Are pit pulls the most dangerous dogs? What are some statistics on dog bites in the USA? What breed of dog is the most dangerous? Why do pit bull dogs attack and kill more people than other dogs? Why does the media always mention attacks by pitbull dogs? Learn more about the reality of pit bulls and dog attacks.
February, 2012, Airdrie, Alberta, a 2 day old baby is killed by a dog.
October, 2000, Los Angeles, California, a 6 week old baby is killed by a dog.
The public, on reading these headlines, would immediately assume the dogs were pit bulls. The truth of the matter is that the first dog was a husky, probably responding to the baby's cries and trying to pick it up. The second dog was a pomeranian, a fluffy small dog.
When a family's own dog attacks, or bites, their child, the attack is generally not reported. The media is not interested in reporting about a poodle bite that inflicted damage that caused 7 stitches. Likewise the family is generally not too keen on having their affairs exploited as news.
The only time a dog bite gets much media attention is when it is fatal, or when it is serious and involves a dog other than one owned by the family of the victim. As such reports of dog attacks, other than fatalities are generally not picked up by the media, so the public does not hear about the family poodle biting their child's hand.
An additional problem is breed. There is actually no such breed as a pit bull, this is a term used to describe a type of dog, of which the American Pit Bull Terrier is one, as is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Without registration papers to prove breed, even some Labrador retriever crosses have been identified by the media as pit bull terriers (a DNA test can prove breed). As such the reporting of breed attacks is somewhat flawed.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to DogBites.org, in the USA, 1,000 people per day require treatment as related to a dog bite. The majority of these were on boys between the ages of 5 and 9.
A three year study from January 2006 to the end of 2009 showed 88 fatalities stemming from 18 different breeds of dog, of which they use the ambiguous term of pit bull to account for 59% of the deaths, and rottweilers for 14%.
A study done in Denver in 1991, reported that most bites were from male dogs, and that more than twice as often these dogs were found to be intact (not neutered) males. It was also noted that dogs kept on chains were almost three times as likely to attack as those not chained.
So, Why are Pit Bull Terriers Dangerous?
Dogs of the pit bull type were bred to be aggressive, they were bred to fight. They were also used in such cruel spectacles as bull baiting and mule baiting, where groups of dogs were set upon to attack a tied up bull, or mule. Later they were put in pits with rats in an sport called “ratting". It is from these origins that the name "Pit Bull" was created.
They were bred to be strong and aggressive, although people keep them as pets this is not what they were bred for. Some people defend these breeds and fail to acknowledge the reality of their history; others exploit it, picking this type of dog purely as a status symbol for respect and power.
Pit bull dogs have the power to be more dangerous that most other breeds thus it would be foolish to deny that they do not have the potential to do harm.
As popular as these dogs now are it is not surprising that we hear of attacks by them. They produce large litters and sadly many people who get these dogs fail to socialize or train them correctly. As noted earlier, when not neutered, or kept on chains, they can be quite dangerous.
Any Dog Has the Potential to Kill or be Mean
Dogs attack people for several reasons. Some breeds have high prey drives, it if runs, they chase it. Other dogs, and especially male dogs, are very territorial; they defend their property. Some dogs simply were not properly socialized and are aggressive as a result. Some humans send signals to dogs that the dog perceives as threatening. Sometimes “play” simply gets out of hand. Other concerns are rage syndrome, and rabies.
Never leave a child alone with a dog.
Never keep a dog chained in the yard – use a fence or dog run instead.
Neuter all male dogs that will not be used for show/breeding.
Be sure your dog is properly socialized and well trained, if you cannot afford this, do not get a dog.
Teach your children how to be safe around dogs.