Dog bites— Are there dangerous breeds?

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Postby Marinepits » May 5th, 2006, 8:23 am

Dog bites— Are there dangerous breeds?

Dog bites are a serious problem in the United States. Each year, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around 17 percent of these people require medical care. And in approximately 10-20 tragic cases per year, the bite victim is killed. The CDC has labeled dog bites in America an "epidemic."

The ten breeds involved in the most lethal attacks over the past ten years are pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, malamutes, Dobermans, chow chows, St. Bernards, Great Danes, and Akitas.

In response to this growing problem, some communities have banned ownership of certain dogs that are perceived as dangerous, particularly pit bulls and rottweilers. Are some breeds really more dangerous than others?

Breed characteristics


t's difficult to determine just how much a dog's genetics determine his behavior, just like it's hard to know how much of a person's personality is nature and how much is nurture. It's true that some breeds were bred to perform tasks that require more aggression than others. Pit bulls, for example, were bred to fight dogs and other animals for sport. Some people theorize that pit bulls' genetics make them more prone to violence than other dogs, and pit bulls have in fact been involved in more fatal attacks than any other dog over the past 20 years. But breeds that are not bred for aggression, including golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, and Yorkshire terriers, have been involved in fatal attacks as well.

It's also true that some breeds simply have more ability to injure people than others do. Though it's no more likely to bite than a smaller dog, if it does bite, a Great Dane can do much more damage than a Maltese, for example. (Even very small breeds can be dangerous to children, however.)

A study performed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC, and the Humane Society of the United States, analyzed dog bite statistics from the last 20 years and found that the statistics don't show that any breeds are inherently more dangerous than others. The study showed that the most popular large breed dogs at any one time were consistently on the list of breeds that bit fatally. There were a high number of fatal bites from Doberman pinschers in the 1970s, for example, because Dobermans were very popular at that time and there were more Dobermans around, and because Dobermans'size makes their bites more dangerous. The number of fatal bites from pit bulls rose in the 1980s for the same reason, and the number of bites from rottweilers in the 1990s. The study also noted that there are no reliable statistics for nonfatal dog bites, so there is no way to know how often smaller breeds are biting.

Owner responsibilities


This study supports what many veterinarians have believed for years: nearly any dog can be aggressive or nonaggressive, depending on his training and environment. Owners play a big part in making sure that their pet is safe around other people. There are several steps you can take to help ensure that your dog isn't dangerous.

Restrain your pet. Unrestrained dogs cause about 82 percent of all fatal bites. Keeping your dog on a strong leash whenever you're in public is a big first step toward preventing bites. Also, don't encourage strangers to interact with your dog; strangers and a strange environment may startle him. If you leave your dog alone outdoors, your yard needs to be enclosed with a six- to eight-foot fence, depending on your dog's size.
Socialize your puppy. Once your pup has been fully vaccinated and he has your veterinarian's okay, take him to puppy classes, the park, and the pet store. Take him anywhere where he can interact with people and other dogs in a nonthreatening environment. Praise him when he interacts well with others.

Spay or neuter your dog. Intact (non-neutered) male dogs are responsible for approximately 80 percent of fatal bites. When dogs are altered, they lose some of their territorial insticts, including a lot of their territorial aggression.

Train him not to bite. Dogs will mouth, chew, and bite everything from your hands to your furniture until you teach them that it's inappropriate. If your dog is biting you, or growling at you or other family members, distract him with a quick sound, such as a clap or a sharp "ow!" Then redirect his attention to a rawhide or chew toy. And be sure to reward him when you catch him chewing on the right things.

Watch your dog's behavior. This may be the most important part of preventing your dog from biting. It's easy for owners to be in denial that their sweet, furry Fido may be a threat. But if your dog exhibits any of the following behaviors, it's time for your veterinarian's help: growling at, snapping at, or biting family members; growling or snapping at strangers; or extreme fear of strangers.

If you see signs that your dog could be aggressive or dangerous, you can ask your veterinarian to refer you to a veterinary behavioral specialist. While your dog is being treated for aggression, be careful with him in public. Be sure to warn strangers to use caution if they interact with him.

Following these directions won't guarantee that your dog won't bite, but they'll certainly make it less likely. Any dog that is well restrained and well trained can be perfectly safe, regardless of breed. The truth is, an irresponsible owner is much more dangerous than any dog.

from: http://www.healthypet.com/library_view.aspx?ID=16&sid=1
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Postby dogcrazyjen » May 5th, 2006, 8:56 am

Overall a great article. It was noce to hear someone say that all breeds can be dangerous. I did have one question.



Also, don't encourage strangers to interact with your dog; strangers and a strange environment may startle him
.

Socialize your puppy. Once your pup has been fully vaccinated and he has your veterinarian's okay, take him to puppy classes, the park, and the pet store. Take him anywhere where he can interact with people and other dogs in a nonthreatening environment.


So isn't this contradictory? Do you allow him to socialize, or do you not allow him to? Do you keep him in a comfortable location, or do you take him out to the park, the pet store, etc? Maybe they meant something else?
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Postby Purple » May 5th, 2006, 9:02 am

A good article, over all, but it seemed to focus on lethal attacks. Are not lethal attacks ones in which a death was involved? Are there that many deaths from dog bites? :|
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Postby dogcrazyjen » May 5th, 2006, 10:23 am

The article said 10-20 deaths a year. That is probably how many people die from drowning in a bucket of water, or getting attacked by a shark. Pretty small number.

The problem is that the majority of small dog bites in my expirience, and dog bites in general, are not reported. Add in that so many breeds and mixes are often mistaken for pits, and you have very inaccurate reporting.

I found when grooming, cockers were the most likely to bite. At the vets, daschunds were. But probably this changes based on popularity of different breeds in the area as well as what breeds BYBs are putting out in that area.
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Postby Purple » May 5th, 2006, 10:28 am

Exactly. I would think that the statistics are skewed.
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Postby pLaurent » May 5th, 2006, 10:35 am

I like this article:

-------------------------------------------------

The Real Criminals Don't Have Four Legs

Insurance companies, Home Owners Associations, and even entire cities and townships have jumped on the "Breed Banning Bandwagon". Pit Bulls, Rottwielers, Chows ... all have a substantial black mark on their reputation these days, and it's become to a common thing for the owner to watch as people cross the street and shoot dirty looks as she walks her well-behaved Rottweiler down the street.

People who lived in controlled neighbourhoods with a Homeowner's Association are not allowed to have any of the potentially "dangerous" breeds as pets. Insurance companies are starting to refuse policies to people who own these dogs. And in some cities, people have had their dogs confiscated and euthanized due to strict by-laws. Animal shelters are no longer adopting out these breeds, but rather euthanizing them on receipt.

Wow. Whatever happened to our dog loving countries?

What makes a dog aggressive and dangerous anyway? Is it their colour? Black and Tan dogs with the few exceptions of toy-sized dogs (Dachshunds, and Miniature Pinschers come immediately to mind) it seems that most black and tan dogs induce fear on sight. Is it their name? Staffordshire Bull Terriers have "Bull Terrier" in their name, they must be evil? What about shape? Any dog with a broad head or cropped ears is game for the breed banning fanatics?

It sure looks as though this is the criteria used to enforce Breed Specific Legislation. It still doesn't answer the question above though, does it? What really makes a dog, any dog, dangerous?

The answer is a scarey one, especially considering that the real criminal rarely gets punished. The owners of the dog are what make a dog dangerous.

Bad dogs are not born, there is no genetic mutation present in certain dog breeds that make them turn against their owner or reach out and bite their latest victim. Bad dogs are created, usually by the people who raise them, less often by unscrupulous breeders who deliberately or unknowingly breed unsound temperaments to another unstable temperament. Every dog is a product of his environment. Every puppy born is born innocent of future charges levied against him by the public.

What will happen when certain parties have their way and the latest "dangerous" breed is eradicated? There will be no more Pit Bulls, what will take their place? When all the Doberman Pinschers are gone, what breed will be next? I'll tell you. America's sweetheart, the Golden Retriever, will be next. As long as the owners are allowed to get a dog and raise it to be a monster, any dog breed can take the next spot on the Banned Breed List. Labrador Retrievers and Standard Poodles have the same amount of teeth as a Chow, and put just as much pressure on as a Pit bull. But nobody fears these dogs. Cocker Spaniels and other small breeds have unbelievable bite records, yet people don't panic at the thought of facing one on the street.

What we have now is a band-aid solution. It will work for a very short period of time. What is needed is an implementation of much harsher laws dealing with animal cruelty, neglect, and, yes, maybe we should be looking at licensing dog owners along with their pets. Convicted of animal neglect or cruelty? Then you shall never own another animal again. Why should people be given another pet to ruin?

How can we, as a society, justify euthanizing dogs on sight at shelters and calling for the destruction of dog breeds that make wonderful companions, when the real criminals walk free? What is wrong with this picture??
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Postby Marinepits » May 5th, 2006, 3:15 pm

Good article, pL!
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Postby PittieLove » May 5th, 2006, 11:51 pm

dogcrazyjen wrote:The article said 10-20 deaths a year. That is probably how many people die from drowning in a bucket of water, or getting attacked by a shark. Pretty small number.

The problem is that the majority of small dog bites in my expirience, and dog bites in general, are not reported. Add in that so many breeds and mixes are often mistaken for pits, and you have very inaccurate reporting.

I found when grooming, cockers were the most likely to bite. At the vets, daschunds were. But probably this changes based on popularity of different breeds in the area as well as what breeds BYBs are putting out in that area.


getting attacked by a shark is VERY unlikey and is more like 0-5deaths a year.
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Postby PittieLove » May 6th, 2006, 1:35 am

pLaurent wrote:I like this article:

-------------------------------------------------

The Real Criminals Don't Have Four Legs

Cocker Spaniels and other small breeds have unbelievable bite records, yet people don't panic at the thought of facing one on the street.


i dont mean to sound like im saying anything but....a little dog can be as mean and nasty as it wants but no one is scared because it CANT kill you. A larger dog(this means labs) can.
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Postby Miakoda » May 6th, 2006, 1:41 am

no one is scared because it CANT kill you.


45 breeds of dogs have killed people (I have them typed up & saved somewhere on my computer so let me find them & list them for you), & I guarantee you will be shocked when you see how many little dogs have been the cause of a fatal attack (i.e. yorkies, poms, etc.).

Also, my worst dog bite experience was when a family brought their Chi/Rat Terrier mix to the shelter for euthanasia after it ripped the achilles tendon out of their 7 yr old son's left heel. Amazing what such a small 10lb dog could do...& the pictures are up on display at the animal shelter in Hammond, LA.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » May 6th, 2006, 6:58 am

I read an article about a jack russel which nearly killed an infant-if the parents had not come in and removed the dog, it would have finished the job.

You are right, small dogs DO tend to do less damage to the average adult than large dogs. But cars kill more people than get seriously bit by dogs every year. Planes probably kill more people. Certainly Doritos and cigarettes kill more people through disease. Why is it pit bulls are the one danger, and a insignificant one at that, that are getting banned?

And the difference between 5 and 10-20 is not all that much. If it were 5195 and 5200 deaths, it would not be even noticable. (Unless you look at it statistically, then it is double) Considering only a fraction of people in the US even go to the ocean, sharks are more dangerous per person exposed.

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/cpsr_nws24.pdf

Here is an interesting article about in-home drownings. In a four year period, 16 (under 5) kids drown in toilets, and 58 drown in buckets. Seems like about the same chances one has of being killed by a dog, except you are limiting your victim pool to the under 5 population, so kids under five are many times more likely to drown in the toilet than attacked and killed by a pit bull. Maybe we need to ban toilets from the home?
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Postby SisMorphine » May 6th, 2006, 8:57 am

dogcrazyjen wrote:Maybe we need to ban toilets from the home?

Yay! Then I'd have a real excuse to poop in the sink.

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Postby PittieLove » May 6th, 2006, 9:19 am

Miakoda wrote:
no one is scared because it CANT kill you.


45 breeds of dogs have killed people (I have them typed up & saved somewhere on my computer so let me find them & list them for you), & I guarantee you will be shocked when you see how many little dogs have been the cause of a fatal attack (i.e. yorkies, poms, etc.).

Also, my worst dog bite experience was when a family brought their Chi/Rat Terrier mix to the shelter for euthanasia after it ripped the achilles tendon out of their 7 yr old son's left heel. Amazing what such a small 10lb dog could do...& the pictures are up on display at the animal shelter in Hammond, LA.


a 100+ pound human can be killed by a 10lbs dog? WOW, thats sad...
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Postby pLaurent » May 6th, 2006, 9:43 am

I guarantee you will be shocked when you see how many little dogs have been the cause of a fatal attack (i.e. yorkies, poms, etc.).


a 100+ pound human can be killed by a 10lbs dog? WOW, thats sad...


No, but an infant can be easily killed by a 10lb dog, and many have been. The latest one I heard about was a baby who was killed by a Doxie.

Anyway, I'm sure more kids are killed every year by their parents and guardians than will ever be killed by dogs.

Maybe we should ban parents?
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Postby Marinepits » May 6th, 2006, 9:51 am

pLaurent wrote:Maybe we should ban parents?


That's a great idea! Or at least require them to take parenting classes before ever having kids.
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Postby dogcrazyjen » May 6th, 2006, 11:35 am

Yay! Then I'd have a real excuse to poop in the sink.


:ROFL2:

You are too twisted, woman!
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