5 Dog Breeds with the Most Dangerous Bites

When it comes to man’s best friend, not all breeds are created equal in terms of bite risk and severity.

Here are the top offenders according to recent studies:

1. Pit Bulls

pit bull dog ss1366996007
Image Credit: Beate Wolter/Shutterstock.

Pit bulls consistently top the charts in dog bite studies, accounting for a staggering 22.5% to 66% (ref) of total reported bites. One study found that pit bulls had the highest relative risk of biting, as well as the highest average damage per bite.

From 2005 to 2017, pit bulls were responsible for 284 deaths in the US (ref), about 66% of total dog bite fatalities. In a 13-year data set, pit bulls caused 72% of attacks that resulted in maiming, defined as loss of a limb or other disfigurement.

2. Mixed Breeds

mixed breed dog
Image Credit: Viral Chatter

Don’t let the mystery fool you – mixed breed dogs pose the second highest risk after pit bulls. They accounted for 21.2% of bites in one major study (ref) and followed pit bulls in average bite severity.

3. German Shepherds

german shepherd dog ss357500222
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock.

German shepherds may be known as loyal protectors, but this popular breed was the third most likely to bite. They were involved in 17.8% of reported bites in one study (ref) and caused 20 total deaths in another 20-year survey.

4. Rottweilers

rottweiler dog ss598929575
Image Credit: Jan Mlkvy/Shutterstock.

With their powerful jaws and muscular build, it’s no surprise that rottweilers are high on the bite list. Multiple studies put them just behind pit bulls in frequency and severity, with one showing rottweilers caused 45 deaths over 20 years.

5. Terriers

jack russel terrier dog ss1104385562
Image Credit: Bonsales/Shutterstock.

Though small in stature, terriers ranked just behind German shepherds in terms of bite risk and damage severity when one study analyzed the data across multiple research papers.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

injured ss2174862953
Image Credit: StoryTime Studio/Shutterstock.

From minor scrapes to life-changing trauma, dog bites can inflict serious harm. Puncture wounds and lacerations are the most frequent injuries, often damaging muscles, tendons, and nerves. Infections are a major risk, requiring prompt treatment with antibiotics.

Crushing injuries and fractures can occur, especially in bites from large breeds, as well as avulsions where skin and tissue are torn from the body. Dog bites, particularly to the face, often cause permanent scarring and disfigurement.

In severe cases, reconstructive surgery may be needed.

Staying Safe

husky dog ss1159310461
Image Credit: Nigmatulina Aleksandra/Shutterstock.

Any dog can bite, so always be cautious. Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Be Cautious: All dogs have the potential to bite. Avoid unfamiliar dogs and those exhibiting aggressive behaviors such as growling or snapping.
  • Approach with Care: Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. Teach children to always ask permission before petting someone else’s dog.
  • Defense Strategies: If a dog attacks, try placing an object like a purse between you and the dog. If knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your head and neck with your arms.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Immediate medical care is essential for any bites that break the skin.
  • Responsible Ownership: Responsible pet ownership and proper training are key to preventing dog bites. This includes:
    • Spaying or neutering pets to reduce aggressive tendencies.
    • Socializing pets from an early age to ensure they are comfortable around people and other animals.
    • Always supervising pets when they are around children to prevent accidental injuries.
  • Education and Precaution: With proper education about dog behavior and appropriate precautions, we can significantly reduce preventable injuries from dog bites.
Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.