Survey of canine aggression in northern and central Italy

It is difficult to give a universally acceptable definition of aggression. In general, it can be defined as an overt or intentional behaviour shown by an individual to harm or otherwise cause a noxious stimulus against another individual. All dogs may show aggressive behaviour, but the inclination to do so can vary enormously, depending on genetic, neurochemical and hormonal factors, socialisation and learning. This study aims to provide an overview of Italian documented cases of dog bite incidents and to assess the circumstantial factors that led to the attack. We studied 9231 reports of dog attacks that occurred in central and northern Italy from 1998 to 2005. The information collected by the various local health authorities was often incomplete, so fewer data are available for each variable than the total number of reports. Based on our results, it is possible to draw an identikit of the biter dog: male, adult, mixed breed or belonging to Italian Kennel Club groups 1 or 2, which attacks mainly adult strangers. Numerous data were missing from the reports collected by local health authorities. It is to be hoped that in the future the collection will be integrated with an objective description of the events, analysing everything that happened before the attack, including dog’s postures and signs of threat, in order to obtain a better picture of the animal’s dangerousness.

Additional Info

  • Authors: Cannas S., Bonanomi C., Talamonti Z., Scaglia E., Minero M., Palestrini C.
  • Authors note: Dipartimento di Scienze Veterinarie e Sanità Pubblica (DIVET), Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milano, Italy
  • Year: 2016
  • Reference: Veterinaria Year 30, n. 2, April 2016
  • Pages: 121 - 126
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