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The range of available pit bull statistics paints a very different picture of this much-vilified dog. Pit bulls are one of the most misunderstood of all dog breeds. These big-hearted dogs have a fearsome reputation when really, they are one of the softer and more loving breeds.

I’ve never owned a pitbull myself, but some good friends of mine always had them; in my experience, they were gentle and well-behaved dogs. Very much part of the family, their pit bull terriers were gorgeous dogs.

The chance of being bitten is there with any dog. However, animal attacks often see pitbull-type dogs labeled as aggressive dogs. The truth is that smaller dogs are more involved in bite incidents than pit bulls. However, as these bites do not require medical treatment, they go unreported.

A study by the University of Pennsylvania discovered that 20% of Dachshunds had bitten a stranger. The majority of the six thousand people in the study claimed they believed their small dogs had problems with aggressive behavior.

Eye-Opening Stats at a Glance

Pit Bull Statistics

Pit Bulls Only Had 43% DNA Makeup from Their Pitbull Ancestors (

Due to crossbreeding, most dogs are misidentified as pit bulls. With less than a 50% genetic match with true pit bulls, many modern pit bull-type dogs are a generic mixed breed.

Pit bulls remain one of the most commonly misidentified breeds.

There Are Around 18 Million Pit Bull-type Dogs and their Mixes in the US (Pitbull info)

A recent study of over 200k vet visits found that dogs called ‘pit bulls’ are the most popular breed in at least 21 states and the most popular dogs in the U.S. overall. In addition, over 18 million pit bull mixes live in the United States, many of which are used as service dogs or for guard dog duties.

Pitbull Makes Up 5.5% of the Total Population of Dogs (ANIMALS 24-7)

Despite their reputation, pit bulls account for 5.5% of all dogs in the United States.

Pit Bulls Are the Most Abused Dogs in the World (PETA)

Many pit bull owners chose the breed for guard duties. Owners purposefully mistreat their pit bulls and starve them of affection in order to trigger their aggressive behavior.

The extent of pit bull abuse also contributes to the common myth that they are ferocious dogs.

Approximately 1 Million Pit Bulls Are Euthanized Each Year (Oklahoma Animal Alliance)

truth about pit bull mixed breeds

Pitbull-type dogs account for approximately 40% of all dogs euthanized in shelters yearly. In addition, close to 1 million pit bulls are killed each year, as many people do not want to rehome these animals.

This means 2,800 pit bulls are euthanized daily, mainly due to misinformation surrounding the breed.

25% of the US Think Negatively about Pitbulls (YouGov)

While research shows at least a quarter of the US population thinks negatively about Pitbulls, and up to 50% of people are wary of the breed, they are still the 19th most popular dog breed in America.

Due to being bred for bear and bull baiting and other aggressive pursuits, the pit bull is tarred with a brush that speaks more of breed ownership traits than dog characteristics.

Pit Bulls Ranked Lowest in All Categories According to a 2016 Survey (The Washington Post)

A small survey of 49 California college students saw pit bulls rank lowest in terms of friendliness, intelligence, and adaptability. However, along with the small niche test group, the results were based on images rather than any real dog interaction.

public safety for specific breed

Scoring More than 85% on Temperament Tests, Pitbulls Are Not as Vicious as Imagined (

Studies by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) confirmed that pit bulls are in the top 23% of best-tempered dogs.

Three different pit bull breeds were included in the test and got an average score of 87.9%.

  • American pit bull terriers scored 87.6%
  • American Staffordshire terrier scored 85.7%
  • Staffordshire bull terrier scored 91.9%

Pit Bulls Are Not a Great Threat to Humans (The National Canine Research Council)

pitbull dog bite fatalities

While there is no denying that pit bull attacks happen, it is also a fact that all dogs bite. Unfortunately, Pitbull statistics are often overrepresented in the media.

In August 2007, there were four dog bite incidents involving different dogs in four days. One involved a pit bull; the others were other breeds.

The three attacks that did not involve a pit bull were covered by no more than one local paper. The pit bull bite was covered by 230 different national and international news agencies in some form.

Pitbull Attack Statistics

Pitbulls Are Most Commonly Used in Dogfights (ASPCA)

Pitbull-type dogs are strong and will become aggressive when abused and riled up. As a result, they are the most commonly used dogs in fighting rings.

Dog fighting is illegal in all fifty states yet continues under the radar. As a result, many pit bulls are abused, beaten, starved, and even mutilated to get them ferocious ahead of a fight.

Pitties Are Ranked First on the List of Biting Dogs (Dogsbite org)

are pitbull dangerous

Research showed that pit bulls were responsible for 65.6% of dog bites. Rottwelers were next, being involved in 10.4% of fatal dog attacks.

Dog bites are often a result of some form of provocation. So when factoring in the high rate of abuse and baiting behavior, it’s unsurprising there are a high number of pit bull attacks. However, these statistics do not include all of the incidents that do not get reported.

You can learn more about the dog biting laws by clicking here.

Pit Bulls Killed 33 (69%) Americans in 2019 (

Studies confirmed that pit bulls were responsible for 69% of fatal dog attacks involving humans in 2019 in the US.

Furthermore, more than half of those disfiguring and fatal attacks involved family members as opposed to strangers.

Pitbulls Were Implicated in Fatal Dog Attacks Between 2016 and 2020 (

While pit bull statistics show that pit bull attacks have resulted in human fatalities between 2016 and 2020, the research also concluded that a dog attack is not a breed-specific problem.

Instead, pit bulls and other dogs are likely to attack based on their behavior as a direct result of their environment.

Between 2013 and 2021, Pitbulls Were Involved in the Most Dog Bites in 20 States (

In many states, pit bulls are responsible for almost half of all dog bite injuries. Research conducted in Harris County, Texas, also concluded that pit bull bite incidents were 213% more likely to be severe than other breeds.

Between 2005 and 2020, 568 Americans were killed by dogs. Pit bulls were responsible for 66.9% (380) of these fatalities (

In the sixteen years that elapsed between 2005 and 2020, pit bulls were responsible for 568 American deaths as a direct result of dog attacks.

dog breeds involved i n the most human fatalities

2/3rd of Dog Bite-related Injuries in a Philadelphia Hospital Involved Pitbulls (NCBI)

pitbull bite statistics and facts

A study published in 2009 examined 5 years of dog bite incidents involving children and confirmed that almost two-thirds of dog bites came from pit bulls (51%) and a further 9% from Rottweilers.

Between 1965–1975, There Was Only One Pitbull Reported Attack (Faunalytics)

The pit bull was once America’s dog. From 1965 through 1975, pit bull owners were common, and attacks were scarce.

However, demonizing the breed began with the crackdown on dog fights and the hive mentality that any dog that looked mean was automatically a pit bull.

From 1979–1998, 60% Pit Bull Involved Deaths in the USA (AVMA)

Together with Rottweilers, the pit bull was involved in 60% of dog bite-related fatalities involving humans between 1979 and 1998.

However, these pit bull aggression statistics only represented a small portion of dog bite injuries and thus painted the pit bull in an unfavorable light.

Pitbull Adoption and Shelter Statistics

Pit Bulls Spend Three Times Longer in Shelters, Comparatively (The Washington Post)

Due to a combination of factors, pit bulls spend three times more time in shelters than any other breed. Three core factors contribute to their lengthy shelter time.

  • Many landlords expressly prohibit pit bulls as pets.
  • The reputation of the pit bull makes people wary of adopting them.
  • Many other dog breeds are mistakenly labeled as pit bulls simply because of their appearance.

Approximately 14.8% of All Dogs in the US Shelters Are Pitbulls (Pitbull info)

Despite so many pit bulls being placed in shelters, the breed accounts for 14.8% of the US shelter dog population. With backyard breeding and large litter sizes creating a swell in numbers, every fresh wave of negative media time also sees more dogs surrendered to shelters.

Pit Bull Dogs Make up 40% plus of All Dogs Put up for Adoption in Shelters (ANIMALS 24-7)

pit bull problem in dog-related incidents

Due to backyard breeding and a general love-hate relationship between American families and pitbull-type dogs, they often find their way back into the shelter system. As a result, more than a third of all dogs for adoption are pit bulls.

Breed-specific legislation also plays a large factor in the number of pit bulls left behind in shelters.

In 2021, 4.8% of Pitbulls Were Advertised for Sale (ANIMALS 24-7)

how many pit bulls are euthanized each year

Backyard breeding is a big problem with pit bulls, which is why 4.8% of all advertised dogs in the US were pit bulls in 2021. This equates to over 42% of dogs available and is indicative of the more significant problem within the US.

Pitbulls are readily bred yet frequently unwanted and left in shelters.

75% of the Time, Pitbull Breeds Are Wrongly Labeled at Animal Shelters (ScienceDirect)

When animals arrive at a shelter, they are often labeled quickly. Breed identification is often based on appearance; however, because of extensive crossbreeding, up to 75% of dogs are labeled as pit bulls incorrectly.

The pit bull is not considered a breed but rather a collective of several breeds, making it a loose definition and easily open to individual interpretation.

64% Increase in Adoption after the Removal of Identification Tags (PLOS)

pit bull puppies statistics

After analyzing 20,000 adoptions, researchers discovered that pit bulls were 64% more likely to be adopted once their breed identification labels were removed.

The research also showed that other dog breeds were also more likely to be adopted when labels were taken out of the equation.

51 Pit Bulls Recovered from Michael Vick’s Kennels (BarkPost, WebMD)

Michael Vick was an NFL superstar and had just signed a 10-year $130 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons when he was arrested for running a dog fighting ring. He was found to have 51 abused and mistreated pit bulls on his property.

Vick was sentenced to 19 months in prison and banned from owning dogs for several years. However, only one of the dogs had to be euthanized, and while two others died from their injuries, the other 48 were rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed.

Pit Bull Bites Were Responsible for 26% of Deaths Between 1981 and 1992 (NCBI)

Pit bulls were implicated in almost a third of all fatal dog attacks from the 1980s into the early 90s. The study further confirmed that a total of twenty-five different breeds were responsible for fatal attacks on humans during those years.

The pit bull gained a bad reputation for these statistics; however, the number of dog bite-related injuries far eclipsed the number of fatalities.

Pit Bulls Actually Involved in Fewer Human Attacks than Other Breeds (American Veterinary Medical Association)

Some will argue that the introduction of breed-specific legislation is responsible for the drop in the number of pit bull attacks on humans.

The truth is that since 1998, no nationwide system has been used to track dog breed-specific bite incidents.

Facts About Pitbulls

Facts About Pitbulls
  • Pitbulls are one of the best dogs with small children. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pitbull Terrier are two of the best family dogs.
  • Pitbulls were originally bred in the United Kingdom and came to America with the British.
  • The American pit bull terrier is not recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.


What Percent of Dog Attacks Are Pit Bulls?

There are no centralized dog bite statistics tracking the correlation between dog breeds and bite incidents. Research showed that pit bulls were responsible for 22.5% of dog bites. Mixed-breed dogs were next, being involved in 21.2% of fatal dog attacks.

How Many Pitbulls in the US?

According to statistics, there are about 18 million pit bulls in the United States, making up 20 percent of the larger dog population.

What Do Pit Bulls Usually Die From?

Pit bulls have good lifespans, typically living 13-15 years with few health complications. They’re hardy dogs, but they can suffer from bone diseases, skin allergies, thyroid problems, and congenital heart defects.

How Big Do Pit Bulls Get?

A full-grown American Pit Bull Terrier stands 17-21 inches tall and weighs 35-60 pounds for males and 30-50 pounds for females. Pit Bull puppies typically stop growing around 18 months old, but you can often predict their adult size by looking at the size of their paws.


Pit bull attack statistics paint this gentle dog in a bad light. However, the statistics rarely tell the full story and are often misleadingly represented by the media.

Examining Pit Bull statistics reveals not just the temperament of this often-misunderstood breed but also the significance of appropriate training and secure containment to ensure safe interactions and prevent unintended roaming. It’s enlightening to note that innovative technologies have begun to play a pivotal role in helping owners manage their pit bulls effectively and safely.

Dive into our Halo Collar reviews and Spoton Fence reviews to explore how these advanced dog management systems can be instrumental in aligning with statistical insights, ensuring your Pit Bull is contained, safe, and always within loving boundaries.

For centuries, humans have bred dogs for temperament rather than looks. Dogs serve a functional purpose.

The pit bull gained a reputation for being an aggressive animal, not because of its nature but because humans wanted to cultivate that persona for the breed. There is no denying that pit bulls bite from time to time. But other dogs do too.

The plethora of pit bull myths will not go away unless more is done to protect this beautiful breed.

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