Dog Attacks and Dog Breeds: What You Need to Know
While it seems like certain dog breeds are more likely to attack than others, it may surprise you to find out there are no breeds identified as being “most dangerous”, according to experts. Some breeds may even be unfairly portrayed by the media, leading to a sort of breed discrimination. But
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that each year 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. About one out of five dog bite victims require medical attention for their injuries. Half of them are children.
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years, adult males, and people who have dogs in their homes are among those most likely to be bitten.
Approximately 25 percent of dog attacks happen when the dog is chained up, according to the American Humane Society. About two-thirds of dog bites happen on the victim’s property and most victims know the dog that is at fault.
When it comes to dog breeds, however, statistics are harder to come by. Part of the reason for this is the number of mixed breed dogs. In addition, many dogs are misidentified by their owners and by the public. In the case of “pit bulls” for instance, dogs of anywhere from one to five breeds are often lumped into this category.
Pit Bulls, the Epitome of a Bad Doggie Reputation
While dog discrimination certainly sounds like a made-up term, it isn’t. Many dogs are judged by how they look, and dogs associated with the pit bull label are the best example of this.
Dogs often lumped into this classification include: American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Bulldogs. Even more dogs are misidentified as being related to pit bulls. Breeds frequently mistaken as pit bulls include Boxers, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, and more.
All of these dogs are plagued with reputations of being vicious. Some of the time, it’s with good reason. Some pit bulls and dogs associated with that term are bred for fighting or bred for security. In addition, their tough appearance makes them a top choice among people who want aggressive dogs. This means the dog may be raised to be aggressive and protective. What it doesn’t mean is that the dog breed is somehow inherently dangerous.
The ASPCA notes pit bulls were initially seen as the perfect dogs for families with children because of the friendly, playful, and attentive nature of the dog. They were considered particularly non-aggressive. Now, however, parents shy away when they see a dog like this coming towards them or their children.
The bottom line is: all dog breeds can attack and all dogs have the potential to turn aggressive, whether through training or being put on the defensive when they feel threatened.
Friendly looking dogs aren’t always friendly
Children especially are guilty of running up to friendly looking or cute dogs, even getting in their faces to pet them. This sort of trust based on nothing but the appearance of a dog could result in serious injury.
It’s important to teach children to be wary of all unknown dogs, no matter their size or their breed. All unfamiliar dogs should be approached with caution, if they are approached at all. Misconceptions about dog attacks abound. Basic safety practices and education can prevent dog bites from happening.