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    Dogs That Bite 2023: Aggressive Breeds and Dog Bite Lawsuits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that dogs bite 2% of the population in the country every year, and between 1979 and 1996, 304 people died due to fatal dog attacks. Ehline Law and our dog bite attorneys have been working with injured dog bite victims since 2005, protecting their rights and helping them get the compensation they deserve.

Contact our experienced dog bite attorneys if you’ve suffered injuries in a dog attack in California to learn more about your legal options.

Top Biting Dog Breeds: Which Dog Breeds Bite the Most?

While all dogs have the tendency to be aggressive when provoked, certain dog breeds are more likely to bite or attack others if not appropriately trained. 

Here is our list of dog breeds more likely than others to bite or attack a human or another animal.

Border Collies

Considered to be a highly intelligent dog breed, Border Collies are known to herd and protect livestock on farms and are not afraid to use their teeth if necessary. 

Although these gentle and loving dogs are also used as therapy dogs, they can get a bit aggressive while playing with their owners. When around children, a bite or two may lead to serious injuries, which is why it is essential always to discipline Border Collies to avoid such issues.

Jack Russell Terriers

Although Jack Russell Terriers are small dogs, it is essential to remember that they were initially bred to hunt and kill rats. Hunting and biting run in their DNA, and they are very protective of their owners, to the point where they’re not afraid to show their aggression towards others. Early training and socialization at a young age can help minimize these tendencies and make them more docile.

Siberian Huskies

If you’re looking for a dog as a pet and it’s your first time owning a pet, stay clear of Siberian Huskies. They look gorgeous, and all the videos you may have seen on YouTube may tempt you to get one, but these are a tough breed of dogs to work with. 

Although they’re very intelligent, Siberian Huskies are incredibly rowdy and destructive even if you train them properly. They can be naughty with owners and aggressive toward strangers by biting them.


Rottweilers are a highly misunderstood dog breed and have a serious reputation for being aggressive. They’re best to herd and protect livestock, but some homes keep Rottweilers as pets due to their loyalty towards their masters and family members. 

Contrary to what many believe, this dog’s breed is extremely gentle if they’re properly trained and receive sufficient attention.


Whether it’s an inferiority complex or asserting dominance, Chihuahuas are not afraid to bite their owners or strangers. They’re very independent dogs, and if trained at an early age, owners can minimize the negative traits associated with Chihuahuas.

German Shepherds

German shepherds have many traits making them the most versatile dogs on this list. From border patrols using them to sniff out drugs to police carrying out an investigation with the help of a German Shepherd, they are intelligent and loyal dogs.

Many dog owners don’t realize that German Shepherds need a lot of exercise and large homes to stay happy. These dogs may get cranky if neglected or don’t have sufficient room to move around. Although they’re not aggressive compared to others on the list, they may make a mistake once in a while and leave a nasty bite.

Cocker Spaniels

Cocker spaniels are extremely docile dogs but have many different personalities, making them difficult for owners to work with. As puppies, they’re very nippy and can leave a mark or two, but as they grow old, they become more intelligent, energetic, and friendly, especially around children.

Tosa Inus

Bred for fighting, Tosa Inus is one of the dog breeds banned in the United Kingdom due to their nasty bite. Although they can become gentle dogs if adequately trained at an early age, training Tosa Inus can be highly challenging.

As Tosa Inus become adults, they are loyal to their owners, which can make them aggressive towards strangers and other dogs or animals if threatened.

Chow Chows

Very social and outgoing breed, chow chows are clever dogs and great as pets. They are intensely territorial and have a naturally dominant personality.

Originally, chow chows were guard dogs for homes and livestock, meaning they could leave a nasty bite if they felt they or their owner was in danger.

Pit Bull Terrier

Pit bull terriers are not naturally aggressive or dangerous dogs, but due to neglect, lack of training, and abuse, they can become extremely dangerous dogs. 

Highly misunderstood, the United Kingdom continues to ban pit bull terriers while they are still popular pets in the USA. Bred for fighting or guarding the lairs of gang bangers and drug dealers, pit bull terriers have a nasty reputation which makes many forget that these breeds also have some of the most positive characteristics, such as loyalty, obedience, and intelligence.

Dog Bite Statistics in the United States

According to, there were 48 fatal dog attacks in the country in 2019 involving 13 child victims, more than a 33% increase over 2018. California has the most dog bite cases, with 2,166 claims made in the state in 2018, totaling $98.6 million in payouts.

Avoiding Dog Bites

If you’re a dog lover, it’s understandable that you want to pet any dog that walks past you. However, it is also essential to know that such affection towards dogs can one day end up in dog bites if you’re not careful.

Here are two ways to help avoid dog bites and keep yourself and your family safe around animals.

Check the Dog’s Body Language

Before petting a dog, you should assess the situation and the dog’s body language. If they’re growling, licking their lips, or have perked-up ears, or dilated pupils, it’s best to stay clear, as these are signs of impending aggression.

Educate Children on Interacting with Dogs

Children are more likely to interact with pets than other age groups, which makes them the most vulnerable to dog bites. Parents need to educate their children on how to interact safely with dogs.

Many children believe that reaching their hand out to pet the dog is the best way to interact with them, but what they don’t realize is that they’re invading their personal space. Let the dog reach out to the child and decide to interact with them rather than the other way around.

Dog bite injuries can leave a sting and lead to an infection if the victim does not receive proper medical attention. In some cases, a dog may cause severe wounds on the arms and legs. A dog bite incident not only leaves physical injuries but also is an emotionally traumatizing experience. A child who suffers a dog bite may take years to recover from the trauma; in some cases, they may never, which can adversely affect their life.

Dog bite victims may require therapy to overcome the fear and skin grafting surgeries to minimize the disfigurement, which can cost the family a lot of money. It is crucial that they speak to an experienced dog bite attorney to learn more about their legal options.

Can Dog Bite Victims Pursue a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

A dog bite lawsuit is a civil action brought against the dog owner for the injuries sustained in a dog attack. It compensates the victim by holding the dog owner responsible for the damages, and the victim pursues legal action to become “whole again.”

Whether or not injured victims can bring dog bite lawsuits depends on the state’s law. There are two types of states when it comes to dog bites, and these are as follows.

One-bite Rule

Some states have a one-bite rule, meaning that if the dog bite was the first incident of dangerous behavior by the dog, the victim might be unable to pursue a dog bite claim.

Under the one-bite law, the owner gets a free pass for the injuries caused by their dog if it’s the animal’s first time. However, if the owner was negligent in preventing the dog attack, the victim may be able to bring a negligence claim against the dog owner.

Although these are often challenging to pursue, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide the guidance and assistance required to hold the negligent dog owner responsible for your injuries.

Strict Liability

In some states, including California, dog bites fall under strict liability. Injured victims in such states can pursue dog bite claims regardless of the dog’s viciousness or prior history of dog attacks. 

To have a valid dog bite lawsuit in California and other strict liability states, injured victims must prove that the dog attacked them without provocation and suffered damages due to the dog attack.

Who Is Liable for Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog Owner’s Liability

Typically, the dog owner is liable for any damages arising from the animal’s attack. In most cases, the dog owner will have insurance, such as homeowners, renters insurance, or umbrella coverage, that provides coverage for dog attacks.

Most dog bite cases settle outside of court as it is the quickest and cheapest dispute resolution method for the insurance company and the victim. However, it may be best to pursue a dog bite lawsuit in court and recover maximum compensation in some dog bite cases.

A skilled dog bite attorney can evaluate your case and guide you on which option is the best for you.

Landlord’s Liability

The landlord may be responsible for a dog bite incident in some situations. If a landlord renting out the property knows there is a dangerous dog on their land and fails to take necessary action, they may be liable for the damages in case of dog bites.

Recoverable Damages in a Dog Bite Lawsuit

Dog bites can lead to serious and, in some cases, fatal injuries, for which injured victims may recover compensation. However, the damages may vary from one dog bite case to another.

Typically, injured dog bite victims may recover the following damages following the dog attacks:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress.

When pursuing a dog bite lawsuit, you must prove the extent of your injuries and the damages incurred. An experienced dog bite attorney can help gather the necessary evidence to prove your damages and obtain compensation for your loss.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Ehline Law

Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys have more than 15 years of experience handling dog bite claims in California. Our award-winning attorneys have been invited by some of the largest media channels, such as NBC, CBS, and others, to discuss dog bite laws and create awareness on the topic.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a dog bite attack in California, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may be able to seek compensation.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.