Click to see more photos from our "Parade of Pit Bulls" slideshow.
Click to see more photos from our "Parade of Pit Bulls" slideshow.
Darian Simon

The Popular Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite You — and They're Not Pit Bulls

As expected, a revision of Castle Rock's animal code that removes its pit-bull ban passed on first reading at the town council's regular meeting on April 17. And research conducted as part of the proposal offers a strong argument for why pits shouldn't be singled out for prohibition. According to statistics for Castle Rock and surrounding communities, several other types of dogs, including some of the favorite breeds in Colorado and America as a whole, are much more likely to bite people, and bite them severely, than are pit bulls.

The introduction to the stats acknowledges that there's no definitive way to know how many pit bulls and pit bull crosses (meaning dogs that are deemed to have 51 percent of the breed's genetic makeup based on visual inspection) are currently living in Castle Rock. However, of the roughly 600 bites catalogued by Castle Rock animal control over the past ten years, only twenty involved pit bulls or pit-bull crosses. None of the 21 bites deemed "severe" involved pits.

Here's the severe-bite breakdown:

Black Labrador/Yellow Labrador/Mixes: 4
Huskies: 4
Boxers/Mixes: 2
German shepherds: 2
Cats: 2
Alaskan Malamute/Australian shepherd/Belgian Malinois/Borzoi/Great Pyrenees/Mastiff/Rottweiler: 1 apiece

More dog-bite data was obtained from the City of Centennial, unincorporated Douglas County, the portions of unincorporated Douglas County that correspond to Castle Rock mailing addresses, and unincorporated Parker. None of those areas ban pit bulls, yet the figures from 2010 to 2017 consistently show that incidents of pit bulls biting people lag well behind those involving Labrador retrievers and German shepherds.

In no area do pit bulls finish higher than fourth in the number of bites against humans. And homes with Castle Rock addresses in unincorporated Douglas County didn't register a single pit-bull bite of a person during the seven-year span.

The statistics don't include information on how many total dogs from each breed are in an area, so it's impossible to calculate the percentage of each that bit people. But in terms of sheer numbers, the teeth of Labs and German shepherds were far likelier to sink into your flesh than the choppers on a pit bull.

Here are the stats, illustrated with photos from our "Parade of Pit Bulls" slideshow.

The Popular Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite You — and They're Not Pit Bulls
Darian Simon

City of Centennial Animal-to-Human Dog Bites 2010-2017 by Breed and Severity

Number 1: Labrador retriever

Minor: 58
Moderate: 25
Severe: 1
Unknown: 3

Number 2: German shepherd

Minor: 27
Moderate: 15
Severe: 2
Unknown: 3

Number 3. Chihuahua (short hair)

Minor: 26
Moderate: 0
Severe: 0
Unknown: 1

Number 4: Australian cattle dog

Minor: 19
Moderate: 6
Severe: 1
Unknown: 0

Number 5: Pit bull

Minor: 17
Moderate: 4
Severe: 1
Unknown: 2

The Popular Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite You — and They're Not Pit Bulls
Darian Simon

Unincorporated Douglas County with Castle Rock Mailing Address Animal-to-Human Dog Bites 2010-2017 by Breed and Severity

Number 1: German shepherd

Minor: 9
Moderate: 2
Severe: 0
Unknown: 2

Number 2: Labrador retriever

Minor: 6
Moderate: 1
Severe: 0
Unknown: 4

Number 3: Boxer

Minor: 3
Moderate: 0
Severe: 0
Unknown: 0

Number 4 (tie): Australian cattle dog

Minor: 2
Moderate: 0
Severe: 0
Unknown: 2

Number 4 (tie): Australian shepherd

Minor: 2
Moderate: 1
Severe: 0
Unknown: 0

Note: No pit bull bites recorded in this category

The Popular Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite You — and They're Not Pit Bulls
Darian Simon

Unincorporated Douglas County Animal-to-Human Dog Bites 2010-2017 by Breed and Severity

Number 1: Labrador retriever

Minor: 69
Moderate: 20
Severe: 1
Unknown: 9

Number 2: German shepherd

Minor: 44
Moderate: 24
Severe: 2
Unknown: 5

Number 3: Australian shepherd

Minor: 35
Moderate: 6
Severe: 1
Unknown: 5

Number 4: Pit bull

Minor: 28
Moderate: 10
Severe: 1
Unknown: 0

Number 5: Australian cattle dog

Minor: 22
Moderate: 9
Severe: 0
Unknown: 6

The Popular Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite You — and They're Not Pit Bulls
Darian Simon

Unincorporated Parker Animal-to-Human Dog Bites 2010-2017 by Breed and Severity

Number 1: Labrador retriever

Minor: 13
Moderate: 1
Severe: 0
Unknown: 0

Number 2: German shepherd

Minor: 5
Moderate: 3
Severe: 0
Unknown: 1

Number 3: Jack Russell terrier

Minor: 5
Moderate: 0
Severe: 0
Unknown: 0

Number 4: Pit bull

Minor: 4
Moderate: 1
Severe: 0
Unknown: 1

Number 5: Labrador retriever

Minor: 4
Moderate: 0
Severe: 0
Unknown: 0

Click to access all of the dog-bite statistics assembled by the Town of Castle Rock.

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