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Dog bite statistics, 10 million dog attacks [2022]

Dogs will bite 10 million people in 2022 in the US! The total number of dog bites in the world in 2022 will be around 100 million. Find out how we arrived at our dog bite statistics.

dog bite statistics attacks breed us worldwide
PS. The dog in this picture is not aggressive. Just playing.

4.7 million dog bites occur in the US each year and 800,000 dog bites result in the need for medical care. That’s what most websites tell you (9 of the top 10 Google results).

Well… not really. This widely reported dog bit statistics number is based on old data from CDC. These numbers are based on data almost 30 years old. The exact quote is:

In 1994, an estimated 4.7 million persons (1.8% of the U.S. population) sustained a dog bite; of these, approximately 800,000 (0.3%) sought medical care for the bite. (Sacks JJ, Kresnow M, Houston B. Dog bites: how big a problem? Injury Prev 1996;2:52-4)

A bit more recent data comes from here:

Between 2001 and 2003, an estimated 4 521 300 persons were bitten each year. Of these, 885 000 required medical attention (19%).

This is about 1.5% of the population at the beginning of the 2000s. It’s still 20 years old and the data was collected by surveying 9684 households. This sample size for the study gives a margin of error of 1%. So, the real number was somewhere between 0.5% and 2.5%, or between 1.45 million and 7.25 million. They tried to get the error down by comparing their study to earlier data from 1994.

Are there really 10 million dog bites in the US every year?

Let’s investigate the data and figure out what the number of dog bites is in 2022. The data from 1994 tells us 1.8% of the US population was bitten by a dog that year. Now census.gov tells us that there are 332.5 million people in the US. In the absence of additional data let’s say that the 1.8% dog bite rate still holds. This means there will be about:

1.8% times 332.5 million equals 5.986 million dog bites in 2022.

Of course, dogs may have become more or less aggressive over the last 30 years. So, the number could be higher. Or lower. But let’s look at other data to see if we can clear this out.

Fatal dog attack statistics

From 2010 to 2019 there were 380 fatal dog attacks in the United States. The grim numbers of fatal dog attack statistics are better documented. Luckily for most of us, fatal dog attacks are rare. About one per year for every 8.4 million Americans.

But when we look at the period 10 years earlier from 2000 to 2009 then there were only 213 recorded fatal dog attacks in the US. If we look even further back to 1979-2005 then this report says “During this 27-year time period, there were 504 deaths reported.” Less than 19 per year and now in the last decade, it has doubled?

So, what happened? Did the dogs get almost two times meaner in ten years? Probably not. The internet happened and the smartphone happened. More dog attacks are recorded and reported. Also, the reported data is more readily available.

Back to dog bite statistics in 2022

Now we know that even such important events as the death of a human were underreported in the studies. We can be pretty sure non-fatal dog bite statistics were under-reported at least in the same proportion if not more.

So, the calculation for dog bite statistics for 2022 is a bit complicated but here goes.

  • The average US population from 2000 to 2009 was 294 million.
  • During that time there were 213 fatal dog attacks.
  • 213/294M=0.72 deaths per million in 10 years
  • The average US population from 2010 to 2019 was 318 million.
  • During that time there were 380 fatal dog attacks.
  • 380/318M=1.19 deaths per million in 10 years

We can say that the fatal dog attacks were underreported by 1.19/0.72=1.65 times. We can be pretty sure that non-fatal dog bites were under-reported by as much if not more. Let’s do more number magic:

332.5 million (current population) X 1.8% (bite rate in 1994) X 1.65 (underreporting rate) = 9.88 million dog bites in 2022

Rounding it to the nearest million, there will be 10 million dog bites in 2022. To put it another way, let’s say there’s a class of 33 kids, one of them will get bitten this year. Seems reasonable.

Now let’s take a look at other dog bite statistics

In 2012, there were only about 525 million dogs. The number of dogs in the world has almost doubled in 8 years! The majority of them are feral. Now, there are approximately 900 million dogs [1] on the face of this planet.

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 dogs, but some are wild or strays.

Highest Dog Population Breakdown

These numbers include pet and stray animals:

  1. China – 110 million
  2. United States – 89 million
  3. European Union – 70.5 million [3]
  4. India – 32 million
  5. Russia – 17.1 million
  6. Germany – 10.7 million
  7. UK – 8.5 million
  8. Italy – 8.3 million
  9. Poland – 7.85 million
  10. France – 7.5 million

Quick Facts About Dog Bite Statistics

  • More males are dog bite victims than females
  • 50% of children will be bitten by a dog in their childhood
  • 60,000 people die worldwide from rabies caused by dog bite attacks
  • American pit bull terrier listed as most dangerous dog worldwide
  • 900 million dogs in the world

Global Dog Bite Statistics

The total number of dog bites in the world in 2022 will probably be around 100 million as there are 10 times more dogs in the world than in the US.

According to the World Health Organization, it is difficult to track dog bite victims and dog attack statistics. On the other hand, hospitalizations and dog bite fatalities are easier to record (Animal bites). Their approximation is that tens of millions of bites happen every year. Many bites and dog bite fatalities happen in low-income and middle-income countries. In this case, travelers are often bitten while visiting those countries.

Dog Bite Statistics: visiting other countries

Fatalities from Dog Bites

In a study from 2018 in China, thousands of dog bite victims die every year from rabies caused by dog bites. People don’t die from dog bite injuries, 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 dog bite fatalities due to rabies is much lower. In 2019, there were only 48 fatal 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 (CDC, Center for Disease Control).

us rabies dog bites human cases by source animal
Infographic designed by projectgunner.com

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 dog bite-related injuries are to the face and neck area.

Nervous behavior can make dogs feel unsafe and defensive, causing them to attack

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

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.

  • Landscapers,
  • 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 10 million estimated dog bites. In addition, older data shows only around 20% 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:

  1. California – 2,396 claims
  2. Florida – 1,268 claims
  3. Texas – 937 claims
  4. New York – 893 claims
  5. Illinois – 854 claims

Dog Bite Statistics by Breed?

Here are some statistics on bog bites by breed. 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 (11 Dog Breeds That Bite the Most). However, their bite is usually not powerful enough to cause any real damage and likely won’t require medical attention.

Aggressive dog doesn't always mean dangerous

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?

Dog Bite Statistics by Breed

Here’s a list of dog bite statistics by breed. Greyhounds are one of the least aggressive dog breeds when considering all the aggression types. Dachshunds are the most aggressive dog breed. They are especially aggressive towards strangers. However, their small size makes them less dangerous than larger aggressive dogs.

Dog Bite Statistics by breed: dog breed aggression study data
Infographic designed by AllPetsLife.com

Dog bite statistics from University of Pennsylvania 2008 study: Breed differences in canine aggression by Deborah L. Duffya, Yuying Hsub, James A. Serpella. 2008

It doesn’t matter how smart your dog is. You can find aggression at every intelligence level. Make sure you feed your dog. For example, dachshunds may need special attention in the diet area.

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 [PDF]. 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. Here are the dogs that bite the most:

  1. Pit bull
  2. Rottweiler
  3. German shepherd
  4. Mixed breed
  5. American bulldog

dangerous dog attacs by breed
Infographic designed by projectgunner.com

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 within the terrier dog breed family. 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 [2])

Most Dangerous Breeds in India

In India, these massive dogs are the most dangerous because of their size:

  1. Himalayan Mastiff
  2. Indian Mastiff
  3. 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.

canine bite force chart

Observed bite force at the canine and M2 teeth. Values are the average of up to four observed bites. Bite force closely follows the dog’s weight. For example, if your pitbull bite force could be lower or higher. Check the dog’s weight in the chart and you arrive at an approximate value. For example, the Cane Corso bite force is around 700 PSI. These dogs have massive strength and were used in battle.

Estimated breed Weight
(kg / lbs)
Gender Age Canine bite force
(N / lbs)
M2 bite force
(N / lbs)
Labrador-Shepherd cross 40 / 88 M 8 859 / 193 3417 / 768
Shepherd-Husky cross 33,5 / 74 M 6 926 / 208 3145 / 707
Shepherd cross 32,5 / 72 M 8 423 / 95 2900 / 652
Shepherd 25 / 55 F 4 720 / 162 2576 / 579
Shepherd 30,5 / 67 F 4 756 / 170 2527 / 568
Setter cross 26 / 57 M 1,5 748 / 168 2371 / 533
Shepherd cross 23,5 / 52 M 1,5 580 / 130 2202 / 495
Husky cross 21,5 / 47 M 2 722 / 162 2174 / 489
Shepherd-Collie cross 18,5 / 41 F 2 433 / 97 2035 / 457
Pit Bull-Shepherd cross 24 / 53 F 1,5 896 / 201 1991 / 448
Terrier-Collie cross 15,5 / 34 F 2 509 / 114 1890 / 425
Collie-Hound cross 18,5 / 41 F 4,5 654 / 147 1774 / 399
Labrador-Shepherd cross 21,5 / 47 M 1 508 / 114 1675 / 377
Shar Pe cross 19 / 42 M 3 192 / 43 1353 / 304
Australian Shepherd-Blue Heeler cross 15 / 33 F 1 354 / 80 1310 / 294
Walker Hound 15 / 33 0,8 453 / 102 1299 / 292
Jack Russell cross 7 / 15 M 3 360 / 81 1025 / 230
Dachshund 5 / 11 M 3 281 / 63 834 / 187
Black Labrador 30 / 66 M 2 147 / 33 732 / 165
Spaniel cross 11,5 / 25 M 14 162 / 36 574 / 129

 

Here’s another study about the bite force of dogs. The dog’s bite force depends on the size of the dog and the shape of its skull. As you can see from the model below large dogs with short skulls usually have the strongest bite force.

dog bite force model

Bite force at the molar (MBF) (top) and canine (CBF) (bottom) (N) predicted by lever model 1 (Kiltie 1984) (red), lever model 2 (Thomason 1991) (blue), or the regression model of Ellis et al. (2008) (black) vs. skull type, where B is brachycephalic (short skull dogs), M is mesaticephalic (medium skull dogs), and D is dolichocephalic skull type (log skull dogs); for small (S), medium (M) and large (L) dogs.

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:

    1. American pit bull terrier
    2. American Staffordshire terrier
    3. German Shepherd
    4. Rottweiler

Be Safe

Dog bite attack can happen 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 dog owner says not to approach. Know what to do when a dog bites someone.

Dog attack statistics Teach dogs to be gentle and children to respect a dog's space

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:

  1. Avoid if there’s no owner around, or the dog owner says not to approach
  2. Don’t approach if the dog seems scared, anxious, or injured
  3. Give dogs space and respect
  4. Stay away if the dog is sleeping, eating, or playing with a toy
  5. Keep your distance if the dog is growling
  6. Remain calm and avoid anxious behavior
  7. Supervise children when near dogs
  8. If traveling to a low-income country, be cautious of stray dogs
  9. Don’t reach through fences to pet a dog
  10. 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:

  1. Socialize your dog
  2. Train for obedience
  3. Keep your dog on a leash
  4. Give your dog proper exercise
  5. Spay or neuter your pet

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/dog-bite-prevention

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.

Sources:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-ranging_dog
[2] https://www.starlimited.co.uk/blog/the-5-most-dangerous-dog-breeds-in-the-uk/
[3] https://fediaf.org/who-we-are/european-statistics.html

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Kathy Coop

    Facts are facts. The number of children getting mauled to death by Pit Bulls is constantly on the rise.. The more people defend and adopt Pit Bulls in an attempt to prove how sweet they can be only add to the problem. I have never met a mean Pit Bull in my life and yet I would never have one in my home because of my small children.

    If you want to own a breed that has a track record of violence and come online and preach how sweet they can be and your dog ends up attacking someone then you should be charged. You can’t leave a loaded gun sitting out in a table with kids running around playing.

    Consequences are the only way to really get the message across to people who refuse to accept facts.

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