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Is there a link between dog breed and bite severity?

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can inflict serious injuries on humans. A serious bite wound may disfigure a person or become infected. These events can also leave psychological scars on the victim. In California, the dog owner may be responsible for damages inflicted by the dog. Are some dogs more prone to attack than others? Are some dogs more dangerous than others?

Prone to attack and dangerous may not be the same thing. Most people know small dogs who seem more prone to attack but do not cause any lasting injuries. These animals normally are not a part of dog bite studies. Dogs that cause serious injuries, however, are.

Is dog bite severity linked to breed?

Severe dog bites may include the following injuries:

  • Bone fractures
  • Torn tissue
  • Large wounds
  • Facial trauma

The American Animal Hospital Association reports that bite likelihood depends on the dog’s head shape and weight. Dogs that have shorter, wider heads tend to be more likely to bite. Pit bulls and mixed breed dogs have the most damaging bites but also have a higher risk of biting. Great Danes and Akitas also inflict great damage with a bite. However, Great Danes and Akitas are less likely to bite.

The truth is that around five million people suffer from dog bites per year. Most of these people cannot name the dog breed. Unknown dogs are responsible for most dog bites. Of known dogs, pit bulls, mixed breeds and German shepherds have the highest percentage of bite reports.

Are dog bites preventable?

Studies do not show a necessary connection to bite severity and likelihood to bite. Often, the circumstances include more than dog breed. Dog breed tendencies, victim behavior and owner behavior often contribute to a dog bite. Among children, most studies show that a child often provokes a dog bite through tugging or pulling on the animal’s tail or limbs.