Dog Bite Statistics in the United States

Categories: Statistics

Group of dogs

If you are a dog owner, it’s difficult to imagine that your pet could ever hurt someone, let alone kill them. Unfortunately, dog attacks and dog bites occur quite frequently. According to the Center for Disease Control, CDC, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. One out of five of those bitten require medical attention. These injuries can leave both physical and emotional scars on the victims.

Results of Studies on Dog Bites

Small-to-medium dogs, including Spaniels and toy breeds, are more aggressive towards people than other dog breeds of that size. While there are frequent bites by these smaller types of breeds, they do not generally result in fatalities or serious injuries unless there is more than one dog involved in the attack, or the attack is on a minor child.

According to, there were 38 deaths from dog attacks in 2012. Of those, pit bulls were involved in 23 of those deaths, Rottweilers in 8, mixed breeds in 2, German Shepherds in 2, and nine different breeds in 9 of the attacks. Those nine breeds included American Bulldog, Boxer-mix, Bull Mastiff, Cane Corso, Golden Retriever-mix, Husky, Labrador-Shepherd mix, Presa Canario, and a Mastiff-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls killed 151 people and Rottweilers killed 32 people, which accounted for 73% of all fatal attacks during that seven-year time span.

Data from 2012 further indicates that over half of the people killed by dogs were adults and the other half were children eight years of age and younger. Approximately one-third of the victims were temporarily living with or visiting the dog’s owner when the attack occurred. Of those, 34% of the incidents involved more than one dog. Statistics show that 13% of the dogs were being bred, or had been bred in the recent past, and 5% involved dogs that were chained.

California and North Carolina lead the states with four fatal dog attacks each in 2012. Texas, New Mexico, and Ohio follow with three fatal dog attacks each.

Pitbull Attacks

The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), stated that the number of pit bull attacks may not be accurate, because the breed itself cannot be reliably identified. They feel that witnesses may be predisposed to assume that any dog that attacks a person is a pit-bull type dog. The AVMA further stated that pit bull involvement in fatal attacks might be high in neighborhoods that favor the breed and allow them around children.

Contact Us

Dog bites cause serious injuries and emotional distress. Many also require plastic surgery to repair the damage. If a dog has bitten you or a family member, contact the law offices of Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esq. at 215-987-3550 (office) or 215-771-0430 (cell) to discuss the ways you can get the compensation you deserve. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.