When choosing the right dog breed to bring into your household, there are a number of factors that come into play. How easy are they to housebreak and train for obedience? How big do they get? Can they be left alone for longer stretches of time, or do they become rambunctious when no one is around to give them attention? Of course, the most important question of all revolves around whether or not a breed is more likely to bite. When you have children living with or around you, the threat of dog bites can contribute to paranoia in the household–and no one wants that.
So which dog breeds really are the most likely to bite?
You’ve probably heard the rumor that pit bulls are the most dangerous breed of dog. While that’s not exactly true, they do account for the highest number of deaths per year (22 out of 41 deaths in 2016, for example). In fact, the most likely reason this rumor is so pervasive is the rumor itself. Owners who want a dog for protection might be more likely to adopt a pit bull and train it to be more aggressive. In any case, the dog breeds most likely to bite include popular candidates like the cocker spaniel, collie, german shepherd, jack russel terrier, and rottweiler. A few of these are known for their aggressive attitudes.
That raises the question: are these breeds more likely to become aggressive and bite you than other breeds, or are there just so many more dogs of these breeds out there that the probability is automatically higher? Think about it along the same lines of life expectancy. In countries where there is a higher infant mortality rate, the life expectancy is significantly lower–even if citizens of those countries might live as long as those in other countries if they should survive infancy. The reality is, it’s probably a little bit of both. The results are skewed because there are more of those dogs, but we also know that rumors about pit bulls aren’t completely untrue.
It’s important to note the reasons why dogs resort to violence. Believe it or not, they don’t want to. Although aggression might be a baser instinct, dogs are mostly violent when on the hunt. If they’re not hunting, they only bite when they’re stressed out, surprised, agitated or threatened, sick, or think they’re playing. Dogs don’t just bite for no reason. If they feel like they’re under threat, most often the agitator will receive a loud warning bark. If not, it’s likely the threat was sudden or couldn’t be avoided. That’s why you should always move slowly around dogs who don’t know you and aren’t yet comfortable with your scent. The more familiar you are with them, the less likely a bite will occur.
Although — is the breed most likely to bite, probably based on nothing more than popularity, it should be noted that the number of dog bite attacks in the United States is high (almost 4.5 million a year), and that children are the most likely victims of such an attack. A good attorney can help you acquire compensation for dog bites that occur outside of the house, but when it’s your dog that is the culprit, there’s not much you can do except find good insurance. The best you can do is prevent the attack altogether by selecting the right breed and providing the best training possible for your own circumstances.