The most dangerous dog breed in the world

Dogs are easy to love, but also pretty remarkably easy to be terrified of. Where some see Lassie, others see Cujo. Where some see a dog that learns to play basketball, others see a beast on a warpath that can now distract you with sports equipment before mauling your face. To those folks, there may be some level of comfort in knowing which particular kind of pooch, statistically speaking, is most likely to turn them into screaming Alpo. And for those cautious readers, we have the details.

And the most dangerous dog is...

Good news for people who like exclaiming loudly that we're not being fair to pit bulls: it's pit bulls. 

To be clear, this isn't a condemnation of the breed or a call to action for their extermination. Just about everybody who's ever spent time around dogs has met some pretty rocking pits. That said, by the numbers, they're statistically the breed with the highest probability of turning unsuspecting passersby into a gurgling Kong. Part of this could be that they've historically been bred to be balls of temperamental muscle, or their perceived badassery making them the preferred breed for the troubling-house-at-the-end-of-the-block sect.

The folks over at DogsBite.org have been compiling reports about dog attacks in the United States for 14 years. In that time, they've noted that pit bulls were responsible for just shy of two thirds of all fatal dog bites. In another study by the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, it was found that since the 1970s, pit bulls and mixed breed dogs were involved in both the most severe and highest instance of dog bites to the human face. 

Some of the danger comes from pits' natural tendency to bite and latch, with a 235 pound bite force and a hell of a jaw line. Another factor comes in the possibility of infection: the CDC warns that nearly one in five dog bites becomes infected, and that a bite can lead to Pasteurella, MRSA, and of course, rabies.

Whether pitbulls' violent tendencies are more nature or nurture isn't a cut and dry issue, but remember — no matter how sweet and peachy the breed can be, there's still a pit in there, so don't try to kiss a pit like you're Angelina Jolie, and don't try to fight one like you're Edward Norton.