Dog bites generally occur when a dog feels threatened or the need to protect. Even normally sweet and calm dogs can become aggressive in specific situations.
Certain breeds bite more than others, and certain ones deliver more damage. Some injuries are preventable when knowing what signs indicate a dog is displaying aggressive behavior.
Dog breeds and propensity for aggression
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, children are the most common victims of dog bites, as they unknowingly do things to provoke aggressive behavior. The five known breeds that are most commonly associated with biting include pit bulls, mixed breeds, German shepherds, rottweilers and terriers.
In general, dogs that weigh between 65 and 100 pounds and have wide, short heads are more likely to bite. The bites from pit bulls and mixed breeds tend to be more damaging. Although Akitas and Great Danes are not at high risk for biting, their bites are highly damaging when they do occur.
Signs of aggression and potential attack
Aggression is a general term that refers to various behaviors in a wide variety of situations. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discusses that common reasons for aggression in dogs include:
Identifying signs of aggression helps to prevent an attack. Signs include an intense stare, growling, ears that lay flat, bared teeth, charging with no physical contact, a guarding posture and a straight, stiff tail. If there are signs of aggression present, one should regard the warning seriously and get out of the situation. Owners of the aggressive dog should immediately remove the dog so calm can return.