Many people are concerned with the prospect of dog bites. Although the ideal canine companion should be mild or even tempered, there are just instances when a dog can attack either after an unthinkable provocation or for other unknown reasons. Some dogs are trained to attack, but these dogs must be carefully handled and looked after at all times; otherwise, the law dictates that the dogs should be destroyed. As such, there are no established dog bite statistics by breed in the country, other than those privately gathered (and sadly, unverified) by independent sources. The truth is: many cases of dog attacks remain unreported, with the injured parties not even bothering to acquire medical assistance, for fear that the dogs might be destroyed; or for fear that the owners of the dogs might do something more damaging; or even just fear of being reprimanded (as with the numerous cases of teenage injuries.)
Besides, there are also no reliable estimates as to how many dogs are in the country, or the number of individuals per breed. Although the law dictates that a license for each canine pet is acquired by their owners, there are many of those who adopt strays or breed dogs without any regard for permits and such. Additionally, only the seemingly extreme cases of dog bites are reported by the media. It is said, that in some counties, dog bites occur on a very regular basis that people around are desensitized with the topic. And lastly, many people who are attacked by strange dogs usually do not know precisely what breed of dog they were facing. By the time the identification would have been made, the offending animal would have escaped or would have been destroyed already.
However, here are some facts given out by the CDC or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that you might want to know:
1. According to hospital records in 1994, more than 16,000 people were bitten or attacked by dogs that year; none of which were fatal but a good 6% of the victims needed one or more forms of reconstructive surgery. In 2001, that number rose to an alarming estimate of about 80,000 people nationwide, and 22% of the those needed extensive hospitalization and reconstructive surgery. And from that 22%, one-third of the victims were always children 7 years and younger. Infants or children who have yet learned to walk are the most vulnerable, constituting almost all of the cases of the victims who were under 7 years of age.
2. Pit Bulls have the most notorious reputation for biting people. In 2005, it is estimated that about 82% of all the dog attacks in the country were from this breed or from Pit Bull crossbreeds. This number may have been partly due to the fact that the population of Pit Bulls as home pets is also on the rise. Experts are estimating about 3 million to 10 million registered and unregistered Pit Bulls are now living in the country.
3. Other known dog breeds that have a lengthy record of dog bites and attacks are: Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Huskies, Rottweilers, and Saint Bernards. Rottweilers rank the second most dangerous dog in the CDC’s list after the Pitt Bull.