Nonprofit Releases 2020 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - Attacks by Bull Breeds Increase and Trends from the 16 Year Data Set

In 2020, canines inflicted at least 46 deadly human attacks. Pit bulls contributed to 72% (33) of these deaths. Overall, fatal dog mauling statistics in 2020 were dominated by bull breeds and mastiff-type dogs. When breed was known, only 3 fatal dog attacks did not involve these breeds.

Nonprofit Releases 2020 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - Attacks by Bull Breeds Increase and Trends from the 16 Year Data Set
Austin, TX, June 01, 2021 --(, a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, releases 2020 U.S. dog bite fatality statistics. Last year, canines inflicted at least 46 deadly human attacks. There was a rise of reported fatal dog attacks without breed data and a rise of attacks unreported by mainstream media and official sources. Attacks by bull breeds also increased, only 3 deaths tracked did not involve bull breeds or mastiff-type dogs. Multi-victim fatal attacks (a new tracking category) also emerged.

Of the 46 deaths inflicted by dogs, pit bulls contributed to 72% (33), over 16 times higher than the next closest known breeds: American bulldogs, German shepherds, Mastiff/bullmastiff and mixed-breeds, each involved in 2 deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6.2% of the total U.S. dog population.* Fatal dog attacks with partially or fully unreleased breed data grew to 13% (6 deaths). The majority of these attacks (4 of 6) were pack attacks, involving 4 or more attacking dogs.

Data from 2020 shows that 33% (15) of dog bite fatality victims were children ages 9-years old and younger, 7% (3) were ages 10 to 18-years, an infrequent age group for dog bite fatality victims, and 61% (28) were adults, ages 19-years and older. Of the 15 children killed by dogs, infants (<1 year old) accounted for over half of these victims, 53% (8 of 15). Of the 28 adults killed by dogs, including males ages 25, 26 and 27, nearly 80% (22) were killed by pit bulls.

During the pandemic year, news reports of fatal dog maulings fell by 45% compared to 2019, according to the annual citations gathered by the nonprofit. In response, sent public information requests to 30 different law enforcement, coroner and animal control departments and uncovered 6 fatal dog attacks that either had no media reports (5 deaths) or were delayed reports (1 death). These FOIAs also helped identify the breed involved in 4 other cases.

Illinois led all states in lethal dog attacks in 2020 with 6 deaths. Will County, Illinois alone sustained 3 dog bite fatalities. Florida followed with 5 deaths. California, Georgia and Louisiana followed, each with 3 deaths. In 2020, an underreporting of fatal dog bites was observed in California and Texas. From 2015 to 2019, the two states combined averaged 8.8 dog bite fatalities per year. This fell to 5 deaths in 2020; of those deaths, 2 were uncovered by FOIAs.

2020 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics & 16 Year Highlights

This year's release includes statistics from our 16 year data set. From Jan. 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2020, canines killed 568 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 67% (380) of these deaths. Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers (51) contributed to 76% (431) of the total recorded deaths. When mastiff-type guard dogs and war dogs are added -- the types used to create "baiting" bull breeds and fighting breeds -- this small group of dog breeds accounts for 84% (477) of all dog bite-related deaths.

Discussion Notes - 2020 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics

Discussion notes examine characteristics of reported fatal attacks with no breed data in 2020 and characteristics of unreported fatal dog attacks (2005 to 2020). The report also discusses two new tracking categories. Multi-victim fatal dog attacks, when the dog(s) injure multiple victims at the scene, comprised 15% (7) of fatal dog attacks in 2020. Pit bulls carried out all 7 of these attacks. 20% (9 of 46) of all dog bite fatalities fell into the new deviant/habitual behaviors category, which includes, repeated animal control violations, aggressive crimes, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, crimes involving children and firearms, and when an "argument" preceded a fatal attack.

Statistical PDF documents are available for download at the website:

16 Year Dog Bite Fatality Chart by Breed (2005 to 2020)
16 Year Dog Bite Fatality Chart by Age Groups (2005 to 2020)
Summary of Factors and Scenarios Over 16-Year Period (2005-2020)

*Breed population numbers are tabulated annually by Animals 24-7. The last 3-year average of the total pit bull population is 6.2% (8.0% in 2018, 7.9% in 2019 and 2.7% in 2020). COVID-19 boosts Labs, goldens, & small dogs; pit bull breeders crash, by Merritt Clifton, Animals 24-7, July 9, 2020 (
Colleen Lynn