Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Insurers are Concerned About Certain Dog Breeds

I just read a couple of articles about why homeowner insurers are so concerned about certain breeds of dogs.  In 2007, the insurance industry paid over $350,000,000 in dog bite claims; in 2010, that figure was over $400,000,000!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report about facts and statistics between 1979 and 1998.  Based on dog bite fatalities during the report period, according to an article in, the CDC claims the following are:
  1. Pit bulls - 66 fatalities;
  2. Rottweilers - 39 fatalities (Pit bulls and Rotties accounted for 60% of the fatalities);
  3. German Shepherds - 17 fatalities;
  4. Husky-type - 15 fatalities;
  5. Malamutes - 12 fatalities;
  6. Doberman Pinschers - 9 fatalities; and
  7. Chow Chows - 7 fatalities.
I'm not disputing the statistics gathered by the CDC but I can personally state that during my lifetime, I've owned 7 dogs on the list (Huskies, German Shepherds, and Rotties) and none of them ever bit anyone.

On the other hand, all the dogs on the list are large dogs - I've seen studies that show Cocker Spaniels bite more than any other breed of dog, however, given their size, they're less apt to cause fatalities than the larger dogs.  More than half the states have enacted legislation concerning dogs and dog bites; many of them make dog owners strictly liable for dogs that are defined as vicious.

I don't suppose we can argue with the fact that over 4,700,000 people received dog bites in 2010. What's your take on the situation?