Every year, dog bites send approximately 316,200 victims to hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers. Dogs are often labeled “man’s best friend,” thanks in large part to thousands of years of evolution in which they helped us hunt and acted as our companions. While dogs are largely domesticated today as pets, it’s important to remember that certain dog breeds can be more aggressive than others. Some of the most dangerous dog breeds retain hostile characteristics that can easily be brought out via poor handling or abuse, and many of these same dogs end up in shelters across Akron and the rest of Ohio. For those who are unfamiliar with these breeds, adoption could potentially end in tragedy.
Believe it or not, as much as 1.5% of the United States population will be bitten by a dog this year. If you’re interested in adopting a dog, you owe it to yourself and your family to steer clear of potentially aggressive breeds. Here are the 10 most dangerous dog breeds (based on statistics and in no particular order) in Ohio, all of which carry the capabilities to cause severe bodily harm.
1. Pit Bull
Pit bulls are considered by many to be one of the most dangerous dog breeds on the planet, thanks in large part to statistics that seem to back this sentiment up. A review of dog bite injuries treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia over a five-year period found that 51% of attacks were attributed to pit bulls—an astonishing number by any measure. While it’s sometimes argued that pit bulls are not inherently aggressive, they are often bred for fighting or otherwise not cared for properly, thus leading to poor behavior. As these dogs were originally bred for baiting bears and bulls, it should stand to reason why they can have such tendencies.
Breeds which fall under the “pit bull” umbrella include the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Terrier and the American Bulldog.
2. Tosa Inu
More commonly referred to as Japanese Mastiff, the Tosa Inu stands tall as one of the largest breeds to have come from the Tosa region of Japan’s Kochi prefecture. This breed—though quite gentle when raised in a calm environment—has skyrocketed to the top of lists of the world’s most aggressive fighting dogs, being the only breed utilized in traditional Japanese dogfighting. Law enforcement agencies utilize Tosa Inus for their sheer strength and speed, and their bite can be merciless. No one should ever adopt a Tosa Inu without ensuring the dog immediately goes through obedience training, as it’s typically impossible to get a true understanding of the dog’s past from a shelter.
Studies have shown that the Rottweiler is responsible for approximately 8% of fatal dog bites nationwide, which certainly makes it one of the most dangerous dog breeds in ohio. One of the oldest herding breeds of domesticated dogs, Rottweilers are known for their brute strength and fearfulness when provoked, which can often translate into aggression. Neglect, abuse and otherwise irresponsible ownership can quickly exacerbate these characteristics, resulting in a dog that simply cannot safely interact with strangers or small children. Given a good upbringing, however, Rottweilers can exhibit a calm, slightly protective demeanor as opposed to the aggression they’re known for—especially if they’re properly socialized as pups.
4. Cane Corso
Another member of the Mastiff family, the Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) packs a bite that can wind up doing some serious damage. The Italian Mastiff is a descendant of the breed Canis Pugnax, which was used extensively as a weaponized animal in Roman warfare. This breed has a history of use as a guard dog for livestock, a purpose that it continues to serve today in addition to domestication as a pet. Its strength is nothing to fool around with, making it one of the most dangerous dog breeds a person can choose to adopt. This breed has come under scrutiny of the public eye on numerous occasions, including once in May 2011, when a four-year-old was attacked and killed in Brooklyn, NY.
5. Dogo Argentino
While the Italian Mastiff can cause plenty of damage, Dogo Argentino—the Argentinian Mastiff—is often considered to be an even larger threat. Stark white in color and large for its size, the Argentinian Mastiff was originally bred for big game hunting before eventually serving the purpose of guard dog. Though the breed is widely kept as a pet across the United States, it has been banned in numerous countries, including Australia, Singapore, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
6. American Akita
There are few breeds of dogs that register as strong and independent as the American Akita—a trait that has caused countless would-be owners to seek out this dog. If handled improperly, however, these characteristics can backfire and lead to aggressive and territorial reactions in the Akita. They are particularly intolerant of dogs that are their same sex, which is why it’s never recommended to have two males or two females as pets. Akitas should never be provoked while eating, as this may lead to further territorial behavior and could result in a dog bite for those who are not careful. Between the years of 1982 and 2013, Akitas caused bodily harm in 68 attacks and killed 8 people in the United States.
7. Great Dane
Great Danes are incredibly tall dogs, and their stature alone can be intimidating to say the very least. Bred by the English for its strong hunting abilities, they have become common house pets due to their docile nature when raised with a gentle kindness—the problems start when these dogs have been abused or had their fierce tendencies otherwise reinforced. Defensive by nature, Great Danes are easily spooked, and those which have been improperly cared for may exhibit aggressive characteristics when scared. Great Danes caused seven human deaths in the United States between 1979 and 1998.
8. Siberian Husky
There’s no getting around the fact that the Siberian Husky is one of the most beautiful dog breeds imaginable. Distantly related to the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Huskies contain a strong predator instinct that can lead to aggression toward smaller animals—especially in situation where they’ve been scared or abruptly startled. Their high energy levels and general skittishness make them more difficult to train than many other breeds, yet early socialization is an absolute must in order to ensure they don’t grow up preying on other dogs (or even small children). Because of their potential danger, Siberian Huskies have been blacklisted by many insurance companies.
9. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher has good reason to be on any list of the most dangerous dog breeds—it’s a mix of Great Dane and Rottweiler, both of which are known for their aggressive tendencies. The breed was even adopted by the United States Marine Corp as the official dog of war during World War 2 and was initially bred with intimidation factor kept top-of-mind. While they tend to be very protective of their handlers, anyone on the other side of an altercation has good reason to be worried about getting struck with a dog bite. For this reason, Dobermans are often employed as guard dogs and are even used as a tool for self-defense in some parts of the world. Doberman Pinschers caused nine mauling deaths between 1979 and 1998.
10. German Shepherd
A favorite breed among many dog owners, German Shepherds are not without strength or aggression. They’re very commonly seen as police dogs and are historically working animals that tend to feel the need to stay busy at all times. When left at home or not otherwise stimulated in some way, this natural energy can develop into aggression and fearfulness, even though this breed tends to be exceptionally loyal to its owners. Potential owners should expect to provide German Shepherds with near-constant opportunities for exercise in order to keep their energy levels in check. German Shepherds were responsible for 10% of all fatal attacks by dogs in 2017.
Common Dog Bite Complications
No one ever expects to suffer a dog bite, but many people find out the hard way that breeds such as those listed above can be overly aggressive out of seemingly nowhere. While it may seem as if minor bites are nothing to worry about, this is never the case—no dog bite, whether minor or major, should ever go ignored. Complications are vast and can be deadly, with the following being just a few common examples:
- Rabies — The rabies virus can be fatal if not addressed with medical intervention, which is why post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is mandatory in any situation where the biting dog is rabid or suspected to be rabid. Contraction of rabies in humans most often occurs as a result of being bitten by an unvaccinated dog and should always be considered a medical emergency.
- Bacterial Infection — Far from being sterile, the mouth of any dog is typically a breeding ground for bacteria, some of which can be quite harmful to humans. Capnocytophaga and Pasteurella, for example, are both common and often found at the site of infected dog bites, leading to redness, swelling, pain, fever and other symptoms. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is of particular concern
- Tetanus — A bacterial toxin, tetanus is particularly problematic for those who are unvaccinated and can even result in paralysis. The deeper the wound, the more likely it is that tetanus will be a concern.
- PTSD — Emotional issues such as Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can surface in those who have been attacked by dogs or suffered a dog bite, leading to an overall learyness that can affect quality of life for many years to come.
What To Do If You’ve Sustained a Dog Bite
Many people who have been bitten by a dog remember simply not knowing what to do immediately after the attack. It can be difficult to think clearly during an emergency, but there is a clear path of action that everyone should take if they’ve sustained a dog bite.
Immediately after you’ve been bitten, be sure to do the following:
- Gather names, addresses and other pertinent information from the dog owner(s). If witnesses are involved, gather their information, too.
- Photograph your wounds as soon as possible, making sure to document the area around you as well.
- Seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room (ER) or urgent care (UC).
- File a report with your local animal control agency.
- Contact a reputable attorney in your area.
At Slater & Zurz LLP, we’ve been helping dog bite victims get the justice they deserve for over 40 years. Our knowledgeable, highly experienced attorneys have assisted more than 600 dog bite victims throughout the state of Ohio—we’re here to help you, too.
Please contact us by calling 1-888-998-9101 to schedule a free and private consultation in person or have one over the telephone—you can also email us at [email protected], start a chat session with one of our live representatives or send us a message through our website. We’ll provide you with the guidance you need to make the right decisions and take any necessary actions, answering any questions you may have along the way.
Dog bites are a serious matter, and though they are not uncommon, the complications can lead to severe illness or even death if left untreated. Don’t approach this situation alone — call us today to learn more and to set up a consultation.