Filed Under:Risk Management, Captives

10 dog breeds most often blacklisted by home insurance carriers

The American Pit Bull Terrier (Photo: Thinkstock / horsesdogscats)
The American Pit Bull Terrier (Photo: Thinkstock / horsesdogscats)

Although domesticated dogs may seem quite friendly and approachable, there are occasions when they can be dangerous. There have been a number of cases in the U.S. involving vicious dog attacks on both humans and other pets.

The breed of dog you own could make it more difficult to secure Homeowners insurance. Insurers are hesitant in offering coverage to homeowners who own breeds and mixes that insurers believe are more likely to bite and cause injuries. According to DogsBite.org, more than 700 cities in the U.S. have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid-1980s, following the rise in popularity of pit bulls in the general population.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that between 1997 and 1998, dog-bite attacks were the reason behind the deaths of at least 27 people. Of that number, 19 (70%) were children, eight were adults, and approximately half (56%) were male. Five (19%) of these deadly attacks involved unrestrained dogs off the owners’ property, 18 (67%) involved unrestrained dogs on the owners’ property, three (11%) involved restrained dogs on the owners’ property, and one (4%) involved a restrained dog off the owner’s property.

Seventeen states reported fatal attacks, including California with four deaths; Georgia and North Carolina reported three deaths each; Kansas, Texas, and Wisconsin reported two each; and Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, South Dakota, and Tennessee each reported one.

The CDC report cited that Rottweilers were the most commonly reported breed involved in fatal attacks, followed by pit bull-type dogs. Together, these two breeds were involved in approximately 60% of human deaths. 

Einhorn Insurance, a San Diego, Calif., agency that assists responsible dog owners in finding carriers that don’t discriminate, has compiled a list of the 10 breeds most often deemed dangerous by insurance companies. Let’s take a look at them.

Pitbull

(Photo: Shutterstock/Otsphoto)

1. Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers

Pit bull attacks make the news more than any other dog. According to DogsBite.org, between 2005 and 2014, pit bulls were responsible for the deaths of 203 Americans, about one person every 18 days. In early 2014, a 10-year-old boy in Newark, NJ, was critically injured after he was attacked by his father's two pitbulls.

The term “pit bull” comprises both the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier; the breeds were originally developed as fighting dogs, by breeding bull dogs and terriers together. Advocates from The Humane Society of the United States and other groups say the breeds, which have a reputation for being unpredictable and dangerous, are unfairly demonized.

A report released by DogsBite.org in 2009 revealed that of the 88 fatal dog attacks recorded in the U.S. between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2008, pit bulls are responsible for 52 (59%) of these attacks. According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, of the cases that resulted in very severe injuries or fatalities, pit bull-type dogs were more frequently identified. 

Mary Grace O’Brien from East Rockaway, N.Y., told the Huffington Post in March 2015 that, after her house was gutted by fire in October 2014, her insurance company refused to pay her fire claim because, the company said, they were unaware she owned a pit bull. O’Brien claimed she was never asked about any of her six pets. 

Doberman3

(Photo: AP Images)

2. Doberman Pinschers

As the breed’s popularity grew in the 1970s, so did cases of Doberman attacks. A pet Doberman for a Brooklyn, N.Y., family killed their eight-month-old baby in 2008, while he was lying on a blanket. Neighbors said the dog clamped his jaws around the boy’s tiny head, making it impossible for his grandmother to pry the animal off.

The American Kennel Club (AKC), says Dobermans can be affectionate, obedient and loyal, however.

Rottweiler

(Photo: Alkestida)

3. Rottweilers

According to the AKC, Rottweilers make good police dogs, herders, service or therapy dogs and are very protective of their territory. North East Rottweiler Rescue & Referral in Portsmouth, R.I., notes that the dogs need obedience training, socialization and daily exercise and should always be kept under control.

In 2013, an Atlanta, Ga., high school student was attacked on school grounds by two roaming Rottweilers. Injuries from the attack left the girl in need of reconstructive surgery.

Chow Chow  

(Photo: Shutterstock/Bokstaz)

4. Chow Chows

A Chow Chow was euthanized in 2012, after it attacked an eight-year-old boy riding a bicycle in York, S.C. The boy was no stranger to the neighbor’s dog, and played with him regularly. The attack left him suffering facial injuries and in need of stitches and staples.

The breed is known for its scowling expression, black tongue and thick coat, and likes to hunt, herd, protect and pull. According to Animal Planet, the Chow Chow can be aggressive toward strange dogs out of a need to protect its human family and the other pets in its household.

Great Dane    

(Photo: Shutterstock/Blue Iris)

5. Great Danes

Great Danes are usually associated with the lovable Marmaduke from the comic pages and the 2010 movie, yet two from this breed were not so cuddly when they mauled and critically injured a woman as she entered their kennel. Vetstreet recommends that the breed, which can weigh more than 100 pounds, receives early training against jumping or acting aggressively.

Presa

(Photo: Shutterstock/Marko Marcello)

6. Perro de Presa Canario

Also called the Presa Canario, this breed became notorious after a 2001 case in San Francisco, Calif., involving a woman who was mauled in the hallway of an apartment building by two of the massive dogs owned by a neighbor. The woman suffered more than 75 bite wounds and the owner is now serving 15 years to life in prison. The Perro de Presa Canario usually makes the list of banned breeds, in places where this is done.

  Akitas

(Photo: Shutterstock/sbolotova)

7. Akitas 

Akitas are popular show dogs, but have strong guarding instincts and temperaments ranging from calm to aggressive. The AKC advises constant supervision of this breed when they are around small children and other animals.  

In 2013, a three-year-old boy petting an Akita on a leash in a Murrieta, Calif., home improvement store was reportedly attacked and bitten on the jaw, neck and forehead, and below the right eye by the animal. His wounds required 50 stitches.

  Malamute

(Photo: Shutterstock/Liliya Kulianionak)

8. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes have become popular as family pets, but they were originally bred as sled dogs for work in the Arctic. Known for their strength, endurance, intelligence and ability to learn quickly, the breed also can be strong-willed.

The Alaskan Malamute Club of Canada says the dogs may require constant behavior training because they want to fight. In early 2014, police in Britain seized a pet Malamute after the dog was suspected of killing a six-day-old infant.

German

(Photo: Shutterstock)

9. German Shepherds

The AKC says the German Shepherd is the world’s leading police, guard and military dog. According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, German Shepherds frequently appear in lists of dogs implicated in biting incidents.

In New Athens, Ill., two German Shepherds, owned by the town’s former police chief, mauled an eight-year-old girl in 2013. The girl was bitten on her left leg, chest and back.

Siberian Huskies

(Photo: Shutterstock/Eric Isselee)

10. Siberian Huskies

Not all dog-bite incidents involve humans. In 2012, a Siberian Husky reportedly killed a Chihuahua at a dog park in South Euclid, Ohio. Patrons of the park said the woman with the Husky could not control him. Declared vicious under a city ordinance, the dog has to be muzzled whenever he’s in public, and the owner was required to buy insurance, post a warning sign on her property and have the dog microchipped.

Wolf Hybrid

(Photo: Shutterstock/Tom Reichner)

Also:  Wolf Hybrids (wolf dogs)

The Einhorn Insurance list also includes the wolf hybrids—or wolf dogs—which are technically not a breed but are the animals that result from mating a wolf with a dog. Although loyal supporters say wolf dogs make good pets, critics argue that the animals are dangerous and unpredictable. In 2002, a Wolf Hybrid killed a five-year-old boy in Ballard County, Ky. The owner pled guilty to reckless homicide.

Although domesticated dogs may seem quite friendly and approachable, there are occasions when they can be dangerous. There have been a number of cases in the U.S. involving vicious dog attacks on both humans and other pets.

The breed of dog you own could make it more difficult to secure Homeowners insurance. Insurers are hesitant in offering coverage to homeowners who own breeds and mixes that insurers believe are more likely to bite and cause injuries. According to DogsBite.org, more than 700 cities in the U.S. have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid-1980s, following the rise in popularity of pit bulls in the general population.

For the full report, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

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