20 Years Worth Of Dog Attack Statistics

Statistics have been closely kept over the last 20 years for animal attack victims in the U.S and Canada. The editor of Animal People compiled these statistics and they were drawn from various press accounts over the years. Some of these findings may not be of a surprise to many, but there are certainly a few which will catch people off guard.

So over the past 20 years, there are some definite trends, which are hard to argue, in regards to breed and aggression. There will be many people who claim the statistics are skewed, or the animal being reported was incorrectly identified. This may be true, and error is bound to occur in any study. However, it’s a bit difficult to argue statistics that range over 20 years. So without further ado, let’s discuss how many of mans best friend’s turn into mans worst nightmare.

All Dogs In Total For 20 Years

Over the last 20 years, there have been 3,521 attacks by different dogs on humans in the U.S and Canada. Those attacks were upon 3,394 people, so there were a few folks that were attacked multiple times.  There are a greater number of attacks on children (1,713) then there are on adults (1,077).  While there are have been 470 deaths caused by dog attacks, and 2,004 maiming’s recorded.

The Most Surprising

The Chihuahua is perhaps the least suspecting of all dogs to actually cause harm to a human. But don’t count these little guys out, over the years there has reportedly been 1 death caused by a Chihuahua and a handful of other attacks. Most of the reported attacks are against children, as could be well assumed as they are the most likely to be attacked given their size.

The Dachshund, or wiener dog,  is another unsuspecting dog that you wouldn’t assume would injure many people. In honesty, they don’t attack often. However, over the years there has been 1 fatality due to a Dachshund attack, and around 20 reported attacks. Again, I must assume they’ve mostly been against children. Reason being that a dog of that size could only inflict damage upon smaller individuals.

The Least Surprising

The Pit Bull Terrier has many, many more reported attacks compared to any other breed of dog. There have been 1,985 attacks that have resulted in bodily harm, 832 child victims, 693 adult victims, 209 deaths, and 1,102 maiming’s. To put this into perspective, the next breed of dog with the most reported attacks is the Rottweiler. The Rottweiler has only 481 reported attacks which result in bodily harm, 272 child victims, 126 adult victims, 78 deaths, and 268 maiming’s.

So it’s quite clear that there are a higher number of attacks resulting from Pit Bull Mixes, especially the terrier. Other note worthy breeds include the Wolf Hybrid with 84 reported attacks, the Husky with 66 reported attacks, and the German Shepherd with 93 reported attacks.


Now there are obviously going to be many people who whoop and holler over the findings that Pit Bulls specifically are dangerous animals. That the countless bands that have been placed on them in neighborhoods and cities throughout the country, are more than necessary. Than you are going to have the other side that says these dogs are no more dangerous than any other, and it’s their upbringing that plays a role in how aggressive they are. Well I’m sad to say that both sides are both in the right, as well as the wrong here.

There is no doubt that dogs have certain temperaments dependent upon their breed. Sheep dogs are not aggressive, and were breed for herding. Thus, they have a protective nature rather than a violent one. Many Pit Bulls on the other hand were breed specifically for fighting, thus, it is instilled within them to show aggression. So you cannot say that all dogs are the same, and their aggression is dependent upon their nurturing rather than their nature. Their nature is inherent, thus herding dogs herd, racing dogs run, and fighting dogs fight.

But on the other side, you can’t say just because a certain type of dog is more aggressive that they can’t be allowed in certain areas when other dogs are. That’s simply not fair, as just because a dog is more likely and capable of attacking someone, doesn’t mean that they will. Any dog is capable of aggression, regardless of their breed. Not to mention, there is no doubt that there are some tremendously sweet and passive Pit Bulls that would never harm a person.

So the burden ought to lie on the dog owner to assure an attack does not occur, and not the animal. The animal is doing nothing less than what it thinks to be right; to protect their owner and themselves. Not to mention the animal should be restrained by the owner at all times when not at home or in a safe place. It’s simply a sad and odd thought that humans would create a certain breed of dog, only to turn their back on it once they found a few things they didn’t like. Yes certain breeds are more dangerous, but we made them that way, and rather than toss them aside when they are no longer needed, perhaps we should work on breeding the violence out of them just as we breed it in. Because you can’t argue against an animal acting upon it’s nature, especially when we instilled that to begin with.

As a final example, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a dog originally breed to hunt Lions. Granted there are not many dogs of this breed in North America, but over the last 20 years, they’ve had only 2 reported attacks that resulted in bodily harm, 2 child victims, and 2 maiming’s. These are dogs meant to hunt lions mind you, and an animal capable of that, was still passive when it came to humans. There are 2 points to take away from this:

1. There are fewer dogs of this breed, thus fewer likely incidents. Where as Pit Bulls are numerous, many of which are stray. I would doubt there is a single Rhodesian Ridgeback stray in the streets of America. It might be a bold statement, but I know I’ve never seen one and doubt I will.

2. This breed is generally expensive, so those owning one are likely to be somewhat well off. Thus the animals should be better taken care of, not left unattended, and perhaps have received some training. Pit Bulls, being both common and inexpensive can be owned by anyone. Thus, there is a greater likelihood that there will be more dogs of this breed mistreated, untrained, and uncared for. Not saying income or class play a role on how well a human can raise and train a dog. But more resources obviously make the job easier.

You can find all of the statistics on dog attacks over the last 20 years by clicking here.