Dog Bites: Are there “Bad” or “Dangerous Dog Breeds,” or is this just a Myth?

2015-fatal-dog-attack-breed-identification-photographs

Are there really specific breeds of dogs that are vicious by nature? There seems to be alot of information that indicates a certain breeds of dog (usually the “pit bull class of dogs”), is more likely to bite than other breeds.  However, is there really any truth to this?  The “pit bull class” includes American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and English Bull Terriers.  Some of the other breeds that are listed as “more aggressive” include, but are not limited to:  the American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Doberman Pincers or any mix of these breeds, or dogs who simply resemble these breeds.

What did nature intend? While it may be true that some breeds are known to be more aggressive, we need to be reminded that all dog breeds were once known to serve a specific function for us such as their guarding & protecting skills and/or hunting & gathering skills.  Although pets of these certain breeds most likely do not fulfill these original purposes, they do still carry the DNA from their ancestors that can predispose them to certain types of aggression.  So will targeting certain breeds and banning them from your community make you safer?

Some cities are passing “Breed-Specific” laws in an effort to make their cities safer. But does a town with less pit bulls mean less dog attacks or bites? There is no evidence that breed specific laws make neighborhoods safer, (see https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/dog-fighting/what-breed-specific-legislation).

Although these breed-specific restrictions are meant to make the communities safer, they can also cause negative consequences such as:

  •  Families could be forced to move
  •  Dog owners with a “dangerous breed”  may try to stay under the radar may not seek routine veterinary care, including avoiding spaying/neutering and important vaccinations
  • Less community resources for dog licensing laws, leash laws and other laws that encourage responsible dog ownership

What doesn’t seem to be a myth is to always be cautious and careful around any dog! If you find yourself bitten by a dog, regardless of breed, you may want to determine if the owner is legally responsible, and we can help with that analysis.