While a dog can be man’s best friend, this domesticated animal can also exhibit aggressive behavior toward them. Countless studies have been conducted to determine if there is a connection between certain breeds and their inclinations to bite. At all times, you should be cautious around unfamiliar animals, but here is a quick look at various breeds to help increase your awareness and avoid potentially dangerous encounters. As with any heavily populated urban environment, especially one like Southern California, where dog owners are numerous and breeds are highly varied, these types of incidents can and do occur quite often in places like Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the following dog varieties are most commonly involved in biting incidents:
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Saint Bernard
- Doberman Pinscher
- Labrador Retriever
Over a 20 year period, the Center for Disease Control studied the correlation between certain classes and fatal attacks. Their results showed that pit bull-type canines and rottweilers contributed to more than 50 percent of these assaults. The AVMA’s findings are similar in that pit bulls are most frequently involved in serious or fatal attacks. However, the AVMA goes on to state that it is unsuitable to pass judgment on an animal’s aggressive disposition based solely on their pedigree. Within breeds, there are often many factors to take into account when determining a canine’s individual temperament.
Large vs. Small Canine Breeds
According to owner surveys and behavioral tests, it is actually smaller or medium-sized varieties that are more hostile toward humans. Due to their petite stature, the bites of spaniels, collies and similar pets inflict less harm than those of larger canines, which may explain why these smaller types don’t top the list of aggressive animals. Likewise, owners of such canines are less likely to report aggression issues or pursue therapy because their pets seem too small to seriously injure someone. Due to a possible lack of training or restraint, these smaller classes are grossly overlooked when evaluating biting habits.
Of course, the sizable build of pit bulls, rottweilers and German shepherds make their inflicted injuries potentially devastating or even fatal. For this reason, attacks by larger canines are reported most often. Tracing back to their ancestry, their personalities are predominantly fearless and territorial, which is a combination that can lead to aggressive behavior when provoked or threatened.
Background of Animal As Contributing Factor to Dog Attack
When determining an animal’s tendency to attack, it is important to investigate its background, lineage and genetics. The term “pit bull” encases many different varieties such as the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American bulldog. Many of these sub-types were developed for the use of baiting bulls and fighting. With this in mind, it is easy to see why pit bulls are involved in more than half of all fatal canine attacks. Bred for their intelligence, German shepherds without proper training have a tendency to become overprotective and excessively territorial. If they are not properly socialized, their genetic instincts may lead them to attack someone that they deem an intruder. As for rottweilers, their risk factor lies in their remarkable strength. The AKC admits that this type of animal does not take kindly to strangers, and they require special training to develop appropriate social skills.
The Need to Consult An Attorney After A Dog Mauling Incident
As with most animals, mature and responsible owners play a key role in their pets’ behavior. When owners do not properly train their pets, a canine’s animal instincts are more likely to take over, which can lead to serious or deadly injuries. According to California Civil Code 3342, a canine’s owner may be held responsible for their pet’s actions regardless of whether or not the owner had any prior indication that their animal was prone to biting, and a quality attorney can help you obtain financial compensation in the event of an attack. If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog while on residential or commercial property, contact a California attorney experienced with dog bite and animal attack claims with regarding any potential civil actions for money damages to which the victim may be entitled.