An unexpected dog bite can be painful and can cause real damage. Some attacks can cause infections, disfigurement, other health issues and even death. While we cannot always know an individual animal by its breed and the stigma that surrounds them, there are statistics that point us towards the most harmful bite.

A study looking at reports in the U.S. from 2005 to 2017 shows that these are the dogs involved in the most fatal attacks:

Pit Bull – The Pit Bull was involved in the most attacks that led to a fatality. The breed was originally for baiting bulls and while they have a harsh reputation, are also known for their gentleness around children.

Rottweiler – The Rottweiler has the second most fatal attacks, at 45. Rottweilers were bred for cattle and physical labor, later even in the police and military. They are intense, intelligent and energetic.

German Shepard – The German Shepard follows with 20 fatal attacks. These dogs are good work working, most often with police and military service.

Mixed-breed – Mixed-breed canines account for 17 of the attacks and their typical characteristics vary depending on the breeds they are bred with.

American Bulldog – 15 of the fatal attacks were from American Bulldogs, which are known to be both affectionate and strong.

It is important to recognize that we do not know the circumstances surrounding these attacks, including if it was a protective act or information about the owner. The list of breeds with fatal attacks in this study continue, including Mastiffs, Huskies, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers and most unexpectedly, Labrador Retrievers.

This study only looked at attacks that ended in a death, not simply at all dog bites, which can also be harmful. If you or a loved one is injured from a dog bite, you have the right to seek the compensation you need to recover.