The American Kennel Club estimates that there are more dogs in the United States than there are people in Britain, going by their popularity a dog is a man’s best friend.
However, the personality of a dog can mean its behaviour can turn from being a friend to something much more sinister, which is currently highlighted by an on-going study titled ‘Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada’. The study uses reports of incidents by the press to gather its data on various types of dog bites and their particular breed.
We all know that there are certain breeds of dogs which have a ‘bad reputation’, with one of these breeds being the Pit Bull. Despite good training by an owner, a Pit Bull is one breed that cannot escape its negative attention within the press. The study has reported a rising rate of overall incidents in relation to dog bites from 1982 to 2012, with Pit Bulls being right at the top with 2235 incidents of bodily harm with 911 of these being children.
The number of bodily harm incidents from the Pit Bull breed is significantly high compared to the statistics of Rottweilers which were 495 incidents of bodily harm that have been recorded. This creates a difference of 1740 incidents between the top two breeds; this is significantly high and suggests that the likeliness of biting can be linked to a specific breed. If it were just a trait of all dogs there, may not be such a significant difference.
There is no one reason as to why dogs bite, but it can be suggested that particular breeds are more likely to bite than others. Some dogs may bite after being provoked such as having their tail pulled or because they are protecting a possession. Unfortunately, there have been recorded cases where there has been no known cause as to why the dog has attacked; one such case is where approximately 27 Pit Bull puppies mauled a gentleman who was terminally ill; the County sheriff’s spokesman described that the puppies used him as a ‘food source’.
A herding dog as a family pet such as a German Shepherd is often chosen for a family with children because of its protective instincts. The breed has several types of bites with one being the grab-and-drag, for the dog this would be by instinctively moving a puppy or sheep away from danger. However when a German Shepherd becomes protective over a child, the dog may use the grab-and-drag bite to move them away from danger. This involve a frontal leap at the wrist or the throat, with the dog being as gentle as possible as they mean no harm but instead to protect. However, as expected a child may misread the dogs intentions therefore, panic and pull away, causing a more severe biting incident.
The above scenario has meant that German Shepherds have been involved in biting incidents at twice the rate of their numbers alone.
Dogs do normally try to warn us when they are getting irritated or angry; this could be by getting up and moving away or by simply turning their head from you. It is wise to acknowledge their warnings and give them space instead of irritating provoking them further.