With the holiday season, many Puget Sound families are looking in to adding a new, furry member to the family. One of the biggest questions you may have is whether people – especially your children – will be safe interacting with the dog. 

Aside from the injury itself, Washington state also has strict laws about legal liability for anyone who owns a dangerous dog. Consequences result from the first bite, regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior. 

Risks from dog breeds 

If you or a loved one has ever suffered a dog bite, you know that you may not always be able to identify the breed of dog in that scary moment. A majority of dog bite incidents involve a dog of “unknown” or “mixed breed.” However, of the bite incidents with a known dog breed, the report suggests that the following breeds are more likely to bite: 

  • Pitbull 
  • German shepherd 
  • Terrier 
  • Rottweiler 

The study also looked at dog bite severity, noting that these breeds share a square, boxy head. This gives these breeds a powerful and damaging bite. While very useful for the hunting and guarding jobs these breeds originally had, that power is much less helpful in a family pet. 

Dog breed bans 

Given the popular image that breeds like pit bull terriers are more dangerous, 27 cities in Washington state actually banned specific dog breeds. The most commonly banned breed was the pitbull, partially due to the breed’s unfortunate popularity for dog fighting. 

New legislation as of January 1, 2020, actually repeals those bans. All dogs that can pass the appropriate good temperament test may live with a family in any city in Washington state. 

Overall, if you adore a breed known for biting, do not give up hope. Proper training for your dog and good dog etiquette for your children can take a big step toward reducing the risk of a dog bite incident.