Pitbull Attack Statistics: How Many Kills Per Year?

Last Updated on June, 2024

You clicked here due to a personal connection to a Pit Bull attack or upset by a news report (Did I guess correctly?)

You only need a detailed update on ‘Pit Bull Attack Statistics, right?

Don’t worry. I’ll help you out.

First, Look at these Statistics.

  • Approximately 18 million dogs in the United States belong to the Pit Bull type.
  • 6% of U.S. shelter dogs are Pit Bulls.
  • 1 million Pit Bulls are euthanized annually.
  • Pit Bull adoption declined by 31% (2000-2011).
  • Pit Bulls globally face a high abuse rate.
  • From 2013 to 2022, Pit Bulls were involved in most dog bite incidents in 20 states.
  • 25% of people in the U.S. hold negative opinions about Pit Bulls.
  • Despite misconceptions, Pit Bulls score above 85% on temperament tests, challenging the belief in inherent brutality.

What’s your opinion NOW? Wait, it’s not over.

Read the full article to know everything you’re looking for!

Quick Summary

Pit Bulls are involved in a high number of reported dog bites and are often negatively portrayed in the media, leading to misconceptions and negative opinions about the breed.

Factors such as lack of training, mood state, predatory instinct, territorial behavior, abuse, lack of socialization, poor breeding, and medical problems can contribute to Pit Bull attacks.

Pit Bull owners can help prevent attacks by socializing their dogs, providing regular exercise, using positive training methods, supervising interactions, and seeking professional help when needed. Below, you can find statistics related to pitbull attacks, which you can explore to gain more knowledge

Table of Contents

Pit Bull Attack Statistics

A pit bull dog chewing on a bone

Do You Know? There Are Around 18 Million Pit Bull-Type Dogs in the U.S.

Despite what people think, Pit Bulls ONLY make up 6% of all dogs in the U.S. On top of that, there are over 18 million Pit Bull mixes around, and many are doing jobs like service dogs or guard dogs. (1)

Nearly 6% of U.S. Shelter Dogs Are Pit Bulls

About 6% of dogs in shelters in the U.S. are Pit Bulls, says the ASPCA. Because of backyard breeding and many puppies being born, there are a lot of Pit Bulls in shelters.

When there’s BAD NEWS about Pit Bulls in the media, more people give up their dogs to shelters. About 25% of Americans are CAUTIOUS around Pit Bulls, and half of families with small kids wouldn’t want a Pit Bull as a pet.

Pit Bulls Are Responsible for 81% of Pets and Livestock Killed By Dogs Over the Past 10 Years

a stat showing that Pit Bulls Are Responsible for 81% of Pets and Livestock Killed By Dogs Over the Past 10 Years

Since 2013, ANIMALS 24-7 has aimed to reveal annual pet and livestock deaths by dogs and identify the culprits. Prior estimates were minimal. USDA Wildlife Services predicted over 22,000 casualties yearly, attributing 81% to Pit Bulls.

1 Million Pit Bulls are Euthanized Annually

(WARNING! This stat can make you cry. If you’re sensitive, skip this part).

Do you know? Nearly 1 million Pit Bulls are euthanized each year because many people don’t want to give them a home.

Poor Pit Bulls! To put it bluntly, that’s around 2800 Pit Bulls euthanized daily. The main reason behind these heartbreaking statistics is the misinformation circulating about the breed.

Pit Bull Adoption Declined By 31% (2000-2011)

Due to bad publicity, fewer people wanted to adopt Pit Bulls. In 11 years, Pit Bulls, once known as ‘U.S. dogs,’ became among the most hated dogs.

Pit Bulls Globally Face a High Abuse Rate

A grey pitbull mistreated and abused with a bandage on his leg

Some owners intentionally mistreat their Pit Bulls, not giving them love – to make them TOUGH. Owners think Pit Bulls are only good for guarding. This mistreatment or abuse makes others wrongly believe that Pit Bulls are naturally aggressive. (2)

Pit Bulls Only Got About 43.5% of Their DNA From Their Pit Bull Ancestors

Due to cross-breeding, a lot of dogs get mistaken for Pit Bulls. Most modern Pit Bull-like dogs are a mix of breeds, sharing less than half their genes with actual Pit Bulls. So, Pit Bulls continue to be one of the breeds that people often get wrong.

From 2013 to 2022, Pit Bulls Were Involved in Most Dog Bites Incidents in 20 States

Pit Bulls cause nearly half of all dog bite injuries in many states. A study in Harris County, Texas, found that Pit Bulls are 213% more likely to be severely affected than other breeds.

51% Pit Bulls Rescued From Michael Vick’s Dog Setup

Michael Vick, a former NFL star, landed a massive 10-year, $130 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons. However, his career turned dark when he was arrested for running a dog fighting ring.

a stat showing that 51% pit bulls rescued from michael vicks dog setup

On his property, 51 Pit Bulls were found in distress. 

Vick received a 19-month prison sentence and was banned from owning dogs. Surprisingly, only one dog had to be euthanized, while two others succumbed to their injuries. Thankfully, the remaining 48 dogs were rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed.

25% in the U.S. Hold Negative Opinions About Pit Bulls

About a quarter of people in the U.S. don’t like Pit Bulls, and half are curious about this breed.

Still, Pit Bulls are the 19th most-liked dog breed in the U.S. People tend to judge them based on their history of being bred for aggressive activities like bear and bull baiting rather than the inherent characteristics of the dogs themselves.

Pit Bulls Stay in Shelters Three Times Longer, in Comparison

Pit Bulls stay in shelters way longer than other breeds, and it’s because of a few things.

First, loads of landlords ban Pit Bulls as pets. Also, Pit Bull’s not-so-great reputation makes people hesitant to adopt them. Plus, some dogs that aren’t even Pit Bulls end up with the label just because they look like one (How sad, Right?). (3)

Despite Misconceptions, Pit Bulls Score Above 85% on Temperament Tests, Challenging the Belief in Inherent Brutality

a stat showing that Pit Bulls Score Above 85% on Temperament Tests Challenging the Belief in Inherent Brutality

This point will SATISFY Pit Bull lovers. According to a study by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Pit Bulls rank in the top 23% for having a good temperament.

The study included 03 Pit Bull breeds, and they averaged a score of 87.9%. Specifically, American Pit Bull Terriers scored 87.4%, American Staffordshire scored 85.5%, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers scored 90.9%.

Pit Bulls are Often Chosen for Dog Fights

Although prohibited in every state, underground dog fighting with Pit Bull-type dogs persists.

Pit Bulls, known for their strength, become aggressive when abused or riled up. So, many Pit Bulls go through abuse, starvation, beating, and even mutilation to make them ferocious ahead of a fight.

Back in 2019, About 7.9% of Pit Bulls Were Up for Grabs and Being Advertised for Sale

a stat showing that about 7.9% of Pit bulls were up for grabs and being advertised for sale

Backyard breeding is a real headache for Pit Bulls, causing 7.9% of all U.S. dog ads in 2019 to feature these pups.

That adds up to over 1.3 million Pit Bulls, highlighting a more prominent problem nationwide. Pit Bulls are bred easily, but sadly, many are unwanted and left in shelters. (4)

Adoption Has Shot Up By 64% After Getting Rid of the ID Tags

A study of 17,000 dog adoptions found that Pit Bulls had a 64% higher chance of getting adopted when they removed the breed labels. The research also revealed that removing labels increased the adoption odds for other dog breeds.

Animal Shelters Mistakenly Label Pit Bull Breeds About 75% of the Time

When dogs end up in a shelter, they’re labeled based on appearance. But here’s the thing: About 75% of dogs get wrongly called ‘Pit Bulls’ because of all the mixed breeding.

Calling a dog’ Pit Bull isn’t pinpointing a single breed. It’s more like a mix of various breeds bundled together. So this creates confusion. As a result, Pit Bulls’ reputation GOES AT RISK!

Pit Bulls Were Involved in About 2/3rds of Dog Bite Injuries At a Philadelphia Hospital

a stat shwoing that about 2/3rds of Dog Bite Injuries At a Philadelphia Hospital

A study conducted in 2009 over five years found that nearly 60% of the reported dog bites involving children were from Pit Bulls (51%), and 9% were from Rottweilers.

From 1965-1975, There Was Just One Reported Pit Bull Attack

Back in 1965-1975, Pit Bulls were super famous in the U.S. The good news? Pit Bull attacks were rare.

But the whole demonizing of the breed kicked off when they started cracking down on dog fights. People started thinking any though-looking dog was automatically a Pit Bull, and that’s where the problem BEGAN.

In the List of Biting Dogs, Pit Bulls Come in Second Place

Dogs usually bite when something sets them off. With a lot of abuse and teasing going on, it’s no wonder Pit Bulls end up in many attacks.

However, Remember! These statistics don’t even cover all the unreported incidents. Click this to learn more about dog biting laws.

Pit Bulls aren’t a Big Danger to People

While we can’t deny that Pit Bull attacks occur, it’s important to remember that all dogs have the potential to bite.

The issue here is that the media often exaggerates Pit Bull statistics.

Back in August 2007, four dog bite incidents occurred in four days. One involved a Pit Bull, and the other three? Who knows? – Nobody cares.

However, the Pit Bull attack caught the attention of 230 different national and international news. (this stat made me think how cruel this world can be.)

two Pitbull dogs in a field

Pit Bull Attack Records: 1982 – 2013

Merritt Clifton, the editor of Animals 24-7, carefully looked through the records. He found that over 32 years, from 1982-2013, Pit Bulls caused a significant number of injuries and deaths. Check the table below.

BreedInjuryChild VictimsAdult VictimsMutilationsDeaths% of Dog Populations
Pit Bull33971355131221102956.69%
Note: Pit Bull mixes were also involved in several documented attacks.
Boxer Mix Pit Bull3514132302 
Rottweiler Mix Pit Bull5612091702 
Lab Mix Pit Bull4327112905 
German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix1507061401 

Factors Affecting Pit Bull Attacks

a white and brown pitbull dog barking

Pit Bulls bite when they’re not treated right. It’s not the dog’s fault; it’s how people handle them.

I accept that all dogs – even Pit Bulls- can be good if appropriately managed. This way, many Pit Bull attacks will be STOPPED! Dogs are animals, not people. So, Remember! The following factors will lead to bites.

Please read them.

Lack of Training

Owners failing to train their Pit Bulls contribute to preventable attacks. Formal training is IMPORTANT for Pit Bulls to ensure proper behavior.

Mood State

Do you know? Dogs need time to recover from upsetting events (same as humans). Understanding this simple fact is essential.

Recognizing a dog’s need for emotional recovery reduces the risk of aggression. So, managing their moods will PREVENT defensive behavior.

Predatory Instinct

Dogs are dogs. NO MATTER WHAT!

Dogs, including Pit Bulls, have predatory behaviors triggered by running and chasing. Owners should prevent their Pit Bulls from engaging in such acts.

Territorial Behavior

When left unsupervised in yards without socialization, Pit Bulls will exhibit territorial aggression (they think of them as superheroes).

Listen, mainly frustration and perceived threats like intruders will TRIGGER defensive behavior – leading to attacks.


Two pictures of pitbull dogs receiving treatment at a hospital

Purposeful ABUSE or neglect leads to aggressive behavior in Pit Bulls.

In Illegal activities like dog fights, they are mistreated. This affects Pit Bull’s behavior and increases the risk of aggression. 

Lack of Socialization

Lack of socialization is also a form of neglect. What’s the problem of socializing your Pit Bull? It will do NO HARM when socialized.

Pit Bull owners must prioritize socialization through training and classes and exposing Pit Bulls to various environments.

Poor Breeding

Best breeding choices are a MUST. Some breeders mate dogs without considering their temperament. So, this leads to weak temperaments in Pit Bulls.

Medical Problems

Pit Bulls used for illegal activities often suffer from health issues due to neglect and lack of care. Sick and injured dogs defend themselves by highlighting the importance of proper medical care.

Remember! Labeling Pit Bulls’ Vicious’ ignores their health struggles. Don’t do that.

What Should You Do if a Pit Bull Attacks or Bites You?

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: First, see a doctor. Pit Bull bites can be severe. So, QUICK treatment is crucial. Take photos of your injuries for proof.
  • Report To Animal Control: Contact animal control to document the incident. This step ensures verification of the dog’s vaccination status. You must get a rabies shot if you can’t find the dog’s owner.
  • Document Everything: Keep records. Take pics of your injuries and note what exactly happened, including the details surrounding the incident. Get information about the dog’s appearance, owner, and witnesses.
  • Talk to a Lawyer: Consult a lawyer to explore compensation options. Don’t ever try to discuss details with the owner or their insurance without your lawyer.
  • Lawsuit Possibility: You can take legal action against the Pit Bull owner in many states. Proper restraint and warning signs are essential.

Trespassing or provoking the dog might change how your case goes.

Legal Implications of Pit Bull Attacks

While many states hold dog owners liable for bites regardless of prior behavior, some adhere to the US’s ‘One Bite Rule.’ This rule protects dog owners unless they know their Pit Bull might bite or didn’t take proper care.

Pit Bull SPECIFIC RULES differ in certain jurisdictions.

First, read these legal implications:

  • Breed Specific Legislation (BSL): Some areas have enacted BSL targeting Pit Bulls, imposing stricter regulations or outright bans. Understanding local laws is essential.
  • Negligence Claims: Victims can pursue claims based on negligence if the dog owner fails to exercise reasonable care in preventing the incident.
  • Insurance Coverage: Identifying the dog owner’s insurance coverage is the key to compensation. But, challenges will arise if the owner claims to be insured.
  • Statutory Strict Liability Vs. One Bite Rule: Knowing whether your jurisdiction follows strict liability or the one bite rule will significantly impact legal recourse after a Pit Bull attack.
  • Violations Of Leash Laws: Breaking the leash will strengthen the victim’s case, making it crucial to explore whether such regulations were violated during the incident.
  • Burglars and Trespassers: Figuring out who’s responsible when a dog, including a Pit Bull, bites someone without permission or breaks into the property complicates the legal situation.

Note: Getting a lawyer is CRUCIAL if you’re dealing with Pit Bull issues. Because they know the ins and outs of the law, who’s responsible, and how insurance works. 

It’s like having a guide through the legal intricacy, ensuring you know what’s what!

What Should Pit Bull Owners Do to Avoid Pitbull Bites?

As a Pit Bull owner, it’s natural to get worried about the increasing stats on Pit Bull attacks and maybe even think about giving up your furry friend.

But will you leave your kids just because they’re acting out? NO. You’d guide them, right?

The same goes for your pup.

Check out these tips to determine what you can do as a Pit Bull owner:

  • Socialize Early: Socialize your Pit Bull to various people, places, and situations during their early days. This helps them become comfortable and well-adjusted in different environments.
  • Regular Exercise: Ensure your Pit Bull gets enough physical activity through regular walks and play sessions. This not only keeps them physically healthy but also helps in releasing excess energy.
  • Positive Training: Use positive reinforcement techniques when training your Pit Bull. Reward good behavior with praise, treats, talking it to doggy shows, and do everything that excites him. This will establish a favorable connection with obedience.
  • Supervise Interactions: Keep a close eye on your Pit Bull when they’re around children, other dogs, and pets. This will prevent conflicts and save everyone’s time.
  • Use A Leash: When you go out with your Pit Bull, use a leash and train your dog. So you can manage your dog’s movements easily.
  • Neuter/Spay: Consider having your Pit Bull neutered or spayed. This will reduce their aggressive behavior and contribute to a more balanced temperament.
  • Body Language: Learn to understand your dog’s body language. This will reduce the problems. This will help you to understand their signals and respond accordingly.
  • Use Obedience Commands: Teach basic commands such as sit, stay, and come. These commands increase your CONTROL over your Pit Bull, especially when it tries to behave aggressively.
  • Avoid Harsh Methods: Don’t use harsh training methods. Using a positive manner is more effective in building trust and cooperation.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you notice any awkward behavior or challenges in your Pit Bull, consult a professional dog trainer.

Their training will be the right CHOICE for your dog’s issue.

The Psychological Impact on Pit Bull Attacks

When a Pit Bull attacks, it’s not just about the physical hurt; it messes with the head, too. It can make the victim super scared and anxious and can even cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

But here’s the good part: Having people for the victim and getting some therapy will help. First, doctors will fix the physical injuries. Then, talking to someone who knows the mind can help you handle all the feelings and fears.

Are Pitbulls More Dangerous?

A pit bull terrier laying in the grass with his mouth open

Are Pit Bulls as dangerous as their stereotype suggests? Some people think Pit Bulls are always aggressive. Yes, there have been stories in the media about Pit Bull attacks making everyone scared.

But the truth is, not every Pit Bull is dangerous (It’s like saying all humans are the same, which we know isn’t the truth). Stats show that Pit Bulls are involved in more reported bites. But that doesn’t mean every Pit Bull is a threat.

How a Pit Bull acts depends on how it’s raised and trained. Dog expert Cesar Millan says, ‘Pit Bulls can be awesome pets with the right care.’

So, DON’T JUDGE all Pit Bulls based on a few incidents.

Facts About Pit Bulls

  • Pit Bulls are known for their loyalty and often form strong bonds with their families. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier are among the top breeds for families.
  • They have a solid and muscular physique. But their appearance varies widely within the breed.
  • Pit Bulls were bred initially for Bull-baiting and later became popular farm dogs due to their strength and agility.
  • These dogs were originally from the UK but brought to the U.S. by the British.
  • The AKC does not acknowledge the American Pit Bull Terrier as a unique breed.
  • Pit Bulls excel in agility sports and activities, showcasing their athleticism and versatility.
  • These dogs can adapt well to various living conditions, from apartments to houses, as long as they receive proper exercise and mental stimulation.
  • There’s a misconception that Pit Bulls were historically called ‘Nanny Dogs.’ But there’s no historical evidence to support this claim.

Pit Bull Myths: Debunked!

I have DEBUNKED the Pit Bull myths here – to choose facts over fear!

  • Myth #1: ‘Pit Bulls are always aggressive.’ No, temperament tests show more than an 85% pass rate, disproving inherent aggression.
  • Myth #2: ‘Untrained Pit Bulls are safe with other dogs.’ No, socialization matters! But genetics play a role, too. Responsible ownership will prevent dog fights.
  • Myth #3: ‘Pit Bulls have powerful locking jaws.’ No. Because there’s no scientific evidence to support this. It’s a baseless rumor.
  • Myth #4: ‘Pit Bulls’ brains swell.’ No. Their brains typically grow like the other dogs.
  • Myth #5: ‘Unsafe to adopt Pit Bulls from shelters due to unknown history and genetics.’ No. Many shelter Pit Bulls make wonderful companions when assessing general behavior.
  • Myth #6: ‘Treadmills are only for dog fighting preparation.’ No. Using treadmills for your Pit Bull exercise is responsible and common practice. This is not limited to any association with dog fighting.

Interesting topics:


When talking about Pit Bull attacks, it’s essential to AVOID making broad generalizations. It’s not just about the breed; responsible ownership and proper training matter, too.

We should focus on educating communities, promoting responsible pet ownership, and encouraging positive interactions to prevent Pit Bull attacks.

Remember! Jumping to conclusions and stereotypes doesn’t ALWAYS help – first, we need to understand that dogs are not humans (this will solve half of the problems).

Think beyond the BOX – to change your perspective!


No, statistics do not support breed-specific legislation for Pitbulls. In fact, studies have shown that laws targeting specific dog breeds do not effectively reduce dog bites. A more effective approach would be to promote responsible pet ownership, educate the public about dogs, and implement laws that protect the well-being of all dogs.

No, Pitbulls do not represent the majority of dog-related incidents. Other factors play a role in dog behavior and blaming one breed oversimplifies the issue.

No, there is no evidence to suggest that Pitbulls are inherently aggressive. Their behavior is influenced by genetics, upbringing, and socialization. Trust me, well-socialized and trained Pitbulls can make loving and friendly companions.

No. This is a misconception. No scientific evidence supports this IDEA of the ‘locking jaw’ mechanism in Pitbulls or any other dog breed.

No, experts do not recommend breed-specific bans as they are often ineffective and unfairly target specific breeds.

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Andrew Marshall
Andrew Marshall is a versatile writer with 2 years of experience writing & contributing for IPetGuides. He is based in US, LA and currently, he has a Rottweiler & a Dachsund dog breed.

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