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Dog Bite

Keeping Your Child Safe From Dog Bites & Animal Attacks

Posted Apr 26, 2023 by Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton investigates high-profile dog bite attacks throughout Indiana, yet it’s the ones involving children that he devotes the majority of his time.

When a dog bites a child, the attack is often sudden, with no provocation on behalf of the youngster. And when there’s no warning or signs of a dog’s sudden aggression, the injuries to an unsuspecting child can be traumatic.

Dog bite injuries to children may involve:

  • Neck and throat injuries
  • Head and face lacerations/puncture wounds
  • Eye damage
  • Broken bones
  • Severed or damaged arteries
  • Nerve damage, etc.

Due to the strength of a dog’s bite force (Pit Bulls can exert 330 pounds per square inch of pressure with a single bite!), attacks can prove to be fatal, while others often require ongoing medical care and future reconstructive plastic surgery.

For this reason, Matt has put together a list of dogs that may not be the best fit for families with small children. Additionally, we’ll examine some basic dog-safety tips to help decrease the chances of your child being bitten by a dog.

Dog Breeds Children Should Avoid

First, it’s important to recognize that ANY dog can exhibit aggression toward a child, especially if the dog has never been trained and/or the child is without adult supervision.

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And despite dogs being considered part of the family, they are still animals, which can lead to unpredictable behavior, especially toward an unsuspecting child.

Below is a list of some of the more popular dog breeds that can display aggressive tendencies and be responsible for the most serious attacks against children:

Pit Bulls & Rottweilers

In addition to their powerful builds and size, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers have an extremely strong bite force. Coupled with the fact that these dogs are highly protective and can be easily provoked (especially when their owner is not present), there is a potential for disaster if either bites or attacks a child.

Chow Chow (Chows)

Chows can display a strong sense of independence that doesn’t mix well with an unaware child. In some cases, Chow dog attacks involving children occur without warning, while others happen because the child attempts to interact/play with the Chow.

German Shepherd

A very popular breed, German Sheperds have a long history in the U.S., including Indiana. Known for their guard-like instincts, there is always a potential for this breed to display aggressive behavior toward a child and/or stranger.


While less popular in number than other breeds, Akitas are present throughout the Hoosier state. The Akita was bred with hunting and protection in mind, which influences their territorial behavior. As such, this breed is not recommended for families with small children.

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher has a rather iconic status among dog breeds due to it being featured in movies and popular culture as a fierce guard dog. Having been bred for guarding and protection in mind, the Pinscher is a breed that can pose a tremendous risk to children during an attack.

Of course, this list of breeds isn’t all-inclusive with regard to dogs with aggressive tendencies. Matt has reviewed child dog bite incidents that involved Huskies, Boxers, Alaskan Malamutes, Bull Terriers, Wolf-hybrids, Cane Corsos, etc. Similarly, he has also investigated attacks by smaller breeds, such as the Chihuahua.

In addition to being aware of specific dog breeds, helping to ensure a child’s safety means it’s also critical to recognize any signs of aggression.

What Signals Do Dogs Give That They Might Bite or Attack?

Due to their keen reflexes, dog attacks involving children can happen in the blink of an eye. And while some dog attacks are seemingly unpreventable, it’s critical to recognize potential signs that a dog may bite or attack a child.

For example, a dog that feels threatened or is in attack-mode may display one or more of the following signs:

  • Tense tail and/or posture
  • Muzzle wrinkling
  • Lip retraction (bares teeth)
  • Ear placement, e.g., ears pointing back
  • Fur standing up along its body
  • Growling
  • Destruction of property, e.g., furniture, household items.

If you witness any of these behaviors, it’s important that children be removed from the dog’s presence and stays out of their reach.

Additionally, teaching children and teenagers how to recognize the signs of aggressive dog behavior can also help to reduce the risk of a bite or attack.

How to Deal With Aggressive & Dangerous Dogs

Dogs feed off of a person’s energy, behavior, and reactions. For this reason, if you encounter an aggressive or dangerous dog, it’s important to avoid eye contact, remain calm, and back away slowly.

In the event that you are able to put an object between you and the dog, this can help to fend off any sudden lurch or attack.

If, despite taking these measures, the dog attacks, it’s critical to do your best to stay on your feet and use anything you can to fend off the animal and yell/call for help.

If you find yourself on the ground during a dog attack, you must roll your hands into fists and do everything you can to cover/protect your vitals, such as your neck, face, head, and places that contains major arteries, e.g., groin/thigh area.

Likewise, if you and your child take regular walks or otherwise find yourself in the company of dogs, it’s wise to carry pepper spray or small defensive tool to help ward off an attack.

Indiana Dog Bite Attorney for Children

Dog attacks involving children can be an emotional experience for parents and anyone else involved. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the child may require ongoing therapy as well as corrective surgeries, which can lead to extensive medical bills.

To help ensure the child’s health is the main focus and your medical expenses are covered, attorney Matt Boulton suggests leaving the legal fight to him and his office.

Matt is an experienced Indiana dog bite attorney, having served as legal counsel for children and families throughout the Hoosier state. Searching for dog bite liability coverage, communicating with the insurance company, and navigating Indiana’s dog bite laws are responsibilities his clients don’t have to worry about.

If your child was injured in a dog bite attack, and you wish to learn more about your legal rights, please send the details of your story to the Boulton Law Group by using the firm’s confidential, free contact form.

Boulton Law Group offers every dog bite victim a Zero Fee Guarantee, meaning you pay nothing unless we are hired and a recovery is made on your behalf.

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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