impossible for the pit bull to have been developed from a breed younger than itself. In fact, the show "bulldog" is developed from the original working bulldog - the pit bull.

There is some terrier blood in the modern pit bull. Terrier blood was added, just as mastiff blood was also added. This explains why some lines of pit bulls are quite "bully" in build, and at the larger end of the standard, while others are quite "light" in build, and may weigh as little as 25 pounds. However, the pit bull is a "bulldog" in action and appearance. He is a gripping dog - not a terrier (which means "Earth dog" which pursues its quarry underground.

Erik on December 26, 2017:

I appreciate you included stats and not just conjecture and "what ifs" like some blogs. However, I must inform you bullmastiffs and presa canario aren't the same breed. They look similar upon first appearance however, the bullmastiff, originating in Europe (England) is taller and generally heavier. Canarios tend to be a bit longer and come from Italy. Canarios are the more aggressive of the two breeds and have a more unstable temperament. I'd highly recommend bullmastiffs to anyone wanting a giant breed that looks intimidating they are true gentle giants and will be a great companion to your children and even other pets if raised with them from puppyhood.

Nunya2017 on June 27, 2017:

Pitbull is not a breed...

chris on May 16, 2017:

I do appreciate statistics, even if some have such a negitive view. It seems helpful thank you. Can i ask where this information was gathered from?

FoxiMaiden on May 07, 2017:

It's spelled "Presa Canario," and it is a different breed from the Bullmastiff. Those careless errors make it tough to take the info in this article very seriously :/

DoggieDoc on April 24, 2017:

Hi Susan,

Despite the unwarranted, but not surprising, negative comments about your article from 2 years ago re: bite/maul/death statistics, I appreciate your efforts and your article. Although I would have liked to read a little more about the source(s) from which your information was derived, I found the article to be very helpful and extremely similar to my 20 years' worth of experience as a veterinarian and dog owner/rescuer of various breeds. I hope you won't let people who unjustly or unfairly criticize your article from keeping your comments coming our way. (I see there are several readers who accused you of lying, and we all know THEY ought to know whether you're lying or not because THEY are obviously the ONLY authorities on this subject... excuse me....gag, cough, cough, choke, lol) Please continue to share your comments, opinions, facts, and other remarks with those of us who don't judge your writing, but consider your writing as yet another source from which we all may learn something valuable. Worst case scenario, we agree to disagree. Thank you for your article!

Dr. Lori :)

Kat Vineyard on February 20, 2017:

You don't think that these numbers have anything to do with populations? Not only does #1 include 5 different breeds of dogs but they are the most popular also. This list could actually be called, "The most poplar big dogs owned in the US since pittie type dogs are the most popular (because everyone groups them into one group). Then rottweilers, then huskies...if there are 1 million homes that have pittie type dogs and 500k that have huskies, and 250k have German Shepard's, then obviously there are going to be "reported bites" from pitties because there are more of them. This can happen with any large dog, especially if it's untrained. Boxers?? Really?? This is ridiculous.

Madddie on December 20, 2016:

This list is complete trash. There is NO way a simple pit bull is more "vicious" then a freaking wolf Hybrid. I'm sorry I'm calling you out on your bullshit. You must have gotten this so called "research" from Wiki.

ARADHYA on December 11, 2016:

Hi Rachel!

I agree that the Pittbull have terrible reputation.

But as you say - "they train these dogs to be viscous! ".

So I will say in other way "Pittbull are the best option, if you need a dog that look macho and can be viscous".

But also they can make a good family pet, if you will train them to be polite.

Racheal on December 11, 2016:

I'm sorry but the pittbull has a terrible reputation.. and things like this don't help.. pittbulls are loved by the urban community where the bad reputation is loved .. and people get these dogs to look macho or tough.. they train these dogs to be viscous! This is why there's more bites and incidents.. if these dogs didn't have this tough reputation bad people wouldn't want them for all the wrong reasons.. I hate it because they are the sweetest!

Rancho domingo on November 27, 2016:

So from 1982-2013, a doberman has a statisical history as a bully breed.

Hardly. This stale, you call factual data must have been collected by one of the nations lowest common denominators simply because poodles are not on the list which account for a much greater "bite" and "maim" statistic.

breakherlegs on April 20, 2015:

That 'pit bull' picture is an American Bully.

Maybe pit bull attacks wouldn't be so high if so many breeds weren't all lumped into the same category.

I mean, you've got American Pit Bull Terriers, American Bullies, American Staffordshire Terrier, English Staffordshire Terrier and Bull Terrier.

That's 5 breeds.

Plus, all the mixes in-between. Just googling 'pit bull' comes up with a whole bunch of different dogs. American Bulldogs are often referred to as pit bulls, as well as mastiff crosses, boxer crosses. I even saw an attack by a lab x mastiff called a 'pit bull'.

I wonder if I lumped all wolf breeds together, or all toy dogs, as well as mixes in between, I'd get similar bite rate statistics as pit bulls. :/

Susan Harris (author) from Earth on August 01, 2014:

Attic 505 I am a strong believer in sharing our opinions but please note that these are simple statistics that researchers have gathered over the years. They are not lies but facts. However one thing you said was true. We don't know why the dogs in the study attacked. More than likely they were treated badly, which I state again and again in the article that the training of the dogs and the owner of the dogs is very important. Any breed of dog can attack a human, but these are the top dogs as per research collected on attack/deaths that have been linked to show death. You are right little dogs have probably attacked lots of people, but the truth is how many people has a shit Tzu or a wiener dog killed? I think it was incorrect of you to say I am writing lies. This hub was based off of statistics only. I understand you have opinion and I respect that, but please sir do not call me a liar. Respect the writers of the hubs especially when I made it very clear what my statistics were based off of and the fact that I stated again and again it depends on the owner. Please note that I was the happy owner of a lovable Boxer for over 10 years but yet statistics still show it is more prone to attack. I wish you would put more time and effort into reading up on dog breeds and statistics, instead of bashing writers on hubpages.

attic505 on August 01, 2014:

I'm sorry but this information is misinformation. I am 32 years old and I am an Electrician. I am in and it if peoples houses all day everyday. The only dogs that I have ever had any issue with and or have bitten my boots are the small little viscous snappers. And not any specific breed if snapper either. I'm sorry but this article is totally false, you need to stop lying please.

Now if there was a pit bull or Rottweiler that was not people friendly the homeowners have them kenneled prior as a responsible owner should.

Now the attacks?

How many attacks were from foods that were improperly trained by their HUMAN owners? How many were improperly trained by THUG HUMANS?

This article is false and portrays purrs in the wrong way.

The problem is that we don't post the type and mentality of pet owners next to the dogs that attack people.

Then you can write the TRUTH about dogs.

Have a great day..

ARADHYA on July 22, 2014:

Hello Susan,

Thanks for nice article and useful information.

It's really surprising to know, that Boxers had been reported for more bites than Doberman and Dalmatians.

Voted up!! - thanks

Most Dangerous Breeds List

Not every canine receives specialized breeding as an attack or guard dog. While historically, some dogs were bred for particular hunting, protective, or herding characteristics, other working dogs received selective breeding for aggression and resilience, like Pitbulls. However, all domesticated dogs are the ancestral descendants of wolves and prone to attack in the right triggering circumstances.

Also, when a man's best friend faces a new environment, each dog, regardless of breed, reacts differently. Furthermore, being around children or strangers always carries a particular risk. Most dog bite attacks happen to children. Understanding more about each breed and the likelihood of attack reduces the chances of such an incident.

Besides, it is a valuable resource when deciding which breed to get for your family, especially around infants. Below we list some of the dog breeds most likely to become involved in biting incidents, based on nationwide statistics.

Breed Types and Incidence of Attacks.

These dubious statistics are based on a 20-year study by the Centers for Disease Control on the breeds they consider most likely to attack. Of course, the debate will go on forever, if it's the breed or the owner that makes dogs attack. The CDC's fluked study fails to explain their statistical numbers come from limited figures.

For example, CDC numbers fail to consider that far more people buy these dogs, so naturally, these dogs are involved in more attacks. Nor does the study show number and type of dogs licensed in each study location. In contrast, we have produced highly detailed records of San Bernardino County dog bites, city by city. We were able to do so using official public records requests.

We discovered that more people license and own German Shepards, Rotties, etc., than poodles or tiny dogs in many cases. And we also saw that when provoked, smaller dogs like Chihuahuas bite in the same scenarios a larger canine would.

Also, nationwide, the CDC studies diseases, namely rabies. Since dogs can have rabies, the CDC study intends not to determine the most dangerous dog breeds. Instead, it merely listed dog breeds, hospitalizations, and quarantines for rabies control nationwide.

The CDC study did not include dog ownership records for the areas studied, so there is no way of knowing the per capita instances a particular dog breed would be likely to attack when compared with a more assumedly docile creature.

So take it with a grain of salt. Consequently, the CDC study would be no different than saying an AR15 sporting rifle is the most dangerous centerfire rifle. After all, it's the most common configuration of rifle used by police and civilians. Since it's the most commonly used rifle in the U.S., use in more shootings just based upon ownership math would follow.

But we could do this all day. You could say that Honda's are more dangerous than Mercedes because they are in more car accidents. But a Mercedes Benz costs far more than a small Japanese compact, so there are more Honda's roaming the roadways. In other words, they will be in far more car crashes based upon sheer numbers. Get it? We can play with statistics and figures to make them say what we want.

Because of the defense insurance company and other propaganda, many people now associate dog bites with breed type. Some breeds are allegedly statistically more violent than others, while we assume some others to be virtually harmless. But several studies and surveys exist on this topic. And many ciphers have attempted to find a connection between the extreme nature of some dogs and their breeds.

But use common sense when choosing what and who to believe. Most of all, censors and human statisticians are not always valid methods to achieve figures. Often it could just be a fluke.

So below are the most commonly owned dogs, and thus considered by many to be the most dangerous breeds, as follows:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Akitas
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Mastiffs
  • Perro de Presa Canarios
  • Great Danes
  • Alaska Malamutes
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • German Shepherds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Chow Chows
  • Boxers

Also, the American Veterinary Medical Association did a survey and completed a study on this matter.

Following are the dogs' breeds that AVMA has found out to be more frequent biters (See also.)

  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Pit Bull
  • German Shepherd
  • Spaniel
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Chow
  • Collie
  • Saint Bernard.

Additionally, studies conducted by AVMA and the CDC went on for nearly two decades. According to the results, Rottweilers and pit bulls are the dogs most prone to biting. More than 50% of dog bites involved similar dog breeds. The results of both studies were quite similar, apparently relied upon some of the same study materials.

However, the AVMA did not recommend labeling dogs as biters based on their breeds. Aggression in all types of animals is associated with many factors. So a dog's attack is not necessarily due to its strain.

1. Pit Bull

The most dangerous dog breed in the world is the Pit Bull Terrier. Pit Bulls were used for dog fighting for a long period. They are extremely strong and muscular dogs with great jaw bite power so it’s understandable why so many people fear them. They have been called nanny dogs but with all media coverage of bad news including Pitt Bulls, today not so many people will go after Pitt Bull Terrier although they make great family pets if raised and trained well from the puppy age. You shouldn’t believe everything you read about these dogs. They are very dangerous and can be very aggressive but with the right training and early socialization, they can become excellent dogs.

Some dog breeds are more aggressive by nature than others. It is important for every dog breed that you socialize and start training them as early as possible so you will end up with a well-behaved dog. Every dog breed is trainable (check most trainable dog breeds ), so it’s up to you to put in the work and the time with your dog. Even the most dangerous dog breed can grow up to be good and well-behaved dog.

Dangerous dog breeds and legislation

These two sections of the website highlight the most dangerous dog breeds, pit bulls, rottweilers and fighting breed derivatives, and the types of breed-specific laws cities adopt to regulate them.

Dangerous dogs

Pit bull terriers were selectively bred for dogfighting. This is why pit bulls don't let go once they bite. Learn about other fighting breeds, pit bull owners, the false myths they spread and the danger of adopting a pit bull.

Dangerous dogs »

Legislating dogs

Many cities have adopted successful breed-specific laws. View model and noted breed safety laws, mandatory pit bull spaying and neutering laws, and breed-specific policies in military divisions for sample legislation.

Pit Bull Terriers

Pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes have a reputation for aggression. While pit bulls can make excellent, loving pets, the fact is these animals are more likely to attack and inflict serious injury than many other breeds.

Pit bulls have among the strongest bites of all dog breeds and, together with Rottweilers, account for 77% of all fatal dog bites despite making up an estimated 6% of the U.S. dog population.

In one five-year study of dog bite injuries at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about 51% of the attacks were by pit bulls, by far the most common breed reported. Between 2005 and 2016, pit bulls and their mixes were responsible for 254 fatalities or one person for every 17 days.

The state of Maryland has gone so far as to determine all pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” while the U.S. Army has acknowledged that the dogs are high-risk enough to ban them from some military housing.

In 2016, 42% of dog bite fatality victims were living with or visiting the dog’s owner when the attack occurred. An estimated 77% of these fatalities were caused by pit bulls 29% of all fatalities involved breeding on the owner’s property (either actively or recently) and pit bulls were responsible for 67% of these attacks. When family dogs resulted in the fatality, it was a pit bull 86% of the time.

Watch the video: 10 Most Dangerous Bugs in the World (July 2021).