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Which Dogs Bite?

Would you like an answer to the question “Which Dogs Bite?” That one is easy...All of them! However, I bet when you think of dogs that bite, the first breed that comes to mind is a Pitbull. The media attention surrounding Pitbull attacks has become more and more prevalent making many areas ban the ownership of the breed.

Would you be surprised to find that a Pitbull doesn't even make the top five when it comes to dogs that veterinarians say are most likely to bite? Spend some time working with a veterinarian or technician and you'll find that many of them have their own list of those most likely to bite. You may find that their lists have pretty close to the same repeat offenders, and it may not be who you think it would be.

Check out this (unofficial) list and see if your vet agrees!

  1. Chow-Chow
  2. Shar Pei
  3. Dalmatian
  4. Akita
  5. Cocker Spaniel
  6. Pekingese
  7. Chihuahua
  8. Jack Russell Terrier
  9. Beagle
  10. Toy Poodle

That list contrasts quite a bit to the CDC's list of top offenders. This is most likely a result of the fact that many minor to moderate dog bites go unreported. Dog bites by the stronger breeds, like Pitbulls or Rottweilers tend to cause injuries that are more severe and tend to be reported more often.

The CDC's list looks something like this:

  1. Pitbull
  2. Rottweiler
  3. German Shepherd
  4. Husky
  5. Alaskan Malamute
  6. Chow-Chow
  7. Great Dane
  8. St. Bernard
  9. Doberman Pinschers
  10. Mixed Breed

Aside of a couple of breeds, the two lists don't seem to have much of a resemblance at all. The plain truth of the matter is that all dogs can bite, and many will bite if put in a position where they feel a threat either towards them or their human family members. A dog that is larger and stronger will do more bodily harm, but isn't necessarily more aggressive than smaller breeds. The smaller breeds have little sharp teeth that really hurt too!

While it isn't necessary to be afraid of dogs, having a healthy respect for their boundaries is. Always approach an unfamiliar dog slowly and with the permission of the owner. Allow them to sniff the back of your hand first before attempting to pet them, no matter how friendly the owner claims they are. You really never know when a dog will feel as though you are threatening his owner. Don't make sudden movements or anything that seems alarming and you should be able to make friends with the dog and still leave with all ten fingers firmly attached to your hands!


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