With over 60 million dogs owned as pets in the United States alone, dogs are the most popular pets in America. It’s no secret that dogs are fiercely loved by their humans — so much so that one mention of a breed doing harm causes nothing short of uproar from loyal owners and fans. But while breed traits like loyalty, protectiveness, and strength are highly treasured by dog owners, those same characteristics can lead to aggressiveness and incidents of harm in certain situations.
The study of dog attacks is a difficult and highly-scrutinized area, but an analysis performed by the editor of ANIMALS 24-7 stands out as one of the most comprehensive and authoritative approaches to documenting and categorizing incidents of harm inflicted by dogs. Using press accounts, the report gathers attack figures for breeds in the United States and Canada over a 22 year period (1982-2014). The study focuses on dogs kept as pets, excluding attacks by guard dogs, police dogs, and dogs trained specifically to fight.
From this study, we’ve identified the dog breeds that had 10 or more instances of attacks causing bodily harm, excluding mixed breeds. It’s worth explicitly noting the steep difference in severity throughout the list. For the first 11 breeds on our list, attack figures back out to less than two attacks per year. For the #1 breed, average attack frequency reaches a staggering 150 per year.
Every animal has unique facets to their temperament, and one dog’s actions don’t necessarily speak for an entire breed. However, this data provides insight into documented trends that can prove helpful when choosing your next member of the family.
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