What Types of Dog Breeds Cause the Greatest Number of Deaths and Injuries?
Fact checked by Clayton Hasbrook J.D. | Updated on July 18, 2016
All types of dogs — including, as we’ll discuss, some unexpected culprits — are capable of inflicting nasty, sometimes life-threatening bite wounds. However, some breeds pose a greater threat than others. And, with warm summer weather bringing more animals and people together outdoors, the risk of being bitten or injured increases. If your child was attacked by another person’s dog while playing at a park, walking home from school, or in other situations, the pet owner may be liable for your son or daughter’s injuries. Our attorneys can help determine whether you have a claim. Here, we’ll examine which types of dogs are most often involved in attacks on humans, according to veterinary professionals.
Are Pit Bulls Really the Most Dangerous Breed?
When you hear the phrase “dangerous dog,” what sort of animal do you immediately picture? If you’re like most people, you probably think of a pit bull right away. After all, pit bulls have been at the heart of dog attack controversies for years. Sometimes it seems as though pit bulls are behind every bite and mauling that gets reported in the news.
On one hand, it’s true that pit bulls are responsible for a disproportionate amount of attacks on humans — as many as 82% by some estimates, despite accounting for approximately 7% of the U.S. dog population. And, as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) points out, “If you consider only the… number of cases that resulted in very severe injuries or fatalities, pit bull-type dogs are more frequently identified [than other breeds].”
At the same time, it can be dangerous to focus exclusively on the pit bull at the risk of ignoring the dangers posed by other, seemingly less fearsome breeds. Consider, for example, this peer-reviewed list of breeds behind dog bite injuries, which was compiled in 2014 by AVMA, Animal Welfare Division. Do any of the breeds mentioned on this list surprise you?
- Chow Chows
- Collie Breeds (e.g. Bearded Collies, Border Collies, Rough Collies)
- German Shepherds
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Mixed-Breed/Mutt Dogs
- Spaniel Breeds (e.g. Clumber Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels)
Pit bulls and Rottweilers aren’t completely unexpected on a list of breeds prone to biting — but plodding, drooling Saint Bernards? Labrador Retrievers, one of the most popular and beloved family dogs in America?
The AVMA list goes to show that all types of dogs, even those without a history of or tendency toward biting, are capable of inflicting devastating injuries — including small toy dogs, which are often overlooked as a potential source of danger.
Can Small Toy Dogs Cause Serious Injuries to Children?
Behaviors like scratching for attention, jumping on people, and snapping at ankles would never be considered acceptable from a large, powerful dog, yet pet owners sometimes allow these and other aggressive behaviors to become entrenched in toy dogs, reasoning that it’s “not a big deal” because of their small size. In fact, it’s so common it has its own nickname: “Small Dog Syndrome.”
An adult will probably be able to repel a toy dog like a Chihuahua or Lhasa Apso, but toddlers and infants are defenseless against canine aggression. Lack of proper supervision around small, “harmless” dogs — and indeed, dogs of any size — can allow preventable attacks to happen in the blink of an eye. Some dogs can clamp down with tremendous amounts of force and pressure, meaning attacks are incredibly difficult to stop once they’ve begun. To prevent attacks from starting, children need close supervision around dogs, even if the breed or individual animal is perceived as being “safe.”
Furthermore, even if bite injuries from toy dogs aren’t much of a threat to adults, small dogs pose another hazard: they can cause slip and fall accidents by becoming entangled underfoot. While fairly rare, dogs cause car accidents, too. If you or your child was bitten, it may be possible to sue for a dog bite injury in Oklahoma.
Contact Our Lawyers in OKC for a Free Legal Consultation
Oklahoma’s dog bite liability laws are very clear in stating the following:
“The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his [or her] dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.”
If you were not illegally trespassing on the property where you were bitten, and were not provoking the dog at the time of the attack, its owner could be responsible for your medical bills and other expenses. However, it’s important that you are represented by a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who has experience handling dog bite claims in Oklahoma. You may be able to recover a greater amount of compensation if you are represented by an attorney, who will be able to analyze your injuries and calculate your losses to their full extent.
To learn more about getting compensated for a dog bite injury in Oklahoma City, including a facial injury or hand injury, call the law firm of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. Our attorneys are here to help injury victims exercise their legal rights and fight for fair accident compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you could be able to recover compensation for costs related to surgeries, physical therapy, stitches, crutches, casts, hospitalization, and other expenses.