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Incidence and impact of dog attacks on guide dogs in the UK

By A. Brooks, R. Moxon, G. C. W. England

Category Journal Articles

In a retrospective survey, researchers identified 100 incidents of attacks on guide dogs by other dogs. These were reviewed in order to determine the number, severity and impact on the handler and dog, and the characteristics of the aggressors and victims. During the study period there were more than three attacks reported each month, with 61 per cent of the attacks being upon dogs that were in harness and working with an owner or trainer. The majority of the dogs that were attacked were male (62 per cent), and the breeds that were over-represented (relative to their prevalence in the general guide dog population) were the labrador and the golden retriever x flat-coated retriever crossbreed. Most of the attacks occurred in public places between 09.00 and 15.00 and the majority (61 per cent) of the attacking dogs were off the lead at the time of the attack. Thirty-eight per cent of the attacking dogs were of bull breeds, which were over-represented among attackers compared with the proportion of this breed type in the general dog population. Veterinary attention was sought after 41 per cent of the attacks, and in 19 per cent of instances there was injury to the handler or to a member of the public. The attacks were reported to have affected the working performance and behaviour of the victim dog in 45 per cent of the instances, and two dogs had to be subsequently withdrawn from working as guide dogs.

Date 2010
Publication Title Veterinary Record
Volume 166
Issue 25
Pages 778-781
ISBN/ISSN 0042-4900
DOI 10.1136/vr.103433
Language English
Author Address Guide Dogs, Hillfields, Reading Road, Burghfield Common, Reading RG7 3YG, UK.rachel.moxon@guidedogs.org.uk
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Aggression
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal diseases
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Bites and stings
  6. British Isles
  7. Commonwealth of Nations
  8. Developed countries
  9. Diseases
  10. Dog Breeds
  11. Dogs
  12. Europe
  13. Fear
  14. Fighting
  15. Great Britain
  16. Guide dogs
  17. Mammals
  18. OECD countries
  19. open access
  20. Pets and companion animals
  21. surveys
  22. trauma
  23. United Kingdom
  24. Wounds and injuries
  1. open access