Whenever you go for a jog, it is wise to be wary of dogs along the route. This is especially true if you come up behind the dog and you startle it. Dogs often react instinctively and may bite before anyone realizes what is happening.
If you run often, though, you know that it's sometimes hard to determine if a dog is dangerous or not. It seems like all dog owners think their pets are friendly. Many are; you can run right by them without a problem. But many are not, as shown by the hundreds of dog bites every year. How can you tell?
One way to do it is simply to know what breeds you should avoid.
Dog-related fatalities are far less common than bites resulting in injury, but they do happen. Looking at the statistics can help to show which dogs pose the greatest threat. These are the dogs that you really want to avoid when you go out for a run.
In a report published in Forbes that looked at fatal incidents between 2005 and 2017, here are how the different breeds stacked up:
Doberman pinschers: 6 fatal incidents
Labrador retrievers: 9
American bulldogs: 15
Mixed-breed dogs: 17
German shepherds: 20
Pit bulls: 284
The jump to pit bulls at 284 is frightening and notable. While many of these dogs can become friendly when raised in the right environment, a lot of the danger just comes from their powerful build. If they do decide to attack someone -- especially a child -- they are strong enough to do serious damage. Other dogs may attack without the physical ability to take things nearly as far.
What to watch out for
If you want to avoid a bite, the key is to know what red flags to look out for. That starts with the breed, but it also includes things like:
A dog being walked without a leash
A dog that is free and not confined to a yard
A dog that is not wearing a collar
A dog that seems too agitated that you are approaching its property
A dog that sees you at the last second and appears startled or afraid
When you see a dog beginning to act nervous or aggressive, try to remove yourself from the situation in a calm, controlled manner. Even if that means cutting your run short, it is worth it to avoid a bite.
Even with all of this information, you could still suffer a serious bite. Make sure you know exactly what legal rights you have after the fact.