Under the wrong circumstances, any dog can be dangerous. Yet data shows that some breeds are more often involved in personal injury and wrongful death accidents than others. This is partly because some breeds cause more harm with their bites. A Chihuahua would cause less damage than a Great Dane in an attack, for example. Learning the three most dangerous dog breeds in Texas, based on statewide data, can help you and your family avoid becoming dog bite victims.
#1: Pit Bulls
According to a national dog bite database, Texas led the nation in the number of dog bite fatalities over an eight-year period. The vast majority (76%) of these fatal attacks involved pit bulls. From 2005 to 2013, 26 Texans lost their lives in pit pull attacks. Most victims (23) were children under the age of 12. “Pit bulls” include pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and mixed breeds. Pit bull relatives can also pose significant threats, including Dogo Argentino, Tosa Inu, and Cana Corso. Five cities in Texas have enacted breed-specific laws against pit bulls:
- Childress. This city will not adopt out pit bulls, chow chows, or wolf hybrids.
- Forest Hill. Pit bulls are legally declared “dangerous dogs.”
- Garland. There are specific standards that enclosures must meet to maintain pit bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull Dogs, or related crossbreeds.
- Madisonville City. There is an inactive ordinance in place that bans pit bulls.
- Magnolia. The law presumes pit bulls “dangerous.”
Pit bulls are responsible for more serious injuries and deaths than any other breed in the U.S. They also hold the record for the greatest number of unprovoked dog bites. If a pit bull challenges you, avoid eye contact and try to completely ignore it. Remain calm and in control. Stand sideways to narrow the target. Protect your chest, neck, and face in the event of an attack. Pit bulls tend to cause fatal injuries by targeting the throat.
The Rottweiler is the second most dangerous dog breed in Texas, causing 15% of fatal attacks (five deaths) from 2005 to 2013. A Rottweiler’s bite is very powerful. Together, pit bulls and Rottweilers accounted for 76% of total related deaths in the United States from 2005 to 2016. Since 1978, there have been 109 deaths involving Rottweilers around the country. The majority of these victims were under the age of 12, followed by the elderly. Thousands of other victims have suffered serious injuries from Rottweiler attacks.
#3: Wolf Hybrids
Dogs that classify as “wolf hybrids” have wolf somewhere in their bloodlines. They may be direct descendants of a wolf and a dog, or an animal farther down the line. Wolf hybrids have deadly track records, with propensities for targeting infants, toddlers, and the elderly. Wolf hybrids can be unpredictable. Their natural killing instincts can kick in at any time, even in family dogs that have previously never shown aggressive behaviors. Many states do not allow the breeding or ownership of wolf hybrids.
Attacked By a Dog in Texas?
Owning a dog breed that the city restricts can increase the owner’s liability in the event of a dog attack. The courts could hold that the owner reasonably should have known of the dog’s propensity for violence and taken steps to prevent an attack. Texas does not have a specific dog bite statute. Rather, it decides each case on an individual basis. To navigate Texas’ dog bite laws for compensation of damages, seek help from a dog bite attorney.