Which dogs are most likely to kill humans?

CDC's list of dogs most responsible for deaths

While any kind of dog can attack, some breeds are more prone to attacks than others. In fact, some dogs are more likely than others to kill humans.

The Centers of Disease Control estimates that more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Of those, 20 percent require medical attention.

In a 15-year study (1979-1994) a total of 239 deaths were reported as a result of injuries from dog attacks in the United States. Through its research, the CDC compiled a list of the dogs most responsible for human fatalities. They are as follows:

-Pitbull-type dogs
-German Shepherds
-Husky-type dogs
-Doberman Pinschers
-Chow Chows
-Great Danes
-Saint Bernards
-Wolf hybrids
-Mixed breeds

The study found that most dog-bite-related deaths happened to children. But, according to the CDC there are steps children (and adults) can take cut down the risk of a dog attack from family pets as well as dogs they are not familiar with:

-Don't approach an unfamiliar dog.
-If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, stay motionless.
-Don't run from a dog or scream.
-If a dog knocks you down, roll into a ball and stay still.
-Avoid looking directly into a dog's eyes.
-Leave a dog alone that is sleeping, eating or taking care of puppies.
-Let a dog see and sniff you before petting it.
-Don't play with a dog unless there is an adult present.
-If a dog bites you, tell an adult immediately.

But, the CDC's report says most attacks are preventable in three ways:

1. "Owner and public education. Dog owners, through proper selection, socialization, training, care, and treatment of a dog, can reduce the likelihood of owning a dog that will eventually bite. Male and unspayed/unneutered dogs are more likely to bite than are female and spayed/neutered dogs."

2. "Animal control at the community level. Animal-control programs should be supported, and laws for regulating dangerous or vicious dogs should be promulgated and enforced vigorously. For example, in this report, 30% of dog-bite-related deaths resulted from groups of owned dogs that were free roaming off the owner's property."

3. "Bite reporting. Evaluation of prevention efforts requires improved surveillance for dog bites. Dog bites should be reported as required by local or state ordinances, and reports of such incidents should include information about the circumstances of the bite; ownership, breed, sex, age, spay/neuter status, and history of prior aggression of the animal; and the nature of restraint before the bite incident."

CDC officials did make one important note about its list: The reporting of the breed was subjective. There is no way to determine if the identification of the breed was correct. Also, there is no way to verify if the dog was a purebred or a mixed breed.



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