Dog bite expert & animal behavior specialist

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

Dr. Richard Polsky - The Dog Expert

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Fatal dog attack on infant by Pomeranian in California

As strange as it might seem, there was a reported dog bite fatality inflicted to a six-week-old infant by a Pomeranian in Los Angeles, California Pomeranian Dog Bitein October, 2000.  According to a story which appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the infant was left unattended on a bed.  The babysitter left the room to prepare a bottle, and it was then when the the attack took place. The babysitter stopped the attack, and the infant died later in a local hospital.

Can a Pomeranian inflict a fatal dog bite?  Yes, provided that victim is small, the correct circumstances present, and the victim is bitten in the neck. In the current instance, the likely cause of death was rapid blood loss. The dog’s canine teeth, albeit small, probably hit the carotid artery or jugular vein. Whether the dog intentionally aimed its bite at the infant’s neck is uncertain.

Another interesting question has to do with the victim’s behavior.  Note, that the babysitter left the infant unattended to prepare a bottle, and at that time the infant may have been crying or emitting high frequency sounds.  Animal behaviorist have noted that high-frequency sounds, coming from squeaky toys, a child screeching, or a hearing aid have the potential to elicit canine predatory aggressive behavior.

This is the only fatal dog attack this author knows of inflicted by a Pomeranian, or for that matter any dog of comparable size.  Pomeranians are classified as a toy breed by the American Kennel Club. Most individuals weigh about three pounds. The hair of a Pomeranian is usually brushed away from the body which makes individuals look larger than they really are.  Nevertheless, Pomeranians are tiny dogs. Historically, the breed were bred to function as companion lap dogs.  Pomeranians are not high on the list of dogs treated for aggressive behavioral problems by applied animal behaviorists.