The Irreverent Vet Speaks Out on Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite
Joggers, mailmen, veterinarians, kennel workers, and groomers are all at increased risk for dog bites. Actually, anyone can be at risk for a dog bite depending on their exposure to dog and exposure to the breeds most likely to bite.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, more than 4.7 million people are bit every year of which 800,000 Americans seek medical care for bites. Half of these bites are to children. It is also estimated that approximately a dozen people die every year from dog bites.
Which breeds have an increased risk for bites?
In my experience in veterinary clinics – there are several dog breeds you just never completely trust. This is based on years of experience. Some of the dogs in these breeds that I'll list are great dogs. Really great dogs. But there are enough that are not great dogs make you be cautious as a veterinary health care professional.
My list of breeds most likely to bite include:
- Shar Peis
- Presa Canario
- Jack Russell Terriers(also known as the Parsons Russell Terrier)
- Pit Bulls – Most are very nice but when they do bite – the bites are bad.
The Centers for Disease Control studies dog bite incidents, including the types of dogs most likely to bite. The breeds that the CDC considers highest risk include:
- Pit Bulls
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Doberman pinschers
- Great Danes
- Saint Bernards
My Final Thoughts – Are These Breeds Bad Dogs?
This is what I believe. Some dogs are at higher risk to bite than others. This has a lot to do with their breeding and life experiences. Even for nice dogs, there are some breeds I'd never trust around kids or cats they don't know.
I've gone out on a limb and warned a number of owners about the propensity of their dog based on personality or breed to bite (especially if they have young children). I'll feel it is my duty to tell dog owners what I think and I'll politely slip in a warning – especially if they have kids and their kids have friends over. I tell them just to be really cautious. You won't believe how many times I've made someone angry or been told, "My dog is the nicest dog – he would never bite". You also would not believe how many times I've later been told – "you know what – you were right. My dog never showed any sign of aggression and he bit my sons friend."
I don't want to be negative. I love dogs. But I think there are certain dogs that demand some degree of caution. If you are around these breeds or getting one of these breeds – just be cognizant that that particular breed has "bite potential".
Also, check your homeowner's policy. Some breeds required separate liability insurance. If you have one of these breeds – get it (if you can). Better advice is to contact your homeowners insurance company before you get a dog as some companies won't cover you at all if you have a "dangerous" breed.
Also, one more thing -I recommend you read the following articles. Hopefully you will NEVER be one of the 800,000 victims of dog bites ever year. But if you are – read these articles – especially if you have kids and can tell them how to react to dogs.
What are your thoughts? Email me!
The Irreverent Veterinarian is a columnist that regularly contributes to PetPlace.com. The goal is to add a balanced and alternative view of some controversial pet issues. As happens with all of us, veterinarians can't always say what they really think without offending some clients. This commentary allows vets to say what they think and give you, the pet owner, the opportunity to consider another view. All opinions are those of the Irreverent Veterinarian and not the views of PetPlace.com and are not endorsed by PetPlace.com.