The number of dogs in the world has almost doubled in 8 years! The majority of them are feral. How does that affect dog bite statistics?
Now, there are approximately 900 million dogs on the face of this planet. However, in 2012, there were only about 525 million dogs.
Find out which dogs are the most aggressive and how most dog attacks occur.
Quick Facts About Dog Bite Statistics
- 900 million dogs in the world
- 50% of children will be bitten by a dog in their childhood
- 4.7 million dog bites in the U.S. every year
- More males are bitten by dogs than females
- 60,000 people die worldwide from rabies caused by dog bites
- American pit bull terrier listed as most dangerous dog worldwide
Between 75% and 85% of those dogs are free-range dogs, meaning that they are strays or feral and don’t have owners or homes. China and the United States have the highest dog populations with around 110 million and 89 million, respectively. Most dogs involved in attacks are family pets, but some are wild or strays.
Highest Dog Population Breakdown
These numbers include pet and stray animals:
- China – 110 million
- United States – 89 million
- India – 32 million
- Russia – 12 million
Global Dog Bite Statistics
According to the World Health Organization, it is difficult to track dog bite and dog attack statistics. On the other hand, hospitalizations and fatalities are easier to record (Animal bites). Their approximation is that tens of millions of bites happen every year. Many bites and fatalities happen in low-income and middle-income countries. In this case, travelers are often bitten while visiting those countries.
Fatalities from Dog Bites
In a study from 2018 in China, thousands of people die every year from rabies caused by dog bites. Globally, W.H.O. posits that around 60,000 people die every year from rabies resulting from dog bites. However, in places like the United States where vaccines are common, the number of fatalities due to rabies is much lower. In 2019, there were only 48 fatalities from dog attacks in the United States. Only 1 to 3 deaths from rabies are reported in the U.S. but these are caused by bats, not dogs.
Vulnerable Groups in U.S. and U.K.
Children and Dog Attacks
In the United States, some notable trends in dog bites suggest that children are more likely to be bitten than adults. In a study from 2013, it is suggested that each American child has a 50% chance of being bitten by a dog. Younger children are usually bitten by a family dog or a neighbor’s dog. Adolescents are bitten more frequently by unknown dogs. In addition, dogs bite more male children than female children.
These statistics are repeated in studies in other countries as well. For example, according to a study from the United Kingdom, nearly half of all children would be bitten by dogs at some point, and males were more likely to be bitten than females. Children are also more likely to be severely injured, as many of the recorded injuries are to the face and neck area.
Adults Dog Bites
While the other half of dog bites are to adults, senior citizens are the second-highest age group for the most dog bites. In adults, men are 81% more likely to be bitten by dogs than women.
Personality can also play a factor in who gets bitten by dogs. People who are anxious, nervous, or fearful are 22% more likely to get bitten by dogs according to a study in the United Kingdom. The body language of these people plays a major role in dog attacks. Nervous behavior can make dogs feel unsafe and defensive, causing them to attack.
Dog Bite Statistics by Occupation
In the United States, dog bite statistics show that postal service workers are most frequently bitten. In 2019, the United States Postal Service reported that 5,803 of their employees were attacked by dogs. Many dogs are territorial and become defensive of their homes and their owners.
- meter readers,
- and food delivery services
have high bite numbers.
U.S. Dog Bite Statistics by State
The United States has the most readily available data when it comes to dog bites and dog attacks. Of some 89.7 million dogs in the United States, there are 4.7 million recorded dog bites.
In addition, only around 800,000 of those bites are serious enough for medical care. Furthermore, in 2019, only 17,802 bites were reported for insurance claims.
2019 U.S. State Dog Bite Insurance Claims
According to these state insurance claims, dog bite statistics are the highest in most populous states. People are bitten in certain states more frequently than others:
- California – 2,396 claims
- Florida – 1,268 claims
- Texas – 937 claims
- New York – 893 claims
- Illinois – 854 claims
Dog Bite Statistics by Breed?
Here are some statistics on bog bites by breed. Of the 4.7 million dog bites, only 1 in every 5 of those bites are serious enough to need medical attention.
Aggressive doesn’t always mean dangerous. Chihuahuas and dachshunds, two of the small breeds in the world, tend to be the most aggressive dog breeds (10 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds: Temperament Ratings and Information). However, their bite is usually not powerful enough to cause any real damage and likely won’t require medical attention.
Conversely, though Great Danes are reported to be docile and gentle. However, when they bite, they can cause serious damage because of their size and power. The frequency of their bites and attacks is low, but the damage can be severe. So, what is the #1 most dangerous dog? Here’s a list of dog bite statistics by breed:
Dog bite statistics from the study: Breed differences in canine aggression by Deborah L. Duffya, Yuying Hsub, James A. Serpella. 2008
U.S. Dangerous Dog Breeds
We usually refer to dogs that have the highest frequency of biting and have the most powerful bites as the most dangerous dogs. In the United States, larger mixed breeds and American pit bull terriers are aggressive, and their bites are more often recorded because they are much more powerful and cause more damage.
Between 2005 and 2017, there were 284 dog fatalities from pit bulls alone, giving that breed a very dangerous label. In 2019, 33 of the 48 dog fatalities were because of pit bulls.
Top U.S. Dangerous Dog Breeds
These are the most dangerous breeds based on dog attack fatalities:
- Pit bull
- German shepherd
- Mixed breed
- American bulldog
U.K. Dangerous Dog Breeds
In the United Kingdom, the Jack Russell Terrier is said to be the most dangerous dog, even though it is a small breed. This is likely because the pit bull terrier was banned from the United Kingdom some years ago, and the ban has slowed the import of the breed. Similarly to the U.S. German shepherds and rottweilers are also on the United Kingdom’s list. (The 5 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in the UK)
Most Dangerous Breeds in India
In India, these massive dogs are the most dangerous because of their size:
- Himalayan Mastiff
- Indian Mastiff
- Sindh Mastiff
Canine bite force chart
Dog bite force (BF) at M2 (second molar solid points) and canine (hollow points) versus body weight (BW) for the 20 dogs of different sizes in the study.
Banned Dog Breeds
Banning dangerous dogs is very common in many countries. Some countries, like Ukraine, have up to 80 dog breeds on their banned list. In the U.S. no dogs are banned nationwide, but many states have restrictions and bans on certain breeds. At the top of most lists is, unsurprisingly, the pit bull terrier.
Most Banned Dog Breeds
According to world data, these are the most banned breeds:
- American pit bull terrier
- American Staffordshire terrier
- German Shepherd
Dogs bite for several reasons. Usually, they might be scared, defensive, or even hurt. As many children are bitten by dogs, it’s important to teach dogs to be gentle as well as to teach children to respect a dog’s space. In addition, children should always be supervised when around dogs, and you should never walk up to an unknown dog, especially if it’s growling or if the owner says not to approach. Know what to do when a dog bites someone.
It’s okay to be wary of dangerous dog breeds, but many problems with dogs result from bad training and poor environments where the dogs feel threatened or defensive. Have respect for dogs and listen to their signals.
Dog Bite Statistics: Know Your Odds
The United States population is around 328.2 million people. Nearly 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year, which means if you’re in the United States, you have a 1 in 70 chance of getting bitten by a dog. However, a person has only a 1 in 112,400 chance of being killed in a dog attack. However, this means you’re more likely to die of heart disease (1 in 6), from choking on food (1 in 2,618), or in a natural disaster (1 in 54,699).
10 Best Dog Bite Prevention Tips
Lower your risk with these tips:
- Avoid if there’s no owner around, or the owner says not to approach
- Don’t approach if the dog seems scared, anxious, or injured
- Give dogs space and respect
- Stay away if the dog is sleeping, eating, or playing with a toy
- Keep your distance if the dog is growling
- Remain calm and avoid anxious behavior
- Supervise children when near dogs
- If traveling to a low-income country, be cautious of stray dogs
- Don’t reach through fences to pet a dog
- Leave service dogs to do their jobs
Like people dogs get anxious when they are injured. Disturbing them may lead to an attack. The injury doesn’t have to be visible. For example, when a paw is inured. In some cases, you might want to give the anxious or stressed dog trazodone.
For Pet Owners
These are the best tips to keep your dog and others safe:
- Socialize your dog
- Train for obedience
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Give your dog proper exercise
- Spay or neuter your pet
In Total Dog Bite Statistics Show That You are Mostly Safe
In a developed country, dog bites are rare. Here’s what you need to remember about dog bites and attacks:
- Rabies deaths are common in areas without vaccines
- Children are more likely to be bitten than adults
- Females are less likely to be bitten than males
- Dogs attacked 5,803 U.S. postal workers in 2019
- Anxious and nervous people have a higher chance of getting bitten
- California reported the highest number of insurance claims due to dog bites in 2019
- Pit bulls caused 33 of the 48 dog attack fatalities in the U.S. in 2019
- Most countries and states have banned pit bulls
- Americans have a very low chance of being fatally attacked by a dog(1 in 112,400)
- Dog bites can be prevented
As the world dog population increases, the number of dog bites and attacks will also rise. Though dog bites are fairly common, there are ways to prevent them and protect yourself. Even if a dog attack occurs, it’s very unlikely for the attack to end in a fatality.