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Dog Bite Statistics: By Breed, Fatal Dog Bites, and States With The Highest Fatality Rate

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November 16, 2023 Personal Injury

Please note that these are strictly statistics and do not reflect the opinions of the author or staff at Fuicelli & Lee.

Across the United States, there are more than 89 million dogs and 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year, and at least half the dog bites are on children.

Reach out to a skilled Denver dog bite attorney for legal help, if you have been injured by a dog bite.

Injuries range from minor to life-threatening, but no matter how severe the injury, it is important to understand what your rights are when you’re bitten by a dog to protect yourself and your family.

It’s also important to consult with a Denver personal injury attorney if you have been the victim of a dog bite.

We are going to look at dog bite statistics by breed, when and where the most bites happen, and fatality rate by breed, state, and victim age and sex from 2010 through October of 2023.

Table of Contents

Dog Bite Fatalities By Breed

Even though several of us at the firm own and love our sweet “Pitties”, they have a bad reputation and are unfortunately responsible for the vast majority of fatalities associated with dog bites.

From 2010 to October 2023, there were 478 fatal dog bites, with 196 of those coming from pit bulls, and another 49 that were pit bull mixes.

  • 60% had pit bull in their bloodlines (either full-blooded or a mix)
  • 7% had Rottweiler in their bloodline
  • 4% had German shepherd in their bloodline

We would, however, argue between who would be responsible: the pet or the owner? “When well-bred and properly socialized, pit bulls are very friendly, people-oriented pets.”

There are several resources and ideas about How to Train Your Pit Bull Dog to Be a Good Family Pet, so we can all work on the stigma around pit bulls.

Top Three Breeds Responsible for Fatal Dog Attacks

  1. Pitbull – 185 deaths
  2. Pitbull Mix – 41 deaths
  3. Rotweiller – 26 deaths

Where Do Fatal Dog Bites Occur the Most?

Fatal dog attacks happen much more often in Texas and California than in any other state. The following information is from


Dog Bite Fatalities By Age & Sex

Dog bite fatalities by age and sex

Percent of Fatalities By Age

According to the National Institutes of Health, there has been a rise in the number of children treated in emergency rooms for dog bites since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Out of the reported fatal dog bites:

  • 32% were age 0-4
  • 13% were aged 75+
  • 10% were age 5-9
  • 5.5% were 60-64
  • 5% were 50-54

Interesting Dog Bite Statistics

How Often Do Dog Bites Happen? (Per minute, day, week)

  • A dog bite happens every 75 seconds in the United States
  • 1,000 people seek emergency care for severe dog bites every day
  • Each year, 9,500 people are hospitalized for dog bites
  • During the Pandemeic, emergency rooms in Colorado saw a 300% increase in dog bite visits for children

Possibilities of Rabies After A Dog Bite

  • On average, only 2 people in the U.S. die from rabies each year.

Most Aggressive Dog Breeds

  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Husky
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Akita
  • Wolf Hybrid

Dog Bite Force

  • Kangal: 743 PSI
  • English Mastiff: 556 PSI
  • Wolfdog: 406 PSI
  • Rottweiler: 328 PSI
  • African Wild Dog: 317 PSI
  • American Bull Dog: 305 PSI
  • Doberman Pinschers: 305 PSI
  • German Shepherd: 238 PSI
  • American Pitbull: 235 PSI
  • Dutch Shepherd: 224 PSI
  • Chow Chow: 220 PSI
  • Malinois: 195 PSI

Where Do Dogs Bite the Most (Body part)

  • 80% of severe dog bites in children involve the head and neck

Most Recent Fatal and Non-Fatal Dog Bite Statistics

  • 81% of dog bites cause minor injuries that require no medical attention
  • In 2015, 28,000 people had to get reconstructive surgery due to dog bite injuries
  • We saw an 86% increase in dog bite-related hospitalization stays from 1993 to 2008
  • As of October 2023, there have been 20 fatal dog attacks in the United States

Pitbulls & Large Dogs

  • Pitbulls and Rottweilers make up 77% of all fatal dog bites, despite making up only 6% of the U.S. dog population
  • Pitbulls are 2.5x more likely to bite in multiple anatomical locations than other breeds.
  • Pitbulls are responsible for 60% of all injuries and 63% of ocular injuries.
  • Pitbull terriers are 31% more likely to attack an unknown individual than other breeds
  • Pitbull terriers are 48% more likely to attack without provocation than other breeds
  • Pitbull attacks have higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than attacks by other breeds.
  • From 2005-2017, pit bulls killed one citizen every 16.7 days, totaling up to 284 Americans. Rottweilers killed over 105 days during that period.
  • From 2005 to 2017, Rottweiler and Pitbull attacks contributed to 76% of dog bite deaths.
  • When comparing 2005-2010 to 2011-2017, Pitbull attack deaths have increased from 58% to 71%. Alternatively, Rottweiler deaths decreased from 14% to 7%.
  • According to a 13-year data set, pit bulls caused 72% of attacks that killed a person 10 years and older vs. all other dog breeds put together, 28%.</li
  • From 2005 to 2017, 54% of fatal attacks were inflicted by family dogs. Of that 54%, 64% were done by pit bulls. 52% involved killing a family or household member.
  • When examining a 13-year data set, 54 fatal attacks included a dog killing its primary owner. Pit bulls were the cause of 63% of these deaths, over 8x more than any other type of dog.
  • Between 20015 and 2017, only 21% of fatal dog attacks resulted in criminal charges. 75% of these cases involved a pit bull.
  • It is estimated that by 2021, pit bulls would have mauled 441 Americans to death since 1998 and killed 515 Americans since 1980.
  • The U.S. Army has banned pit bulls from military housing due to their dangerous nature.

The Costs of Dog Bite Injuries & Insurance

  • In 2017, dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than 33% of all paid homeowners liability claims. It totaled nearly $700 million.
  • More than 28,000 reconstructive surgeries took place in 2015 due to dog bites.
  • From 2003 to 2017, the average cost per claim has risen more than 90 percent nationally. This is an outcome of increasing medical costs, size of settlements, and jury awards given to plaintiffs.
  • Hospital stays for dog bite injuries average $18,200. This is 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
  • In 2008, Medicare and Medicaid combined compensated for 37% of all dog bite-related hospitalization stays in America.
  • The average length of stay in a hospital after a dog bite is 5 days.

Dog behavior, including biting, is influenced by various factors like training, socialization, and the environment, not just breed.