In our last article, we looked at dog bite related fatalities and the characteristics of the deceased. In this article we will focus on the characteristics of the dog, excluding breed. Many studies have covered dog bite related fatalities and the breed responsible but there are many other factors that come into play that are not breed specific.
We again look at a 10 year study of dog bite related fatalities in the United States. The purpose of the study was to move away from media sensationalizing or narrowing to a single specific factor, namely breed.
Characteristics of the Dog(s) and Dog Bite Related Fatalities
Dog-related factors at which the study looked included weight, sex, sex status, and reproductive status of the dog(s) involved. The study also included the number of dogs involved in the dog bite related fatality. Let’s look a little closer at the categories of each factor.
Weight of dog: This factor was broken into five categories including under 50 pounds, 50-100 pounds, over 100 pounds, multiple weights (for a multiple dog attack), and unknown.
- 79.3% of dogs fell into the 50-100 pound category
- Only 7.4% of dogs were over 100 pounds
Sex of dog or dogs involved: Four categories of sex were listed including exclusively male, exclusively female, both male and female, and unknown.
- 57.8% were exclusively male
- 29.7% were both male and female
- Only 10.2% were exclusively female
Number of dogs involved: One, two, three, four and over, and unknown were the five categories listed on how many dogs were involved in the dog bite related fatality.
- 57.8% of dog bite related fatalities had only one dog involved
- 23% had two dogs involved
Sex status of dog or dogs: This factor looked at whether a dog had been neutered or spayed prior to the attack. It was split into four categories of spayed or neutered only, sexually intact only, combination of spayed/neutered and sexually intact (if more than one dog), and unknown.
- 82.8% of dogs were sexually intact
- Only 7% were spayed or neutered
Reproductive status of the dogs at time of dog bite: A female dog in heat or protecting puppies will be more likely to act aggressively, and sexually intact males around females in heat may also be more prone to bite. There were five categories under this factor including female dog in heat, pregnant or with puppies; sexually intact male near a female in heat; both sexually intact male and female involved in attack; not applicable due to spay/neuter; and unknown.