Dog Bite-Related Statistics
Number of breeds involved in fatal dog attacks in the U.S. since only 2016 - confirming that serious dog bite-related incidents are not a breed-specific issue
The risk of being fatally attacked by a dog (of any breed) - on average in the U.S., lightning strikes cause more fatalities (~38/year) than dogs (~31/year)
Number of different breeds associated with fatal dog attacks in the U.S. identified in a CDC study that analyzed 20 years of incident data
According to CDC data, every year in the United States there are an average of 33 fatalities due to fatal dog attacks. Of these, approximately 64% involve adults, 28% involve children, and 8% involve infants. Since 2016, at least 65 different breeds and mixed breeds have been involved in fatal dog attacks in the U.S. including: Akita, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Husky, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Pitbull-Type, Rottweiler, and many others. Scientific studies have determined that the most common causes of fatal dog attacks are preventable factors related to irresponsible ownership, abuse and/or neglect, failure to neuter dogs, and failure to properly supervise large or strong dogs around infants and children. Contrary to unreliable information about breed-specific risk related to certain breeds, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the CDC, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have concluded that a dog's breed does not determine aggression, bite strength, or risk. While every fatal dog attack is tragic, the majority of dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) are the result of human-controlled factors specific to the circumstances surrounding the incident. Below, learn more about the statistics related to fatal dog attacks.
Breed Risk Rates
Our breed risk rates measure fatal dog attacks relative to breed population sizes. The fatal dog attack statistics (scientifically known as dog bite-related fatalities or DBRFs) used to calculate the risk rates are sourced from a peer-reviewed study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The study analyzed 20 years of dog bite incident data and identified over 25 breeds associated with DBRFs. Risk rates are a scientifically accepted method for assessing risk compared to other statistics that simply count incidents.
65+ BREEDS INVOLVED IN FATAL DOG ATTACKS SINCE 2016
Since only 2016, at least 65 different breeds and mixed breeds have been involved in fatal dog attacks in the U.S. including: Akita, Boxer, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Giant Schnauzer, Husky, Labrador Retriever, Mastiff, Pitbull-Type, Rottweiler, and many others. Furthermore, the data validates what multiple peer-reviewed studies have concluded such as breed does not determine aggression, bite strength, or risk and that dog bans (such as BSL) are ineffective because serious dog bite-related incidents involve many different breeds and mixes.
DECONSTRUCTING BOGUS "PITBULL STATISTICS"
The majority (60%) of dogs identified as "pitbulls" do not have DNA signatures from any of the pitbull-type breeds - leading to exceedingly inaccurate breed information in media reports and in unreliable statistics about dog bites and fatal attacks. These inaccurate statistics are typically sourced from unscientific organizations and special interest groups that promote breed-specific legislation (BSL). However, these unscientific and misleading statistics quickly fall apart when taking into account the evidence from recent scientific studies on canine DNA. In fact, based on these studies, it can be estimated that pitbull-type breeds account for approximately 10% of fatal dog attacks - not 65% as some unscientific groups have claimed.
Fatal Dog Attacks Are Exceedingly Rare
Average yearly fatalities in the U.S.:
Fatal dog attacks are exceedingly rare - on average in the U.S., lightning strikes cause more fatalities (~38/year) than dogs (~31/year). While dog bite-related incidents do unfortunately occur, dogs represent one of the lowest safety risks to people - in fact, the risk of being fatally attacked by a dog (of any breed) is 0.00001% given an average of 31 fatal attacks every year in the and a population of 330,000,000. The reality is that there are hundreds of common "everyday" risks that are significantly higher - compared to fatal dog attacks: