When Pit Bull owners hear other people talking about dog attacks and breed-specific aggression, they often become defensive. They take out their cellphones and soon begin to share photos of their own well-behaved Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix cuddling with kittens and babies. However, as is the case in most instances, the exception confirms the rule.
Pit Bulls are perfectly capable of being caring and gentle animals. Nevertheless, they account for the overwhelming majority of dog attacks in America and are also responsible for some of the most gruesome stories. Forbes estimates that Pit Bulls accounted for 284 fatal dog attacks from 2005 to 2017. Even the Rottweiler, which is also known for its aggression and falls next in line, accounts for only 45.
Most of the dogs on the list who were responsible for fatal attacks are not surprising. The husky, boxer and American bulldog are just some of the others that are present. The one surprising addition is the Labrador Retriever, which took eighth place on the list with nine fatal attacks during the time period studied. This is a solid reminder to pet owners that even the most unlikely breeds, and well-known family pet choices, can become violent.
In fact, several researchers have wondered whether breed-specific laws help to reduce dog bites at all. Psychology Today reports that the likelihood of a dog attacking is strongly dependent on the breed of the dog. It adds that while all breeds are capable of becoming aggressive, some breeds show this tendency more frequently and more fatally than others.
It also points out that laws restricting specific dog breeds in public spaces rarely have the desired effect. This is because many dogs do their biting in private, and often, on their own property or that of close friends of the family.