The rise of a ‘violent’ dog breed in popularity and its link to a recent spike in fatal dog attacks in Britain.


Although the annual Crufts dog show is usually a joyous occasion for people to express their appreciation for canine companions, this year’s event was marred by tragedy.

Taking place last week in Birmingham, it followed a wave of dangerous dog attacks; recent data shows that such attacks have increased by 34% in England and Wales over the past five years.


Ella Phillips, 19, says her labrador Willow was attacked by an American bully XL last year


In January this year, four-year-old Alice Stones died after being attacked by a dog in her back garden in Milton Keynes, Bucks


On average, there were 3.3 canine-related fatalities per year between 2001 and 2021.

Last year, that shot up to ten.

Alice Stones, age 4, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was attacked and killed by a dog in her backyard in January of this year.

And in Surrey, a 28-year-old woman named Natasha Johnston was recently killed when the dogs she was walking attacked her.

There was a dramatic increase in the number of people buying dogs from unsavory breeders after the Covid lockdowns.

There is a higher prevalence of behavioral issues in these animals.

Concurrently, there has been a disturbing trend on social media of filming stunts that involve winding up dogs in potentially harmful ways.

‘Horrific injuries’

This year’s Crufts, which was won for the first time by a Lagotto Romagnolo named Orca on Sunday (a first for the breed), understandably put a premium on safety.

“Crufts is really about dog ownership — the interaction between people and dogs,” said Bill Lambert of the show’s organizer, The Kennel Club.

There are a lot of inexperienced new dog owners, and it’s possible that the proliferation of untrained, poorly socialized dogs in the population is to blame for the rise in reported incidents.

“It’s almost a perfect storm.”

Sessions were held at Crufts on training and socializing dogs to ensure they have a calm demeanor.

Dogs bought by inexperienced owners during the pandemic or by those who blindly follow the dangerous advice of unqualified dog trainers on social media are lacking this, according to experts.

There is no denying the fact that the number of human victims of dog bites is higher now than it was in the past.

The number of reported dog attacks in 2022 rose to 21,918, up from 16,294 the year before.

The popularity of certain breeds, such as the American pitbull terrier’s muscly descendant, the American bully, may be to blame.

In the United Kingdom, six of the ten canine fatalities recorded last year were attributable to bullies or bully mixes.

These included the death of Shirley Patrick, 83.

She suffered “horrific injuries,” as her daughter Gail Jones put it to The Sun.

Her upper lip and nose tip both disappeared.

She had lost the bulk of her face, leaving only a skeletal outline.

She was reduced to a skeleton behind and around her neck, and she was missing an eye and an ear.

They broke her arm and scratched her all over.

On December 20, 2017, 17 days after her injuries were discovered, Shirley died of pneumonia and sepsis.

The great-great-grandmother underwent 18 surgeries while in a medically induced coma, but she had no recollection of any of it due to her advanced dementia.

Jack Lis, ten, was mauled to death at a friend’s home by an American bully


Last month, Natasha Johnston, 28, was mauled to death by the dogs she was walking in Surrey


Shirley Patrick died aged 83 after an attack by an American bully


Jack Lis, 10, was killed by a dog named Beast


According to Gail, “I was told that’s what kept her alive for so long.

They say she would have died of shock if she had known.

Caerphilly, a neighborhood of Cardiff, has earned the nickname “dog bite capital of the UK” due to recent incidents like this one.

Ten-year-old Jack Lis was also a victim of American bullying; he was mauled to death at a friend’s house a little more than a year before Shirley’s death, and he lived just two streets away from where Shirley did.

After Shirley was attacked, the police seized and destroyed a black American bully XL cross cane corso.

Four people were taken into custody and later released on bail after being accused of harboring an unruly dog.

An additional seventeen dogs, all of which were suspected to be off-limits breeds, were seized in the city at the start of this year.

Nine have been returned to their owners, and the cases involving the others are currently being looked into.

British law prohibits owning pit bull terriers, along with the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino, and the fila Brasileiro.

Due to their intimidating physicality, American bullies (which are legal) have recently seen a surge in popularity.

They are certainly all the rage in Caerphilly.

Jason, a 52-year-old carpet fitter, claims he no longer feels safe bringing his one-year-old Italian greyhound, Lola, out on the town at night.

Just one bite and she’s dead, he said. Those giant-sized bullies are horrible canines; it must be a social thing for them to be so intimidating.

I can’t fathom why you’d want a dog with that kind of personality. I don’t believe you could safely leave that alone with a child.

Teenager Ella Phillips claims that her labrador, Willow, was attacked by an American bully XL last year.

It was one of those classic big dogs, muscly and aggressive, and it went for Willow,” the 19-year-old medical student said.

Scary, right? The owner had no control over the dog because it wasn’t leashed.

‘Wrong lifestyle’

I kicked it, and fortunately it walked away instead of charging me.

On the other hand, some authorities argue that “deed not breed” should be prioritized, stressing the fact that any dog breed can bite if handled poorly.

The RSPCA’s head of companion animals, Dr. Sam Gaines, has stated, “There have been calls to ban XL bullies, but what we know from evidence around dog bites and fatalities is that breed is not a good predictor of risk.

If we only talk about certain breeds of dogs, people might get the wrong idea and think that all dogs are dangerous, when in fact only certain breeds pose a threat to the public.

The RSPCA prefers a licensing system that would discourage illegal dog breeding and provide resources to educate pet owners.

After the lockdown, there has been an increase in the number of dog owners, and many of these new owners have acquired their pets from dishonest breeders.

These dogs are more likely to suffer from stress.

Many dogs experienced stress when the restrictions were lifted because their new routines were suddenly disrupted.

The spread of dangerous dog stunt videos and bad training advice on social media hasn’t helped, either.

When asked about the prevalence of TikTok videos featuring stressed-out dogs, Dr. John Tulloch, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at Liverpool University, said it happens frequently.

He elaborated, “For instance, there was a recent fad of people staring into their dog’s eyes for as long as they could.

And the dogs in every one of those clips looked like they were in a lot of pain.

And it wouldn’t have shocked me if the protagonist in one of those videos wound up getting bitten.

A lawyer who has taken on so many dog bite cases that he has earned the moniker “Mr Dog Bite,” James McNally, agrees that any dog breed is capable of causing harm.

Half a dozen people a day contact his law office, Slee Blackwell Solicitors, usually after being attacked by a dog.

It was his words. “I have a lot of delivery drivers as customers.

Some people have lost fingers trying to force them through letterboxes; contrary to popular belief, small dogs (terriers) are the most common culprits.

Thus, what ought to be done? Canine behaviorist Will Atherton says there are no easy solutions, but that the most important thing is for people to think carefully about whether or not they are ready for a dog.

“The issue is the wrong hands, the wrong training, and the wrong lifestyle,” he explains.

To wit: “What’s your thinking behind getting a big dog like an American bully?

How badly do you want to scare people away, or have them think you’re super cool? To put it bluntly, that is not a valid excuse.

In addition to advocating for research into the mental and physical well-being of dogs responsible for attacks rather than immediately euthanizing them, the RSPCA also wants to see fewer dogs put down after being accused of attacking people.

Dr. Gaines remarked, “Treat the dog as if it were a suspect if you want to find out why it attacked.

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What prompted its behavior? Was it poor administration, maltreatment, inbreeding, or illness?

It is only through education and awareness that we can reduce the prevalence of such horrific attacks.

Crufts was won on Sunday by a Lagotto Romagnolo named Orca


The Fila Brasileiro is a Brazilian breed of large working dog and is banned in the UK


The Argentine Dogo is a large, white, muscular breed of dog that was developed in Argentina and is banned in the UK


The Japanese Tosa was bred for fighting in the Far East and is banned in the UK


The American Pit Bull Terrier was originally bred in England for fighting in sports such as bear baiting during the early 19th-century England


What the law says

Allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control is a crime, regardless of where it occurs.

This applies to all dogs, not just banned breeds.

When your dog causes physical harm to another person or causes another person to fear for their safety, it is considered dangerously out of control.

Your dog could be declared dangerously out of control by a court if it attacks another animal.

In addition to a fine of any amount up to the maximum allowed by law, offenders face jail time of anywhere between six months and fourteen years.

Your dog could be put down, and you could be permanently disallowed from ever owning another pet.

Four breeds of dog are banned in the UK.

The pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, Argentine dogo, and Brazilian fila are some examples.

Even if there hasn’t been a complaint or the dog isn’t acting dangerously, the police or local council may seize one of these breeds.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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