Dogs are individuals and you can not rely on breed alone to predict the risk that a dog will bite. However, some breeds of dogs are more prone to biting and cause more damage with their bites.
A recent study found that in cases where researchers knew the breed of a biting dog, pit bulls had the most dangerous bites.
How the researchers made their list
Researchers at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical center studied 15 years of data from 240 dog bite cases that resulted in facial trauma to children. They determined injury severity by comparing tissue tearing, wound size, bone fractures and other severe injuries. Additionally, the researchers looked at data from 1970 to the present day that linked breed to bite frequency. They combined the data from these two sources to create a damage severity scale and produce a list of the most dangerous dog bites by breed.
Which dogs topped the list
Because the breed of a biting dog is often unknown, researchers weighed factors such as weight and head shape to determine risk. For unknown breeds, dogs with short, wide heads that weigh between 66 and 100 pounds are the most likely to bite.
Of the known breeds, pit bulls bit the most and caused the highest average damage, followed by mixed breeds and German shepherds. Great Danes and Akitas are less likely to bite, but cause a lot of damage when they do.
Researchers noted that while breed behavior tendencies impact bite risk, the behavior of the victim and dog owner also plays a role. Teaching children to avoid teasing behaviors can reduce the risks a dog bite will occur.