Some people believe the theory that there are no bad dogs, merely bad dog owners. While proper nurturing can make a difference in the temper of canines, certain breeds are more likely to bite than others. Many of these breeds, in turn, are labeled aggressive. This designation can be misleading, given how much difference there is in each individual dog’s demeanor. Yet, it is important to be mindful – though not fearful – of breeds that may have a greater propensity to cause harm.
Bites by the breed
Around 4.5 million dog bites happen each year in the United States. Many of these bites are minor, and the victims do not require hospitalization. Yet, nearly one in five dog bite victims sustain injuries that become infected. And a small number of dog bites each year are fatal.
Certain breeds are more responsible for fatal bites than others. Pit bulls have the highest rate of bite fatalities and are more than six times as likely to kill someone in an attack than any other breed of dog. Behind pit bulls, Rottweilers and German shepherds are the most likely to fatally bite humans. Pit bulls also have the most damaging bites – on average – among all breeds of dogs, and are also the breed most likely to bite without being provoked – and to attack an unknown individual.
Reasons why dogs bite
While a dog’s likelihood of biting may depend on its breed’s tendencies, it also relates to the behavior of its owner, as well as the bite victim. Dogs without proper training or whose owners mistreat them may be more prone to biting than properly trained dogs that live in a loving home. Yet, even the nicest dogs – no matter their breed – may bite an individual who teases, scares or startles them.
When interacting with dogs, it is crucial to approach them with caution and treat them with kindness and care. Even dogs that seem friendly can bite and could cause serious injuries because of their reaction, size or breed. In the event this happens, a personal injury attorney can help determine the appropriate options for pursuing recourse.