Help finding factual information on dog attack stats?

I’m having a small, not unfriendly debate with a friend who is insisting that a specific breed of dog is far more likely to attack humans than any other breed is. He sent me a study that “proves” this. Now, I do have some working knowledge of dog breeding, so I could tell at a glance that some of the “facts” in this study are pure hogwash. There’s also a number of qualifications, clarifications and commentary in the study that explains why the numbers simply do not add up, but my math skills (and my ability to mentally cancel out double-double-quadruple negative statements) are taxed here. What this study claims may indeed be true, but there’s enough real nonsense and obfuscation in it that I’m inclined to dismiss it in its entirety.

I’d like to find some studies on dog attack stats that are slightly less biased than this “all dogs of this breed are obviously evil (except when they’re not and on alternate Tuesdays and this information may not hold up in debate and is void where prohibited, but you’re a big doodyhead if you don’t believe it)” study - I’m not even sure what search terms would be helpful for me to find these.


Would this JAVMA report from 2000 (.pdf document) be of any help?

Some breeds have the potentials to actually attack and try and bring down a person whereas as every dog will bite once or twice for a variety of reasons and let you be. Some studies try to measure danger, other just tally the number of dog bites you need to be clear what you’re looking at.

Every time there is a call for some breeds of bull terriers to be banned in Australia the statistics dragged out that the Cattle dogs the most likely to bite, there certainly the most likely got your blacklisted by the pizza delivery service, I wouldn’t dispute this however in my experience they never go for the head and throat like some other breeds

Karen Delise wrote a pretty good treatise on the subject of fatal dog attacks called… Fatal Dog Attacks. From the website:

Every dog has potential to actually attack and try to bring down a person. Some dogs, and pretty much almost all healthy adult dogs over 60lbs lean can actually do so. Pit bulls and dobermans got a bad reputation because the dog was not exactly bred to be timid and they are fairly large breeds. I can assure you that even an airedale terrier or a border collie can kill you, maybe with more effort, but equally as dead. Humans just suck at unarmed combat – pretty much any carnivore badger-sized and above can put an average human in the hospital if not the morgue.
Sorry, I don’t have any information to actually answer the OPs question.

This might be helpful in your argument as well.

Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers German Shepards pretty much whatever “tough” dog is currently en vouge is always vilified by histrionic segments of society.

I’ve owned three cattle dogs and they have all been bitters, on the leg or the arm but every time someone has their face or throat ripped open its always been one of the pit bulls. I can assure you there have been a string of attacks in Australia, too many times to be a coincidence.I love dogs but the toughest of the pit bull breeds are just not breed to be a family pet.

Or everytime it is REPORTED in the media that someone has their face or throat ripped open its a pit bull. Statistics I cited do not indicate they are bad family pets and actually are MORE patient and tolerant of children than most dogs. But again if you don’t socialize them correctly or you conscientiously socialize them improperly they might hurt someone undeservedly.

Also I tried to find the study but there was one study trying to justifty breed specific bans. Since we have seen that other breeds actually bite more than pit bulls they tried to justify themselves by determinng the severity of breed type attacks and determined pit bull attacks were more severe. However if you look into the study it turned out one of the main data sources was newspaper records! Like I said before the media loves to report on crazed pit bull, when a toy poodle does the same thing its not as good a story…

Thanks all, for the information.

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that my friend is correct, whatever the reasons given in any study. I don’t want to get into the debate here in GQ - though it is my position that dog attacks have far more to do with dog owners than they do with specific breed, other than conjecture, there’s not a hell of a lot to back me up statistically speaking in that argument.

Guess I’m just going to have to fight dirty :smiley:

That was very interesting. Thanks for the link.

Here’s a bit more ammo for the fight about biased media reporting on “pit bull” attacks: --reports cited include dogs being reported in screaming headlines as “pit bulls” when they were anything from labradors to boxer mixes to border collie mixes. Some articles linked include headlines about pit bulls with the dogs in question identified in the very same article as other breeds.

There was a CDC study linked in the recent Pit Bull thread: (warning pdf)

From it, I noted the following stuff:

The argument I use is that the number of dog attacks is not significant to argue either way. Considering the fact that we’ve domesticated a predatory animal that can kill us easily and they’re all over the place the number of attacks, even if it’s in the millions is negligible and does not call for any legal or social action. Owners or not owners responsibility, the fact that we can co-exist with a large predator is amazing, and deaths and injuries are expected, so call me when deaths and injuries due to dog attacks exceed deaths and injuries due to car crashes.

No problem! I am very passionate about contradicting people portraying certain dog breeds as bloodthirsty monsters.