AKRON, Ohio — A new study is giving insight into which dog breeds are most at risk to bite people and how severe the injuries could be.
According to research done by Ohio State University, an “unknown” breed was responsible for the highest percentage of reported bites followed by Pit Bulls, mixed breed dogs and German Shepherds. Bites from mixed breeds and Pit Bulls were also found to be the most severe.
Breeds like the Akita and Great Dane are shown to have high damage from a bite although the risk of the breed biting is lower than others that top the list.
The research shows dog size is not always a factor in determining the likelihood of biting. The Jack Russell Terrier, Border Collie and Cocker Spaniel are also likely to bite, but their bite produces less tissue damage compared to other breeds.
“We see everything from even just a scratch from a claw,” said Akron Children’s Hospital Emergency Room Dr. Tim Lee. “Especially the smaller kids, the face puts them right at the dogs level.”
Dr. Lee said man’s best friend can sometimes pose a great danger. He said children are often the most common victims of dog bites he treats.
“I can think of a few occasions where children have required trauma teams, had to go to the operating room, required blood transfusions, things of that nature because they’ve lost so much blood because they’ve been injured by a dog,” he said.
Children who require treatment the most for dog bites are between the ages of five and nine-years-old according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There was an 82% increase in fatal injuries from the 1980s to 2012.
Dr. Lee suggests dog breeds are not the only thing to consider when it comes to evaluating the risk of dog bites to children.
“Dogs that are male, dogs that aren’t neutered or spayed, dogs that are left out on a chain or let to roam free, that definitely increases the risk of dog bite as well,” he explained.
Since 2014, a spokesperson for Akron Children’s Hospital said they have seen a total of 153 cases where patients had to be admitted with injuries due to dog bites. The most dog bites that require patients to be admitted occurs during July, August and May.
When it comes to expanding the family to include a dog, doctors orders are to make sure the whole family participates in dog training.
“Dogs are great,” said Dr. Lee. “I own dogs, we all love dogs but you know that’s one thing to consider should you own a dog.”
The five breeds listed as the lowest percentage of biters were the Spitz, Pekingese, Great Dane, Pointer and Dalmatian.