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The Top 5 Deadliest Dog Breeds

  Dog Breed Fatal Attacks Percentage of all Fatal Dog Attacks Attacks Causing Injuries
1 Pit Bull 233 deaths 45.4% 2,235 attacks
2 Rottweiler 81 deaths 15.7% 495 attacks
3 Husky 24 deaths 4.6% 96 attacks
4 German shepherd 14 deaths 2.7% 87 attacks
5 Bull mastiff
(Presa Canario)
14 deaths 2.7% 71 attacks
Tags Animals & Nature , Pets , Deadliest , The United States , Crime & Punishment Statistics

Sources: Clifton, M. (2012).: "Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada September 1982 to December 31, 2013."

List Notes: Data is top 5 dog breeds involved in fatal attacks on human beings in the U.S. and Canada between the years 1982 and 2012. Data was compiled by the editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE from press accounts since 1982, this table covers only attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, who have been kept as pets. All accounts were cross-checked by date, location, and identity of the victim. Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs, and dogs trained specifically to fight are also excluded. "Attacks doing bodily harm" includes all fatalities, maimings, and other injuries requiring extensive hospital treatment.
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  1. Between January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008, recorded 88 U.S. fatal dog attacks. The data shows that pit bulls are responsible for 59% (52) of these attacks. The data also shows that pit bulls commit the vast majority of off-property attacks that result in death. Only 18% (16) of the attacks occurred off owner property, yet pit bulls were responsible for 81% (13).
  2. According to the report, pit bulls are also more likely to kill an adult than a child. In the 3-year period, pit bulls killed more adults (ages 21 and over), 54%, than they did children (ages 11 and younger), 46%. In the age category of 21-54, pit bulls were responsible for 82% (14) of the deaths. Pit bulls do not only kill children and senior citizens, they kill men and women in their prime years: 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
  3. Of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded in the 3-year period, pit bull type dogs were responsible for 59% (52). This is equivalent to a pit bull killing a U.S. citizen every 21 days. Pit bulls make up approximately 2-9% of the U.S. dog population. The combination of pit bulls (52), rottweilers (12) and American bulldogs (4) accounted for 77% of all fatal attacks during this time span.
  4. 18% (16) of the fatal dog attacks occurred off owner property. Three dogs breeds contributed to the off-property attacks: pit bulls (13), rottweiler (1) and American bulldogs (2). In the instance of the latter, a pack of four bulldog-mixes killed two individuals in a single attack. Pit bulls alone committed 81% (13) of the off-property attacks. This indicates that pit bulls are far more likely than any other dog breed to leave owner property and fatally attack. Of the 13 attacks, 15% involved 1 pit bull; 69% involved 2; and 15% involved 3 or more. 44% (39) of all fatal attacks involved multiple dogs; 16% (14) involved chained dogs.
  5. 55% (48) of the fatal dog attacks occurred to children (11 years and younger). Of children, ages 2-4 suffered the most fatalities 22% (19); ages 0-2 suffered the second most 18% (16); and ages 5-9 followed at 11% (10). Between the ages of 0-4, 14% (12) of the fatal attacks involved a "watcher," a person such as a grandparent or babysitter watching the child. Of these attacks, 75% (9) involved a grandparent type. 19% (17) of the fatality victims fell into the 21-54 age group. Pit bulls were responsible for 82% (14) of these deaths. The frequency of pit bulls killing adults is unmatched by any other dog breed. In the 3-year period, pit bulls killed more adults (ages 21 and over), 54%, than they did children (ages 11 and younger), 46%. Of the six age group categories (ages 2 and younger; 2-4; 5-9; 10-20; 21-54; and 55 and older), the 55 and older group suffered the most fatalities 26% (23).
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. (2009) Report: "U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006 to December 2008." Retrieved by Top 5 of Anything July, 2013.