What Are the Levels of Dog Bites?

Have you ever suffered a dog bite?

The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale, developed by Dr. Ian Dunbar, a renowned Animal Behaviorist and Veterinarian, is a widely accepted method for understanding dog behavior and assessing dog bites.

The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale is a tool used for evaluating dog bite cases in scientific analysis and clinical review. The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale is a categorization system that includes six levels, with each level representing a higher level of bite severity.

Below are the bite levels based on the Dunbar Scale of bites.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3 

Level 4 

Level 5 

Level 6 

Levels of Dog Bites Infographic

Level 1 Dog Bite

A level 1 dog bite refers to a situation where a dog displays aggressive behavior towards a person or another animal, but no actual biting or physical contact occurs.

In this case, the dog may show signs of aggression, such as growling, barking, lunging, or snapping, but does not make physical contact or attempt to bite. [1]

Level 1 Dog Bite

Level 2 Dog Bite 

A level 2 dog bite involves contact but no puncture wounds. In this case, the dog’s teeth may make skin contact, causing bruising, abrasions, or surface scratches, but without breaking the skin or causing puncture wounds. [1]


Level 3 Dog Bite

Level 3 dog bites commonly require wound treatment. They occur when one to four teeth puncture the skin, and this is caused by a single bite with punctures that are smaller than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. Most dog bite cases meet this level. At Level 3, a dog presents a significant potential risk to individuals. [1]

Level 3 Dog Bite

Level 4 Dog Bites 

A Level 4 dog bite involves one to four skin punctures from a single bite, with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of a dog’s canine teeth.

It is probable that there is deep bruising around the wound. Dogs that cause this degree of bite should be kept apart from people and other animals until their behavior and the bite incident are examined. [1]


Level 5 Dog Bite

A Level 5 dog bite consists of multiple Level 4 dog bites occurring in several attacks. According to dog behavioral experts, if a dog has caused multiple attack incidents with puncture wounds deeper than half of its canine teeth, it is recommended that the dog be euthanized due to the danger it poses. [1]

Level 5 Dog Bite

Level 6 Dog Bite 

A Level 6 on the Dunbar Bite Scale is when a dog fatally injures a person in an attack. Although this level of dog bite and attack is rare, it does happen and has increased in the last year. [1]

Dogs caused the deaths of a record 63 Americans and three Canadians in 2022. [2] 

Dog Bite Lawyers

By choosing to work with Goldberg & Loren’s dog bite attorneys, you will have a team of hard-hitting personal injury lawyers who will advocate for your rights and ensure that the responsible party is held accountable.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our dog bite attorneys.

Dog Bite Lawyers


[1] Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2023, from https://apdt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ian-dunbar-dog-bite-scale.pdf

[2] Clifton, M. (2023, April 7). Dogs killed 63 Americans & three Canadians in 2022; pit bulls killed 42. Animals 24-7. https://www.animals24-7.org/2023/01/06/dogs-killed-62-americans-pit-bulls-killed-41/

Share This Article


Recent Posts

Get a Free Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Follow Us

We're available

Get a Free Consultation

Pay Nothing, Unless We Win

"*" indicates required fields

Full Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.