Are Some Dog Breeds More Likely to Bite?
Dog bites are complicated events where a dog’s breed is just one variable among many. While some breeds outnumber others when it comes to bite injuries, the reasons for this are more complicated than may meet the eye.
The fact is, dog bites may not be as well studied as they could be. A commonly cited statistic you’ll find on the Internet is that 4.5 million dog bites happen each year, but this figure comes from a 15-year-old Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study that extrapolated data from fewer than 10,000 telephone survey respondents between 2001 and 2003 and compared the responses with a similar study done in 1994.
The CDC didn’t collect data on breeds associated with dog bite injuries, but other studies cite that pit bull-type dogs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Jack Russell Terriers are “highly represented” in reported dog bite incidents. Much of the conversation about dog breeds and aggression often circles around those first three breeds, but even so, a study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science hesitated to conclude that breed contributed more to an individual animal’s aggression level than their development or environment.
Why Do Dog Bites Happen?
So, why do some breeds cause more dog bite injuries than other breeds? Well, there are many factors aside from breed to consider – and a lot of them lay responsibility at the feet of dog owners.
Other factors that can contribute to a dog bite injury include the following:
- The owner’s failure to enroll their pet in animal training
- The dog’s lack of exposure to strangers
- The dog is in a new or unfamiliar environment
- The owner failed to secure the dog at home
- The owner illegally let their dog off of the leash
In addition to these factors, it’s also worth considering the possibility that dog bites might be more common among certain breeds because they are larger and stronger, which makes them more difficult to control. Whereas an owner of an aggressive small dog could easily restrain their pet by picking it up or pulling it away, this may not be as easily accomplished with a larger breed demonstrating a similar level of aggression.
Does a Dog’s Breed Matter in a Personal Injury Case?
A dog’s breed can make a difference in a personal injury case if the dog owner was prohibited from owning or having that breed in the municipality where the bite occurred. Otherwise, a dog’s breed may not have a significant impact on your personal injury case based on that fact alone.
That said, certain breeds have the potential to inflict greater and more extensive injuries than other breeds. An adult human is unlikely to suffer the same kind of injuries from a pit bull attack as they are to suffer from a dachshund, pug, or another small breed.
If you were injured by a dog bite, however, don’t let the dog’s breed hold you back from getting legal help. If you incurred medical expenses, lost wages, disability, or any other damages as a result of the dog bite incident, you can hold the dog’s owner accountable for compensation.
The Law Office of Robert J. Kaiser can help you fight for compensation. Contact us today to request a consultation and get started on your claim.