What is the most dangerous large mammal in the US (besides humans)? You'll probably guess wrong.

Most of the time, people will get this question wrong. Here's a recent list:

Bee/Wasp 53
Dogs 31
Spider 6.5
Rattlesnake 5.5
Mountain lion 1
Shark 1
Alligator 0.3
Bear 0.5
Scorpion 0.5
Centipede 0.5
Elephant 0.25
Wolf 0.1
Horse 20
Bull 3

Remove the bugs, snakes, and other cold-blooded critters from the list and the domestic dog is the #1 killer (31), followed by horses (20), and bulls (3).

Dogs kill 30 people every year and maim thousands. And you can bet that most of these serious/fatal attacks aren't by golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, Yorkshire terriers, or chihuahuas. The are done by fairly large (20 lb on up) dogs with dog fighting and guarding DNA in their blood, even if they aren't purebred animals.

The general "pitbull type" is a dog with an athletic build (deep chest, sturdy and muscular legs, strong neck), about 25 lb on up, short coat of any color, but most particularly with an oversized head, medium-short muzzle, and huge cheek muscles. Typically, such a dog will have at least some (and usually at least half) purebred pitbull DNA.

I might as well include some other dangerous dogs: cane corso, dogo argentino, presa canario, rottweilers, chow chows, and similar types of dogs based on fighting dogs, guard dogs, and mastiffs.

These dogs can do horrific damage and even kill people.

Most of the most serious injuries and deaths by far are children. And sometimes, it's even the family dog killing a smll member of the family. More typically, it's just some kid in the neighborhood whose appearance or behavior triggers aggression in the dog.

Here's a list of kids killed by pitbulls (so, it doesn't even include German shepherds, chow chows, dobermans, rottweilers, etc.),

If I ask, "Why do we need to have such potentially dangerous dogs around?" I'll get some pretty nonsensical replies.

"Most pitbulls are really great dogs." My reply is that every pitbull I've met (owned by friends or acquaintances) was a very friendly and affable dog. I'm not talking about those dogs. I'm talking about the other ones, The ones who go nuts and kill or maim someone.

"The problem isn't the dog, it's the owner." My reply is that, unfortunately, we can't act against an owner until their dog attacks someone (or another dog, which is even more common than attacks on humans). Let's not forget all the cats, rabbits, and other pets and domestic animals killed by these dogs as well. Anyway, by the time there are legal grounds to act against an owner, the damage has already been done, so lets forget the "it's the owner" reply. It offers no solution.

So I ask, why do we bother to have them around? Why is there so little interest in controlling them?

I was just unfriended by someone on Facebook who called me a canine "racist." You'd think I was proposing wiping out a species. All dogs from the chihuahua to the great dane are the same species. There are just breeds, which means inbred, and mixes. They are not separate species.

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Why do we need to have such potentially dangerous dogs around?

Because people like to keep animals as pets.

I'll get some pretty nonsensical replies.

Made sense to me!

The problem isn't the dog, it's the owner.

I'd love to see a study done to actually prove this. Is it just the abused pitbulls who will chew a childs face off? Is it nature, or nurture? Until then, you really can't say.

by the time there are legal grounds to act against an owner, the damage has already been done

Isn't this the basis of our legal system? Innocent until proven guilty?

canine "racist."

LOL. Wouldn't the correct term be canine "breedist"? Since your are prejudiced against certain breeds of dog... Also, this is a total non-argument since being a "canine breedist" is not necessarily a bad thing, or even incorrect. i.e. some breeds of dog are indeed bigger and more capable of killing (i.e. prejudice for a reason).

Actually, I'm opposed to purebreeding pets. "Purebreeding" is basically inbreeding, and inbreeding almost always preserves genetic flaws. Your average mutt or domestic cat from a shelter is generally genetically and physically healthier than a show bred dog or cat given basic good care by their owner.

Shall I list all the diseases afflicting purebreds that are largely absent from animals who aren't being bred to some short of standard? The list is long and only necessary if the owner is obsessed with obtaining some sort of standard (usually, but not always appearance).

One of the worst features, because it almost always brings a cornucopia of health issues with it, is short or flat faces in cats and dogs. Let's start with the fact that the short/flat face is a defect to start with. Why breed it in? WTF! But in order to keep a more natural face from growing out of subsequent generations, intense inbreeding breeds in all kinds of other health issues.

What would a basic dog look like without human interference? Look at wolves and coyotes and dingos. Long nose, perky-not-floppy ears, gently curved (not curly) tail. It would probably weigh whatever the best weight is for its environment. Northern forest wolves are big, often weighing over 100 lb. Desert wolves are much smaller, 50 lb being more typical. Dogs would probably follow suit. Fur length would vary with environs as well. Dogs would probably weigh much less than their wolfish counterparts. 

People shop for dogs and cats by breed as if they were shopping for a pretty brand name handbag or fancy car.

A pitbull mauled a little girl who lived on my brother's street. We saw the girl's father running down the road, chasing and shooting the dog. It took six 9mm rounds to stop that dog. The girl needed hundreds of stitches and reconstructive surgery.

Suppose that dog's owner had a beagle instead of a pitbull.

I often think that almost always the desire to have a pitbull comes out of some sort of psychiatric insecurity. "I'm vulnerable, but look at my fucking dog! Don't mess with me or my dog will kill you."

I imagine that if the little girl had been strafed by a beagle flying a Sopwith Camel, the man with the 9 mm would not have even had a response.

Its a shame about the kids these dogs tear up though.

There are wild elephants in the US?

"Wild" was not stipulated. Most of the people killed by horses and bulls are probably killed on farms or at rodeos.

They had some really crazy tattoos.

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