Statistics: Dog Attacks & Interactions By Breed

December 31, 2013

According to statistics over the last two years 59.45% of reported cases of dogs biting people were attributed to pitbulls, while the rest were from German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Beagles, Doberman Pinschers, American bulldogs, Rottweilers and unspecified breeds.

We requested the statistics in light of the ongoing debate over dog safety, which was sparked by the well publicized plight of Hershey, a pitbull puppy who was put down despite a petition with over 2,000 signatures requesting his life be saved.

Some locals said they think pitbulls are unfairly maligned, others said that behaviour of dogs is a reflection of the owner, while some have said they view the breed as more dangerous than others.

According to statistics obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection, in 2012 there were 17 reports of dog bites received by humans. Of those 17, 10 were attributed to pitbulls, three to German shepherds, two to Jack Russell terriers, one to American bulldogs, and one to Labrador retrievers.

As of December 24th 2013, there were 20 reports of dog bites received by humans. Of those 20, 12 were attributed to pitbulls, two to beagles, two to Labrador retrievers, one to Doberman pinschers, one to German shepherds, one to Rottweilers, and one to an unspecified breed.

Interactive chart showing the injury to human statistics, click each segment for data:

Overall, local officials have data on 37 dog bites causing injury to humans over the past two years. Of those 37, 22 were attributed to pitbulls [59.45%], four to German shepherds [10.81%], three to Labrador retrievers [8.10%], two to Jack Russell terriers [5.40%], two to beagles [5.40%], one to Doberman pinschers [2.70%], one to American bulldogs [2.70%], one to Rottweilers [2.70%], and one to an unspecified breed [2.70%].

Pitbulls topped the statistics in the incidents of both reported “biting/injury to an animal” and incidents of “chasing/ threatening behaviour” for both years. They also topped the list for two years in the “improper care” category, and were also the only breed listed for both years under “cruelty/fighting.”

The statistics also include numbers for “Assist Police” which a Government spokesperson said “indicates an occasion that Police have asked the Department of Environmental Protection to assist them – usually in executing a warrant, based on information they have that a potentially aggressive dog may be on premises. The Animal Wardens control the animal[s] so that Police may complete their duties.”

There were 36 such occasions over the past 2 years, with 27 of them involving pitbulls [75%], 3 were German Shepherds [8.3%], 2 involved Miniature Pinschers [5.5%] and there was 1 each [2.77%] involving Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, American bulldogs and Unspecified breeds.

The 2012 statistics are below, click to enlarge:

2012 dog stats bermuda

The 2013 statistics* are below, click to enlarge:

2013 dog stats bermuda

*There were two more dog bites in the time between this report and December 24th which have been manually added into our stats/pie chart

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  1. Come Correct says:

    Well since I was bitten in November and not one person asked what kind of dog it was I maintain my stance that stats are BS. I’m still healing and it wasn’t a pitt. If my bites were not counted how many others haven’t been? All this proves is the dislike of a certain breed. Stop blaming the wrong end of the leash.

    On a side note we could make money with an annual event of having convicted dog fighters fight lions with foam swords at the national stadium, that would be exciting.

    • Al says:

      So report your bite.

    • Just Wondering says:

      So what dog was it??

      • Come Correct says:

        Shepherd.

      • Come Correct says:

        I still don’t blame the dog though.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          Don’t blame the dog , eh ?
          I’ve got a scar on my face from a shepherd bite when I was a child.
          I was born to love dogs and I couldn’t keep away even when it was eating and I put my hand in it’s food bowl while it was feeding . I also nearly got licks for that too.
          That’s a case of not being able to blame the dog . What’s yours ? I bet it has something to do with the owners.
          I also have a scar at the other end from a shepherd that was roaming free and attacked me on my bike.
          My fault for the first one , who do I blame for the second ?

          I said it in the earlier thread and I’ll say it again. Stop blaming owners on pits that attack/bite/maim , etc.
          Ask the animal behavioral experts (and not that flake with the dog tv show)
          Pits are predisposed to arc out more than just about any other breed.

          • Steph says:

            Pit Bulls were bred to attack other DOGS. They were routinely put down if they turned on humans. Learn your history.

    • 1minute says:

      If no one asked what breed, then it is possibly under “unspecified”.
      I agree, it is not the breed but unfortunately irresponsible people seem to be picking pitbulls & training them to be bad. It would be great to put some of them down….

      • Sisu says:

        Bermuda’s pits are notoriously inbred. So in our case I do believe it is the ‘breed’ and not just poor training that results in aggressive dogs. Pits are also way more aggressive to other animals (especially smaller dogs). So whilst people may say they are great family dogs…that doesn’t mean much to the family next door who’s Yorkie was just killed by a pit. My vet has seen three dogs attacked by pits in the past month…one died and two seriously injured.

  2. skeptic says:

    To make sense of this, they need to reference the quantity of incidents against the total population of each breed type. If everyone in Bermuda had a Collie and no other breeds, and there were 6 Collie attacks during the year, you have the mistaken impression that Collie’s are a problem.

    • Just One says:

      Agreed, this needs to be referenced against the (known) pit bull population, broken down between illegal pit bulls vs. pit bulls that were properly licensed (through the 2012? banned breeds amnesty or other means)…

      Food for thought: Black people are convicted of more crimes than any other race in Bermuda. Does that mean that all black people are bad people? Of course not! There are various reasons why black crime is the highest; population, economic reasons, education, bad parenting, gang indoctrination…etc.

  3. YADON says:

    Although there are several websites dedicated to breed-specific legislation and the dangers of pit bulls, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals all oppose such laws.

    A recent AVMA report says that although pit bulls’ size and strength make their attacks more dangerous, this also applies to other large dogs. The organization goes on to say that pit bulls are no more prone to biting than other breeds, including German shepherds, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, Jack Russell terriers and collies.

    “Restrictions placed on a specific breed fail to address the larger problems of abuse, aggression training and irresponsible dog ownership,” according to a statement from the Humane Society. “Breed alone is not an adequate indicator of a dog’s propensity to bite.”

    The Human Society argues for responsible dog-keeping laws in place of breed-specific legislation.

    • Al says:

      Pitbulls are also responsible for more than half of fatal dog attacks in the USA.

      • Steph says:

        Except when you try to get people to identify dogs in a line up they routinely misidentify breeds

  4. swing voter says:

    so…now that the stats prove that this breed is a clear and present danger to society, can I sue the azz of the idiot pitbull owner that has no control over the actions of this breed? Like I’ve always said, this breed will do what it wants no matter how ‘well trained’ it is. Kinda like a greyhound, once it sees a wild rabbit, instincts take over, orders are ignored, and it will chase that rabbit to the ends of the earth.

  5. The stats show it all says:

    I don’t think any more needs to be said on this subject….the numbers never lie

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Except when the numbers are inaccurate or incomplete then they make no sense at all.

  6. Maddog says:

    ….and the numbers clearly indicate that under the heading “improper care”, Pitbulls take the top spot…..you treat a dog with care and kindness, that is what you get in return. You mistreat a dog….how do you think it will act? Tie a human to a short chain all day, with no love or human interaction, how do you think that will impact their behaviour?

    • Toodle-oo says:

      hmmm , maybe .
      But how many of the actual owners who are doing the mistreating are the ones getting bitten ?

    • swing voter says:

      it just sheds the light on the ‘owner’ mindset…no real love or care for the animal, just a status symbol that is treated to a walk every so often….no wonder the breed is demented.

  7. Concerned Citizen says:

    One stat that stands out is “improper care”. Could there be a direct correlation with the other stats? Is govt regulations by “banning” pit bulls, an aid to this high level of human neglect towards pit bulls? I am not a dog expert or breed expert, but that particular stat stood out to me.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      But you said “stats are horsecrap to me”. Make your mind up. You seem confused.

  8. John says:

    Coincidence that pitbulls are also listed highest in the “Improper care” category?

    Large breeds can deal more damage, that’s the only reason people would report it. My neighbors min pin runs across into my yard and nips at my socks often enough(and then runs offs).

    This report doesn’t say how many of the attacks were committed by the same dog, it’s possible all of them were committed by 3-4 dogs of the same breed. The categories are informative but the data is incomplete/skewed/tempered.

    • sage says:

      Predictably also the only breed for both years in the “CRUELTY (bundled in with)/fighting” category.

  9. Thomas Mahoney says:

    Look at the instances of improper care of pitbulls. That speaks to how they as a breed are being abused and not taken care of properly, which can help explain the attacks. Also how many pitbulls are on island? If you have more pitbulls than any other breed you will have more incidents involving pitbulls. This really isn’t enough information to draw any conclusions – as usual.

  10. Dude says:

    The Statistics are of course a reflection of the popularity of the breed. The fact that more people own AmStaffs than any other breed will of course result in more occurrences related to the breed.

    A better statistic would include the total amount of dogs on the island by breed v.s. the total bites by breed. I think you would find that the significant majority of all breeds are actually very safely and responsibly owned. In fact, due to fewer people owning Boxers, German Sheppard’s and Labrador’s, you would likely find that they move to the top of the list when ranked by percentage of bites per total population of each breed.

    All Breeds should be responsibly owned. Let’s stop penalizing everyone across the board, and start holding all owner’s more accountable. I would happily comply with an annual inspection of premises in order to own an Am-Staff again.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      What popularity of the breed, exactly? Since 2004 it has been illegal to breed or import pit bulls.

  11. Micro says:

    Not to mention dogs are often identified as being a “pitbull” when they’re not actually a “pitbull”.

    Go ahead, find the bull http://www.understand-a-bull.com/Findthebull/findpitbull_v3.html

    Post how many tries it takes.

  12. tugboatannie says:

    Pitbulls always get a bad rap no matter what…….This report means nothing!!

  13. Johnboy says:

    Are you kidding me? Do I see the police needed assistance with a MIN PIN? Those are so small that they are in the toy catagory in dog shows….

  14. It's the way there trained says:

    It’s not the breed it’s how there are trained (or not in some cases). Pit bulls, Shepherds, rottweilers, Dobermans are breeds that owners tend to have for protection. They are there to protect their family and property. It is no surprise to see these breeds at the top of the reported biting stats. Many of the bites I have read in the press have been due to poor dog handling (i.e. not kept on their property sufficiently).

    As for labs, goldens, and the rest well just look at the popularity of each breed and I am certain you will find they fall in order.

    Come Correct is quiet right though statistics in Bermuda are terrible for most things let alone something like dog bites!

  15. Sandy Bottom says:

    Even when the stats are laid out, you still get people lining up to make excuses.

    They’re dangerous. Period.

    • Thomas Mahoney says:

      So is your toothbrush. What’s your point?

    • Come Correct says:

      So are people. So are cars, bikes, buses, trucks, army tanks, fire, water, stoves, gas, people, bbqs, rocks, hurricanes, plastic bags, drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, alligators, lions, tigers, bears, scuba diving, skydiving, knives, the sun, small things that fit in your mouth, acid, fish, that sharp edge on a tin can, boats, alcohol, cigarettes, fisher price toys, any toy with a warning label, did I mention people? Ah never mind.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        A week ago, in a discussion on here, when faced with the US stats a few people said they wouldn’t accept them. They wanted the Bermuda stats. Those are the only relevent stats, they said. So now we have the Bermuda stats, which show that pit bulls bite a lot more often than any other dog. More, in fact, than all other dog breeds combined. In Bermuda. Despite the ownership restrictions. And now, faced with the Bermuda stats, you come out with your smarta** reply.

        • Come Correct says:

          Did I ask for Bermuda stats? No, stats are horsecrap to me. See first post. You said they are dangerous period, I gave you a very short list of things that are dangerous, period. Not being a smart ass but if you would like me to be I’m very good with my hands and would have no issue making you an armored bubble for the right price.

  16. Thomas McCartney says:

    32 dead by dog attack so far in 2013.
    Pit bull type dogs killed twenty-nine of them. sixteen of the twenty-nine dead are children.
    Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression before’, and knew the victim.

    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (16):
    Christian Gormanous – 4 yrs old Montgomery County, TX
    Isaiah Aguilar – 2 yrs old Sabinal, TX
    Ryan Maxwell – 7 yrs old ** Galesburg, IL.
    Dax Borchardt – 14 mos old ** Walworth, WI.
    Monica Laminack – 21 mos old ** Ellabelle, GA.
    Tyler Jett – 7 yrs old Callaway, FL.
    Jordyn Arndt – 4 yrs old ** Prairie City, IA.
    Beau Rutledge – 2 yrs old ** Fulton County, GA.
    Ayden Evans- 5 yrs old ** Jessieville, AR.
    Nephi Selu – 6 yrs old ** Union City, CA.
    Arianna Jolee Merrbach – 5 yrs old Effingham, SC.
    Daniel (surname as yet not revealed) – 2 yrs old (Gilbert, Arizona) **
    Samuel Eli Zamudio – 2 yrs old** Colton, CA
    Jordan Ryan– 5 yrs old Baker city, Oregon
    Levi Watson-Bradford-4 years old** White County, Arkansas
    Jah’niyah White – 2 years old ** Chicago, Ill

    Adult fatalities by pit bull type (13):
    Betty Todd – 65 yrs old ** Hodges, SC
    Elsie Grace – 91 yrs old ** Hemet, CA
    Claudia Gallardo – 38 yrs old Stockton, CA.
    Pamela Devitt – 63 yrs old Littlerock, CA.
    Carlton Freeman – 80 yrs old Harleyville, SC.
    Linda Oliver – 63 yrs old Dayton, TX.
    James Harding – 62 yrs old -Baltimore, MD
    chased into traffic by two attacking pit bulls
    Juan Campos – 96 yrs old Katy, Texas.
    Terry Douglass 56 years old. **Baltimore, MD
    Katherine Atkins-25 years old ** Kernersville, NC
    Nga Woodhead-65 years old Spanaway, WA.
    Joan Kappen, 75 years old Hot Springs Ark
    A Valencia County woman was killed by her Pit Bull **

    (1 non-pit type killing) [Rachel Honabarger - 35 yrs old - mauled to death by her own GSD mix] Coshocton, OH.

    (1 husky-mix killing, unknown if the other half of the dog was pit bull) [Jordan Lee Reed – 5 yrs old] Kotzebue, AK

    (1 Shiba Inu killing) Mia Gibson – age 3 months, of Gibson, OH – mauled to death by family Shiba Inu.

    Three of the pit bull type dogs were BULL mastiffs, ie 40% pit-fighting bulldog.

    If 26 of 32 dead were killed by pit bull attack, that’s 81% dead by pit attack, 9% dead by ‘molosser’, 3.7% by some kind of GSD mix, 3.7% by a husky + possibly pit mix, 3.7% by Shiba Inu.

    If you count the pit-mix mastiffs as pit bull types, that’s 91% killed by attacking pit bull types. Pit types are only about 5% of the entire dog population.

    The man who ran into traffic kept pit bulls himself. He knew perfectly well what the two stranger pit bulls that were chasing him would do if they caught him, so he preferred to risk a swift death by oncoming car.

    534 maimed by pit type dogs 2013 (as of November.28).

  17. Facts says:

    Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Strict regulation of pit bulls may substantially reduce the US mortality rates related to dog bites.[30] Wikipedia.

    The dog is strong and unpredictable and has been recorded to turn on its own master.

  18. Linda says:

    What is the percent of pit bulls and those other breeds of the total population of dogs in Bermuda? Are pit bulls as popular as they are in the US?

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      In the US pit bulls account for less than 4% of the dog population, but account for 60% of dog-related deaths.

      Despite the ban, I’d imagine that pit bulls still account for more than 4% of all dogs in Bermuda. However they don’t account for 59%, therefore their bite stats are disproportionately high, unsurprisingly.

      • Hmmm says:

        How many of those Pitbulls owners have a criminal record? Take these out then compare the stats.

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          It’s amazing the twists and turns people will go to in order to try to water down the plain fact shown by these figures.

  19. Triangle Drifter says:

    In Bermuda I would wager that there is a very high proportion of the dog population which is pitbull or pitbull mix compared to the US. Of that population I’d also wager that a higher percentage of them are unlicensed than any other breed.

    Next, look at who owns these dogs & why. If the biting done by the dogs of these owners is taken out of the stats one wonders what the stats would look like then?

    In Bermuda, at the SPCA, it is tough to find anything but a pitbull mix. When we looked only a couple did not obviously have pitbull in the genes to a degree. What are they supposed to do? Put anything that remotely looks pit down? Many great dogs would be put down that way.

    • Micro says:

      I’m willing to wager that a very large portion of the reported pitbull attacks are dogs that merely look like pitbulls in some small way let alone are mixed with something else.

      I mean, “pitbull” isn’t even a breed, it’s a term used to reference a very small group of breeds (three to be exact, some would even say just two) that have very similar characteristics/traits and were bred for the same purpose. I’d wager most people don’t even know what makes a pitbull a pitbull.

  20. Confused says:

    I would rather be in a room full of pitbulls, then some of the small minded individuals making these comments.

  21. enough says:

    Why have a pittbull for a family pet when there are many safer alternative breeds to choose from?

  22. Errin Butterfield says:

    A few registrations by The Department Of Environmental Protection that are a little harder to identify are the dogs that are licensed as a different breed but are deemed as pit bulls. Those who know, know.

    • BossMan says:

      Also whenever an incident happens with a dog that is a mix between a pit-bull and another dog, it is almost always written up as a pit-bull or a pit-bull cross, rather then a mixed dog or whatever it is mixed with such as a lab/pit cross or poodle/pit cross. Even when it doesn’t have any pit in it, if it looks like a pit then they say its a pit

  23. BossMan says:

    I’d like to know what were the numbers back in 2000? How different are they from now?

    Where did the attack take place, did it happen while the dog was off its property running loose or did it happen on its own proper?

    If on its property did it bite a stranger to the property or was it someone that lives on the property?

    How many incidents in public were of stray dogs and how many were on a leash?

    What are the numbers of each breed on the island (for example are the population of pits at 80% and Labs at 10%)

    How many have died from each breed?

    • BossMan says:

      Looking back at the numbers I notice this report is missing numbers because I know the Rottweiler had two more incidents known to the authorities and one of which in 2012 the child had to go hospital also there is a breed that isn’t even mentioned that again the authorities know about. So I can’t trust these stats alone.

  24. somerset resident says:

    Well to b honest dis island has to do Sumdin bout pit bulls cuz government will neva stop dogs frm biting doesn’t matter what dog it is, if u dnt train a dog frm young properly it will attack anybody wen they feel a certain way. Legalize pit. Bulls wud b best for a start

    • Come Correct says:

      Especially since it’s pretty difficult to socialize an illegal dog.

  25. inquiring onion gal says:

    I would love to know how many dogs are actually registered with the Dept. of the Environment, then break them down into breeds, so that we get TRUE statistics!!!

    What I find amusing is that I have been bitten or nipped at by Fox Terriers, Jack Russells, Minature Schnauzer & small Bermuda special (the latter did not have Pitbull in them) . . . I didn’t report them, because they are friends’ dogs. So the statistics are going to be off as the majority do not want to report friends & family members dogs to the dog wardens, just like when a friend hits your car you deal with it among yourselves & don’t call the police.

    I also would love to know the reasoning of how they created the restricted breeds list placing Dobermans, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, German Shepherds, etc on it too??? Did they just take a list from some other country & apply it to Bermuda? The dogs I have known or owned of those particular breeds & cross-breeds have been the most loving & loyal dogs and for the times we are living in with break ins etc, the best alerters too! So I do want my dogs to chase or bark at someone, who is not welcome on my property and that includes people looking for work/casing my property to Bible thumpers . . . Hence “BEWARE OF DOG No Trespassing” By Order” signs on the borders of my property. I had someone once call me years ago to complain about my late Lab barking at her as she walked up our drive & come to find out she was trespassing taking a short cut to get to the hospital where SHE had NO RITE to be on the property at all . . . I called the Police to report her for fear of her poisoning my dog as she said my dog should be caged & they had had numerous complaints about this woman! Also I have had issues with school kids antagonizing my dogs, that I have had to tell them off and point out it is a form of bullying & how would they like it. Quite frankly the Dog Wardens & SPCA should be going into the schools to teach children how to behave with & care for dogs as that might prevent cruelty & accidents . . . Sadly, the public need to be educated!!!

    • BossMan says:

      I too think people should be able to have a dog that keeps people off their property. I don’t believe everyone should have a well trained and socialized dog that loves everyone. I just think that people should make sure their dog can’t get off their property.

      My neighborhood has always had break-ins and cycle thefts but they never do it to my house and the few other houses that have dogs like I do. I plan to keep it like that.

  26. mskoala says:

    When I was a little kid a small/medium sized dog tore up my face, arms, and back and someone had to rip him off of me and he was even kicked away because he kept charging after me. The cause for the attack was simply that I stopped petting him. He had also attacked his owners child before I was attacked where half of his face came off and he became slightly mentally challeged. I love animals and even have a dog of my own now. It is a hundred percent all based of an animals own personality and the way it was raised. Just like a child, if theyy were to be raised wrong then they will end up being a s**** person. Pitbulls are actually one of the most loving and family dedicated animals. They seem to feel as if their life is meant to always be with their owner(s) and make them happy. The statistics are a load of BS especially since there are more than 10 breeds of pitbulls and end up getting put into one category.