Accidents involving dog bites cost the insurance industry over $350 million per year and are now the largest cause of Homeowners Insurance claims in the U.S. As a result, many breeds are considered “uninsurable” or may require heightened premiums.
Notoriously Dangerous Breeds
The following dog pedigrees are considered dangerous:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
- Alaskan Malamute
- Wolf-dog Hybrid
- Chow Chow
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Doberman Pinscher
- Siberian Husky
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Perro de Presa Canario
It is difficult to determine how a dog’s breed will predict its disposition, much like it is hard to predict how nature versus nurture plays a role in the development of a child.
To minimize the risk that your dog will display aggressive behavior towards other dogs or humans, you must be a responsible pet owner and do the following:
- Restrain your dog with a strong leash when in public or fenced in while in the yard. The fence should be at least six to eight-feet tall, depending on your dog’s size.
- Socialize your dog as a puppy with other dogs and people. Take him/her to puppy classes starting at a young age, and praise your dog when he/she behaves well with others.
- Spay or neuter your dog, as 80 percent of all fatal attacks are caused by non-neutered male dogs. Fixing a dog alters its territorial instincts and aggression.
- Train the dog not to bite your hands, furniture, etc. If your dog starts to growl or chew on something, clap your hands loudly to distract him/her and then provide a toy for the dog to play with. Praise the dog when he/she chews on toys only.
- Give your dog lots of positive attention.
- Properly identify your dog with tags and a microchip.
Watch your dog’s behavior closely and contact your veterinarian if he/she exhibits any of the following behaviors: growling, snapping, biting family members, being aggressive towards strangers or showing signs of extreme fear. Your vet can refer you to a veterinary behavior specialist. While the dog is going through treatment, be extra cautious while in public and consider placing a basket muzzle over the dog’s mouth.
Insurance can usually be obtained for most dogs; however, there are some limitations. If you own a breed that has been historically violent, you may have to pay an increased premium (even if your dog has not displayed any violent behavior). If your dog has passed obedience school tests, you may qualify for a premium discount.
Here are the Facts:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, and around 17 percent of those victims need medical care. There are also 10 to 20 people who do not survive the attack. The CDC claims that dog bites are an “epidemic” in America.
To curb dog bites, some communities around the U.S. have banned certain dogs as pets, as they are perceived to be more dangerous or a have track record of violence. This specifically applies to Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.